Wed Jan 29, 2014, 04:16 PM
cali (114,904 posts)
the farm bill: corrupt to the core, and oh yeah, fuck you Debbie Stabenow, you piece of shit.
the winners? catfish farmers, soybean farmers, cattlemen, big sugar. the losers? the vulnerable poor and food insecure.
yeah, yeah, the repukes wanted bigger food stamp cuts, but they "settled" for 8 fucking billion in cuts and we're supposed to be grateful to the likes of Schumer and Stabenow.
A compromise farm bill is finally headed to the House and Senate for a vote more than two years after members of Congress first started working on the measure. If passed and signed, which conference heads Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) each expect to happen in short order, the compromise legislation will spend roughly a trillion dollars over the next decade backstopping American agriculture and giving the most vulnerable Americans a meager allowance for food. That is a $23 billion reduction in spending compared to current law, and making sense of all the changes can be tricky.
THE BAD: Billions More For Wall Street And Agribusiness, Billions Less For Poor People To Eat. Ending direct payments is a good thing, but the bill plows those savings into an expanded crop insurance program. That means replacing one flawed program with another. Wall Street companies scrape tens of billions of dollars in almost risk-free profit out of the crop insurance subsidy system even at current spending levels. Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook blasted lawmakers for choosing “to increase unlimited subsidies to the most profitable and financially secure farm businesses at the expense of hungry children and the environment” despite “record farm income.”
The bill also retains previously proposed crop price support levels that critics consider unreasonably high. “The farm bill is chock-full of giveaways to wealthy special interests, including producers of sushi rice,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) told ThinkProgress. Those growers, for instance, will get an effective guarantee of perpetually higher profits, as subsidy payments will go out should the price of their crop fail to rise by 15 percent each year.
Meanwhile, 1.7 million Americans will have to make do with less. The SNAP reductions come from a technical change to how benefit levels are calculated — low-income people in 17 states who incur serious home heating or cooling costs will have to do more paperwork to show that they are entitled to their current benefit levels — but that still means hundreds of thousands of poor families will face a cut of about $90 per month in their already slim food aid checks.
Both Stabenow and Lucas praised the SNAP cuts on a call with reporters Tuesday. “We have said we need to make the system work better, we’re gonna tackle waste fraud and abuse, make the system accountable, and that’s what we have done,” Stabenow said. “Our fellow Americans who demonstrate they meet the asset and income requirements will get the help they need,” Lucas added. But the notion that SNAP is a fraud-riddled program in dire need of reform is baseless. It has a lower error rate than the agriculture programs to which Lucas and Stabenow are increasing funding, despite the constant barrage of disingenuous rhetoric to the contrary from conservatives.
9 replies, 1226 views
the farm bill: corrupt to the core, and oh yeah, fuck you Debbie Stabenow, you piece of shit. (Original post)
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Response to cali (Original post)
Wed Jan 29, 2014, 04:29 PM
geek tragedy (67,023 posts)
1. Of course, the stuff you intentionally omitted because it provided context:
THE GOOD: No More Direct Payments, Nobody Kicked Off Of Food Stamps. The compromise legislation ends the “direct payment” program that has been the primary way the government supported agriculture since 1996. The idea behind the program was that since farmers can be wiped out by a single bad year of weather or market prices, there ought to be a public expenditure to keep the nation’s produce growers in business and safe from such hardship. But the direct payments program sent farm owners checks no matter what happened, meaning taxpayer money went to landowners even when they had had a perfectly good year. Given the nature of modern agriculture, most farm spending goes to big companies and billionaires who don’t need the help rather than to struggling family farmers.
The compromise also does not kick anyone who currently receives food stamps off of that program. The carefully tailored deal trims the overall cost of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $8 billion over the next decade, or about 1 percent, but previous proposals from House Republicans would have booted millions of hungry people out of the system entirely. Those prior suggestions also featured dangerous and humiliating changes for how the program works, including drug tests, allowing states to raid the program to balance their budgets, and a lifetime ban for anyone convicted of a felony. Robert Greenstein of the center-left Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) praised this week’s final deal as “a relatively favorable outcome for SNAP and most of the millions of low-income Americans who rely on it” by contrast with those previous proposals.
How much better off would SNAP recipients be if the price of milk tripled?
Response to cali (Reply #2)
Wed Jan 29, 2014, 04:39 PM
geek tragedy (67,023 posts)
5. If milk cost $10 a gallon, would that hurt the poor or the rich more?
I would wager that increasing the price of milk by $7/gallon would be the economic equivalent of a benefits cut, except it would hurt a lot more people besides SNAP recipients--especially those with children.
The bill is not what I would have preferred, and I'm not even 100% sure I would vote for this without a few more cuts to the welfare checks handed out to Big Ag, but we live in a world in which the Republicans control the House now and will control it next Congress, and in which the Democrats will lose seats in the Senate and perhaps the entire Senate for the next Congress. Question is what the path towards a better alternative looks like, or whether it exists.
Response to geek tragedy (Reply #1)
Wed Jan 29, 2014, 04:36 PM
okaawhatever (8,247 posts)
4. Exactly. The farm program is way too generous for many and needs to be rewritten, but it's not
something that will happen without a Democratic majority in both houses. It would help if we had a media that would inform the American taxpayer about the program and how it needs to be changed.