Posted: 06/21/12 18:21
by Dave Mindeman
Before anyone talks about deadbeat welfare recipients...before anyone talks about bloated government....and before anyone starts any holier than thou talk about budget deficits...please explain one thing.
Sugar beet subsidies.
Sugar beets are a free market anomaly. They're a slap in the face for protected corporate welfare. And they continue to withstand every attempt at modification...protected by Republican and Democratic agriculture state reps alike.
Sugar beet farmers are not poor by any means. They reap profits in good crop years and in bad. And they always get taxpayer help even though there is little evidence it is needed.
The sugar program, which controls supply levels, sets prices and limits imports, has long been a target of those who say the government supports agribusiness over the interests of consumers.
This program defies the odds. It gets liberal help despite being a poster child of corporate welfare. It gets conservative help despite setting its own trade policy and gets benefits from price fixing.
Several attempts to modify this program were consistently beaten back in the just passed farm bill.....the subsidies continue.
The farm bill makes some substantial changes in farm policy, including eliminating direct payments to farmers even when they don't plant crops, and consolidating conservation programs, but it doesn't touch the federal sugar program, which dates back to 1930s legislation to protect domestic sugar growers and refiners.
And when this measure reaches the House more cuts to the bill are expected....but what will they be looking to cut???
While the Senate bill cuts $23 billion from current spending levels over the next decade, the Republican-led House is likely to seek deeper cuts, particularly to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food stamps, which costs $80 billion a year and makes up 80 percent of farm bill spending. The current farm act expires at the end of September.
An unneeded farm subsidy vs. food stamps.
Guess who wins?