Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Farm Bill Passed - Gillibrand a YES

H.R. 2419 was passed in the House of Representatives on July 27. From what I've read the "Farm Bill" in the USA is a completely dysfunctional program that makes very little sense to the average American. A quick overview and specifics of the heavily amended Farm Bill can be found here.

Here is what WashingtonWatch has to say:
American farmers want current farm policy to be the foundation for the 2007 Farm Bill. This policy has helped provide the safest, most affordable, and most abundant food supply in the world, while accounting for less than one-half of one percent of the total federal budget. The current farm safety net should be the floor, not the ceiling, of the commodity title in the next farm bill.
The bill only costs $2590 per average family.

Foodfirst.org has a different take on the Farm Bill and they prefer to call it the Welfare for Corporate Agribusiness Bill. There is even a good argument that the Farm Bill results in obesity in Americans.
This resolutely unglamorous and head-hurtingly complicated piece of legislation, which comes around roughly every five years and is about to do so again, sets the rules for the American food system — indeed, to a considerable extent, for the world’s food system. Among other things, it determines which crops will be subsidized and which will not, and in the case of the carrot and the Twinkie, the farm bill as currently written offers a lot more support to the cake than to the root.

As far as I can tell the so-called "Farm Bill" does very little for the small farmer at a huge cost. Remember this is the program that paid out $1.1 billion to dead people. Not that this was illegal believe it or not. Yes it covers necessary food stamp and nutrition programs but why can't those programs be covered elsewhere? The Farm Bill determines, to a large extent, what we eat in the USA.

I like the Food and Farm Bill of Rights proposed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

  1. Americans have a right to a policy free of special interest giveaways
  2. American taxpayers have a right to a fiscally responsible policy
  3. Americans have a right to a policy that serves all farmers
  4. Americans have a right to a safe and healthful food supply
  5. American children have a right to good nutrition
  6. Americans have a right to local supplies of fresh food
  7. Americans have a right to a policy that promotes energy independence
  8. Americans have a right to a policy that protects the environment
  9. Americans have a right to preserve farmland from sprawl
  10. Americans have a right to a policy that fosters sustainable farming practices

That seems to be a policy that progressives could and should support but I have no idea how many of these items were incorporated into the Farm Bill of 2007. Rep. Blumenauer was one of a handful of courageous Democrats that voted against the Bill.


Anonymous said...

I looked at the site you're talking about, Washington Watch, and its not them but a sponsor called "Farm Policy Facts" that has put that on the site, in a "sponsored info" section. Looks like the same people have edited the wiki to say the same thing. Someone should add more info there to tell the other side of the story.

PCS said...

That is correct. But the point is there are many websites either supporting or not supporting the Farm Bill. I think the Bill has grown into something that should no longer be. There are many good parts but just as many bad part that are there for the special interests and lobbyists.