Saturday, July 21, 2007

House Farm Bill is not reform

The Farm Bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday is not reform. It includes some new subsidies for fruits and vegetables, but still tiny compared to the many billions for traditional row crops such as soybeans and corn, which are mainly used as animal feed for meat and dairy production. It includes an effort to cap subsidy payments to some millionaires (!), but there is less to that cap than it appears. There are loopholes, and the proposed bill steps backward on subsidy reform in other respects.

The New York Times reports:
The measure, acted on by a voice vote, stops well short of the wide-scale changes called for by critics of current policies.
A key question is whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will support Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson's (D-MN) bill. Early reports had Pelosi describing the bill as "reform."

See the reports from the Blog for Rural America, the Jew and the Carrot (where our own contributor Aliza Wasserman writes), and FarmPolicy. I liked this image from Mulch, which illuminates the dynamics between Pelosi and Peterson using a Google Maps graphic, which shows the approximate location of subsidy recipients whose address is in San Francisco.