Friday, July 27, 2007

House vote

The Kind-Flake amendment was defeated, of course, and the Farm Bill passed the House. This Farm Bill has been a great education in the cynical economist's view of public policy decision-making. The bill's supporters perfectly gauged how much funding for nutrition, conservation, and fruits and vegetables it would take to split the advocacy coalition that would otherwise have demanded reform to the traditional row-crop subsidies.

The House Agriculture Committee had to make some adjustments to conservation programs and agricultural insurance programs that will anger some Senators who support those programs. Still, it is hard to imagine this bill failing or even changing much at this point.

Perhaps in five years, under the influence of this bill, rich farmers will be even richer, small family farms will be even fewer, and farmers in developing countries will be even poorer. Look on the bright side. We can all hope for reform in Farm Bill 2012.


deliberately said...

I'm with you. A sad day indeed.

Janet said...

It's been a discouraging act to watch. Adding to my frustration is the really terrible job my regional news media have done on the topic. I live in Kansas, and you'd think the farm bill would be big news, but almost all news reporting I've seen has been after the fact. I think politicians might act a little differently if they were hearing more from constituents, but if the constituents don't know what's going on, they aren't going to comment.

Meanwhile, Kansas' two reps on the Ag Committee, a D and an R, unsurprisingly, I suppose, backed the status quo on commodities payments. My guess (though I haven't researched it) is that only a small percentage of Kansas farmers get any significant benefit from the large share of commodities payments that come to the state.

Just another case of the people with the big bucks being visible and active in arguing their case while the mass of ordinary people, including small farmers and consumers, get gouged.