Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Time Magazine on the Senate Farm Bill

In the House of Representatives this summer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supported the non-reform bill from the Agriculture Committee, calculating that the political gain from trying to purchase political support in marginal Democratic districts in the heartland outweighed the loss from failing to stand up for good government.

After all, how many people outside of farm districts pay attention the Farm Bill anyway?

Well, perhaps more people than you think. To a greater extent than I ever recall in previous Farm Bills, the public is paying attention now, just in time for the Farm Bill debate on the floor of the Senate.

Consider Michael Grunwald's lengthy article in that obscure trade weekly, Time Magazine. He says that "if you eat, drink, or pay taxes," you should think of the Farm Bill as a big deal.
It's also a horrible deal. It redistributes our taxes to millionaire farmers as well as to millionaire "farmers" like David Letterman, David Rockefeller and the owners of the Utah Jazz. It contributes to our obesity and illegal-immigration epidemics and to our water and energy shortages. It helps degrade rivers, deplete aquifers, eliminate grasslands, concentrate food-processing conglomerates and inundate our fast-food nation with high-fructose corn syrup. Our farm policy is supposed to save small farmers and small towns. Instead it fuels the expansion of industrial megafarms and the depopulation of rural America. It hurts Third World farmers, violates international trade deals and paralyzes our efforts to open foreign markets to the nonagricultural goods and services that make up the remaining 99% of our economy.
I hope the Senate is paying attention to the fact that the public is paying attention.


Anonymous said...

Hello from Sharon McNary from Marketplace, the business show on public radio from American Public Media. I wonder if your readers would be interested in sharing their experiences in attempting to shape the new farm bill. We're circulating a query, here's the link: http://elabs7.com/functions/message_view.html?mid=300727&mlid=747&siteid=506781&uid=5062b80e22
Thanks in advance for your help,

Sharon McNary
Public Insight Analyst
American Public Media

usfoodpolicy said...

In case you have trouble reading the whole link due to a scrolling issue, here it is.