Rejecting Much-Needed Reforms, Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill Favors Status Quo on Costly Subsidies

The Daily Signal | 5/7/2018 | Staff
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Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow in agricultural policy. Read his research.

The House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill is a complete rejection of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2018 farm bill principles when it comes to farm subsidies.

Examples

Here are a few examples:

USDA principle: “Provide a fiscally responsible farm bill that reflects the administration’s budget goals.”

Committee - Farm - Bill - Trump - Administration

The committee’s farm bill doesn’t include any of the Trump administration’s farm-subsidy reforms from either the fiscal year 2018 or 2019 budgets.

For example, it doesn’t include a widely supported fiscal 2019 budget recommendation that would reduce premium subsidies for farmers.

Law - Taxpayers - Percent - Premiums - Crop

Under existing law, taxpayers pay on average 62 percent of the premiums for crop insurance, while farmers only have to pay about one-third of the premiums. The Trump budget would reduce this taxpayer burden to 48 percent. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for farmers to pay half of the premiums for their own crop-insurance policies.

Subsidy proponents claim that this proposal would hurt farmers and the crop-insurance program. That’s a red herring.

Congressional - Budget - Office - Policy - Option

The Congressional Budget Office, analyzing their own policy option of reducing the taxpayer obligation to 47 percent (1 percentage point lower than the Trump administration proposal), found that as a result of this change, there would be a reduction in insured acres of just one-half of 1 percent and only 1.5 percent of acres would have lower coverage levels.

They also found that taxpayers would save $8.1 billion over 10 years. So, taxpayers would save billions, federal crop insurance would be made more reasonable, and there would be almost no impact on farmers. Yet, the Agriculture Committee’s bill didn’t include this commonsense reform.

Committee - Rejection - Trump - Administration - Budgets

The committee’s rejection of the Trump administration budgets is even more egregious, though. The fiscal 2019 budget...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Daily Signal
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