Friday, May 25, 2018

You Haven't Heard The Last Of The Pork Bill They Call A Farm Bill


You probably read that the GOP failed to pass their Farm Bill last week. Even though every Democrat voted against it, the GOP should have been able to pass it with just their own members. But Ryan and his team have lost control and the extremists from the Freedom Caucus decided to hold the bill ransom to get a floor vote of their anti-immigrant vote. Ryan, now a lame dog with no leverage, had no choice but to make a deal to allow a vote of the far right immigration bill a couple days before the newly rescheduled Farm Bill (June 22).

Writing for TruthDig, Teodrose Fikre, reports that the country has gone from being a nation of laws to "a franchise of the global aristocracy." And he points right to the Farm Bill as a perfect example of how "America has been indentured by multinational corporations. As both parties lavish fortunes upon Wall Street, they turn around and gift the rest of us austerity."
Like all other legislation that gets enacted by our ever-cagey Congress and signed into law by our duplicitous presidents, the 2018 farm bill is a colossal measure that will impact almost every American-- even though the public has almost zero say in the matter. The omnibus package, which is another way of saying wish list for lobbyists, encompasses everything from food production to food distribution, land conservation, social safety net programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and goes as far as redefining who is considered a family member. The revolutionaries of 1776 thought they had it rough with Big Brother telling them how to lead their lives, but the British monarchs had nothing on the American oligarchy.

In all, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 is estimated to cost $421.5 billion over a five-year window. That’s before the Senate gets its dibs and adds to the final tab. While the ever-pliant corporate media was busy going haywire over Donald Trump’s latest buffoonery and gaga over the royal nonsense in Windsor, nepotists in our nation’s capital have been busy greasing the wheels for their benefactors while pinching pennies on the poor and the middle class. Republicans love to echo Jesus on social media and morph into a cabal of pharisees during congressional sessions. This is not to praise Democrats. They spent eight years making it rain helicopter money on Wall Street. Both parties’ primary purpose is to transfer wealth from the many to the gentry.

Even the mildest attempts to rein in the excesses that are shoveled to the corporate oligarchy are swiftly derailed. On Thursday, a sensible measure that would have put restrictions on farm subsidies was voted down [137-278]. While social welfare programs are being decimated, corporate welfare is alive and well. Socialism is only bad when it applies to the people. Communism is adored when it benefits Wall Street. The U.S. government runs a Ponzi scheme. Within the sugar industry alone, subsidies transfer anywhere from $2.4 billion to $4 billion from consumers into the coffers of behemoth conglomerations like American Sugar Refining Group and agricultural giants like Monsanto.

Instead of investing in public infrastructure and tending to the least among us, politicians on both sides of the aisle would rather throw good money after bad by artificially inflating the price of sugar to appease their donor-patrons. These types of corrupt dealings have innumerable repercussions. The cost of goods keep going up and sugar products are aggressively marketed to keep demand for sugar high, while making it nearly impossible for small and family-owned farms to compete with market leaders.

Ultimately, healthier alternatives are driven out of the marketplace. Companies that offer more nutritious products struggle to remain going concerns and keep up with the competitive advantages enjoyed by junk food peddlers and their suppliers. The net result is a society that is getting emaciated financially to sustain corporations-- and being rewarded with an obesity crisis for our unwitting complicity. Our political leaders are incentivizing greed and being paid handsomely by sugar and farm lobbyists for their obsequiousness.

This farm bill contains so many deleterious provisions that a book would be needed to offer context for the endless ways Congress keeps choosing moneyed interests over the public good. Where Democrats are coy about the ways they bolster corporations, Republicans dispense with the chicanery and have no problem advertising their servility to Wall Street. Do you think increased pesticide use, more incidents like Flint’s poisoned pipes and less protection for endangered species is a good thing? If so, you will love this farm bill, which does everything possible to loosen the destructive nature of crony capitalism while restricting the options of the working class and poor to obtain public assistance.

...If we are to reclaim our country and demand a government that works for us, we must understand that all of us-- irrespective of our differences—are being fleeced by a bipartisan cabal of corporate courtiers in our nation’s capital. Do not let the refrains of “blue waves” or the chants of “make America great again” deceive you. Both parties are in on this ongoing corporate boondoggle. The farm bill collapsed because the Freedom Caucus demanded more stringent measures on border controls while others demanded yet more cuts from social programs. Republicans are negotiating among themselves to figure out who can be the biggest a-holes.
Tom McClintock (R-CA) isn't exactly mainstream. He's thought of a far right member of Congress but, in some ways, he sounded a lot like Fikre on this one. "Farm subsidies-- essentially taking money from taxpayers to inflate the price of their groceries-- was never a good idea," he wrote.  "They are the poster children of corporate welfare.  After all, the vast proportion of them go to large corporations-- not small family farms. Sixty percent of American farms get no subsidies at all-- contradicting the claim that somehow American agriculture couldn’t exist without them."  
We spend $20 billion a year subsidizing 40 percent of our farms. That’s about $160 a year out of the direct taxes of an average family in America.  That doesn’t include the cost to consumers from higher prices.  The sugar program alone cost consumers $3.7 billion in higher sugar prices-- adding nearly $30 more to their grocery bills.

Subsidies hurt taxpayers. They hurt consumers. And they even hurt farmers in the long run.

 Prices are signals sent by consumers over what they want to buy and the amount they’re willing to pay. If left alone, they tell producers what consumers want more of and what they want less of. If consumers want less soybeans and sugar and more wheat and cabbage, prices for soybeans and sugar decline and prices for wheat and cabbage increase. Producers respond by planting less soybeans and sugarcane and more wheat and cabbage.

Unless, of course, government distorts those price signals through subsidies. Producers end up planting more of what consumers don’t want and less of what they do. Thus, producers are artificially induced to perform below their potential productivity.

Many of the subsidies today are in the form of crop insurance. Farmers get heavily subsidized insurance to guarantee them profits for their products. Who pays the subsidies? Taxpayers.

 There are no good arguments for continuing these subsidies. Most farmers don’t get them right now. Those who do tend to be major corporations and not family farmers.

  ...It is long past time to debunk that myth in our own country, restore to consumers the power to command what producers grow and restore to producers the accurate price signals they need to maximize their productivity in a free and undistorted market.

Labels: ,


At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm heading out to buy a pitchfork before the prices rises more than I can afford.

At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the dawn of the usa, all AG bills have been pork bacchanals.

"Both parties’ primary purpose is to transfer wealth from the many to the gentry."

Once again, DWT correctly IDs the problem...

"...If we are to reclaim our country and demand a government that works for us, we must understand..."

... but fails to discern the true genesis of the problem. To whit: americans are not capable (in sufficient numbers) of a level of understanding sufficient to remedy ANY problem, much less one of such obvious and copious corruption and greed.

This is a circular (resonant) system. We got stupid enough to elect Reagan. He and everyone since has made sure we got dumber (many methods including DOE, media corporatization and so on). The dumber we get, the more our government is guaranteed to be supported no matter what they do and do not do.
Eventually, we'll wake up to a Nazi dictatorship... and will love it, wear the uni, do the salute and swear allegiance to don jr. or someone equally putrid.

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republicans need desperately to hang on to the farm vote, for if the farmers turn against them, they would lose badly in many states. This is how the Chinese keep Trump from being even more hostile toward them over trade and the South China Sea military buildup.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are doing all they can to replace the US as the world's leading diplomats - and succeeding.

At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Chinese have recognized the failings of us americans for decades. And they are waiting patiently to fill all the holes we're going to leave for such positions of hegemony.

It would be hard for them to miss the opportunities. We do send them a third of a trillion in currency every year. They then lend us that third of a trillion for interest. We effectively pay them twice for making a lot of crap we can't stop ourselves from buying.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous SaveAmerica said...

EXTREMISTS? So people who want to control who comes into their country are "extremists"?

But MS13 lovers like Pelosi, totally sane. Ok sure!
Further more, you Democrats are lucky the GOP matches the corruption of The Dems, because the GOP allows amnesty When it there should be no amnesty.


Post a Comment

<< Home