Farm policy reform advocates are sensing the battle has been lost, I think - or at least going badly. The varied pleas for change are taking on a note of desperation.
The House Agriculture Committee recommendations for Title I commodity subsidies extend the outdated, broken system of the past - moving policy in the wrong direction and making it worse. Congress cannot accurately forecast prices and loan rates for the life of the next farm bill. [MoreGeorge Will weighs in (somewhat wistfully, I think):
Agriculture policy -- another manifestation of the welfare state, another contributor to another faction's entitlement mentality -- involves a perennial conundrum of welfare, corporate as well as individual: How do you break an addiction to government without breaking the addicted? If Lugar and like-minded legislators can accomplish their aims, their achievement will be comparable to the welfare reform of 1996 -- the fecund year of the short-lived Freedom to Farm Act. As Lugar again puts his hand to the plow, attempting to plow under a New Deal remnant, wish him well. [More]Note this stunning statistic that Big 8 growers ignore when arguing for farm policy status quo.
The specialty-crops industry accounts for nearly half of all the cash-crop receipts in agriculture. With 119 members of Congress supporting our initiative, we believe that congressional leaders and members of the House Agriculture Committee should roll up their sleeves and enact policy geared toward the 21st century. [More]
If there is any positive sign for reform, it could be with Speaker Pelosi and payment limits.
A spokesman for Pelosi said the two have spoken about payment limits, which she believes is necessary to reform the farm bill. Peterson met Pelosi on Thursday and was scheduled to meet her again on Friday. [More]Still, it looks to me like simply by foot-dragging, proponents of the status quo can force extension of our current policy.
Just like immigration.