Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Looks like history to me...

The unfolding farm bill drama ratcheted up significantly today as Republicans suddenly showed up and Sec. Johanns issued a mid-level veto threat. The trigger appears to be a poorly disguised tax built into the legislation to fund the general Santa-Claus economics of the House Ag Committee version.
A proposal from Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett would help pay for $4 billion in nutrition and food stamps by taxing U.S. plants of companies owned by firms located overseas. Republicans charge the increase would endanger tax treaties and raise the cost of doing business in the United States. [More]
Well, hush my mouth - Congressional conservatives are trembling on the brink of fiscal prudence and slightly smaller government. Will wonders never cease? Some conservatives are even pushing the Kind-Flake alternative (my choice, as well - the true Kiss of Death).
The conservative Club for Growth interest group is planning to include the vote on the Fairness in Farm and Food Policy amendment in the group's 2007 congressional score card. The Club for Growth calls the bill supported by House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "disastrous." The club will distribute the score card to other members of Congress and the public. [More]
As we learned with former Speakers, control of the gavel counts for about 150 votes on its own. Regardless, this looks like a campaign issue for conservatives either way it goes, if they bother to take a stand. The real wild card is the veto threat. After the vote count on the Kind-Flake amendment, we might know if Pres. Bush has any leverage.

Great - I'm on the road during this whole kerfuffle. I'll be at the Commodity Classic in Maryland tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

C'mon John. You support the Kind admendment? It is a true mire of goo. We know you despise farm payments. We know you would "feel good" if farmers received zilch from the FSA. OK..enough. You are also smart enough to know that the true economics driving agriculture today are much larger than Uncle Sam's giving hand. The economies of scale in production ag are beyond the tipping point. Without FSA checks the smallest and dullest farms will be the first to go.Your large hyperfarm neighbors will still grow and prosper only at a faster pace. The utopian dream you have will crumble. We had better try to protect our little share of my tax dollars being spent on insane programs. I'm afraid they will use it to buy and store some more ice for the next big hurricane. Sorry about my selfishness.

John Phipps said...


The Kind amendment is the only other choice I am aware of. As for who would suffer most, I think it is not a question of size as much as crop.

Besides the germane question is the payment limits issue. Any meaningful reform on that problem would definitely favor smaller farmers.

I have never seen any study or figures suggesting farm payments as they now exist have much effect on consolidation. My own hunch is they have way less impact than we think.

My own position, as I have stated, is the whole farm program is slipping into irrelevance thanks to the ethanol mandate.

We're grossing $700+/A and my $25 DCP is crucial?

Thanks for reading.

rhoads said...

John, I agree the $25 DCP is not crucial but if you were collecting it on forty or fifty thousand acres it sure would be a nice bonus.