Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Smoke in the wind?...

I think something is tickling my alarm sensors concerning the farm program.  It may be because Republicans are out of power and seem to be searching for a theme to counter the Obama political clout, but the right may be concentrating on spending and entitlements like farm payments.
“This was not a drive-by P.R. stunt, and I actually thought it might be. It was a substantive, in-depth discussion with our conference, and he’s very effective. He knows that the debt and the deficit are huge long-term problems as well and he made a compelling case. He sounded, frankly, a lot like a Republican,” -  Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee.
As I said, the GOP should do its best to pare the worst of the social spending out of the stimulus bill; but they should save their fire for entitlement reform, just as important for long-term fiscal health. Obama will be their ally on that. [Link]
Now consider the conservative think-tank, The Hudson Institute, and a guy who used to do a lot of speaking to farm groups, Dennis Avery.
Did global warming dump U.S. Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River by attracting more geese to New York airports? Time Magazine says yes. Time notes a four-fold increase in airplane bird strikes since 1990, and blames global warming and destruction of wild bird habitat for the increased collisions.

Time reached the wrong conclusion. Research indicates we should blame the prosaic corn harvester—and perhaps our attempt to expand corn production for biofuels. Canada geese numbers have increased five-fold since 1970 for one overwhelming reason —farmers’ expanding use of those big corn picker-shellers. The big bright-colored harvesters now roar across the fields every autumn, picking the ears and shelling the corn kernels. With millions of tons of loose corn, some inevitably trickles to the ground, where the geese cheerfully snack it up.  [More of an interesting take on  geese, corn and ethanol.]
The change in political power could provoke collateral damage in farm policy.  At the very least, we could see stricter payment limits and means-testing, if not outright payment cuts.

The right is looking for issues that make them look less like the spenders they were under the Bush administration.  Political power shifts and continued concentration in agriculture may provide a tipping point for the struggle against subsidies.

Nah...I've fallen for that hope before...

[Thanks, Linda]

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