Obamacare 2.0: Why You Should Care About the Farm Bill
With the House bill at $940 billion and the Senate version costing $955 billion, “there is certainly not another single bill that Congress will pass this year that spends that kind of money,” Andrew Moylan, outreach director and senior fellow at the R Street Institute, told The Christian Post on Tuesday. Despite the bill’s size, he thinks Americans will ignore it.
“Ultimately, it seems kind of esoteric,” Moylan explained. “When you’re talking about complicated loan guarantee programs, it’s enough to make everybody’s eyes glaze over.”
…Moylan, at the same Heritage Foundation event, laid out one of the “Terrible Twelve” policies in the Farm Bill: Federal Crop Insurance. In 2012, taxpayers spent more than $14 billion subsidizing agriculture businesses buying crop insurance. He told CP that this money helped make 2012 “a record farm income year” despite historic drought.
He said that if he could implement one reform, it would be “means testing,” making sure that crop insurance only goes to the people who need it. “If you’re a large company with millions of acres, you wouldn’t receive it, but if you’re an individual who operates a family farm, then you would be able to,” he explained. He would make sure that only operations making $250,000 or less per year would receive federal insurance.
The current system involves “corporate welfare,” Moylan alleged. Trade promotion programs fund big organizations to market their goods outside the U.S. “We’re spending large sums of money to subsidize export production for very large, capable companies that should be able to market their own products.”
He also cited a study from the Government Accountability Office, which found that a $40,000 cap on premium subsidies to farmers would save taxpayers $1 billion in 2011 alone.
Moylan focused on these reforms to farm subsidies. “Republicans already agree we need to make the food stamp side of the bill less expensive and more targeted,” he explained. “The agriculture side – that’s where Republicans need more convincing.”
He also expressed the evils of wasteful government. “I think we have an obligation to be good stewards of people’s hard earned dollars and cents.” Government must use taxpayer dollars to help the poor – “make sure that the safety net is targeted at protecting the least among us instead of promoting the largest agri-business.”