Pork-laden Piece of the Farm Bill Pie

eyeglasses and newspaper blue background

Last night, the Senate passed its version of the farm bill. That bill awaits a companion bill from the House, whereupon both chambers will work together to have a “conference” bill that compromises between the overspending in the House’s version and the larger overspending in the Senate’s version.

What does that overspending look like? The Wonk Blog has the details:

The Wonk Blog has the full details of each section of this monstrosity, but its agriculture subsidies (most everything except the food stamp portion) can be summarized thusly:

About 6,700 generations (200,000 years of 30-year generations) ago, the human race arrived. About 400 generations ago, agriculture began. Seven generations ago (1800), it took five American farmers to feed one non-farmer. Until four generations ago, a majority of American workers were in agriculture. Today, less than 2 percent of the workforce are farmers, and one farmworker feeds 300 people. But 6,700 generations from now, there will still be today’s web of policies — not a safety net but a hammock — woven for the comfort of sugar producers.

Exactly. Meanwhile, the 80% of the bill that ostensibly helps those in tough financial situations continues to expand, even outside of the recession’s effects.

In a perfect world, the farm bill wouldn’t exist – for constitutional, financial, and economic efficiency reasons. In a reasonable world, most of it wouldn’t exist. But today, we live in a world where politicians celebrate cutting a couple of billion dollars annually from a program expected to spend 40 times that amount per year – and the “cuts” are merely from future growth, not real cuts to the farm bill’s budget.