The farm bill passed and Republicans and Democrats patted each other on the back and scolded the other side for the areas that they didn’t get. The bill increases from $640 billion to $960 billion over the next 10 years. The Herald editorial, “The politics of the farm bill,” pushed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps and also Rep. Susan Delbene’s agenda. First the $8 billion reduction to $756 billion in SNAP spending is a huge, enormous, debilitating cut of 1.1 percent and they decry that people “will just have to eat less” as quoted from the editorial. Delbene loves spending money on SNAP and takes pride in the fact that the program has grown from $20 billion to $80 billion per year in the last decade. I never hear what we can do to up lift our working poor and getting them out of poverty or how has program requirements changed to bring so many into the program. Currently 20 percent of U.S. households receive food stamps; we should be ashamed that our economy is at this level.
I will also criticize the Republican part with farm subsidies in which the largest 10 percent of farm businesses receive three-fourths of the subsidies. Republicans declare that the bill helps small working farms, but the truth is that the average U.S. farm household made $87,289 in 2011 which is 25 percent higher than the average U.S. household of $69,677. I grew up in a farming area and I realize that for a small family farm that this is not easy but subsidizing crops raises our grocery bills and makes it harder for working class people to afford food. Federal controls on the dairy and sugar industries raise prices and are costly to consumers. If subsidies were eliminated, it would cause short term modifications but over time the system would re-adjust and farmers would adjust their planting and land use, cuts costs and diversify their incomes. If we want to see food prices go down, we should eliminate the requirement for ethanol in our fuel. We could reduce food prices and also get better gas mileage since we get less efficiency from ethanol. We burn up 4 percent of the world’s large grain supply. We burn 40 percent of the U.S. corn production, which raises prices on beef, chicken, etc … and that impacts all of us in the wallet.