If anything positive has emerged from the debate over reauthorizing the unwieldy farm/food stamps bill, it's that the two should remain separate considerations. And even though the U.S. House reunited both after individually considering food stamps, there is renewed hope that in the future, “nutrition” and farm legislation will go their separate ways.
Among reforms, the House legislation staggers the terms of both programs — three years for food stamps and five years for agriculture programs, The Heritage Foundation reports. The intention is that the two bills should not become one again.
The so-called “farm” bill is, in fact, a misnomer. About 80 percent of its costs pertain to food stamps.
Combining the two into one massive package allows not for careful analysis but for all manner of politically motivated economic mischief, especially with regard to price supports for favored commodities and fat subsidies for Big Ag.
And despite hand-wringing from food stamp proponents, continuing that program's status quo — $300 million in fraud annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — is unacceptable.
Yet, “purely from a political perspective,” we're told, food stamps should remain tied to agriculture legislation because it “helps get the farm bill passed,” says Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. No. In the morass of food stamps and farm supports, politics as usual has cost taxpayers enough.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.