Skip to comments.Allen West: 'It's not a farm bill, it's an electronic benefits transfer bill'
Posted on 08/03/2012 6:52:12 AM PDT by T.O.K.
While Congress divided Republican leadership has managed to hold off the vote on the five-year farm bill by not bringing it to the House floor before the upcoming break, it is still discussing how best to offer relief to U.S. farmers facing some of the worst droughts in years.
Livestock producers stand to get help from a proposed $383 million stand-alone drought relief bill. The five-year farm bill was approved by the House Agriculture Committee, but has not been able to gather enough support by Congress to make it a reality.
West said the bill is not really a farm bill, but an electronic benefit transfer bill. The measure would be 80 percent food stamps, according to West, who pointed to the Food Stamp Act of 1964 as a standard to revisit.
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Allen West is correct. The ‘Farm Bill’ is a food stamps bill. Actual help for farmers comes from other legislation.
This is not an easy issue to deal with. To start with, those farmers in the affected area won’t be able to get water no matter what, so any cash going to them will just be to keep them going to the next season.
However, the market is not going to wait for them to recover, and the farmers outside of the drought area are likely going to produce too much food for national consumption, which is the norm. It is expensive as all get out for the US to buy up the surplus and warehouse it until it rots, to prevent a collapse in food prices that could put these other farmers out of business.
So, oddly enough, expanding the food stamp program will likely save the federal government some money.
However, a better approach to this would be to block grant food stamp money to the states, with the idea that they could augment it with surplus food produced in their states, thus getting the federal government at least partially out of the process.
So, for example, if a family gets $200 of food stamps, and that state has a surplus of tomatoes, that family could get tomatoes almost for free in addition to the rest of their food.
People that buy their own food prefer processed food to fresh, so they are not harmed at all by sustained fresh food prices (still on sale because of the surplus, that is), so this is a win-win.
As a final note, do not lump food stamps together with other forms of welfare, including unemployment, because they have completely different dynamics. Workfare is a great idea, and it would also not hurt to put extended unemployment payments into a workfare system.
But the issues with food are far more production oriented than consumption oriented. If you reform production, you will save vastly greater sums of money than if you try to cut back on food stamps, which may even increase the costs to government.
Either way is wrong.
Put him on the Ticket
Every farmer out there knows darn good and well that 85% of the money in the farm bill goes towards food stamps or in todays world, Link cards. The only thing farmers need is a good crop insurance program. CRP is nice but with todays markets not necessary. Sportsmen and environmentalist will probably disagree. In any case, the food stamps should be separated from the farm bill.
Why isn’t Mr West a VP candidate?
Seems like a guy who is right all the time ought to be a good candidate for President.
GMTA, kind of.
Speaking of Mr. West, did you know that the reason WE cannot have Mr. West on the ballot .... is solely because he is black?
I find that highly racist. Why do the Democrats insist that only THEY have blacks good enough to be elected ? Why do they think color should make a difference anyway? If I were ‘black’ (well, I have been on various occasions), I would be insulted.
Mr. West is an AMERICAN, and that’s the only color that really makes any difference.