Skip to comments.Crop Failure (Obama lies when he says Paul Ryan is blocking drought relief)
Posted on 08/17/2012 6:42:16 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Americas breadbasket is enduring a drought, one that stretches from Indiana clear to California and ranks among the worst in recent history. And conveniently located in the middle of it is the swing state of Iowa, where President Obama on Tuesday took the natural disaster as an opportunity to demagogue to farmers and get in his knocks against the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Representative Paul Ryan (Wis.).
After announcing some $170 million in pork spending in the region (as the vice president would say: literally the government is buying $100 million worth of swine from farmers in an effort to offset crop failures), Obama called out Ryan for being one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way of disaster relief, and urged a crowd to tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities.
We suspect Congressman Ryan is well aware. Because of the ongoing gridlock over that farm bill which includes drought relief Ryan voted for, and the House passed, a narrow $383 million emergency relief measure and sent it to the Senate. But instead of quickly passing and signing it, President Obama and his Democratic allies are holding the Midwest hostage in the name of passing a $1 trillion big-government goodie bag laden with useless subsidies and unprecedented welfare spending.
Part of the problem with the Senate version of the farm bill, and one source of conservative opposition to it, consists of its treatment of handouts to agribusiness. Dust Bowlrelic farm subsidies had been targets of umpteen generations of conservative reformers before Newt Gingrichs House finally seemed to slay them in 1996. But Big Agro has proven to have a slasher-film villains knack for reanimation, and billions in direct payments to farmers meant to facilitate the transition to a free market and to end in 2002 never stopped, and instead turned into a very different kind of cash crop for the countrys biggest farms. Instead of righting this, the Senate farm bill repurposes about $5 billion from the direct payments program to expand government crop insurance and fund a shallow loss program that effectively guarantees farmers revenue against falling commodity prices and could end up costing taxpayers multiples of the subsidies it replaces.
Still, it would be one thing if quibbles over the contours of zombie subsidies were the only thing separating conservatives from the White House on the farm bill. But the fact is that the fairest portion of the bills price tag, nearly $800 billion over ten years, comes from food stamps which, needless to say, enjoy only a thoroughly mediated relation to farming. But even though food-stamp rolls have spun out of control under the current administration, the Senates version of the farm bill contains just $4.5 billion in cuts to the program, and the House Agriculture Committees is not much better at $16.5 billion.
Thats simply not enough for conservative reformers in the House, including Paul Ryan, whose budget would wind food-stamp spending down to what it was before 2008 (hardly an epoch without a safety net) and disburse funds as block grants to the states.
Food stamps are currently the nations second-largest welfare program, behind Medicaid, and account for fully two-thirds of the Department of Agricultures budget. The standard liberal line that the programs rolls have expanded because of the recession doesnt scan: They have expanded in good times and bad, from one in 50 Americans in the 1970s to one in seven today, including a surge from 30 million enrollees to 46 million under this administration. A better explanation is so-called categorical eligibility standards, which state that individuals who receive other federal welfare benefits are presumptively eligible for food stamps, and which are so loosely interpreted that some states consider receiving a welfare brochure close enough for government dole. (Under the program as currently structured, a state that makes more people eligible can transfer federal dollars to its citizens at almost no cost to itself.) As if that wasnt bad enough, President Obamas stimulus further eroded the eligibility standards by suspending the work requirements for the able-bodied.
Ryan and other House reformers support a version of the farm bill that would begin to reverse these disturbing trends. If the president and Democrats in the Senate oppose it, let them fight on the merits. Instead, the president is blaming Paul Ryan for standing in the way of drought relief when it is the White Houses commitment to expanding (corporate and individual) welfare that has left Iowa high, and dry.
The Democrats did “ build that “ this mess.
I guess writing is a lost art.
The govt is not buying “swine”. Obama announced this week here in Iowa that the government is buying “pork” for the school lunch programs.
Of course the govt is always buying products for the school lunch program; and probably was already buying these pork products.
Paul Ryan should seek to separate food stamps and school lunch programs from the ‘farm program’ They are the great majority of the spending programs and farmers get blamed for it. The farm program should only consist of crop insurance [drought insurance] and perhaps a price floor to cover production costs to keep agriculture healthy and not subject to squeezes by conglomerates pressures. We all need to eat, remember?
The #1 cause of crop failure is always Republicans.
Don’t you know anything? /sarc
Obama lies every time he opens his stinking MOUTH.
Tell me what he has said lately that is NOT a lie!?!!??!
But you are correct, most of the $$ goes outside of production agriculture into welfare type of programs.
All good points bump! ;-)