Saturday, April 6, 2013
In the name of deficit reduction, the House Republicans passed another version of Paul Ryan's Ayn Rand inspired budget. We will have to wait and see how farmers react to this budget, since it is their ox getting gored by the Republican Representatives for whom they tend to vote. That's right, Ryan puts farm subsidies on the chopping block.
Ryan's web page reports that "With farm profitability – and deficits – continuing at high levels, it is time to adjust support to this industry to reflect economic realities. This budget proposes two major reforms to achieve this: First, reduce the fixed payments that go to farmers irrespective of price levels, to reflect that soaring commodity prices are reducing the need for high levels of farm-income support. Second, reform the open-ended nature of government’s support for crop insurance, so that agricultural producers assume the same kind of responsibility for managing risk that other businesses do."
Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union, said "The Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have put forward an unrealistic and ill-advised budget. Their Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal would cut $31 billion from farm programs – on top of the reductions that have already come by way of the farm bill extension and the sequester – and will turn the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into block grants for states. The depth of the cuts to SNAP appear to be similar to last year’s House budget proposal, which totaled $134 billion. In 2012, the House Agriculture Committee passed a farm bill that would have cut $16 billion and the Senate passed their own farm bill with a $4 billion cut to SNAP.
"We are certainly willing to do our fair share for deficit reduction, but these projected cuts to farm bill programs are many times larger than proportionate and will likely make it impossible to pass a five-year farm bill," Johnson said.
The money for SNAP being sent to the states in the form of block grants may work in some places. It would not work in Kansas which is facing record deficits because of Governor Brownback's ill conceived tax policies. Remember what the states did with the millions they received from the tobacco settlement? Cash strapped states will squander money from the block grants at the expense of the hungry.