…It’s too soon to render final judgment on the nearly 1,000-page bill representing nearly $1 trillion in spending over the next decade, but results so far are calling into question the claims by the bill’s proponents that it would rein in costly agricultural subsidies. As noted by the Washington Post editorial page, a new report from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri finds that far from tamping down farm subsidies, the new law is boosting them, by a lot.
The law replaced direct payments to farmers, which were unquestionably in need of reform, with new subsidized crop insurance programs that proponents argued would be more efficient and rationalized, saving taxpayers $23 billion over the long term. But an analysis of the Missouri report by the Environmental Working Group projects that those insurance programs will pay out more than $24 billion between 2014 and 2018, $2.4 billion more than the tab for direct payments in the five years before the law took effect. It also found that the total payout for crop insurance subsidies over the next decade will be $85 billion, a 27 percent increase over the $67 billion paid out over the previous decade for the more limited insurance programs in place then. For 2014 alone, corn growers in much of Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas are to receive payouts of $60 to $200 per acre under the crop insurance program, many multiples of the average $24 per acre they received under the direct payment program, according to a separate report from the University of Illinois [Alec MacGillis, “Farmer’s Market,” Slate, 2015.03.17].
What’s Kristi’s husband do for a living again? Oh yeah, crop insurance.
Democrats, you’re writing all of this down, right? You’re going to find a candidate who can explain all this in 2016, right?