Friday, May 16, 2008

Farm Bill - The Wrong Bill at the Wrong Time

“With this legislation we will help families facing high food prices,” said Nancy Pelosi about the Farm Bill just passed by the House and Senate, and facing a presidential veto.

Democrats continue their policy of causing problems and then “fixing” them.

Why are food prices high? How about government subsidies and mandates for increased ethanol production? Food costs are also high because of increased fuel costs, and among many good reasons for higher fuel costs are several bad ones, again thanks to government stupidity.

Liberals don’t want the United States to develop proven sources of oil, gas, and energy by drilling in Alaska and off-shore, increasing refining capacity (half of what it was in 1982), increasing nuclear production, and developing our huge reserves of coal and tar sand. Instead they want to develop “renewable” energy sources, such as biofuels and wind and solar power, which are very limited in potential and compete for scarce government and agricultural resources.

Renewable energy: even with the high cost of oil, still requires taxpayer subsidies; competes for land, water, and open space with food-production agriculture, parks, and other recreation needs; and requires 100% conventional stand-by generation up and spinning for times when the Sun doesn’t shine, the wind doesn’t blow, the rains don’t come, the rains do come with devastating storms and floods, and other natural disasters.

Cold, hard facts: fuel from plants needed to replace kerosene as jet fuel at today’s low needs (compared to future demand) would required farming an area twice the size of Germany, and it would take almost a century of greenhouse gas savings to repay the greenhouse gases released by placing the land into production. Of course, all surface transportation would have to be powered by electricity.

Backers of the Farm Bill are quick to point out that it is not just about paying obscene sums to incredibly wealthy farmers for just a few commodity crops, it’s about providing food aid to the most overfed humans in the history of humanity on this planet. Between the crops subsidized, and the food stamps provided, it should be called the Obesity Support Bill, or from the medical side of the issue, Diabetes-R-Us.

Actually, this bill should be called the Buffett Line Bill, because it was loaded up with a lot of something for everyone. Big City legislators get food stamps (and the defrauders of the food stamp program get ten billion dollars more to play with), rural ones get subsidies for crops with recent increases from 45 to 126 percent, environmentalists get some land conservation funds, and on and on – in other words, everyone’s pot was sweetened.

Except the taxpayers. Don’t Democrats always find that there are better uses for government funds when Republicans want to strengthen national defense? Don’t they always suggest it would be better to spend on education, or health care, or any of hundreds of government give-away programs near and dear to Liberal hearts?

So where are the Democrats up in arms about government wastefully subsidizing the obscenely wealthy? It looks like Democrats are still on their extended holiday from their ideals.

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