Tuesday, August 14, 2012


"I'm sorry my opponent hates you so much and wants you to starve!"

Corn Drought
President Obama, trying to find some way to terrify people into voting for him, announced that the evil Paul Ryan voted against the Farm Bill which would starve millions and destroy farms all across the nation, or so he implied. Kathie Obradovich writes in the Des Moines Register about Obama's visit to Iowa:
Obama said passage of the Farm Bill is the best way to help drought-stricken states like Iowa. “Unfortunately, right now, too many members of Congress are blocking the Farm Bill from becoming law,” he said, to boos from the crowd of over 4,000.

Ryan, he said, “is one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you see Congressman Ryan around, tell him how important this Farm Bill is to Iowa and our rural communities.”

Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee and clearly considered a leader in the GOP-controlled House. He’s not in charge of the Farm Bill, although he certainly has a voice in how much it spends. Most accounts point to conflict with the GOP as the reason the Farm Bill has not advanced.
Unfortunately for both Kathie and President Obama, Ryan did vote for, and the House did pass a farm relief bill. If you think I'm exaggerating Ms Obradovich's politics, consider the headline: Obama uses Farm Bill to identify Ryan with unpopular, gridlocked Congress. And since Ryan isn't on the committee that deals with this legislation its not really in his ballpark until the vote comes up anyway.

The House passed an emergency farm bill to keep programs going two weeks ago, but refused to sign off on the bloated monster farm bill which was packed with pork and waste. That will wait until the next session of congress to be debated and dealt with, hopefully with a new attitude in congress.

And the Republicans in congress shouldn't pass that bill. Ryan certainly ought not vote for it, given his rhetoric on waste and cutting spending. The bill is awful, its one of those "omnibus" bills that every hack congressman sticks his pet spending pork and paybacks to donors in then calls it something positive to hopefully slip it past the public.

President Obama's speech was about the drought and the misery in midwestern America, and said the Farm Bill had to be passed to help them, portraying anyone who wouldn't as a monster. But Ryan did vote on a bill to give farmers relief in the drought. So while he's sort of right that the specific Senate Bill 3240 "Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012," he's misleading the crowd at best that Ryan is blocking relief to farmers.

But should the US congress be taking tax money from everyone then handing it to parts of the country? Should it be the responsibility of the US government to help out farmers in tough times? The answer to those questions is absolutely not. The US Constitution specifically prohibits congress from spending money except on specific areas, and "help Farmer Joe through the drought" is not one of them. It might be nice to do, but its illegal and ultimately irresponsible with other peoples' money.

But you know what happens when someone is responsible in congress and follows the law? They get politicians like President Obama portraying them as monsters to the public and a gleefully agreeing legacy media.

If President Obama really cared about these farmers, he could easily order the worthless, food-destroying corn ethanol subsidies suspended at least until the crisis was over, which would at least get food for people from the corn instead of fuel nobody really wants.


Philip said...

Unfortunately the corn now used for ethanol would be limited for use as animal feed. Not that it's a bad thing, but it can't be used for other human-food purposes.

Christopher R Taylor said...

Mostly yes, but that translates into cost reductions for food overall. The reason your eggs cost so much lately, for example is a corn shortage.

JoelAT said...

Coming from the agricultural industry, corn for animal feed is a direct link to human food. We need that corn to keep our prices down so that food is affordable.