Practical Issues > Politics
U.S. Farm Bill 2008

The New Farm Bill

After lengthy you-scratch- my-back & I'll-scratch- yours negotiations, America's new farm bill is waiting for a presidential signature. The new bill will cost American taxpayers $570 billion over the next 10 years. There are 300 million Americans. That adds up to $1,900 per man, woman, and child. What a bargain!

According to the Tax Foundation, 130 million Americans file tax returns, while almost one-third (42.5 million) of those who do file pay absolutely no tax. If you are one of those who bear America's tax burden, your share of the farm bill totals $6,514.

Is there anything else you might want to spend $6,514 on?

Two-thirds of the spending will support nutrition programs such as the bailout given to dairy farmers for their surplus milk, cheese, and butter. Those dairy products are given to children as part of USDA's WIC program.

The new bill includes $33 million for a Farmers Market Promotion Program. Last year, Sunsweet (they grow prunes) received a $150,000 subsidy to market diced chocolate covered prunes.

Here's my favorite provision. More than $150 million has been reserved for polluters to clean up their own messes. Much of the money will be siphoned to dairy farmers in California's San Joaquin Valley. Subsidies and grants will replace antiquated diesel irrigation pumps. Monies will be paid to control road dust which adds to California smog. Last but not least, new facilities will be constructed to turn orchard clippings into sawdust rather than burning them.

Good news for moms and dads of vegetarian teens. One billion dollars will be used to fund a school fruit-and-vegetable snack program. Who dares to claim that our political leaders do not invest our money prudently?

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