CAGW Names Reps. Lucas & Peterson Porkers of the Month
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) its July 2012 Porkers of the Month for sponsoring the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM). Like its counterpart in the Senate, FARRM is a massive waste of taxpayer dollars at a time of record profits for farmers, maintains the command-and-control system that has been in place for decades, and falls far short of the $180 billion in savings for the Farm Bill that was included in the House-passed budget resolution. The bill would reduce Farm Bill spending to $957 billion over ten years, a difference of $35.1 billion and a paltry savings of 3.5 percent.
While FARRM terminates many of the wasteful programs that were eliminated in the Senate bill, such as the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, direct payments, and counter-cyclical payments, many profligate programs are left largely unreformed and new ones have been created. For example, the Price Loss Coverage Program (PLC), set to replace the egregiously wasteful system of direct payments, would reimburse farmers for revenues lost due to lower commodity prices. In today’s climate of historically high prices, PLC will almost certainly come at a very high cost to taxpayers when prices inevitably drop.
“Recent arguments urging the farm bill’s immediate passage due to droughts across the country should be ignored,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance prevents those farmers who have enrolled from losing more than 15 percent of their expected revenue, and a raft of private options, such as hedging, forwarding, and diversification, remain available. Further, the farm bill covers much more than farm supports, as evidenced by the fact that 79 percent of farm bill expenditures go to food stamps. Passing a bad farm bill will not end the drought, but will do a great deal of damage to future food and farm policy.”
Left intact is the absurd Market Access Program (MAP), which could more accurately go by the name Corporate Welfare Access Program. MAP hands taxpayer dollars in the form of advertising subsidies to successful agricultural firms like Butterball, Tyson, Monsanto, and Sunkist Growers, Inc. to help them sell their wares abroad. Also untouched is the sugar program, which has been criticized by CAGW many timesfor inflating the price of sugar and benefiting the wealthiest one percent of sugar farmers at the expense of consumers.
“The renewal of the farm bill should be viewed by members of Congress as an opportunity to address duplication, cut wasteful spending, and make reforms to allow the free market to function efficiently,” added Schatz. “Instead, taxpayers are likely to get stuck with a bill that hardly rocks the boat for a part of the federal budget that, in an already waste-addled government, stands out for its inefficiency.”
For planting a lousy farm bill at Congress’s feet and sowing the seeds of future wasteful spending, CAGW names Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson its July 2012 Porkers of the Month.
CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.