05/15/2008 (9:23 am)
Today, we get a reminder of why the GOP is in trouble. Congress passed a whopping, 5-year, $300 billion farm bill that makes no sensible changes in US farm policy. Will somebody explain to me the sense of farm subsidies during a period of record food prices and record demand for farm products? And why are we allowing Sen. Mitch McConnell to speed up the depreciation allowance for racehorses? The bill also extends the insane tax credit for ethanol production at a slightly lower rate; without this tax credit, there would probably be no world food shortage this year.
President Bush has vowed to veto the bill, but it was passed by a 3-to-1 majority that will easily override the veto. In other words, this senselessness passed with enthusiastic help from Republicans.
The continued federal intervention in markets continues with full GOP participation, and until that stops, voters will rightly see very little difference between Democrats and Republicans.
Roughly 2/3 of the farm bill spending goes to increases in food stamps to compensate for rising food prices. Given that the main reason for the rising food prices is the subsidy for ethanol found elsewhere in the same bill, this makes no sense at all.
Republicans were sent to Congress on a promise to halt this sort of self-destructive, out-of-control spending. Until they start producing, we can expect the bulk of the Republican party to stay home at election time.