Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Latest effort to eliminate Farm Subsidies probably dead

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - If history and the political lineup are any guides, President Barack Obama's latest effort to cut subsidies for wealthy farmers likely will fare no better than his first try - or his predecessor's attempt.

Congress twice overrode President George W. Bush's veto of the 2008 Farm Bill. When Obama tried reforming the system last year, his proposal was dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, where farm state lawmakers largely control the agriculture committees.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said he'd oppose significant changes to the current Farm Bill. To Peterson, most criticism of subsidies is based more on ideology - whether it be small-farms-are-better or free trade - than sound policy considerations.

"We're not smart enough to decide how big a farm should be, even on the ag committee," Peterson said. "And that's really not our job. Our job is to make sure we have an affordable, abundant food supply in this country."

Others, though, said as federal deficits soar above $1 trillion a year, it's time to take another look.

"Farm subsidies are America's largest corporate welfare program," said Brian Riedl, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation.