This Washington Post editorial blows the whistle on a $4 billion “disaster relief” payment to farmers that it says the Senate is poised to approve. Farm subsidies have nearly tripled in the past decade and farm incomes have sky-rocketed during this period, although they have fallen back some recently.
The $4 billion is a justified as a response to losses caused by droughts and wildfires. But, as the Post asks:
Isn’t that what crop insurance — government-subsidized crop insurance, to the tune of $4.2 billion this year — is supposed to be about? True, crop insurance doesn’t cover all losses, but should farming be the nation’s only risk-free enterprise? Besides, one of the theories behind the egregious 2002 farm bill was that it would, at least, provide generous enough payments year in and year out that farmers wouldn’t need emergency bailouts.