President Barack Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill, a $956 billion boondoggle that continues the policy of subsidizing industrial agribusinesses while cutting food benefits for the hungry. For the first time in 20 years, the bill cuts funding for crucial conservation programs, while continuing to underfund programs that support family farms, sustainable agriculture and local food systems.
Both of Washington’s liberal senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, voted in favor of this shift from filling the stomachs of the needy to lining the pockets of the greedy, as did local Congressman Denny Heck.
One of the most reckless parts of the bill is a massive expansion of crop insurance for corporate farmers. U.S. taxpayers will now pay 62 percent of the insurance premiums for corporate farmers, while covering 84 percent of the income loss for agribusinesses that file claims under the program. I can’t think of another industry anywhere that has 84 percent of their annual income guaranteed by taxpayers.
In addition, with a rapidly changing climate and more droughts, floods, tornadoes (etc.), shifting funds to crop insurance is a blank check and bad policy. Obama, Murray, Cantwell and Heck delivered for corporate agribusiness, and taxpayers lost.