WHAT OTHERS SAY: Empty promises give us empty plates

Friday, July 19, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:04 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 19, 2013

We think we can all agree that the nation’s farm bill has little to do with farming these days — especially the family farm. Much of the mammoth bill has to do with providing funding for the nation’s food stamp program.

So separating out the nutrition part of the farm bill and making it a standalone item might make sense, if we thought members of Congress were up to the task.

But the divisions are so deep and playing politics is so entrenched that we have real concerns. Those who receive food stamps through the nutrition part of the bill would be left without the assistance they need while our representatives and senators jostle for position in Washington, D.C.

And that’s just sad.

U.S. Rep. Billy Long of Missouri’s 7th District was among those in the majority voting last week when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a farm bill that eliminated food stamp funding.

Here’s what Long had to say in a statement he issued on Friday: “The nutrition part of the farm bill never should have been part of it in the first place. The farm bill I supported yesterday (July 11) is a good step in the right direction of separating these two issues. We need to provide certainty to our farmers who feed the nation. The next step Congress will be taking is addressing nutrition as a standalone item.”

So what is he saying? We will help farmers who feed the nation, but right now we have no plan on how we are going to feed the poor?

Missouri alone has 437,000 families who use the food stamp program.

If setting up a nutrition bill separate from the farm bill really was important to legislators like Long, they would have had it in hand already. The House in late June rejected the farm bill altogether.

The Senate in June overwhelmingly passed its version of the farm bill with about $2.4 billion a year in overall cuts and a $400 million annual decrease in food stamps. Passage of that version would have made sense.

What doesn’t make sense is passing a limited farm bill with the promise of a nutrition bill to help feed the poor.

Promises don’t put food on the table.

Copyright Joplin Globe. Reprinted with permission.

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Christopher Foote July 19, 2013 | 9:43 a.m.

House Republicans demonstrate, once again, that their small government mantra is simply a proganada tool to garner votes on election day and is by no means a guiding principle in formulating legislative policy. The CBO estimates the farm bill, passed by the House, will cost $940 billion. The beneficiaries of this government largesse are mainly large corporate farms as well as mega corporations that benefit from artificially low commodity prices (ADM, Cargill, etc..) that do not need subsidies to compete (for more data see here:
I wonder why there isn't the endless chatter and agitation about the road to serfdom and the evils of socialism when it's a government handout to big agra business as opposed to a significantly smaller government incursion into the health care market, as we saw with the ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 19, 2013 | 2:21 p.m.

It's not that I disagree with you, Christopher, but health care isn't the issue that cheap food is. Cheap food is the most important thing in many people's lives. And often they're not people that complain on online fora.


(Report Comment)
Ken Geringer July 19, 2013 | 7:10 p.m.

What is online fora? Like flora, or fauna?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 19, 2013 | 8:19 p.m.

Ken: "Fora" is one acceptable plural of "forum".

Personally, I prefer "forums" but, hey, MarkF is more sophisticated than moi.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 19, 2013 | 10:23 p.m.

You say "hippopotami" and I say "hippopotamuses." We could just settle on using the literal English translation, "river horses," but I question whether any of those "horses" could hope to win the Kentucky Derby. Well, maybe on a VERY wet race track.

(Report Comment)

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