Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pending Legislation: A Glass .0001 full
Here at Article 19, we believe in the spirit of bipartisanship, reaching across the aisle to work with, and commend, the nutcases on the other side when it's called for. Every once and a while, the issue will come up in discussion that there must be *something* the Bush administration proposes we can get behind. I'm getting tired of saying the spiel about his unexpected commitment for money to combat the spread of AIDS in Africa (especially since he didn't really come through on that...), so here it is: some good news of agreement for Republicans and Democrats.

At first glance, Bush's proposal to cut farm subsidies 5% across the board sounds revolting. Who needs help more than farmers?? But it would seem that most of those subsidies have been going to corporate farms entities, not so much to family farms. It is a trade-off that's for sure not all good, and it will result in increased produce prices, but may cut back some of the extreme advantage corporate farm businesses have, and will give farmers in countries around the world a chance to compete in their own back yards. And by cutting the cap from 360,000 to 250,000, those on the wealthier end of the scale will be effected more dramatically.

More important is the Rural America Preservation Act, co-sponsored by Republican Senator Grassley and Democrat Dorgan. This would accomplish the more important element of closing loopholes that now allow savvy farm businesses to claim they are many, many entities, each deserving of a subsidy. This practice encourages and rewards sprawling farm growth which is bad for the family farmer and for the environment.

A wide coalition of feel-good unity supports this legislation, including President Bush, Bread for the World and OxFam, as well as the conservative Citizens against Government Waste.

The question, of course, is to which piece-of-crap legislation will this get attached? Perhaps just the overall agriculture appropriations bill.

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