Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Farm Bill Status and MIDAS

As of now, I don't have a clear picture of what will happen on the farm bill, mainly because the House Republicans don't seem to have a clear picture of what they want. Will we have a disaster bill only, or an extension, or a process leading to a 5 year bill?  Who knows.

I want to point out the problem I suspect MIDAS planners are having.  At some point they had to decide whether to support the livestock programs contained in the 2008 bill, which carried through 2011.  I've no idea which way they went: one alternative would be to say we need software to implement everything in the law as of right now, which presumably was sometime last year; another alternative would be to plan for what was in the law for 2012;  a third would be to plan to be flexible, to support whatever cockamanie ideas innovative policy designs Congress came up with.

Now the last alternative is the most difficult and most expensive; sticking to the 2008 language at some point is likely to mean wasting some money assuming Congress changes provisions for 2013.  Either way the managers are likely to be screwed, at least in being vulnerable to criticism.

[Updated: added link to the extension now pending in the House--Hat tip Farm Policy]

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