Friday, March 03, 2017

A New Farm Bill on the Horizon

Chris Clayton has a report on Rep. Conaway, chair of House Ag, and his outlook for a new farm bill.

My initial reaction is it's likely that Trump's budget outline will call for deep cuts in farm programs.  If not, people who want to defend other existing programs against Trump's cuts will start asking: "what about agriculture"?

But then I remember the Reagan administration. That's many years ago and my memory has faded.  IIRC the White House didn't really like farm programs and cut back where and when they could.  But their supporters, particularly conservative House Democrats whom they needed because the Republicans were still in a minority in the House, were able to make deals and fight drastic rollbacks. And the farm situation was rapidly going downhill, as farmers had overextended themselves during the boom years of the 70's and were now facing bankruptcy.  That led to one of the worst years ASCS ever had--1983 and the Payment-in-Kind Program: a jury-rigged program to use CCC-inventories to finance the biggest land diversion program we'd had, perhaps in our history.

And of course there's the freeze on federal employment, something Reagan also had.

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