Friday, November 02, 2007

AGI Limits and Payment Limitation

Some discussion about reducing the adjusted gross income (3-year moving average) limit on individual earnings in order to be eligible for farm program payments, with references to other discussion here and here.

I'm not going to spend much of my remaining time on earth worrying about the details of this argument. I'd just make general statements:
  • (apparently) tight laws can be loosened by the right regulations and back-door pressure from members of Congress whose constituents are personally and greatly concerned. So where the advocates of lower payment limits will be tempted to fold up shop once the farm bill is enacted, either declaring victory or licking their wounds in defeat, the opponents will be on the job every work day until the next farm bill
  • my first statement applies both to AGI and payment limitation--in theory I don't know there's much difference between them. (In practice, at this stage of the bill, it's different.)
  • the law of unintended consequences applies, always
I'm still convinced that a graduated payment limit would be more effective. It could restrict the payments of more people, but give less incentive to work to undermine or overturn the provision. Even so, my three points above would still apply to that provision.

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