Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh for the Good Old Days

Farm bill consideration is stuck in the Senate. In the good old days (i.e., 1985) there was some leverage the executive branch could use on the Congress--threaten to implement the permanent provisions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. Technically each successive farm bill suspended the operation of those provisions (for wheat marketing quotas, most notably) so when we got to a new crop year (i.e., the 2008 crop year for wheat has now begun, in that wheat has been planted) the old provisions were in effect.

Unfortunately, through a combination of causes, that leverage has evaporated. For one, because the farm program is basically decoupled from the production of a crop (as required by the WTO) farmers don't complain as much about not knowing program provisions before they make planting decisions.

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