Sunday, August 17, 2008

So Much for Original Intent--Small Farms and ACRE

Keith Good passes on a report of conflicts between USDA and Congress over interpretation of two provisions of the farm bill: how to implement the prohibition on payments for bases less than 10 acres and how to implement the ACRE program with respect to past years market prices.

This is the sort of discussion you get after most farm bills, particularly when there's been little informed discussion before they're passed. The big shots in Congress may not be talking to the big shots in USDA, because of political differences or just policy differences. The big shots of whatever position may not be talking to the faceless bureaucrats who understand what's needed to implement and, hopefully, are able to visualize the questions and problems down the road. (Yes, I was one of those faceless bureaucrats, whose wisdom was often ignored.)

The whole experience makes me doubt the validity of originalism as a theory of interpretation for the Constitution.

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