Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Budgetary Incoherence on the Right

Reihan Salam at The Agenda comments on a piece elsewhere:

." But I did appreciate the opening section on how to rethink support for farmers:
Canada has experimented with a program that provides government matching funds for farmers' deposits into savings accounts that help them buffer their incomes against the ups and downs of farm prices. Such a program in the U.S. could achieve the objective of helping family farmers survive while enabling policy makers to withdraw billions of subsidies to big agriculture.
These changes, plus closing the U.S. Agriculture Department's Foreign Agricultural Service, would save about $19.5 billion. Not a bad start."
This seems incoherent to me.  The farm programs these days aren't the $19 billion people were using in the early 2000's, but more like $12 billion. And if you're matching farmers' deposits (like a 401 K setup), you can't claim to cut all that money.  And the FAS is not a high dollar service.  (Probably around $200 million.) Maybe they got confused between FSA and FAS?  As I say: incoherence on the right.  (Not that the left is always right when they're discussing agriculture.)

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