by Christopher C. Douglas
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
April 29, 2014
Sen. Debbie Stabenow praised the Farm Bill recently signed into law for supposedly reducing the federal deficit by $23 billion while continuing to aid agriculture, which she claimed is Michigan’s second largest industry. Yet, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that agriculture comprises approximately 1 percent of both the U.S. and Michigan economies. The $1 trillion Farm Bill spends approximately $750 billion on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and approximately $90 billion on crop insurance subsidies over the next 10 years. Yet, because the new Farm Bill is projected to spend less than a continuation of the old Farm Bill, this is called “deficit reduction.” While it may once have helped protect the small farmers’ livelihoods, the current crop insurance subsidy program is primarily a handout to large insurance companies and agri-businesses. Politics always creates winners and losers, and the largest Farm Bill losers are taxpayers and consumers.