Monday, May 19, 2008

Congress Cuts It's Own Bribe

If you haven't heard about the farm bill winding its way through to the President's desk then good, you'll be able to sleep. Otherwise if you've caught any of the extensive coverage by the drive-by media (HA!) then you've noticed doozies like this:
This continues the long-running restrictions on sugar imports, which make our sugar more expensive. In 2007, raw sugar cost $11.60 per pound in the rest of the world, but $20.99 per pound here. Of course this makes our food more expensive.
The farm bill also ramps up the special loans taxpayers give sugar growers. Sugar growers currently receive an 18-cent loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each pound of raw cane sugar (and a higher rate for beet sugar) they grow. The collateral is the sugar, meaning that if a sugar company can’t sell its stuff for more than 18 cents, the government buys it. That rate would go up to 18.75 cents under the farm bill.
Finally (actually, there are other sugar subsidies in the farm bill, but too many to list), there is the seemingly Cunningham-inspired sugar-to-ethanol program: The USDA buys “excess sugar” and sells it to ethanol makers — and only ethanol makers. The first problem here is that “excess sugar” means any sugar that sugar growers want to keep off the market to further drive up prices. Second, when the USDA can sell the sugar only to ethanol makers, there’s no way the USDA will get a good price.
Buy high, sell low. That’s what Uncle Sam is doing to benefit sugar growers and ethanol makers, who in turn contribute to congressional re-elections.
Some people give Bush a pass on this one since it is almost certain to be vetoed, but the only reason so many Republicans voted for it to begin with is that Bush explicitly said that he wasn't going to be kicking them in the groin on national TV while he vetoed it. It’s yet another complete failure of leadership on his part. The Democrats get even less of a pass since the “party of the people” voted lock, stock, and barrel for more ‘millionaire welfare’.

If that weren't enough, Congress is continuing in their attempts to elect a new electorate by attaching a heaping serving of illegal immigration to a bill that funds the military. I don't know which is worse, that they know what they're doing, or that they don't:
But, instead of helping [the low wage American], his government helps the employer avoid having to offer higher wages to him. By giving the employer the right to import a cheaper human from abroad, the government helps ensure that the prevailing wage will never rise. Together, the employer and the government collaborate in cutting the struggling guy off at the knees.
There's a definite disconnect in the system when people who put this crap forward have no issues getting re-elected.

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