Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Rep Doug LaMalfa Sticks It To Taxpayers
From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: Here’s an article that should piss anyone off: “A Rice Gets a Price Premium: Farm-Bill Subsidy Sets High Floor for a Type Grown by Lawmaker Who Pushed It.” As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a 4th-generation Japonica rice grower, has put a federal subsidy for himself into the farm bill. If you’re not familiar with Japonica, it’s not a rice we eat much in this country. Most of it is exported, at a low price, disrupting markets in Asia. Our cheap rice comes into their cities, undercuts their subsistence farmers. The rural kids, with no prospects for the future, leave home for the cities and the land goes bare. Next step: Big Ag moves in with big tractors, big combines, big gas hogs and hey presto we’ve exported the same bad system we have here. And, back at home, never mind that Japonica (also known as sticky rice) yields more per acre and sells for more on the market, LaMalfa wants a guarantee that if the price goes below a certain level he’ll get a taxpayer-financed bonus. The name has changed—not a direct payment—but the game has stayed the same. Taxpayer payments will keep these guys in business. This creep’s farm has received “almost $4.7 million in farm subsidies since 1995,” says the Journal, including nearly $1.2 million in direct payments.” Guess they can’t get by without the handouts. At the same time, they’re cutting food assistance to poor people and ensuring that schools feed inferior, fatty meats and canned veggies to school kids. That’s in the House version of the bill. The Senate version simply promises guarantees for rice, cotton and peanuts.