The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) believes that ARC will only cost about $3.2 billion per year. But this is based on crop prices remaining at their current, near-record heights. But as we know from other industries (and just plain commonsense), record profits are just that, records. Under most circumstances, such profits are not sustainable. If crop prices drop from these heights, taxpayers will be on the hook for the difference.
But the K Street food fighters aren’t just lobbing grub at taxpayers; they’re also turning on each other.
It’s Southeast versus the Midwest as the peanut, cotton and rice industries coalesced to oppose ARC. Why? Because Southern crop industries don’t suffer from the same hardships as Midwestern crops. The southern crops wanted a counter-cyclical payment system, which would require set target prices for their crops and a direct payment whenever prices fall below that target. But corn and wheat (Midwestern crops) favor ARC since their crops are more susceptible to outside variables.
It’s not all about regional loyalty, though. In the Southeast, cotton will receive its own, $3.1 billion income protection program, upsetting peanut and rice.
This is what happens when an entire industry is shielded from having to properly plan and insure for market forces that any other business may have to face; we get dependent sub-industries that want special handouts protections so that they never have to experience any sort of hardship.
It’s corporate government dependence at its worst, and something the House of Representatives needs to fix as they debate their version of the farm bill. Americans are paying for their groceries twice: once to subsidize the ingredients, and when purchasing the products. It’s time to put an end to that practice.