Debra J. Saunders

But an ugly thing happened on the way to fiscal responsibility: While the GOP House eliminated direct payments, it increased other agriculture subsidies -- the Senate bill also increased crop insurance subsidies -- and left bad policies such as sugar price supports in place.

"They claimed they had done what conservative groups wanted" with the split, lamented the organization's Bill Christian, "and then called it a victory."

Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., has become the poster child for the GOP farm bill. He supported food stamp cuts, I presume on principle. And his would be a highly respectable position except, The New York Times reports, Fincher collected nearly $3.5 million in farm subsidies from 1999 to 2012. That puts House Republicans in favor of welfare, but only for the rich.

"What's even more disgusting than this sort of corporate welfare is that House Republicans can't resist it," the Environmental Working Group's Faber concluded.

What's next? The Senate rightly won't pass the House bill; as in their greed, Republicans handed the Dems a great talking point. So either the House passes something that can contribute toward a compromise or Congress passes a one-year extension of the farm bill -- just as it did last year, when members couldn't agree on real reform.

Inside the Beltway, there's only one rule: When it doubt, keep spending.

Email Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@sfchronicle.com. To find out more about Debra J. Saunders and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Debra J. Saunders


 
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