The addition of a farm entitlement program is one of countless examples of the federal government encouraging dependence at the expense of liberty. Additionally, telling farmers that they can keep their revenues and have the taxpayers absorb their losses invites risky behavior on their end. Apparently too-big-to-fail has yet to go out of style.
Besides entitlements, however, the farm bill is packed with out-of-control regulations. The Eggs Products Inspection Act Amendment, introduced by Senator Feinstein, is one of the clearest examples. It looks to create national standards for the housing and care of egg-laying hens, and opens the door for bureaucrats to control the way that farmers operate their businesses. Some examples of the absurdity:
“The term ‘adequate environmental enrichments’ means adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, based on the best available science, including the most recent studies available at the time that the Secretary defines the term. The Secretary shall issue regulations defining this term not later than January 1, 2017, and the final regulations shall go into effect on December 31, 2018.
Then there are provisions dealing with the floor space for these egg laying hens:
“(A) beginning four years after the date of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 and until the date that is 15 years after the date of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 76 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 67 square inches of individual floor space per white hen; and
(B) beginning 15 years after the date of enactment of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, a minimum of 144 square inches of individual floor space per brown hen and 124 square inches of individual floor space per white hen.”
Yes, the same Senate that refuses to pass a one year budget is getting ready to pass a law that regulates the floor space of hen cages for the next 15 years.
Judging by Senator Stabenow’s statements and a 90-8 cloture vote, the Senate can be expected to choose bigger government over liberty. Then it’s time for the House to choose.