Forum

Cuts in Farm Bill should not target the poor

The debate surrounding the United States Farm Bill is poised to have a devastating effect on the nation’s poor. The Farm Bill provides subsidies and interventions in markets related to food consumption and agricultural production. As of Nov. 1, families receiving food stamps started to receive a five percent reduction in benefits, equating to a reduction of about $36 per month for a family of four, according to the Washington Post. This change results from recent action taken by Congress, which passed the Farm Bill containing provisions for reducing the quantity spent on food stamps.

Food stamps have traditionally been bundled as part of the Farm Bill, which is passed roughly every five years and funds crop subsidies, crop protection, and environmental programs in addition to food stamps. The New York Times estimates that the newest Farm Bill will cost almost $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Because of these projections, it is understandable that politicians are concerned about this magnitude of spending. However, cuts should not be made at the expense of our nation’s poorest.

We live in a time of rising costs of living and uncertain employment prospects. Removing the safety net on which many Americans depend is neither a fair nor just way to trim government spending.

Of the subsidies within the Farm Bill, over 80 percent are flowing to farming families that are wealthier than the average American household, according to an editorial published by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the continued subsidizing of corn and other crop in the United States creates distortionary economic effects, and tampers with markets in dangerous ways.

Cutting spending is a definite concern facing our nation. However, we must not go about addressing it in a way that hurts the poorest people in the country.