The Vote on Cow Bailouts

Monday, August 6th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

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It would be nice if all of us knew that government would protect the risks we incur in our daily lives and bail us out from any failed venture.  But most of us who live in the real world understand that we are on our own.  That’s evidently not the case for ranchers and some farmers.

Last Thursday, immediately prior to adjourning for the August recess, the House votes for a $383 million bailout for livestock, honeybees, farm-raised fish, and tree farmers (H.R. 6233).  Proponents of the bailout claim that because these programs, unlike the other provision of the 2008 farm bill, expired a year ago, the farmers affected by the expiration should be entitled to a retroactive bailout.  They are using the recent drought to argue that ranchers and planters are left high and dry without the government.

The reality is quite different.  It is precisely because these farmers knew that their insurance programs would expire early that they should have taken precautions in their operations.  They understood that their business decision would no longer hinge on public support, and should have planned accordingly.  Why should we retroactively subsidize a group of farmers who knew that they would be independent of government support from the beginning of the year?  And what is to stop Congress from doing this for every other sector of the private economy?

As always, they are playing games with the budgetary cost of the bailout.  They are actually claiming that the cost is offset with $639 million in cuts from federal conservation programs.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record during every budget battle, we must point out, once again, that the cost will be incurred immediately while the offsets will be enacted over 10 years.  More Washington math!

Here is the roll call of the vote.  Call your members and nail them on it: (note: most Democrats opposed it because it failed to spend enough money)

YEAS (223)


NAYS (197)