The Outrageous House Farm Bill

Take a minute if you will to savor the gory details of the farm bill the U.S. House of Representatives is passing this year. It sharply cuts the SNAP program that gives money to poor people so they can buy food but preserves ample funds to subsidize American farmers.

There’s not a ton to be said about this, but suffice it to say that farmers have higher incomes than the average American while SNAP recipients have lower incomes than the average American. So basically instead of having the federal government redistribute income to the poor, the House farm bill will redistribute tax dollars to the wealthy. It’s outrageous.

And, broadly speaking, it points to why it’s hard to take Republican complaints about government spending seriously. If the point of reducing spending on programs the GOP doesn’t like is financing regressive tax cuts and regressive spending programs, then what does GOP economic policy have to offer anyone? There are plenty of problems with contemporary American liberalism, including an undue lack of attention to cost-effectiveness considerations, but a conservative movement with these priorities utterly fails to exploit those weaknesses.