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Lawmakers and agricultural special interests are responding to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic by proposing a dramatic and permanent increase in the size and reach of farm subsidies. These elements want to increase the power of the Secretary of Agriculture to bypass Congress and distribute subsidies via the authorities vested in the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Doing so could permanently increase farm safety net spending to aggregate levels and extend farm subsidies to new beneficiaries far from the farm gate. Vesting increased power in this and all future executives undermines bipartisan efforts to create a more cost-effective farm safety net focused on managing risk instead of maximizing government payments for the politically favored.
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