Remember that “Supercommittee” which was obstensibly set up to find ways to cut the nations debt as it approaches a Greece-like 100% of GDP? Well, it seems our trusty legislators have other ideas, via The Hill:
Lawmakers on the House and Senate Agriculture committees are trying to write a new five-year farm bill through the supercommittee process.
The legislators are using the supercommittee to avoid what would be a more public, election-year debate in 2012, when the current farm bill expires and new legislation would be scheduled for writing, according to critics of the effort.
Why, you ask, would Congressional pork barrelers (from both parties) want to use the supercommittee to pass a new farm subsidy bill? That’s easy: To reduce or eliminate the influence of anyone who thinks wasting billions of dollars to prop up inefficient, politically connected producers at a time of record deficits isn’t the best policy, fiscally or philosophically.
“They are completely trying to write a whole new farm subsidy program,” a second activist said. “They are making an end-run around people who question these programs.”
That is the last thing we want, to authorize multiyear programs through this process. I am worried,” Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said. “Their mission is to cut.”
An advantage of locking in the changes through the supercommittee is that the panel’s recommendations must get an up-or-down vote in Congress. That would give less leverage to opponents of farm subsidies.
Is it any wonder Congressional approval hovers in the neighborhood of 10%? A committee charged with deficit reduction is seeking ways to secretly pass a multi-year spending bill because they believe, correctly, it will have difficulty passing through the normal budgetary process. If Congress can’t even muster the political will to cut indefensible agricultural subsidies, what can they cut? This is exactly the kind of business as usual, backroom crap we can no longer afford. I don’t know if this can technically be called crony capitalism, but if not it’s certainly a close cousin.