- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

At one time or another, most people have probably suspected that George Orwell's pigs are in charge of Congress. It's not a completely paranoid assumption, since for proof, one could point to the sow's ear of a farm spending bill that passed through the House last week by a plump margin. This bloated corporate welfare catastrophe will cost taxpayers at least $171 billion over the next ten years. That's an additional $1,805 per household, enough to buy each homeowner his own plot on Manor Farm. And, assuming that congressional spending estimates are accurate, that's the good news. According to Heritage Foundation agriculture analyst Brian Riedl, government cartels will fix the prices of commodities like milk and sugar at up to three times the world price, resulting in a decade-long "food tax" of $271 billion another $2,572 per household.
A displaced Farmer Jones could afford to till Rodeo Drive if President Bush signs the measure as promised. The law will enrich each full-time farmer by an average of $1 million in subsidies and inflated food prices over the next decade, according to Mr. Riedl. These soon-to-be Mercedes drivers already "earn" $64,347 annually from their agrarian estates, which have an average net worth of $564,000.
That's small potatoes to the top ten percent of big farmers and agribusinesses, who received three-quarters of farm subsidies last year. Fortune 500 companies with subsidy-fattened bottom lines included John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance ($134,318), Chevron ($80,637) and Archer Daniels Midland ($9,728). Men of the soil who reaped similar subsidies (despite their dubious ability to distinguish between dogs and donkeys) included rancher Ted Turner ($134,556), NBA star Scottie Pippen ($26,315), former Enron CEO Ken Lay ($6,019) and 15 members of Congress.
The latter probably had something to do with naming the hideous House version of the bill the "Farm Security Act." The name might be appropriate, however, since the bill will certainly secure the political futures of the individuals who vote for its passage. Unfortunately, that is probably the reason that the compromise failed to set to squawking every fiscal conservative in Congress. Indeed, most of those pigs in suits have assisted, sometimes led, and certainly voted for the wholesale destruction of the principles they are supposed to stand up for. For instance, Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Larry Combest, the Texas Republican who was the Napoleon driving the compromise, crows about his "common sense legislative record" and his "fiscally-responsible voting" on his web site. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who will undoubtedly squeal about fiscal responsibility and looming deficits until the cows come home, spoke to Congressional Quarterly with "great pride and enthusiasm about the product."
This congressional animal farm bill proves that in an election year, all principles are equal, but some are more equal than others.



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