In the face of a near-certain override by Congress, President George W. Bush nevertheless vetoed the $300 billion farm bill on Wednesday, calling it a tax increase on regular Americans at a time of high food prices.
More than 1,000 organizations immediately called on Congress to override the veto. The overwhelming support for the bill in the House and Senate signaled that the override would be swift. The 2002 Farm Bill extension expires on May 23.
Free-market tax and budget experts contacted by The Heartland Institute applauded the president’s veto. Their comments below may be quoted as needed, or you may contact the experts directly.
“This atrocious ‘farm’ bill hands billions of tax dollars to farmers at a time when many farm commodities are selling at record highs, prices at grocery stores are soaring, and net farm incomes are climbing. The Department of Agriculture projects net farm incomes this year will be 51 percent above the 10-year average, yet this bill allows subsidies to married farmers who bring in up to $1.5 million.
“The absurdity of the government’s agriculture policies can be seen in the billions more dollars the bill would throw into food stamp programs to help people afford the food that has been made less affordable by crop and dairy subsidies, corn ethanol subsidies, and trade protections.”
The Heartland Institute
“The farm bill vetoed by the president is a bad deal for American taxpayers and consumers. This reprehensible bill makes no attempt to put the United States on a path to getting rid of federal government involvement in agriculture and instead lards up an already misguided bill with almost $1 billion of earmarks and yet more programs to support farmers.”
Trade Policy Analyst
Center for Trade Policy Studies
“A new Rasmussen poll finds that a large majority of Americans want lower taxes and less government spending. Unfortunately, Congress went in the exact opposite direction with the bloated new farm bill, which expands government and robs hardworking taxpayers for the benefit of wealthy corporate farmers. Soviet-style agricultural policies have no place in twenty-first century America, but that is the sad reality of the 2008 farm bill.”
Director of Tax Policy
“President Bush vetoed the farm bill for all the right reasons: It is fraught with subsidies, giveaways and budget gimmicks such that the true cost of the bill to taxpayers is not known, but the damage to them is. Higher food prices and higher levels of government spending–without benefit to average Americans–is all this bill will bring.”
Americans for Tax Reform
“President Bush has sincerely vetoed the latest travesty of farm bill legislation because of its gargantuan pork and bring-home-the-bacon political aspects for Members of Congress. Sen. Obama’s capitulation to farm interests sheds light on the systemic hopelessness of true political reform in America. With politicians posturing as politically realistic and compassionate in turn, taxpayers and consumers can thank President Bush for at least posturing himself as a conservative fiscal disciplinarian during the lame-duck phase of his presidency.”
Local Legislation Manager
The Heartland Institute
Nothing in this Media Advisory is intended to influence the passage of legislation, and it does not necessarily represent the views of The Heartland Institute. For further information, contact Dan Miller, publisher, The Heartland Institute, Chicago, at 312/377-4000 ext. 130, or [email protected].