By now you've read about the pork that has been stuffed into the House's emergency Iraq supplemental legislation to try to buy more votes. It includes:
- $4.3 billion for agricultural-disaster assistance;
- $2.9 billion in additional Gulf Coast recovery costs;
- $400 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program;
- $1 billion for pandemic flu preparation; and,
- $735 million for a children's health-insurance program.
Included in the agriculture spending is $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million for spinach growers and $100 million for citrus growers.
This morning however, it's reported that the legislation also includes a $283 million extension of dairy subsidies, to make it easier for them to be extended in the anticipated next farm bill. (For more detail, visit the website of Citizens Against Government Waste).
The Milk Income Loss Contract shouldn't even exist - let alone get extended. It subsidizes dairy farmers to produce more milk than is demanded, leading to oversupply. The federal government then buys the excess milk, ensuring that the price that consumers pay for milk stays at a needlessly high level.
Even more ludicrous is that this provision - and all other expenditures in the Iraq supplemental - are designated as national security emergency expenditures under HConRes 376, which states:
SEC. 502. EMERGENCY CRITERIA.As used in this title:
(1) The term `emergency' means a situation that--(A) requires new budget authority and outlays (or new budget authority and the outlays flowing therefrom) for the prevention or mitigation of, or response to, loss of life or property, or a threat to national security; and
(B) is unanticipated.
(2) The term `unanticipated' means that the underlying situation is--(A) Sudden, which means quickly coming into being or not building up over time;
(B) Urgent, which means a pressing and compelling need requiring immediate action;
(C) Unforeseen, which means not predicted or anticipated as an emerging need; and
(D) Temporary, which means not of a permanent duration.
Does the price of milk as determined by supply and demand represent a sudden, urgent, and unanticipated national security threat?