City-farm ag bill a deliberate ploy

Rep. Jerry Moran told Allen County Farm Bureau members Friday night that there is a “disconnect” between Washington, D.C. and rural America as evidenced by the fact that 54 percent of the farm bill pays for food stamps, school lunches and other nutrition programs rather than aid to farmers.
This “disconnect” is very deliberate.
Decades ago, when it became apparent to senators and representatives from Kansas and other farm states that the nation was becoming more and more urban, they broadened their farm assistance programs to include nutrition programs popular mostly in the nation’s cities. They wisely saw that they needed urban votes to pass the big-money farm bills.
The only thing that has changed has been that there are fewer and fewer farmers and more and more voters in urban states who qualify for food stamps.
I suspect that Rep. Moran is fully aware of this dynamic and most probably knows that taking the nutrition programs out of the Department of Agriculture budget would shrink farm bills drastically. The status quo leaves the you-scratch-my-back and I’ll-scratch-yours bargain viable.
But in case anyone has doubts, let them consider that more than 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in metropolitan centers — meaning that roughly that same percentage of taxpayers who pay for the farm bills are city folks.
Better sit down, Jerry, you’re rocking the boat.
— Emerson Lynn, jr.