Speaker Boehner: What’s “Free Market” About the Farm Bill?

Diane Katz /

The latest House action on the $1 trillion farm bill comes straight from the playbook “Do as I Say, Not as I Do.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) says: “I am a proud advocate for free markets and fair trade.”

Representative Frank Lucas (R–OK), chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, says: “I won passage of a conservative approach to federal agriculture programs…. It provides a free market-based safety net.”

Representative Collin Peterson (D–MN), ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture, says: “I know we can balance the budget and reduce the deficit in a responsible way.”

But as endorsed by House leaders, among others, the subsidy-laden and welfare-loaded food stamp/farm bill actually is the antithesis of “free markets and fair trade,” “conservative,” and “responsible.”

To wit, the legislation would:

This costly interference in the agriculture sector is all the more unwarranted given that farmers are pulling in record levels of income and carrying record-low levels of debt. Thus, the time is particularly ripe for meaningful reform that would resurrect farming as a free enterprise.