Sweet new farm-bill plan from Democrats: Let’s pressure the GOP by using an archaic law to double milk prices!

posted at 4:01 pm on September 13, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

We’re still waiting on the House’s version of food-stamps legislation after they split the traditional coupling of food stamps and agriculture policy into one gigantic “farm bill” earlier this summer (I’ll refer you to my Congressional-drama preview post from last week for a more complete summary of the situation), and their current plan to cut an utterly draconian $40 billion/10 years from the now almost $80 billion/year food-stamps program (read: 5 percent cut) is already drawing the highly predictable and demagogic ire from progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers.

Republicans biggest obstacle to reform, as ever, is that once their food-stamp and agriculture-policy bills go into the conference with the Senate, Senate Democrats will immediately want to pare back GOP’s suggested SNAP cuts closer to their proffered $400 million/year (a.k.a., half of one percent) — as the GOP is well aware:

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says more “outside the box” thinking will be needed to save a farm bill this fall and he is prepared to support “bigger ideas” to get the task done.

“I may have to do a lot of things outside the box to get this final thing together, I will acknowledge that to you,” Lucas told POLITICO of upcoming talks with the Senate. “This is going to be a hard, complicated conference.”

“I’m not opposed to bigger ideas. I just want to get it done,” he said. “And right now you know how difficult it will be to make something happen from the status quo in the two bills.”

“The challenges that will confront the House and Senate, when we both get there, are so great. The positions are locked in so tight on so many issues. That to achieve a consensus that we can pass on both floors, that we get the president to sign, we may have to think outside the box.”

Hmm. As it happens, Democrats also have some “outside the box” strategizing  in mind — including getting the Agriculture Department to revive a 1949 law that requires them to manipulate the dairy market so that milk is priced at a floor of roughly $39 per 100 pounds, effectively doubling today’s prices:

The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee has launched a new strategy for passing a farm bill this year: threaten to send milk prices skyrocketing.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said he called Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack this week suggesting that the agency begin the process of implementing the 1949-era dairy policies that would take effect Oct. 1 if Congress fails to act on a farm bill before then.

“Clearly this is not going to get done by the 1st of October, so my suggestion to the secretary is that they should start now putting the framework together to implement the permanent law on dairy Jan. 1,” Peterson said Wednesday in the Capitol. “And it sounds to me like they’re going to take a very serious look at that.”

The point here isn’t really to raise milk prices, but to spur the relevant lobbies into overtime doing what they do best — applying all kinds of completely self-interested pressure to lawmakers of all stripes in order to keep all that special treatment coming, no matter the effects on the overall economy or the federal deficit.

“[International Dairy Foods Association] IDFA is really going to hate this,” Peterson said. “And once Vilsack’s calling them and setting up the mechanism to get $39 milk, IDFA’s going to call Boehner. So, it might actually work.”

“The first thing that happens of any consequence is Jan. 1 on dairy. So if he [Vilsack] starts the process [Oct. 1], then we can be ready to have $39 milk Jan. 1,” he said. “And then I think, within two or three weeks, we’ll probably have a farm bill.

Unfortunately, the interested lobbies have proven themselves to be stupendously well-organized and well-monied when their corporate welfare is on the line, and the U.S. dairy market is a hot mess of market-distorting regulations and subsidies. That “dairy cliff” I mentioned at the end of last year on the tail of the fiscal cliff? Same drill.


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Dems hate children. Plain and simple.

CurtZHP on September 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

The dems are a cancer on the body politic.

I recommend amputation.

Simply put, their sole existence is to punish the GOP instead of helping Americans. Why can’t half the country see this?

rightside on September 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

So the Liberals want to starve poor people and make it hard to get a necessity.

watertown on September 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM

The “Mel Brooks” strategery.

MTF on September 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM

No wonder Moochelle Antoinette is pushing water.

CurtZHP on September 13, 2013 at 4:12 PM

The dems and GOP are a cancer on the body politic.
I recommend amputation.

Simply put, their sole existence is to punish the GOP the American public instead of helping Americans. Why can’t half the country see this?

rightside on September 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

FIFY

besser tot als rot on September 13, 2013 at 4:13 PM

So Dems want to give people osteoporosis and brittle bones. Great idea. Dems hate children & old people & the rest of us too!

JAM on September 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

This is economic terrorism against children and the working classes.

JimLennon on September 13, 2013 at 4:15 PM

JAM on September 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Roll in Obamacare will take care of the subjects much faster.

watertown on September 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Dems always Milk it for all it’s worth.

portlandon on September 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Dems hate children. Plain and simple.

CurtZHP on September 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

You sir, have the correct GOP message should the democrats be so foolish as to actually follw through and send the price of milk skyrocketing.
Just make sure that the public takeaway is is that DEMOCRATS are manipulating prices to double the price of milk ON PURPOSE.

Picture Harry Reid taking a bottle from a baby.

Yeah, I like that image.

Curmudgeon on September 13, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Let.It.Burn.

Ward Cleaver on September 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

We don’t need milk anymore. Michele Obama discovered water. Its everywhere and it is FREE!

ctmom on September 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Dems hate children. Plain and simple.

CurtZHP on September 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Dems hate everybody. They want everybody to be just as miserable and unhappy as they are. AND they ARE miserable. Miserable bastiges.

Oldnuke on September 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM

That is $3.54 a gallon. It will double the price of milk in some places, but not where MOST people live.

In phoenix I used to get it for about $1.59 a gallon on sale, EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Where I live now, it is rarely ever on sale, and when it is, it is still priced higher than $3.54 a gallon.

astonerii on September 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM

It is so awesome that we get to make decisions about the wheat crop we will plant in October and harvest next June without the rules in place before the seed goes in the ground. Thanks, guys!

cptacek on September 13, 2013 at 4:33 PM

I’ll defer to Mary Katharine on this one. But I do hope that these members of Congress have proctologist coverage as I am sure she will rip them a new one.

meci on September 13, 2013 at 4:34 PM

I would call their bluff right here. Dare their butts to go through with it.

Big Orange on September 13, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Come on you damn Rethuglicans, Bruce Springsteen needs his money!

slickwillie2001 on September 13, 2013 at 4:47 PM

We don’t need milk anymore. Michele Obama discovered water. Its everywhere and it is FREE!

ctmom on September 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Ya but she doesn’t realize that our entire water system is contaminated with that deadly chemical dihydrogen monoxide, which kills millions of people every year and causes billions of dollars in damage….

dentarthurdent on September 13, 2013 at 4:50 PM

I’m failing to see what the downside is here. Can’t we just campaign the crap out of “Democrats war on milk & kids”? Can’t we introduce a repeal of that old law: Republicans crusade to save milk & kids?

What am I missing?

jdpaz on September 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Nothing says ” Champion of the middle class” like $6/gal milk.

Keep voting democrat!

Murphy9 on September 13, 2013 at 4:55 PM

What am I missing?

jdpaz on September 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

You’re not missing anything. It’s the GOP that missing something. A couple things, actually.

CurtZHP on September 13, 2013 at 4:56 PM

It’s like Clevon Little pulling a gun on himself.

jdpaz on September 13, 2013 at 4:57 PM

I USED TO line the bottom of my deep freeze with gallons of water.
Looks like I’ll replace those with milk.
Just to be on the safe side.
Sheesh.

pambi on September 13, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Stock up on shelf-stable and dried milk, y’all.

Sekhmet on September 13, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Stock up on shelf-stable and dried milk, y’all.

Sekhmet on September 13, 2013 at 5:10 PM

We’re good, there, too.
Dammit.

pambi on September 13, 2013 at 5:19 PM

If the real price of milk is $6 a gallon we are already paying that and much more through our taxes.

We’re also paying a healthy percentage to politicians, fraud and buying the votes of farmers to name but a few things being paid off for the farm bill.

RJL on September 13, 2013 at 5:41 PM

We as a nation really need to rethink Wickard v. Filburn.

unclesmrgol on September 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM

We as a nation really need to rethink Wickard v. Filburn.

unclesmrgol on September 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Freakin’ A…

JohnGalt23 on September 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM

I’m buying dairy goats. Sounds like an opportunity to me.

jffree1 on September 13, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Stock up on shelf-stable and dried milk, y’all.

Sekhmet on September 13, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Or buy a goat.

cptacek on September 13, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I’m buying dairy goats. Sounds like an opportunity to me.

jffree1 on September 13, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Stock up on shelf-stable and dried milk, y’all.

Sekhmet on September 13, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Or buy a goat.

cptacek on September 13, 2013 at 5:50 PM

D’oh! I swear I didn’t see your post :)

cptacek on September 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Sweet new farm-bill plan from Democrats: Let’s pressure the GOP by using an archaic law to double milk prices!

“Drink More Water” – Michelle Obama

workingclass artist on September 13, 2013 at 5:58 PM

D’oh! I swear I didn’t see your post :)

cptacek on September 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Great minds…

jffree1 on September 13, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Stock up on shelf-stable and dried milk, y’all.

Sekhmet on September 13, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Or buy a goat.

cptacek on September 13, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Or go full medieval mongolian…Yurt & Horse.

Horse milk did wonders for Atilla the Hun as a child.

workingclass artist on September 13, 2013 at 6:01 PM

I expect there to be an added federal subsidy for Soy Milk Manufacturers because….ummm….Drink More Water

workingclass artist on September 13, 2013 at 6:03 PM

So now the Democrats want to take the country back to the 1940s I guess. So much for the Republicans taking us back to the ’50s.

azkag on September 13, 2013 at 6:17 PM

What about the children? Oh, yeah, let them drink water.

Kissmygrits on September 13, 2013 at 6:18 PM

We don’t need milk anymore. Michele Obama discovered water. Its everywhere and it is FREE!

ctmom on September 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM

It is for me I have my own well. For those of you that don’t you have to pay something for it so it’s not free.

chemman on September 13, 2013 at 6:19 PM

We as a nation really need to rethink Wickard v. Filburn.

unclesmrgol on September 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Yep. If they wanted to take this decision to its (il)logical conclusion it is unconstitutional to provide anything through the sweat of your brow that interferes with interstate trade. No gardens, no dairy animals, no animals for food.

chemman on September 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

We don’t need milk anymore. Michele Obama discovered water. Its everywhere and it is FREE!

ctmom on September 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM

It is for me I have my own well. For those of you that don’t you have to pay something for it so it’s not free.

chemman on September 13, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Those damn progs, they are always trying to dilute our precious bodily fluids with their fluoridated government water.

slickwillie2001 on September 13, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Would this milk price be from the Agricultural Act of 1949?

Let’s see. 1949 Democratic majority in the Senate and the House, with a Democratic President (Truman).

Hey, the Democrats want to enforce a law THEY PASSED.

The Republicans should then let the Democrats have their way since that was apparently their intent. Should encourage the Democrats to stand and force this issue.

If only the Republicans were smart…

Russ808 on September 13, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Force it to go there. No one will buy it, and then the market will take effect.

We are we hostages to our government?

uberjim on September 13, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Force it to go there. No one will buy it, and then the market will take effect.

uberjim on September 13, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Just what I was going to say. They upped the taxes on smokes, people quit or like myself, went to alternatives, and they lost tax revenue. Double the price of milk (I can’t stand the stuff anyway, but I do use sour cream and cheese), and I’ll just buy a lot less dairy and make do with soy substitutes.

Democrats have got to be the most economy ignorant people in the world. I’m thinking even some ignorant savage in some remote third world country isn’t even as soundly stupid.

sage0925 on September 13, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Farmers, or as I like to call them farmsters, are some of the most envious and covetous folks in the world. Y’all wanna know how socialism–and even communism–gets a foothold in a society of free men? Farmsters. They love to enslave their fellow man, which is why farmsters and Democrats fit together so well.

TXJenny on September 14, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Bullshit.

Bmore on September 14, 2013 at 1:33 PM