Oh my… talk about the choking vines of politics.
Washington has finally revealed 540 pages of “improvements” contained in the 2018 Farm Bill.
What’s worse is these aren’t just your normal, everyday upgrades… these are compromised upgrades.
In other words, we can bet we’re all getting fleeced.
If you’ve been following along, we’re actually quite excited about the bill. But, really, we care about just one provision – the legalization of industrial hemp and the release of the wonder drug CBD that’s derived from it.
It will unleash billions of dollars of profit potential and will improve the health of millions of Americans.
The rest of the bill is quite a mess.
Free Money for Everybody
In all, the farm bill outlines the spending of some $867 billion.
What’s crazy – but not for Washington – is that most of the bill has nothing to do with farming.
Instead, 80% of the wealth that’s being taken from one hand (yours) and put in another is in the form of food stamps. Unlike original versions of the bill, the iteration that will be voted on this week doesn’t do a whole lot of improving.
Despite the progress made in earlier drafts, there are now no work requirements or tighter restrictions on who gets a free lunch.
Nope, just some fresh words aimed at preventing fraud and ensuring folks don’t receive benefits from two states.
That’s good. But we scratch our head and wonder why such a simple idea wasn’t tackled long ago.
The final version of the bill also adds 3 million acres to the popular Conservation Reserve Program. It’s the deal, if you’re not familiar (Congress prays most folks aren’t), that pays farmers an average of $80 per acre to not farm their land.
Some 27 million acres are now fallow at the taxpayers’ expense.
In other words… more Americans are getting paid to do nothing.
But if that notion bothers you, you may want to stop reading.
That’s because the bill that’s about to become law greatly extends the payments to farmers who were hurt by the recent soybean spat with China.
If you recall, Beijing temporarily halted its soybean imports from America as Trump leaned on China’s elbow. It sent the price of the commodity plunging.
Seeing an opportunity to buy some votes, Trump quickly offered to cut some checks – $3.6 billion worth.
And now they’re smiling even more.
That’s because, sensing the original payouts didn’t buy enough votes during the midterms, the 2018 Farm Bill will cut even more checks.
It opens the door to, get this, nieces, nephews and even cousins of farmers affected by the trade tiff… even if they don’t live or work on the family farm.
But don’t worry; there are strict income limits attached to the program.
Recipients are capped at payments of just $125,000… and must show gross income of $900,000 or less.
Even with these “strict” limits, critics are quick to point out that more than 1,000 folks from the nation’s largest cities have received soybean checks.
Folks from soybean-rich towns, like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and, of course, Washington, D.C., have all cashed big checks courtesy of the program… and your automatic tax withdraws.
Ah, yes, the nation’s ag sector is deeply entangled in the vines of politics.
The problem is so bad, we fear slashing the weeds would reveal a landscape that couldn’t live on its own.
But there is hope.
We’re very excited about it and have mentioned it several times.
It may be what saves America’s farming sector.
Tucked deep within the farm bill lies a pet project of Mitch McConnell, the powerful senator from Kentucky.
With his state hurting from the demise of the tobacco industry, McConnell has pushed hard to right an old wrong.
The bill includes a provision to legalize hemp (the nonpsychoactive version of the cannabis plant).
It’s a huge win… so huge, we’re not sure how Washington managed to pull it off without more political bickering.
From here, we can only pray our politicians stay out of the industry.
We pray that this is the last time we ever see hemp included in the economically manipulative monstrosity known as the farm bill.
The law is filled with handouts, giveaways and flat-out bribes. It’s the antithesis of our old pal Liberty.
But what it does for hemp is incredible. It opens up a billion-dollar opportunity.
It’s like finding a $100 bill while on our way to divorce court.
The situation stinks… but there’s a win tucked deep within it.
After nearly a century in handcuffs, Liberty has been set free.
She’ll do great things… if we let her.