Eulogizing Direct Payments
Given the federal government's current fiscal condition, the newly imposed sequestration of federal spending, mounting federal debt and several years of record high commodity prices, farmers' direct payments are doomed. They are the favorite cost-cutting target of virtually every budgeter who puts pen to paper to produce a fiscal blueprint, including the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, the Senate and House Budget Committees, the Office of Management and Budget and the Senate Democratic leadership in its sequester avoidance plan. Because of the 2012 Farm Bill's one-year extension, direct payments are like a condemned prisoner waiting out his days on death row. They may be terminated this year -- or, like a prisoner getting a reprieve from the governor -- there may be one more extension. Ultimately, however, they face a lethal fate.