Sending Out Subsidies Until the Cows Come Home
Missouri has a long history of spending on items of dubious merit. That’s why my stomach shouldn’t curdle when the legislature approves spending on something that seems udderly ridiculous. Yet still it does.
Last week, the legislature approved the Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act, which, among other things, would provide up to 70 percent reimbursement to dairy farmers who pay their federal Margin Protection Program insurance premiums. The total estimated cost to Missouri taxpayers is between $2 million and $5 million a year. That’s a lot of moolah.
Now, I have nothing against dairy products or dairy farmers, but I am wary awarding state subsidies to agriculture, even if it’s for insurance premiums. Why can’t the private sector provide insurance for dairy farmers? Why is the state supplementing this federal program? Are the premiums too high? If so, shouldn’t that be a warning sign that there is something wrong with the federal program itself? I am genuinely curious, but if we end up getting cheesy answers from proponents of this legislation, then it shouldn’t be enacted. Legislators have better things to do than cowtowing to agricultural special interests. Unfortunately, this bill already has passed the legislature, and by overwhelming margins. Currently, it’s awaiting the governor’s signature, so there is a decent chance this bill will soon become law.
I want Missouri to have a thriving dairy industry, but surely there are butter ways to spend taxpayer money. I know this might sound tired, but a whey better option would be across-the-board tax cuts for businesses. If everybody, including dairy farmers, were allowed to keep more of their money, things like dairy insurance would be more affordable and the government wouldn’t be giving special handouts to favored industries.