Federal crop subsidies, acreage idling, export subsidies and import quotas should be scrapped in favor of a simple revenue safety net for farmers, a think tank with ties to moderate Democrats said Monday.
In calling for an overhaul of Depression-era farm programs, the Progressive Foundation labeled current policy “anachronistic, inefficient, intrusive and unfair.” The group said the programs benefit wealthy farmers, reward low productivity and hinder overseas sales.
The group’s 34-page booklet provides an alternative to the outright abolition of programs sought by some conservatives and the administration’s recommendation to preserve basic farm programs and make $1.5 billion in unspecified cuts over five years. Congress is deliberating cuts of $5 billion to $15 billion over that period.
Crop subsidies should be replaced with revenue insurance, only the most environmentally sensitive land should be idled and credit rather than subsidies should be used to promote export sales, the foundation said.
The foundation is affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council, the moderate Democratic group headed by President Clinton before he took office.