Political Triangulation Leads To Bad Policy

farmbill

In an editorial at the Grand Forks Herald today, opinion editor Tom Dennis writes about the importance of the upcoming farm bill. But not, as it happens, because of farm-specific issue but rather because there are other issues attached to that legislation as well.

There will be flood control projects tucked into the bill, as well as funding for conservation programs. North Dakotans should “make sure the multi-faceted farm bill is a big part of the political discussion in the region” writes Dennis

Multi-faceted being the operative word.

Politicians lumping so many largely disparate issues into the enormous bills leads to a lot of bad policy, and it’s not just the farm bill where we see this happen. Other large bills, such as transportation bills and large spending bills, get ornamented like Christmas trees with every politician’s pet bills. Because these gigantic pieces of legislation cover so many issues, they become nearly impossible to oppose.

Farmers interested in the agriculture aspects of the farm bill find themselves pitted against conservationists who, in turn, find themselves pitted against urban citizens interested in flood control. The last farm bill contained an expansion (and renaming) of the food stamps program. But, really, what do food stamps have to do with agriculture? Other than the program representing a food entitlement?

Setting aside the debate over the various issues that will be in the next farm bill, we should all agree that policies proposals should be covered on their own merits, not wrapped up into these larger bills. If there is a case to be made for conservation efforts, then let that case be made on its own rather than see policy passed simply because it’s attached to a larger, more popular piece of legislation.

Some, of course, will argue that this splitting up the issues would make it impossible for Congress to tackle all of the business before it. To which I’d say that maybe such a reality is an indication that Congress simply does too much, and should do far less.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    The farm bill is just another tool to “spread the wealth around.”

    • toomuchguvmint

      Interesting how the crony capitalists are so determined to reward the wealthiest with the largest benefits.   How about a level playing field with all farmers receiving equal benefits of $0.

      • Econwarrior

        How about a free market, with open competition and no subsidies?
         

        • $8194357

          (free market)

          Would that “include” no Federal Reserve Steering commitee interfearance, Robert?

          Just curious…

      • $8194357

        Federal Reserve System been doing it since 1913…
        Proven track record of success….

  • borborygmi

    Setting aside the debate over the various issues that will be in the next farm bill, we should all agree that policies proposals should be covered on their own merits, not wrapped up into these larger bills. If there is a case to be made for conservation efforts, then let that case be made on its own rather than see policy passed simply because it’s attached to a larger, more popular piece of legislation………….   I agree.  
               That would make a huge difference in  what is passed .
        Bundling allows the Congressional leaders to hide the tough decisionsand the pork.    Quantities, $amounts,  rules for qualifying for a program could be debated and compromised on.  Bills would be shorter and readable and unlike the line item veto which skews power to the executive branch, more in keeping with the Constitution.
       What happened last time something was bundled,  bad loans bundled with other loans allowing rating companies to upgrade bad loans and then a financial meltdown

  • $8194357

    Speaking of Tri-angulation…
    the un-holy three…

    Corrupt politicians
    lawyers and
    bankers..

    The soviet statist version of….

    Father, Son, and Holy Ghost…

    devils triangle of tyrany loosed on western free market capitalist culture IMHO…

    Anyone but me notice how The federal promisary note is getting more and more like coal miners company script?
    Can’t spend it anywhere but the company store and the “owners” control of it keeps us all broke and “indebted” to their system…

    Scrip

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Scrip is an American term for any substitute for currency which is “not legal tender” and is often a form of credit. (Federal Reserve “Promisary note” 7.62)

    (gold, silver or Treasury Notes are Constituional, IMO 7.62)

    Scrips were created as company payment of employees and also as a means of payment in times where regular money is unavailable, such as remote coal towns, military bases, ships on long voyages, or occupied countries in war time.

    (occupied countries invaded by international progressive bankers in 1913 perhaps? 7.62)

    Other forms of scrip include subway tokens, arcade tokens and tickets, and “points” on some websites.

    IMO the crony capitalist eleite of old incorperated the Federal Governemnt out from under the Constituion and have since treated us as taxpayer slave labor to “their international progressive agendas”…
    worked for the ruling eliet coal miners of old and has on a national scale and scope since the debt ponzi was illgeally unconstituionally put upon us by Woodrow on Christmas break 1913..
    .
    Why is no one in

    DC “EVER” HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALL THEIR TREASONOUS AGENDAS?

  • Jay

    Clinton triangulated after 1994, and we got welfare reform and the Roth IRA (the former admittedly as a gimmick to secure his reelection but as a worthwhile gimmick nonetheless). Triangulation works well when the GOP gets notionally left-wing Dems to support libertarian-themed legislation (the idiocy of the federal PBA ban and DOMA not fitting into this category), so it’s not always. Of course George the Incompetent, Failed, Left-Wing Sonofabitch Bush spent eight years giving the Dems every goddamn thing they wanted domestically (tax cuts and his failed idiocy in Iraq being the lone exceptions), so that would be a glaring example of the idea Rob has of triangulation’s leading to bad policy

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