Balanced Budget: Direct Payments and Education
I previously had a post on my thoughts on the Farm Bill. Since then, I have put together some more thoughts on Federal programs, regulations and the deficit. For those who know me, I do not like to “beat around the bush” and so I plan on sharing a couple of posts in very frank and simple terms on issues that politicians have made very complicated. The House, Senate and President have wasted enough time talking and I am offering some straight forward recommendations in less than 2000 pages.
The Federal government spends more than it takes in and wastes much of what it does spend. If the Federal government does not balance the budget, reduce the deficit and onerous regulatory burden on business, our country is in serious trouble. All entitlements, programs and departments must be “put on the table” and either undergo serious reform or be eliminated, to truly reduce the debt, balance the budget and return our country to one that promotes initiative, business and private sector job growth.
1. Phase out all direct payments and subsidies for crops as well as credits for manufacturing and blending of ethanol over three years.
2. Reform crop insurance so that all crops can be insured and should losses occur, payments should allow for recovery of actual input costs from planting to harvesting, not percentages of potentially realized yields and regional market prices.
3. Farm loan program should remain intact, especially with the difficulty of securing loans from banks in the current economic environment.
4. Disaster programs should remain in place, however, payments need to be based on relevant regional data, recognizing growing days and soil productivity, requiring a reassessment of regional boundaries.
5. Predation payments that are a result of loss from predators protected by the government should be at full market value, not a percentage.
6. Programs that encourage conservation, water efficiency and erosion control should be continued.
7. Conservation easements on land that cannot be farmed due to government regulation should continue.
8. Conservation easements on land that can be farmed should be discontinued.
9. Programs to improve water efficiency should only be available to producers that are actually irrigating. Producers that have and are utilizing programs to install irrigation on land that has never been irrigated should not be eligible.
10. Programs to assist producers with erosion sensitive land should be continued. However, once the land has been stabilized and best management practices are in place, payments should stop.
11. Eligibility of producers to utilize programs need to be based on annual net income, not gross.
12. The ability of low-income families to purchase non-food items with the Food Stamp program must cease.
13. Meals provided at schools must be healthy and nutritious and include all of the food groups. Balance is essential.
14. In order to qualify for government funding, schools must require that their students take a physical exercise class each year and also have nutrition and health courses be part of the graduation requirement.
1. Eliminate the US Department of Education. Return full responsibility to the states and local school boards.
2. Take 30% of saved expenditure and distribute to states through a formula based on number of students in public schools per state, to be used directly at the school site level, not the state level.
Stay tuned for next segment: Energy and Social Security.