By Maggie Thurber | Special to Ohio Watchdog
Numerous news reports claim the current bill will save us about $23 billion over the next 10 years.
“This is a bill that does find some savings in the farm programs, but it also provide for a safety net, and that’s what I support, and that safety net is in the nature of crop insurance,” Portman said.
In a news release, Brown said, “This bipartisan bill is a comprehensive agriculture reform bill that saves taxpayers billions of dollars.”
However, simple math shows that cannot be true.
The last farm bill that was passed in 2008 had an estimated 10-year cost from the Congressional Budget Office of $604 billion.
CBO estimates the current farm bill’s 10-year cost at $969 billion.
In case you’re mathematically challenged, that’s an increase of $365 billion — or roughly 60 percent more than what was budgeted the last time a farm bill was passed.
The claim that there are billions of dollars in savings comes from comparing the bill with what would be spent if the current CBO baseline budget was extended the same 10 years.
The problem is the current CBO baseline budget includes a lot of stimulus funds that were supposed to be one-time spending — not a continuous outlay of taxpayer dollars. Since those stimulus funds are supposed to expire, comparing a 10-year farm bill to 10 more years of stimulus funding isn’t accurate — or fair.
So if you take out the stimulus spending, you’re back to the 2008 farm bill budget of $604 billion and you end up with a 60 percent increase in spending totaling $969 billion — not several billion in cuts.
The farm bill isn’t going to save us any money at all.