What has the power to unite progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans? According to a compelling article in the San Francisco Chronicle, agribusiness is having its way in Congress, even getting Democrats to cut food stamps to make room for subsidies.


San Francisco Chronicle:

As Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton toured the land denouncing special interests, giveaways to the rich, home foreclosures, job losses and a middle-class squeeze, back in Washington House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats met behind closed doors on a plan to raise taxes and cut food stamp money to protect billions of dollars for agribusiness, a sector of the economy that is booming.

The negotiators agreed Tuesday to find $10 billion in extra money in a last-ditch effort to save the farm bill, once seen as an opportunity to reform commodity programs and divert scarce funds to conservation, nutrition, organic research and California fruit and vegetable growers who are locked out of the Depression-era programs. The money is needed to appease these interests while still maintaining the commodity subsidies. Yet in proposals so far, those areas get trimmed to keep the subsidies flowing.

The subsidies demanded by the farm lobby would help big corn, wheat and soybean growers in areas where income is shattering records, credit is flowing and real estate values soaring.

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