Letter: The (burdensome) spirit of the Farm Bill  

I would have thought the recent enumerations in the Rappahannock News’ letters column of a Democratic Party bias on the editorial page would have engendered a low profile for a while. But in the July 4 edition, Walter Nicklin’s contributions to the discourse are again remarkably one-sided [“The Spirit of the Fourth,” July 4]. Launching from a contemplative foray into historical benefits of “compromise,” the rest of this piece is pure partisan politics.

Nowhere in his criticism of the House rejection of the Farm Bill does Mr. Nicklin mention that 80 percent of the spending in that bill was for food stamps, which have doubled under this administration. This is not about a “common good” for American farming: it is a further expansion of a welfare state that already has this country $17 trillion in debt and borrowing another trillion-plus dollars a year from our children, and, almost incidentally, continues subsidies of mega-farm corporations. I would love to see a breakdown of this bill that tries to show contributions to a free nation commensurate with its burden to the taxpayers.

A guy I once worked for pointed out the difference between “compromise” and “accommodate”: the former involves violating a principle you think important to get along; the latter tries to identify incremental advances towards mutual objectives that violate neither sides’ principles. The political hyperbole that is the Senate Farm Bill does not have much “common” in it. Make sure, if you take Mr. Nicklin’s advice to contact Rep. Robert Hurt, that you tell him you appreciate that distinction.

Robert Klaus

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