The following editorial appeared in Monday's Washington Post:
House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has made it official: There will be no vote in the House on a new five-year farm bill until after the November elections. Predictably, some are decrying this as the latest example of Washington dysfunction, what with rural America still recovering from a bad drought, farmers in need of certainty for next year and so forth. The farm lobby was desperate to get a bill through before November for fear of what might happen if a new Congress and president take up agriculture programs in a big deficit deal next year.
But for those who think, reasonably, that agriculture needs a bigger haircut than the Senate farm bill's $23 billion in savings over 10 years, the delay is not cause for concern at all. Operation of critical programs, including food stamps, won't be affected for the time being. Meanwhile, Congress can think some more before approving legislation whose 10-year price tag approaches $1 trillion and whose key innovation is to replace existing crop subsidies with a costly new crop "insurance" program that creates all sorts of perverse incentives for farmers.