President Obama is trying to use farm policy to win over the Heartland: he knocked Paul Ryan for voting against the pork-laden farm bill, and now he’s planning to have the government buy meat — call it the Troubled Livestock Relief Program — in order to alleviate the huge run-up in feed prices caused by the drought. Our editorial page explained the folly of this meat-buying pan yesterday.
There’s a simpler solution at Obama’s finger-tips: suspend the corporate-welfare federal ethanol mandate. Livestock producers are pushing for this, and Marketplace correspondent Chris Farrell thinks it will happen.
I don’t think it will happen. I don’t think Obama believes he has the leeway with the ethanol industry to do this. Congress could also do it, and I could imagine the House passing a bill to that effect. This would set up an interesting election-year fight, especially if Romney and Ryan took a stance.