Early indication: Agribiz still rules the Hill
There’s no denying the joy of seeing such confirmed villains as Pombo, Santorum, and Rumsfeld on ice. (It will be interesting to see which energy/military conglomerate beckons home the latter after his brave tour of duty.) But having delivered a decisive boot to the hindquarters of the GOP-controlled Congress, it’s time to turn a critical eye on the new leadership.
With regard to agriculture policy, it looks depressingly like business as usual. Archer Daniels Midland’s share price jumped Wednesday on news of the Democrats’ sweep. Why? Wall Street is betting that the victors will be even more generous than their vanquished colleagues when it comes to corporate welfare for agribiz.
A flack for an ADM-controlled industry group told Dow Jones that:
[S]uch key congressional members as Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Colin Peterson (D-Minn.) [are] strong proponents of ethanol and renewable fuel production. Pelosi will take over as Speaker of the House, while Peterson will take over as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Groan. With debate on the 2007 Farm Bill set to heat up soon, looks like ADM has its ducks in a row. In my next Victual Reality column, I’ll look at visions for ag policy that don’t involve flushing money away to boost corn-based ethanol.