Farm Policy Stakeholders Brace for Budget Cuts in Proposals From Obama

September 19, 2011 08:14 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

President to offer some 'pay-for' details in Rose Garden address this morning

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Today President Obama will detail some of his "pay-fors" regarding cutting the deficit and paying for his jobs package. It will include a "guiding principle" regarding the much ballyhooed "Buffett Rule" on deductions and other tax reform proposals that would impact the wealthy and corporations. Also up for cuts: Medicare and Medicaid.

The combined deficit reduction would total around $3.6 trillion over 10 years, including $430 billion in savings from lower interest payments on the debt.

Farm policy watchers are looking to see if the president includes any cuts in ag subsidies, as some reports suggest. The president in the past has recommended cuts in direct payments, crop insurance and modifying the farm program payment caps.

The farm policy cut proposals are expected to be part of the around $580 billion in proposed mandatory spending cuts.

The president will reportedly call for $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue that will lay out principles for an overhaul of the tax cut.

The proposal includes around $320 billion in reductions in Medicare ($248 billion) and Medicaid ($72 billion) spending, $330 billion in cuts in other mandatory benefit programs, and savings of around $1 trillion from withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The tax revenue will include around $800 billion over 10 years from repealing the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for couples making more than $250,000. It would place limits on deductions for wealthy filers, and end certain tax breaks for oil and gas companies, corporate-jet owners and investment-fund managers.

Obama will reportedly threaten a veto of any measures that makes changes to Medicare without tax increases on the wealthy.

The president will announce his proposals today during a Rose Garden speech at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Comments: It may be hard for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score some of the proposals, especially in the case of tax reform, because a portion will be "guiding principles." The cuts in Medicare and Medicaid would not begin until years from now -- leading some to charge this is a political document.

As for potential farm policy cuts, it will be interesting to see if they are proposed, what percentage they are relative to proposed cuts in other mandatory program spending, and as part of the overall package.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

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