Don’t just “Do Something”.

Never let it be said that Democrats in Congress aren’t living up to their promises to reform the system.

Farm bloc lawmakers yesterday offered the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry $1.8 billion in new federal grants over the next five years as part of a farm bill that would leave in place far larger subsidies for grain, cotton and dairy producers.

The package, unveiled yesterday by Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.), also increases funding for land conservation, wetlands protection and nutrition programs — popular with environmental groups and urban lawmakers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the package “a good first step toward needed reform.”

Right, so reform means keeping large subsidies and adding smaller subsidies. Can we have the old status quo?

I looked through the entire article, and the only mention of reform, defined quite loosely as a change in actions, is this:

Federal payments to private crop insurers would be reduced by about $1 billion over 10 years to free funds for other priorities.

An earlier subcommittee draft of the farm bill would have merely extended the current farm subsidy programs. The proposed new version would do away with some price guarantees and allow farmers to opt for an income guarantee instead.

Taxpayers will save $1 billion over 10 years, which will be immediately shifted to some other spending “need”. Like income guarantees. But at least Congress wants to phase out price guarantees.

I was not blind to the devil’s bargain in 2006 I used to vote for Democrats to replace Republicans. They’re both irresponsible. But I don’t know what’s worse, abandoning principles or being so stupid that you ignore the electoral justifications behind your victory. I’d already made up my mind that I won’t make that mistake in 2008. I’m just amazed that Democrats keep trying so hard to reinforce my decision.