…and bipartisanship can be bad.

Just look at the latest farm bill cheerfully passed by both parties. As usual, the farm bill shows that crony capitalism can be a bipartisan effort, one that makes food more expensive thus hurting the poor the most.

WSJ

The farm crew is also boasting they eliminated the “direct payment” program—handouts that go to growers whether they produce a crop or not. Yet the $5 billion in savings is rolled back into the government-subsidized (and uncapped) crop-insurance program as well as a new “shallow-loss” program that guarantees farmers’ revenues and could balloon to $14 billion a year.

Speaker John Boehner is getting credit for winning his showdown with Collin Peterson over the Minnesota Democrat’s demand for a new Soviet-style program to manage U.S. milk supply. The conferees stripped that stinker, but they salved Mr. Peterson’s feelings by fiddling with a separate insurance program as an alternate means to give government control over milk production.

Handouts to agribusiness and millionaires? Continued trade protectionism for the sugar industry? It’s all still there. Heritage Foundation research fellow Daren Bakst notes that the GOP even rolled over for President Obama’s Christmas tree tax, which demands a 15-cent assessment on every fresh-cut Christmas tree, to fund an industry promotional program.

Republicans get credit for keeping the bill free of earmarks, and for bucking Democratic demands that the bill’s savings go to more spending, rather than deficit reduction. But with the Congressional Budget Office reporting on Tuesday that the bill saves a pathetic $16.5 billion over 10 years (rather than the $23 billion negotiators claimed), these are linings without much silver.

The apparent GOP political calculation is that it needs an election-year farm bill to solidify its rural-voter support and to ward off President Obama’s attacks that they are mean to poor people. Talk about premature surrender. Unlike the autumn government shutdown, the farm bill did give them real political leverage. Democrats and Mr. Obama want food stamps and a farm bill. Republicans could have held out at least for some reform progress. The main achievement of this bill will be to re-elect Mr. Peterson, the Democrat, and give more GOP voters reason to wonder why they elected these guys.

Oh, and it’s no accident that Congress dropped this porker under the cover of State of the Union hoopla. GOP leaders are eager to leave town for their annual retreat and to avoid a conservative revolt. So they are planning a vote Wednesday morning, fewer than 48 hours after it was unveiled.

So much for Mr. Boehner’s promise to run a more transparent Congress and allow 72 hours for Members to read what they are voting on. The American people elected a GOP House not merely to oppose the Obama agenda, but to stand for real reform. They deserve a lot better than this.

The farm crew is also boasting they eliminated the “direct payment” program—handouts that go to growers whether they produce a crop or not. Yet the $5 billion in savings is rolled back into the government-subsidized (and uncapped) crop-insurance program as well as a new “shallow-loss” program that guarantees farmers’ revenues and could balloon to $14 billion a year.

Speaker John Boehner is getting credit for winning his showdown with Collin Peterson over the Minnesota Democrat’s demand for a new Soviet-style program to manage U.S. milk supply. The conferees stripped that stinker, but they salved Mr. Peterson’s feelings by fiddling with a separate insurance program as an alternate means to give government control over milk production.

Handouts to agribusiness and millionaires? Continued trade protectionism for the sugar industry? It’s all still there. Heritage Foundation research fellow Daren Bakst notes that the GOP even rolled over for President Obama’s Christmas tree tax, which demands a 15-cent assessment on every fresh-cut Christmas tree, to fund an industry promotional program.

Republicans get credit for keeping the bill free of earmarks, and for bucking Democratic demands that the bill’s savings go to more spending, rather than deficit reduction. But with the Congressional Budget Office reporting on Tuesday that the bill saves a pathetic $16.5 billion over 10 years (rather than the $23 billion negotiators claimed), these are linings without much silver.

The apparent GOP political calculation is that it needs an election-year farm bill to solidify its rural-voter support and to ward off President Obama’s attacks that they are mean to poor people. Talk about premature surrender. Unlike the autumn government shutdown, the farm bill did give them real political leverage. Democrats and Mr. Obama want food stamps and a farm bill. Republicans could have held out at least for some reform progress. The main achievement of this bill will be to re-elect Mr. Peterson, the Democrat, and give more GOP voters reason to wonder why they elected these guys.

Oh, and it’s no accident that Congress dropped this porker under the cover of State of the Union hoopla. GOP leaders are eager to leave town for their annual retreat and to avoid a conservative revolt. So they are planning a vote Wednesday morning, fewer than 48 hours after it was unveiled.

So much for Mr. Boehner’s promise to run a more transparent Congress and allow 72 hours for Members to read what they are voting on. The American people elected a GOP House not merely to oppose the Obama agenda, but to stand for real reform. They deserve a lot better than this.