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The Washington Post reports that negotiators for the US Senate and House of Representatives have reached a tentative agreement "on a new $290 billion, multiyear farm bill that would add about $10.4 billion for nutrition programs while continuing to channel billions of dollars to farmers, even if prices stay at current record levels.

"Key details remain to be worked out, but lawmakers said a final deal could come next week on the bill. The government would spend $10 billion more than allocated by congressional budget committees last year. The Bush administration had proposed an increase of about $5.5 billion."

According to the story, "Rising food costs gave a strong impetus to stepped-up funding for programs such as food stamps that help poor and near-poor families." And, the Post writes, "The bill would reduce the tax credit for ethanol made from corn to 45 cents per gallon from 51, but the tax credit would be extended through 2010."

KC's View:
Okay, someone has to help me with this last bit, because I'll admit to being confused.

I keep reading that one of the reasons that food prices are going through the roof is that the US government has a flawed biofuels policy, essentially using subsidies to make it far more profitable for farmers to sell corn for ethanol than for food. (Do I have this right?) Does this bill, tentatively agreed to by both the House and Senate, simply continue a flawed policy? And does "stepping up" aid for poor families hardest hit by rising food prices just add to the subsidy problem without really addressing the core problem?

Understand, I am just asking questions here…and I am happy to be corrected if I am not getting this right. But when I read the Post story, the phrase "throwing good money after bad" came to mind…