Daily Archives: June 13, 2012

The process of writing a farm subsidy bill for the next five years is currently under way in the US Senate with the speed and efficiency for which both agriculture and that particular house of Congress are famous. Today’s news was that an attempt to reform the US sugar subsidy programme – which, unusually for American farm support, raises rather than lowers domestic prices – was rejected by 50 votes to 46, a narrower margin than in previous episodes but still a failed effort.

Another amendment, this one to radically reform the the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programme (Snap) – commonly known as food stamps – lost by a much bigger margin, though the current version of the Senate farm bill does include cuts to that budget. It is perhaps under-appreciated outside the US that Snap, which helps nearly 50m poorer Americans buy food, makes up the large bulk of payments under the farm bill. Read more

The gulf between US election fund-raising and the reality of middle-class life beyond the Washington beltway has always existed. But in the 2012 election it is becoming glaring. Read more

Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy, speaking in parliament today [our emphasis]:

“The next European Council on June 28 and 29 must launch a clear and decisive message on the irrevocability of the euro and the single market.”

But this is what Angela Merkel had to say last week, according to Spiegel.de:

“I don’t think that there is a single summit at which the big design will appear,” she said on ARD.

 Read more

Here is what the world desk is reading and chatting about today: