Obama Versus the Pesticide Record-Keeping Program

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 14 2012 8:58 AM

Obama Versus the Pesticide Record-Keeping Program

My favorite part of any Obama-era budget is the "cuts" section, where the administration ends up detailing sundry tiny programs nobody's ever heard of that it wants to eliminate. This year they're hoping to save $2 million by eliminating the Pesticide Recordkeeping Program from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

PRP utilizes the services of State pesticide regulatory agencies to conduct record compliance inspections of private pesticide applicators in most States that are under the Federal pesticide recordkeeping regulations. There are currently 27 States and two territories under the Federal pesticide recordkeeping program. The Department of Agriculture has determined that this activity is not closely aligned with AMS's core mission to facilitate the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products. Thus, the 2013 Budget eliminates funding for PRP, which saves about $2 million.
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You're not going to balance the budget this way, and I think there's zero evidence for the Obama administration's political theory that proposing this kind of small-bore cuts brings any benefits in public opinion, but I at a minimum like it. Public concern about "waste" in the operation of the federal government is badly overblown, but it is true on the merits that if you want to secure more money for investing in infrastructure or helping poor people that these kind of cuts are one way to do it.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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