Racial discrimination mars the Dems' 'stimulus' bill
A friend alerted me to what looks like outright racial discrimination and a political payoff contained in the pork-barrel "stimulus" bill that is 90%+ unrelated to the pandemic. My friend spotted a small part of the bill (full text here) that raises a lot of questions and writes:
This provision exclusively benefits specific minority groups solely by virtue of their membership in these groups, and therefore excludes anyone else, regardless of their individual circumstances. It provides payments of 120% of outstanding indebtedness to each "socially disadvantaged farmer and rancher."
SEC. 1005. FARM LOAN ASSISTANCE FOR SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FARMERS AND RANCHERS.
(1) APPROPRIATION.—In addition to amounts otherwise available, there is appropriated to the Secretary for fiscal year 2021, out of amounts in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary, to remain available until expended, for the cost of loan modifications and payments under this section.
(2) PAYMENTS.—The Secretary shall provide a payment in an amount equal to 120 percent of the outstanding indebtedness of each socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher as of January 1, 2021, to pay off the loan directly or to the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher (or a combination of both), on each—
(A) direct farm loan made by the Secretary to the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher; and
(B) farm loan guaranteed by the Secretary the borrower of which is the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.
(b) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
(1) FARM LOAN.—The term ''farm loan''means—
(A) a loan administered by the Farm Service Agency under subtitle A, B, or C of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1922 et seq.); and
(B) a Commodity Credit Corporation Farm Storage Facility Loan.
(2) SECRETARY.—The term ''Secretary'' means the Secretary of Agriculture.
(3) SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FARMER OR RANCHER.—The term ''socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher'' has the meaning given the term in section 2501(a) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279(a)).
Here is the definition of "socially disadvantaged" in this context:
Definition of Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher or Agricultural Producer
According to Section 2501(e)(2) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 USC 2279(e)(2)), a Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher (SDA) is defined as a farmer or rancher who is a member of a "Socially Disadvantaged Group". Therefore a "Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher" is defined as:
"Socially disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher- a farmer or rancher who has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudices because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities. This term means a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. Specifically, a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Those groups include African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan natives, Hispanics, and Asians or Pacific Islanders."
But the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause included in Amendment XIV, Section 1 reads:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Isn't this racial targeting of a huge benefit — not just paying off loans, but adding a 20% profit bonus — unconstitutional?