And many, many more.
- Paul Allen (Net worth: $15.8 billion)
Co-founder of Microsoft
- Charles Ergen (Net worth: $12.5 billion)
Co-founder of DISH Network
- Philip Anschutz (Net worth: $10 billion)
Owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group and co-founder of Major League Soccer
- Leonard Lauder (Net worth: $7.6 billion)
Son of Estee Lauder and former CEO of the Estee Lauder Companies Inc.
- Richard DeVos (Net worth: $6.8 billion)
Co-founder of Amway and Republican candidate for governor of Michigan in 2006
- Jim Kennedy (Net worth: $6.7 billion)
Chairman of Cox Enterprises
- S. Truett Cathy (Net worth: $6 billion)
Founder of Chick-fil-A [...]
That's a list composed by the Environmental Working Group, using their database of farm subsidy recipients compared to Forbes 400 list of the country's richest people. Between 1995 and 2012, these 50 people—who have have a collective net worth of $316 billion—received $11.3 million in farm subsidy payments. They've probably have even received more in crop insurance payments, but we don't know because the law doesn't allow prohibits the disclosure of the identities of crop insurance policyholders.
While a congressional conference committee meets to decide if they're going to cut $40 billion (House bill) or $10 billion (Senate bill) from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, they are probably going to give billionaires even more!
[P]roposed changes adopted in both the House and Senate versions of the bill will likely allow these billionaires to bank millions more in premium subsidies. Both bills would shift subsidies from programs currently subject to means testing to the more generous crop insurance program. Unlike traditional farm subsidies, crop insurance premium subsidies are not currently subject to means testing, payment limits or conservation requirements.The system is already skewed for, of course, the largest one percent of farm businesses. They received about $227,000 a year in crop insurance premium support in 2011, according to EWG's analysis from USDA data. Meanwhile, the bottom 80 percent of farmers received only about $5,000 apiece.
In 2008, Congress created a means test that was designed to deny some subsidies to individuals with annual off-farm income of more than $500,000. The year before, Bloomberg News published a report highlighting some of the billionaires who had been receiving subsidies. But, lawmakers specifically declined to apply it to crop insurance, which has become the primary government support for farm business income.
There is no reason on earth taxpayers should be subsidizing what are already nothing more than tax write-offs for the nation's wealthiest people. And we particularly should not be subsidizing them when millions are in danger of going hungry because the austerity fetishists in Congress think they're getting too much food.