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Farmer in combine.
This is not Paul Allen.
Gee, where could we come up with some of the money need to replace that food stamp funding that was lost this week? Maybe from these people who are all collecting farm subsidies?
  • 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 [...]
And many, many more.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (118+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:09:17 AM PST

  •  In an America where the (37+ / 0-)
    massive and growing gulf between rich and poor is one of the direst challenges facing the U.S. economy.
    -If you make more than $10,000, you earn more than 24.2% of Americans, or 37 million people.

    -If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans.

    -If you make more than $30,000, you earn more than 53.2% of Americans.

    -If you make more than $50,000, you earn more than 73.4% of Americans.

    -If you make more than $100,000, you earn more than 92.6% of Americans.

    -You are officially in the top 1% of American wage earners if you earn more than $250,000.

    -The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year.

    *Based on the 153.6 million American wage-earners, as defined by the Social Security Administration.

    For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan in a coffin to Dover, "God bless the cause for which they died."

    by allenjo on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:25:21 AM PST

  •  with those numbers I couldn't even swallow (9+ / 0-)

    the remainder of the most pitiful food-stamp-bought edible stuff without throwing it up right away.


  •  probably going to give billionaires even more! (9+ / 0-)
    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!
    Surely Democrats will not be voting to "give billionaires even more."

    For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan in a coffin to Dover, "God bless the cause for which they died."

    by allenjo on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:32:53 AM PST

  •  Quick, put fan belts on (5+ / 0-)

    the spinning corpse of Jacob Javits, we can't squander that much energy!

    “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:47:59 AM PST

  •  How can us small farmer's tap into that Federal... (29+ / 0-)

    Government "payday"??  

    It sure would make life a lot easier on the old arthritic body and I could hire more people that are unemployed to help out here at the farm to make it grow and become more profitable...

    Oh...We're only "small farmers" that really work our farms 24/7/365 instead of just having a token picture in that back hall of our McMansions showing us cuddling with the cute sheep, or picking a Rutabaga from the "back 4000 acres" while wearing our designer muck boots in the barn or out in some once-in-a-blue-moon visited field, and such.......

    This entire Agriculture Corporate Welfare Farm Bill should be scrapped and redesigned from the ground up and focused to where and what that assistance was intended for, and to whom, and why.

    Never mind.  Just wishful thinking once again....

    No Farms…  No Food.  Support your local Farmer's Markets when and if you can, and get to know your grower/handler of your food.  Keep it local and keep the money in the local economy as well.

    Okay...  I'm done with the rant.

    Obey Gravity - It's The Law!

    by LamontCranston on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:56:23 AM PST

    •  You've a right to rant...... Yes, if only they'd (9+ / 0-)

      use that money sensibly, to benefit REAL PEOPLE!

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 10:34:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  hostage taking rampant (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emyrphe, Habitat Vic, Eric Nelson

      'can't farm then , have to sell to developers' and their bought and paid for county and city governments.

      I hate these people....

      same for california Central Valley water farmers, as crooked as can be found, their subsidies are in other forms as well, such as stealing northern california water for cotton farming and farming on poisoned farmlands.

      And then there is the subsidies paid by the people in the corporate farms watersheds with toxic runoffs, GMO, all the destructive mass farming practices.

      privatize the profits, socialize the costs.

      There are a lot of fucking subsidies these fuckers reap.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:29:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, Lamont, that money isn't for you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vzfk3s, Eric Nelson

      It's for people who sometimes visit their "farm". They don't live there!! I read that the largest recipient of farm subsidies in CA actually lives in Pacific Heights in SF. Not sure if that's still true, but...

      The only way to fix this problem is to lend farmers money at the overnight Treasury rate. No gifts. No subsidies. But a lot more efforts to stabilize family farms and help rural communities survive without messing with pricing of products, etc.

      Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

      by Anne Elk on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:58:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Amen!!! (0+ / 0-)

      When I read this, I was instantly transported back to my childhood.  I grew up in rural Indiana in the '80's.  I watched my friends on their small family farms struggle.  These giants went around and fed off of the corpses of proud, hard working Americans who had worked their land and put food on our tables for generations...  And now, to add insult to injury, the government is giving them millions in free tax dollars!!!  It's a no-win for small farmers!

  •  Disgusting. (19+ / 0-)

    But this is not a conservative or liberal problem.   This is a crooked congress problem.  

    •  We also must go after the Reps and Senators who (0+ / 0-)

      get farm subsidies and get to vote for their own interest.  If you are a dr you can't practice being a dr on your time home.  you can't have a second job and be in Congress. How can you be in Congress and you and/or your family get a farm subsidy?

      I saw recently that Rep Stephen Fincher has gotten $3.5M in farm subsidies and sits on the Ag Commission voting for his own interest.

  •  This actually gave me chills!!! Wow. The utter (11+ / 0-)

    madness of this country, this Plutocracy we have become.

    This is just totally stunning! We have to get this word out because the juxtaposition with food stamp cuts is absolutely freekin BIZARRE!

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 10:07:09 AM PST

  •  no one wants to get rid of this (12+ / 0-)

    last time it came up for a vote democrats voted to keep the subsidies

  •  This goes on year after year after year. It (14+ / 0-)

    should be on the front page of every paper every year that it goes on.  

  •  This kind of information is known to political (13+ / 0-)

    junkies but to ordinary voters (who we want to vote in every election) don't hear this in any media where they get their news from.  The other problem is I find working class people won't rally for the poor and corporation getting welfare the response is "well it legal"...really!  Drives me crazy.

    Do not adjust your mind, there is a flaw in reality.

    by Shrew in Shrewsbury on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:16:22 AM PST

  •  QUESTION for some math person... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye Nut Schell, elwior, emyrphe

    my brain doesn't work as well as it used to, especially on math. When it comes to billions I have trouble believing my own answers to problems like this. I get brain freeze, most disconcerting!

    Can someone tell me the answer?

    $30 billion divided by 300 million people

    Trying to figure out how much each person gives to farm subsidies, if all were tax payers. (Just estimating.)

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:23:45 AM PST

  •  100 bucks (4+ / 0-)

    apiece. I's a joy to help those in greed...

  •  Stewart Resnick of Paramount Farms (5+ / 0-)

    has, in addition to the subsidies he received, resold Delta water for millions of dollars.  And he and his people have given Feinstein and Jerry Brown plenty in political contributions (Schwarzenegger before) to move forward with the peripheral tunnels, which will kill the Delta and coast fishing communities.

    "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

    by Going the Distance on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 01:28:13 PM PST

  •  Farming Viewpoint (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Anne Elk, claude, recspecz

    Ok, take it easy on me since I'm clearly going against the grain (pun intended) here.  I'm from the Midwest and often find that people not familiar with farming get frustrated with farm subsidies and crop insurance based on numbers like these.  But the comments I read above remind me of a lot of things I hear on the right regarding Obamacare.  Why do we here believe health insurance is a valid commodity to be issued by the government, but not crop insurance?  Crop insurance is designed to keep farmers from losing everything based off of one bad year or an 'act of god' unforeseeable to a crop.  It keeps American farmers in business, employing thousands of people and keeps us competitive in the global commodity market.  I'm sure some people take advantage of it…but mostly not.  You pay to buy crop insurance.  If you don't need it you're out the money, but it can save you for that one time you do need it.  Like all other types of insurance.

    I'm sure many wealthy people own farms or parts of large farm conglomerates.  Warren Buffet and Ted Turner are perfect examples.  They hire farm managers to run these farms, and they're treated like businesses.  They buy crop insurance probably.  They may take gov't money to switch a crop into a marshland area with natural grasses to protect a river bank for example.  They get paid by the govt as an incentive to protect our country's valuable land.  No farmer is going to switch to grassland that provides no income (when he could plant land intensive corn and make a lot of money right now) without incentive from Uncle Sam.

    Regarding the link to the article, I find it misleading. I'm going to use my home state of Nebraska here.  Here is the breakdown of numbers:
    --$11.3 million in crop insurance and subsidies given out over a 17 year period (1995-2012) to 50 billionaires.
    --$11.3 million/17 years = $226,000 per year total.
    --$226,000/50 billionaires = $13,295 per year/billionaire.

    So what did the billionaires have their farm managers claim?  The math shows us based on 2011 numbers:
    --Average production of 166 bushels corn/acre
    --Corn worth $6.20/bushel
    --166 bushels/acre *$6.20/bushel = $1,037/acre income from corn production in Nebraska

    $13,295 average claimed each year by each billionaire means they claimed crop insurance (or subsidy?) on an average of 13 acres per year over 17 years.  So 13 acres damaged on average.  13 out of an average Nebraska farm size of almost 1,000 acres.  

    OR, (and more likely) over the course of 17 years there was one major flood or drought that wiped out a crop on a farm owned by each billionaire.  They claimed insurance on 218 acres that one year and received the value of the corn they lost (218 acres * $1,037/acre corn = $226,000).

    •  Why do mills and billionaires need crop (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, devis1, emyrphe, wishingwell, Ljanney

      insurance $$, with govt paying 60%? Can't they afford their own insurance like I do, while living on SS?

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 02:02:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  subsidies (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        claude, Gorette

        by the same token, why does the government provide health care subsidies thru Obamacare? Why do employers chip in on the cost of healthcare for employees?  To make it affordable for everyone, because it save everyone in the long run if you're insured for when disaster hits and spread the risk to more people.  Theoretically a billionaire can still purchase healthcare thru the ACA, doesn't not deserve insurance because he/she could theoretically pay for all costs out of pocket.  I wish there could be an income cap on farm subsidies and crop insurance, similar to what we see with health insurance to make it a more fair system.  It's hard to put an income cap on crop insurance because many farms are owned by trusts (descendants of original family farmers).  So the trust and farm may have a high income, but paid out to many people who actually don't make that much from their farm holdings.
        The US stepped in to create crop insurance and subsidies due to the risk inherent with farming after the Dust Bowl.  When entire areas of crops are ruined they can qualify for disaster funds, costing the govt much more money after the fact than insuring ahead of time.  If the US agricultural sector and economy collapsed, the effect on the national economy would be devastating.  So they make sure crop insurance remains affordable to even the small farmer.  Does this mean billionaires get cheap insurance?  yes.  But it also provides insurance to smaller farms.

        The govt pays the premium on a policy, but it would be nice to have this on a sliding scale based on income to cost the govt less.   Crop insurance in the US is really a public/private partnership.  Private insurers work with the US govt to provide govt approved plans at affordable rates, and they're required to hold the majority of the risk on at least 80% of all policies issued.

        •  Well, why do we have the nutty healthcare (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          system we do, for that matter? Helathcare and farm policy have in common the underlying principle that, whatever is done, some rich bastard has to get a big cut. That's why we have the system we do. The US government is like a flea-ridden dog. Scratching at the odd fleabite isn't going to cure the infestation.

          Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

          by Anne Elk on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 05:03:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  rec for clear explanations, tyvm. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          don't always believe what you think

          by claude on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 05:49:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Very good explanation, thanks. Why healthcare (0+ / 0-)

          subsidies, of course it's due to low income, where people otherwise cannot afford it. But that was a rhetorical question,I take it.

          "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

          by Gorette on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 07:58:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Insurance and Subsidies (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emyrphe, wishingwell, roberta g, zaka1, freerad

      EA, I do not feel for the billionaires who are taking these subsidies. As for the insurance, Corporate farms are in business and should have to purchase their insurance on the open market without any subsidies from the government.

      I too grew up in farm country and had uncles and cousins who practiced the occupation of farming. They often got govt. money for not producing (a government program to keep prices higher) which usually benefited the corporate farms but did little to help the small farmers. I don't know if that program is still in affect, but that is just an example of how Congress used legislation to benefit the corporate farms with little or no benefit to the small farms.

      For those who believe that food stamps (SNAP) should be sacrificed to give subsidies to corporate farms, I say that you have no heart and only feed the greed of the wealthy. I know that the hardy farmers of the 50s, 60s, and 70s would have never wanted to take government money that would have feed starving children to line their won pockets (even though they could have used it to pay their mortgages). But with the advent of the increasing number of corporate farms and the decline of the family farm, the farming industry has become greedier and greedier. And GREED has no conscience.

      •  What about small farmers? (0+ / 0-)
        Corporate farms are in business and should have to purchase their insurance on the open market without any subsidies from the government.
        This makes sense, but all businesses should pay for insurance if they need it - including small farmers. Why should a small farmer get an insurance subsidy when the owner of a small bakery doesn't get a Federal insurance subsidy on her insurance?

        We have to get over romanticizing small farms - if a farmer can't compete because they are not as efficient as other farmers, why should they stay in business? It's a business - and if it's not, treat it like what it is, a hobby.

    •  Question for the farmers (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for the perspective.  My family is over the income amount to receive a health insurance subsidy, but I certainly don't begrudge it to the family that needs it.
      Is there an income level or size at which government help to the wealthy farmer is superfluous, or are they entitled to federal assistance simply by virtue of being in agriculture?

  •  Thanks EA... (0+ / 0-)

    I am from a farm background and even at first blush those numbers did not bowl me over....13k/yr is not worth a rant even.

    I agree that a little bit more knowledge on how this works helps explain it.

    Progressives need to be smart about their attacks...and this one is lacking.

  •  There's also a move toward (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Gorette, KenBee, emyrphe, Eric Nelson

    ..removing the requirement that foodstuffs be labeled with the "country of origin" (obviously because people don't give a rat's ass where their food comes from or whether or not it includes rat's asses.)

    Becuz freedumb.

    Whose Streets? Our Streets? Whose Country? Our Country!

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 01:50:26 PM PST

  •  I'm so pleased to contribute my meager taxes (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, wayneonly, KenBee, roberta g

    to the poor, sad billionaires.  They need it so much more than hungry children.

    "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." - Mark Twain

    by rustypatina on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 02:12:23 PM PST

  •  Even more irritating (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, emyrphe, wishingwell, roberta g

    Most of these creeps are no doubt "free market" ideologues who want the government out of the economy.

    Come to think of it, this would be a good place to start!

    Reporting from Tea Bagger occupied America

    by DrJohnB on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 02:30:10 PM PST

  •  Isn't this Bush's 'trickle down theory' (3+ / 0-)

    or to get fancy: supply side economics?  Give more money to the wealthiest in our Nation and their investments will ultimately trickle down to us on the lower end of the economic spectrum.  

    I'd sure like to reverse that theory...give more to the poor and their spending will trickle up to those who have already invested in producing marketable goods.  

    "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

    by sfcouple on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:10:31 PM PST

  •  just another example of how our democracy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty

    is broken.  Our ag system is exactly backwards, we subsidize the rich and those who use toxic chemicals and dangerous techniques and use anti-ecological principles, while we force organic producers to pay for certifications.  Our "democracy" now only works to favor the rich and influential while leaving everyone else to fight over the scraps.  This proposal in the ag bill is a perfect example of the problem.

  •  This is a god damn disgrace (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roberta g

    Anybody remember France in 1787?

    This is unsustainable. If the government won't fix the problem, sooner or later the people will.

  •  what in the bleep... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, marty marty

    is wrong with people?

    I really don't get the disease that folks have to have the "thinking" that allows food stamps to be cut AND says that it's okay to give corporations and billionaires free money.

    Time to take back the gov't from those that feed the rich machine.  

    My Goodness I want to swear so badly in someone's face...

  •  Are you ready for a shocking revelation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Ljanney, marty marty

    Tea baggers are against farm subsidies. What the tea baggers won't tell you though, is that they are against all subsidies no matter who they go to. So in addition to corporate millionaires and billionaires not receiving their subsidies, poor working Americans would see food stamps, aka SNAP and welfare, aka TANF ended cold turkey. So in that scenario who gets pushed off an economic cliff?

    What else tea baggers won't tell you is that in their world ending all these subsidies wouldn't reduce public debt or deficits one penny. The subsidies would just be transferred to defense contractors and the pentagon aka the military industrial complex.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

    by harris stein on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:17:37 PM PST

  •  just an FYI... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the richard devos who ran for governor of MI isn't the co-founder of Amway.  His dad (also named richard) is.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:20:40 PM PST

  •  Farm Subsidies to Billionaires (0+ / 0-)

    Billionaires pay BRIBES to Congress.

    Congress gives MORE Subsidies to Billionaires.

    Notice that POOR PEOPLE are NOT part of the Equation.

    Oh, Yeah. I just Remembered.

    Those farm subsidies were paid with Middle Class Tax revenues.

    Dear Congress: Thanks for NOTHING.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:35:13 PM PST

  •  This is where I get absolutely libertarian! (0+ / 0-)

    Why do Republicans believe that the government should favor wealthy farmers (including agribusiness) over anyone else in the economy? Why do farmers get special treatment? Either you believe in the free market or you don't. I have no problem with the government lending farmers money, as it used to do pre-Nixon (I believe), but giving them money? And imposing price support schemes? Just another way to loot the treasury.

    There's always some great argument in favor of one subsidy or another when it comes to businesses. We've heard them all, I think, but they all have a big problem at the core. If a farm can't make it without the taxpayer throwing in millions of dollars, should it exist at all? Australia and NZ eliminated agricultural subsidies completely over a decade ago. Farmers prophesied the ruin of agriculture across the board. Seems to have done fine. What it did do is that it freed up money to help rural communities, the supposed object of the old agricultural subsidies. So, there is life after subsidies. Farmers ought to remember that, and maybe along the way rethink their support for Republicans who crap on about the "family farm" but do nothing about it. Kansas reports a net loss of farmers every year, but no decrease in acreage under cultivation.  

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:53:35 PM PST

  •  This is a misunderstanding of the farm bill. (6+ / 0-)

    All who receive subsidies, first receive reductions in value.  

    Subsidy recipients aren't the real beneficiaries.  They're victims of the real beneficiaries.  The real beneficiaries at the biggest level are few and huge, and don't need to receive any subsidies to benefit.  

    They benefit from Congress reducing (1953-1995) and eliminating (1996-2013+) Democratic New Deal Price Floor programs.  The absence of these programs, not the presence of subsidies, causes the benefit (Cargill, ADM, Kelloggs, Smithfield/China, Tyson, ethanol, etc.).  Wheat, cotton, barley, sorghum grain, and oats have had prices below full costs almost every single year 1981-2012.  Add corn, soybeans and rice for the same years up through 2006.  

    There have long been attempts to get the subsidies only to active farmers.  Beyond that, we've been fighting to get back to good New Deal Programs, (which needed no subidies,) for 60 years.  Another problem has been tax loss farming, including fast depreciation.  That's what has attracted outside money into farming, to write off income made elsewhere.  Real farmers, who haven't had much income, are disadvantaged against those losing money to write off taxes on income made elsewhere.

    The neo New Deal Proposals of today include requiring big farms to do bigger proportions of supply management, and they eliminate the need for subsidies.  So they unite farmers with other advocates, while freeing up $100 billion for SNAP and other uses.  This is a much better approach than robbing farm victim Peter to pay hunger victim Pauline, which is the divided/conquered scenario that has enabled these bad Republican programs to continue.  (And see my recent blog on the Divided/Conquered problem, and on what a Democratic farm bill would look like.)

    "We're trying to warn this nation of a tidal wave ..., and it's coming your way, whether you want to know it or not...!" family farm woman, Donahue Show, 1985

    by Iowa Farm Activist on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:54:05 PM PST

    •  Western Ill (0+ / 0-)

      I grew up on a Western Illinois farm and did farm there until getting into IT stuff You are correct If we would just return to a system where the top priorities are crop insurance and conservation.

      Maybe payments to those going to the very wealthy could be diverted to programs to support local produce farms These wealthiest people barely notice farm payments.

      The past, present, and future are equally compelling; none of the three are easily understood.

      by Grey Panther on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 06:16:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I live in Michigan. Dick Devos is the next best (0+ / 0-)

    thing to Christ in the view of most of west Michigan, why I don't know.

  •  Government (0+ / 0-)

    The US government is impotent.
    The Mexican government is corrupt.
    We the people can fix these problems.
    Unite and become one.
    I am talking about tearing down both governments and starting from scratch with common sense as our guiding star.
    There was an Arab Spring.
    How about a North American Winter?

    Imagine what WOULD change:
    No more border problems.
    No more warlords.
    An abundance of oil rivaling Saudi Arabia.
    New lands available for everyone to travel freely.

    Imagine what COULD change:
    No more IRS
    No more congress
    No more China
    No more War (leave us alone and we promise not to decimate you)
    No more giving billion$ to countries that hate us.

    The people of this land are in charge not the governments, and when we work together we can get stuff done.
    I envision a population achieving self-sustainability, dependent upon no other country for anything.
    I am talking about 2 populations rising up and banding together to form the most beautiful country ever.
    The 81 Free States of North America.
    If Cuba wants in we could make it 82

  •  Why republicans are eager to cut off food aid to.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Robert Greenstein from CBPP points out some things republicans probably would rather that people didn't know about them

    They get to keep ½ the money  
    The Southerland amendment:  republican governors get to keep half the funds when they kick families off SNAP program

    Statement of Robert Greenstein:

    House Wisely Rejects Farm Bill with Stunning, Extreme Provision to Pay States to Cut Families Off SNAP Because They Can’t Find Jobs

    The House wisely rejected a farm bill today that included an unprecedented provision, added earlier in the day, to reward governors with large sums of unrestricted cash if they remove families from the SNAP (food stamp) program because the parents, through no fault of their own, cannot find jobs.
    – emphasis added
    This is something I’d overlooked when commenting on this cruel  agenda  proposed by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL)
    As I explained in a blog earlier today, this extreme provision would allow states to terminate benefits to households where adults — including parents with children as young as 1 year old and many people with disabilities — are not working or participating in a work or training program at least 20 hours a week. It would not require states to make any work opportunities available and would provide no jobs and no funds for work or training programs. Thus, people who want to work and are looking for a job but haven’t found one could have their benefits cut off. Their children’s benefits could be cut off, as well.
    Why would a state do this? Because, under the measure, states would have a powerful financial incentive to pursue this route: it allows them to keep half of the savings from cutting people off SNAP, and to use the money for whatever state politicians want — tax cuts, special-interest subsidies, or anything else.
    - emphasis added
    Also too: Food stamps are one of the most  efficient ways to  boost the economy

    This shows what the republican party has devolved into when the  donor class  owns it lock, stock and barrel – NYT published this linked article 15 years ago

    P.S. I’m late with this since the farm bill already failed but if the republicans will try something this devious, they’ll sneak it in again imo – people need to know the republican “austerity agenda - we’re spending too much” -  is a flat out lie aimed at rewarding the rich and hurting/punishing the neediest who are out of work

    end of rant

    My comment @ Daily Kos:

  •  Thank You Joan! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty

    I commented about this on the SNAP cuts last week. IF corporate farming could not qualify for corporate (farming) welfare then there would be enough $$$$ in the ag budget
    to put more in the coffers of the family farm & SNAP

  •  That is 0.003% of their net worth (0+ / 0-)

    And ~$11 million dollars over a two decade time span is pretty small beans compared to the hundreds of millions being funneled through other services/contracts (I am looking at you, military spending). Compared to total government spending over that same time span, we are looking at 0.00002%.

    Don't get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of tightening ALL lose ends, but I can't get too worked up over what is the equivalent of fractions of pennies in government expenditure.

    And before I get blasted wrongly, I do have a problem when there are policies and regulations that protect the assets and interests of those with an accumulated net worth of 25,000 median wage years. But there are bigger fish to fry, such as erroneous austerity programs when historical data indicates increased, not decreased, government investment that affects lower economic classes is how to promote growth in an economy.

  •  Estée Lauder (0+ / 0-)

    not Estee, you illeterate

  •  welfare for the wealthy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catilinus, marty marty

    This is so infuriating.  "Have they no sense of decency?"  How can this continue to go on and how can so many wealthy accept these handouts that they Don't' need?!  And then to cut food stamps to people who really need a little help-who live hand to mouth the way it is.  These politicians that collect subsidies and slash SNAP should be ashamed of themselves.  Too bad that it seems many super wealthy don't feel shame-ever.  I guess God chose them to prosper and the rest of us are just losers.  What can we do?  Any movements or petitions out there?  I talk to coworkers and whoever will listen that it's not the regular person needing food stamps that is the problem-it's corporate welfare, tax evasion, and us also subsidizing big name restaurants and retail bc they don't pay enough to workers or give them enough hours or benefits.  This issue too is robbing the American people of money that could be used for the common good-or given back to us-something.

  •  You will have to fight the republicans on this (0+ / 0-)

    I saw Saxby Chambliss grill/threaten Clintons Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, that the farm program was to givr payments to the wealthy if they give them to the poor farmer.

    They are going to cut out what is going to help me make a land payment after two years of extreme drought but I understand because the big boys get it too and its too much. I farm 220 acres of a specialty crop that until last year did not qualify for farm program insurance.

    The republicans are in the "class war' mode.

  •  If there's means testing for food stamps (0+ / 0-)

    then maybe some of these clowns should have to prove why they need all this, um, free money.

    Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

    by mbayrob on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 01:18:32 AM PST


    Honestly, HOW in good conscience could Congress continue to fund farm subsidies for the fat cats? Many small, privately-owned farms are suffering financially, and millions of dollars are being cut from SNAP benefits that help feed working-class and poor Americans. THESE are the dire, predicted DEATH PANELS. If the Republicans can't kill off the peons by denying them access to health care insurance, then they'll just starve them to death. Problem solved.


  •  Farm Bill misinformation (0+ / 0-)

    This report contains erroneous information.  It fails to distinguish between a subsidy, crop insurance, and land use/rental programs funded by USDA to convert cropland to conservation reserve (wildlife and wild habitat use).

    1.  There is a means test of $250,000 to qualify for any subsidy.  The most common are direct payments and countercyclical payments.  Any farm bringing in $250K in income, including OFF FARM INCOME, is ineligible for subsidy payments.  Please note this is applicable to income, not net worth, two totally different figures.

    2.  Crop insurance is not a subsidy.  It is exactly what it says it is, and is made available to farms by USDA through the FB because no insurer could provide crop insurance at a rate affordable to a farm because farming is  an extremely high risk operation, both in terms of return on dollar and time invested and the fact that it is one of the top ten most dangerous physically industries according to the Dept. of Labor.  Farmers cover their own home, life, equipment,  and health insurance.  The cost of covering crop insurance with a commercial insurer is simply not feasible.

    Farmers pay thousands of dollars a year for crop insurance. This works for the people of the United States and the world who wish to continue receiving food because, while the crop insurance does not necessarily provide all the income that a successful crop would; it does provide enough funding for the farm to continue in operation after a crop failure.  Otherwise, farms hit by crop failure would go bankrupt; and in fact, did so regularly before crop insurance was instituted.

    Crop insurance is available at different levels, different rates for different crops.  The insured amount is based on USDAs "Olympic average" of the last five years of production with the highest and lowest years removed from the calculation. (Based on our experience)

    Farmers can opt for 65%-85% coverage.  There is no 100% coverage.  

    Basically crop insurance is an insurance pool a la Ben Franklin's concept that hazards shared between a large number of people can cover those who need help at a manageable fee.  Even with the  recent droughts and floods, crop insurance has self-sustained overall because successful, fortunate farms have covered those who were struck by disaster.  This is exactly what insurance is supposed to do.

    Crop insurance is not a subsidy.  If farms lose their ability to insure their crops (at thousands of dollars per year), we will lose farms and the food they produce.

    The skewering of information on  differing amounts of crop insurance payments fails to reflect that of the 2.2 or so million American farms,  about ten percent of the 2.2M total produce 80% of farm production.  The remaining 90% produce 20% of farm production.  Given the nature of the division between highly productive and hobby or lifestyle farms, obviously highly productive farms will collect more crop insurance in the event of a crop disaster because they have so much more acreage planted to crops.  This is not inequitable, and is based on  even handed, fair policies.  This is not to say that  small and/or lifestyle farms are not important in their own right.  But if they plant small crop acreage, obviously they will receive small crop insurance payments.

    3.  Conservation reserve programs are not a subsidy.  There are many different kinds of programs where USDA rents land from farmers, by contract, and pays a minimal stipend for the farmers to change the land back from crop production to natural habitat, planting native grasses, forbes, and other plants;  and to maintain the land according to the standards set by USDA, Fish and Wildlife, and Ecology. (This may vary somewhat from program to program, but all reserve programs have maintenance requirements and land is inspected for compliance every other year).  

    When the 2008 farm bill was under pressure to substantially reduce or eliminate funding for conservation reserve programs, grassland preservation programs, CREP, SAFE programs, etc., etc., many major conservation groups in the country filed protests.  This program is at the core of maintaining natural habitat for everything from endangered species to all wildlife and natural flora in agricultural areas.  It is not a subsidy. It is means tested.

    Much of the information in this article is misinformed.  This kind of ill-advised information publication endangers the continued existence of the thin green line of 210,000 American  farmers who produce 80% of the food, fiber and fuel in America, and whose industry makes up 20% of the GDP.  For accurate information, see USDA Economic Research Service and National Agricultural Statistical Service websites.   For those who would like a realistic perspective on American farming today, I would recommend  It is inadvisable to base a broad ranging article of such import on only one source, and that source a flamboyantly anti-agricultural source, at that.

    As one who lives and works in a farm community, I am weary of "progressives" who, in the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, think that farming is a mighty easy job when their plough is a pencil and they are a thousand miles from the nearest farm.  This kind of urban myth propagation of misinformation about farming in America jeopardizes farming.  Do you really want to threaten the hand that feeds you?  Or, perhaps, would you prefer to be dependent upon foreign food, which is much more highly subsidized than American food?

    We are blessed to live in a country where the percentage of income spent on food on average is the lowest in the world.  We should not minimize in any way programs designed to assist those who face food insecurity.  We also should not jeopardize those who work at an extremely difficult job to produce food, nor should we attempt to fix a system that is not broken.  The Farm Bill represents 1/4 of 1% of the total federal budget.  We get a terrific return on that investment.

    •  crop insurance (0+ / 0-)

      CATEGORY: Inside Congress         KEYWORDS: Farm Bill: Growing Government Spending, Subsidies

      ASHE SCHOW | JULY 11, 2012
      Congressmen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Jason Chaffetz (R-AZ) have introduced the Crop Insurance Subsidy Reform Act (H.R.6098), which would save taxpayer money by significantly reducing crop insurance subsidies. Specifically, it takes the percent of crop insurance premiums paid by taxpayers across various coverage levels back to what they were in 2000, before the Agriculture Risk Protection Act (ARPA). That bill essentially put subsidies for crop insurance premiums on steroids. Estimates suggest Flake-Chaffetz would save billions a year.

      Representative Flake released a statement upon introduction of this bill:

      “Given our country’s fiscal crisis, we simply can’t afford irresponsible crop insurance subsidies, particularly given the strength of the agriculture sector. This Farm Bill reauthorization is an opportunity to put federal farm policy on a fiscally sustainable path.  Congress must resist the temptation to create new subsidy programs.”

      Just like Obamacare, the farm bill currently in the House does not actually reduce spending, because it uses the savings created by ending some wasteful programs to fund entirely new programs, expands crop insurance subsidies and contains some creative accounting mechanisms.

      A new, Orwellian sounding crop insurance program – basically a taxpayer-guaranteed price for certain crops – would actually increase the subsidy that farmers receive. The Senate’s misguided shallow-loss scheme was tweaked in the House bill, but under some circumstances it could still ensure corporate farmers an 85% revenue guarantee. No other industry in the country receives a revenue guarantee even if they don’t produce a product.

      After the passage of ARPA, premium subsidies for crop insurance coverage levels greatly expanded. In some cases, the premium subsidies (essentially taxpayer liabilities) doubled or tripled. Last year alone, taxpayers paid nearly $7.4 billion to foot the bill for crop insurance subsidies, up from $1.3 billion in 2000.

  •  crop insurance (0+ / 0-)

    Vile congressman ever pandering for votes and donations from the largest wealthiest farmers have for decades showered the largest and most profitable farmers with billions in insurance subsidies and insurance investment/profit guarantees. This despicable crony capitalism has nearly totally neutered the financial viability of smaller farmers. Congressmen voting for this corruption have stolen from generations of smaller farmers any chance of competing in the agricultural business. Billions in financial enhancements for those with the greatest net worths and go find another line of work for smaller farmers has been these congressmen's plans for too long. Not surprising at all that someone as corrupt and fraudulent as Obama would like to see this continue.

  •  crop insurance (0+ / 0-)

    Massive insurance subsidies to agriculture as well as investment/profit insurance guarantees create higher food production costs as farmers spend these benefits by overwhelmingly capitalizing these benefits into higher and higher land prices. And then we get to hear how farmers need more government help because their food production costs have become higher.

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