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This Year's Farm Bill Is Everything Wrong With Washington

The bill is full of handouts to wealthy businesses and other special interests.

Xalanx/Dreamstime.comXalanx/Dreamstime.comThe farm bill is up for renewal, and with it almost everything you think of when it comes to big government: billions in corporate welfare, special-interest handouts, protectionist price supports, and massive federal transfers. At least it doesn't launch any wars.

Currently being marked up in the House, the legislation—which authorizes agricultural spending for the next five years—would cost taxpayers $390 billion from 2019 to 2023. That's an increase of roughly $3.2 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bill's 10-year price tag approaches $900 billion.

The largest share of this spending—almost 80 percent—will go to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, a.k.a. food stamps. The other 20 percent is split between conservation programs, subsidized crop insurance, and price supports for mostly wealthy farmers.

Though both Congress and the White House are controlled by supposedly fiscally conservative Republicans, the 2018 farm bill makes few cuts to programs, and it piles on additional regulations for the ones already in place.

"Republicans are giving a big signal to their voting base that is worried about big government and deficits not to turn out for the election," says Chris Edwards, a tax policy expert at the Cato Institute. "I have read no good reason why we subsidize farmers at all."

Agricultural interests argue that continued subsidies are required to compensate farmers for working in a volatile industry that rises or falls based on the weather, and crop prices. In the words of Farm Bureau chief Zippy Duvall, the farm economy is "teetering on a knife's edge."

Duvall has given enthusiastic support for the 2018 farm bill, which he says "will assist farmers and ranchers battered by commodity prices that often do not cover the costs of production

It is true that prices are down across the board for such staple crops as wheat, corn, and soybeans. But as Edwards argues, unpredictable prices are not unique to agriculture.

"Farming is no more risky than any other industry," Edwards tells Reason. "Sure, there are price fluctuations, but so is there in oil drilling in Texas, the gold mining business, or any mineral business." Edwards notes that farms are far less likely to go bankrupt than other enterprises. Some 2.4 farms per 10,000 declared bankruptcy in 2017, compared to a rate of 8 per 10,000 for U.S. businesses in general.

And most of the bill's subsidies will not go to small, struggling farms, but rather to the largest and wealthiest agribusinesses.

A recent paper from the American Enterprise Institute found that 68 percent of all subsidized federal crop insurance payments in 2014–2015 went to the top 10 percent of farms, measured by the value of their crop sales. This goes for cash subsidies as well: The top 10 percent of farms received 58 percent of these subsidies, while the bottom 80 percent of farms received less than 20 percent.

Similarly, the Environmental Working Group has shown that in 2016 the top 1 percent of farm subsidy recipients got an average payout of $116,501. The median farmer received a more modest $2,479.

Despite the huge amount of farm subsidies going to the wealthiest farmers, efforts at pruning back these payments have come to naught, thanks to some deft legislative logrolling that has converted many potential farm bill opponents into enthusiastic backers.

Including food stamps has ensured that urban Democrats, otherwise wary of sending billions to large agribusinesses in rural red states, are brought on board. Opposition from environmentalists, who dislike farm subsidies' tendency to encourage planting on marginal land that would otherwise be left to nature, is quieted by the inclusion of roughly $4 billion for conservation programs.

"They have to buy off as many legislators that they can now, because there are only a million farmers in the country," says Edwards.

Despite all these goodies packed into the latest farm bill, support has been wavering in some corners.

Democrats and some moderate Republicans are turned off by a new requirement that single, working-age recipients of food stamps either have a job or be enrolled in a job training program. (The fiscal effects of this would be a wash, as all the money saved would be plowed back into job training.) And the sugar-growing industry—powerful in Florida and Louisiana—is digging in its heels over an amendment that would end the Department of Agriculture's practice of buying up surplus (and trade-protected) domestic sugar and then selling it at a loss.

Nevertheless, House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conway (R-Texas) says he's confident the bill will pass the House. "We believe we'll get there. We've got several folks that are still reading the bill and coming to their own conclusions. We've got a lot of undecideds," he tells The Hill.

Should it pass, Washington's reputation for profligate spending and shameless interest-peddling will remain intact.

Photo Credit: Xalanx/Dreamstime.com

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Should it pass,

    It shouldn't, but it will.

    Washington's reputation for profligate spending and shameless interest-peddling will remain intact.

    This reputation was never in danger.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Alt-text: "Yaaay, this is fun!," said Trucky the mischievious little red tractor, splashing around in the mud.

  • ||

    He'd better quit fucking around before old Farmer McColl sells him to Sir Topham Hatt for scrap iron.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Sir Topham Hatt is always cross about something.

  • John||

    So in an article about the appalling government subsidies for farmers we get this gem

    Farming is no more risky than any other industry," Edwards tells Reason. "Sure, there are price fluctuations, but so is there in oil drilling in Texas, the gold mining business, or any mineral business." Edwards notes that farms are far less likely to go bankrupt than other enterprises. Some 2.4 farms per 10,000 declared bankruptcy in 2017, compared to a rate of 8 per 10,000 for U.S. businesses in general.

    Gee, I wonder why that is? Perhaps the subsidies are having their intended effect? That is not to support the subsidies. But Jesus Tap Dancing Christ, how can the author of this piece not see the connection there? Yeah, farming isn't very risky. That is because we subsidize the hell out of it to eliminate the inherent risk of the industry not because it isn't actually risky as hell. This stuff isn't very hard.

  • ||

    That is because we subsidize the hell out of it to eliminate the inherent risk of the industry not because it isn't actually risky as hell.

    It also kind of blithely ignores the fact that unlike oil or minerals, the underlying commodity is perishable and that after you've harvested your value clock starts ticking. 5 or 10 yrs later, several hundred troy ounces of gold are still several hundred troy ounce of gold and barrels of oil are still, largely, barrels of petroleum. Downturns can be waited out and even if not, the commodity still has intrinsic value as a metal or a fuel. 10 yr. old coffee, rice, or lettuce is not the same thing as day market fresh coffee, rice, and lettuce.

    Not that the subsidies are appropriate, but the commodity and the market are intrinsically more volatile and *somehow* come out looking more stable on the backend.

  • John||

    It is like you have to be completely pig ignorant about a subject or industry before Reason will let you write about it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I also don't think subsidies are the answer but you cannot just open a farm business and produce. You actually need mother nature to help you.

    Even if all your seeds are planted according to plan and watered properly, your crop can fail.

    I would say that is different that typical commodities like gold and oil.

  • ||

    Even if all your seeds are planted according to plan and watered properly, your crop can fail.

    This occurred to me as well and I didn't post it because it's somewhat related/redundant. There are lots of cost passed off onto farmers that aren't necessarily passed off to other commodities. The labor is by definition rural and so all the amenities that are a human right in NY are a couple hours drive in rural Nebraska. If you sink your money into a gold mine and find yourself short of labor because the government is handing out free education and "Get a tech job free" card to laborers, the gold will wait at the bottom of the mine. There isn't necessarily any workman's compensation that gets your tomatoes out of the field at harvest time. Retirement plans often vary between sell off your property and impregnate your wife.

  • ||

    And, again, not to say that subsidies are appropriate, but we're talking about something like 1% of the $309B laid out over the course of the plan.

  • SIV||

    The 80% that goes to SNAP is a subsidy for grocery stores, soft-drink bottlers, and food processors.
    PA or Ohio wanted to impose means testing on SNAP after some woman with a million dollar house and a luxury auto lost her job and signed up for it down at the unemployment office. Giant Eagle howled louder about means testing than any communist. I'd expect just a serious proposal to substitute direct cash payments would push Coke and Pepsi stock down

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    A few points.

    1) Poor access to labor for farmers is a result of the minimum wage and unemployment insurance guaranteed by the government and a shortage of willing labor also mandated by the government through immigration controls. IE government is the cause, and simultaneously tries to be the solution.

    2) The private sector would likely offer a better insurance alternative to FCIC. In fact, private insurance exists in light of the fact that the government insurance is so heavily subsidized. If you get the government out of the way, everyone would benefit in the long-run.

    3) Getting farmers off of the public dole would necessarily increase the price of food. Reducing mandates on ethanol would have the reverse effect. The theory of market capitalism dictates that we'd all be better off letting markets decide the allocation of these resources and not government mandates or programs which pick winners and losers.

  • John||

    1) Poor access to labor for farmers is a result of the minimum wage and unemployment insurance guaranteed by the government and a shortage of willing labor also mandated by the government through immigration controls. IE government is the cause, and simultaneously tries to be the solution.

    In some cases but not always. You seem to think that every farm job is picking vegitables. It is not. Many of them are highly skilled labor and cannot be easily filled by the hoards of Central American peasants Reason so loves.

    3) Getting farmers off of the public dole would necessarily increase the price of food.

    Not if you opened all of the markets to imports up.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Mexicans can't be skilled farmers? You do admit that immigration controls distort labor markets though, and you're in favor of that?

    Your point on #3 is true. But as subsidies go down food prices would almost surely go up in the short term, as they likely should. Government subsidies distort markets, but we're better off without the govt waste as markets are much more efficient.

  • SIV||

    Eliminating subsidies would just make some food prices more volatile.

  • ||

    2) The private sector would likely offer a better insurance alternative to FCIC. In fact, private insurance exists in light of the fact that the government insurance is so heavily subsidized. If you get the government out of the way, everyone would benefit in the long-run.

    My point in this regard was a bit multi-fold. We are repeatedly, both before and after the ACA, lamented upon that there aren't enough trauma centers on the south side of Chicago or in other similar urban areas. Meanwhile, few-to-none of these traumas are occupation related. Various farmwork, on the other hand, is one of those labor positions aside logging, landscaping, and high-seas fishing that intermittently pops up on the '10 Deadliest Professions' list. Inner city kids shooting at each other are a problem because none of them have health insurance but a farmer (of any race) dying of a heart attack after working 80 hour weeks in the heat at age 50 is just how food gets made.

    I'm not necessarily saying that I want the government more involved one way or the other, just that the notion of equality, in all kinds of dimensions, is laughable.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I'm not sure why you're talking about health insurance. I'm talking about insurance against financial losses due to natural causes for farmers.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Health insurance tacks on massive costs to employers.

  • ||

    I'm not sure why you're talking about health insurance. I'm talking about insurance against financial losses due to natural causes for farmers.

    I'm not talking about health insurance specifically and don't disagree that the market could likely do it better, or at least more morally agnostically. I'm talking about interchangeability, comparability, and/or equality of markets. Farmers aren't like office workers or police officers. More urban employees don't care if you take away crop insurance or mandate health insurance because of large corporations and communities. Things that can't necessarily (yet) exist in farming communities. A ton of rural IL residents don't give a shit about public employee pensions being underwater because they themselves weren't going to get a pension and don't regularly interact with or rely on officers of the law. Relative to public pensions, the ACA, and the like, crop insurance almost seems less like a policy of cost reductions and more like a pointed jab. I'm not saying it's the right interpretation, I'm just saying it's an interpretation and it's not exactly wrong.

  • livelikearefugee||

    But we have production quotas to meet or the secretariat will punish us.

    We must show revolutionary spirit!

    No more collective sponsored trips to Disneyland for us but trip to political reeducation camp sponsored by People's Revolutionary Farm Coorperative. Maybe even forced attendance at Democratic Convention.

  • livelikearefugee||

    But we have production quotas to meet or the secretariat will punish us.

    We must show revolutionary spirit!

    No more collective sponsored trips to Disneyland for us but trip to political reeducation camp sponsored by People's Revolutionary Farm Coorperative. Maybe even forced attendance at Democratic Convention.

  • Hugh Akston||

    supposedly fiscally conservative Republicans

    C'mon Britches. Nobody buys this anymore.

  • John||

    If only the Democrats were still in charge Hugh. If only.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    That's true John. The Republicans become fiscally conservative if and only if the Democrats are in charge.

  • John||

    And the Democrats are fiscal conservatives. Everyone knows that. Tony, Hugh, ChemHJeff and most of the reason staffers have assured me of this for years.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I've never seen anyone other than Tony and shreek make that claim.

    Pointing out that Republicans aren't fiscally conservative does not at all imply that Democrats are.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    It does, based on John logic. In John logic, tertium non datur applies to everything.

  • John||

    I come on here and sing the praises of the Democrats and all you people do is bitch. The Democrats are the party of freedom and fiscal responsibility. You people finally won me over. Why aren't you happy about it?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "The Democrats are the party of freedom and fiscal responsibility. You people finally won me over. Why aren't you happy about it?"

    We're not happy because that position is as wrong as saying that the Republicans are the party of freedom and fiscal responsibility.

  • John||

    Chipper,

    Your and Tony and Hugh and Chem Jeff and others are winning me over to the progressive side. Isn't that what you want?

  • John||

  • Citizen X - #6||

    How is saying that a Democratic president and a Republican congress once produced surpluses together in any way equivalent to saying that Democrats are more fiscally conservative than Republicans?

  • John||

    No he isn't. that article was written in June of 2010. The Republicans didn't take Control of Congress until January of 2011. Chapman is saying that after TARP and the Porkulus, and the largest deficits in history, that things just got a little out of control for the Democratic Congress but they were going to be responsible in the future.

    Dude, don't try and defend Chapman. He is the gift that forever gives. That is one hill you never want to die on. If you think anything he says isn't completely stupid, you must not understand it.

  • gormadoc||

    Yet again you don't bother reading the article and therefore miss both Citizen's and Chapman's point.

    "It's hard to believe now that during the 1990s, a Democratic president and a Republican Congress worked together to not only wipe out deficits but produce surpluses—for four consecutive years."

    That's what Citizen was talking about. Nowhere else could one pull "Democrats are fiscal conservatives" out of the article.

  • John||

    And yet again, you seem to be incapable of understanding an article. Which part of this do you not understand

    But the past is not always a guide to the future. The fiscal events of the last two years have been seared into the national consciousness in a way no previous spending binge has. For the foreseeable future, at least, there will be a heavy burden on those who favor more expenditures to justify them.

    We have not reached a new era of consistent budgetary restraint. But it looks like the age of excess is over.

    He is writing at a time when the Democrats controlled Congress and were thought to be in control for the foreseeable future.

    Are you this dishonest or just that fucking stupid? Or is it both? What the hell is wrong with you?

  • John||

    Yet again you don't bother reading the article and therefore miss both Citizen's and Chapman's point.

    Read the fucking article. You pick one sentence completely out of context and ignore the conclusion. That is annoying enough, but you try to be smug about it on top of that. Go fuck yourself, you smug ignorant bastard. And here, read the conclusion again, just in case you missed it.

    But the past is not always a guide to the future. The fiscal events of the last two years have been seared into the national consciousness in a way no previous spending binge has. For the foreseeable future, at least, there will be a heavy burden on those who favor more expenditures to justify them.

    We have not reached a new era of consistent budgetary restraint. But it looks like the age of excess is over.

  • gormadoc||

    None of that says "Democrats are fiscal conservatives." If you want to claim Chapman said that you have to demonstrate it.

    What he did say was that there would be heavy political costs for people who wanted to dramatically increase spending. This wasn't because Democrats would hold them responsible but because the voters were burned on the Bush years. And you know what, he was right. Midterm elections that year showed that voters were tired of heavy spending by bringing in an influx of "Tea Party" Republicans.

    He is writing at a time when the Democrats controlled Congress and were thought to be in control for the foreseeable future.

    That's wrong. It's one of the more wrong these you've said, actually. Polls indicated that Republicans were going to nearly sweep Congress.

    Nowhere does he say "Democrats are fiscal conservatives."

  • gormadoc||

    burned on the Bush years

    ... and first two Obama years.

  • John||

    Yes it does. You are the most pathetic reason fanboy.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The comments section has a whole bunch of handles that you don't even see anymore.

  • John||

    Here is Palin's Buttplug when he was known as Shrike

    shrike|6.21.10 @ 4:53PM|#

    Stop lying about the CRA causing the housing downturn. Everyone is entitled to own a home, you selfish bastards.

    He wasn't being ironic here. He has always been this stupid.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Whenever PB claims to be a libertarian, I guess we need look no further than "Everyone is entitled to own a home, you selfish bastards."

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Fucking Tony has always been here, hasn't he? If he turns out to be a Vorlon, I will be very disappointed with the universe.

  • John||

    Tony has been here since at least the mid 00s. And unlike other old timers who have left for periods of time, Tony never fucking leaves.

  • Tony||

    Not necessarily, but it happens to be true, if by fiscally responsible you mean paying for the things they buy.

  • ||

    C'mon Britches. Nobody buys this anymore.

    The largest share of this spending—almost 80 percent—will go to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, a.k.a. food stamps.

    Fucking GOP and their food stamp programs!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yep, if only those fiscally responsible Republicans had majorities in Congress and control of the White House, they could defund the SNAP program. Oh well I guess.

  • ||

    Yep, if only those fiscally responsible Republicans had majorities in Congress and control of the White House, they could defund the SNAP program. Oh well I guess.

    If I put a gun to your head and give you the option of doing something terrible or not existing are you as evil as I am if you choose to continue to exist? Do you think they'd retain control if they defunded SNAP?

    There's plenty to impugn the GOP over in this bill. Acting like both parties are on equal footing on this issue is ridiculous. Especially when it's you and people like you who would be calling the GOP a bunch of racists for trying to curtail the SNAP program.

  • gormadoc||

    If the Republicans in Congress actually have people with guns to their heads then it seems like SNAP is the least of their worries.

    Do you think they'd retain control if they defunded SNAP?

    So? All you're saying is that it's okay for them to put literal guns to civilians' heads to fund SNAP in order to avoid losing their jobs. That's not convincing.

  • ||

    So? All you're saying is that it's okay for them to put literal guns to civilians' heads to fund SNAP in order to avoid losing their jobs. That's not convincing.

    I can't be certain of what showed up on your monitor, but I described it as "something terrible" rather than "okay".

    Let's say Rand Paul took a stance against this and lost his position, would you feel better? How about if Paul, Amash, Lee, and Massie got trounced because of it? These are all GOPers after all. Let's say a significant portion of the GOP is swept out on a blue wave, does the likelihood of defunding SNAP or the bill go down or up? What about all the other points on the GOP platform, not all of which are diametric opposites to the libertarian party's platform?

    Even if only superficially, the GOP has opposed the SNAP/Foodstamp program since '64 when it was put in place by an overwhelming democratic majority. I'm not saying it's OK that they allow it to continue, but saying they're just as bad as the Democrats because they don't pick a fight they can't win is absurd. It's like saying Dr. Frankenstein and Igor were equally capable and/or morally responsible in the creation of this monster. Even if Igor really did want to see the monster reanimated, they aren't really equals in any way.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    So, we have to keep electing Republicans in the hope that one day there will be no more political pressure and they'll finally be able to support our principles? But until then, they need to act just like Democrats so they can maintain power waiting for that magical day to come?

    Hmmmm...

  • ||

    So, we have to keep electing Republicans in the hope that one day there will be no more political pressure and they'll finally be able to support our principles?

    You need to get your monitor checked. I didn't say anywhere that anyone had to vote GOP. Again, not saying you have to support the GOP but do you really think opposing both the GOP and the Dems equally and on principle until their mutual collapse is the shortest, easiest, most liberty-ensuring road? You don't have to like Igor, he's objectively a dim-witted, deformed grave-robbing troll. There are certainly immoral things that he does that Dr. Frankenstein wouldn't touch with a 10 ft. pole. Declaring Igor and Dr. Frankenstein equally responsible for the shambling amalgamation that is the Farm Bill is unfair to Igor and a discredit to Doctor's evil genius.

    Your seemingly willful misinterpretation and single-mindedness almost comes across as obnoxious zealotry.

  • Jerryskids||

    This Year's Farm Bill Is Everything Wrong With Washington

    There's a headline you'll be able to use every year from now 'til Jesus returns.

  • John||

    They only pass a farm bill every other year or maybe every three years. I can't remember.

  • Rhywun||

    It appears to be Five Year Plan. (Really.)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But why won't anyone tell me what not passing the farm subsidies would do the price of the delicious corn syrup I demand in my gasoline?

  • Rhywun||

    Democrats and some moderate Republicans are turned off by a new requirement that single, working-age recipients of food stamps either have a job or be enrolled in a job training program. (The fiscal effects of this would be a wash, as all the money saved would be plowed back into job training.)

    JFC... either way it's money thrown out the window. You know how I got "job training"? I got a job. A really shitty job, followed a string of slightly less shitty jobs each time until I got the decent job I have now.

  • Jerryskids||

    To be fair, this sounds like he's saying there's no difference between giving a man a fish (Food Stamps) and teaching a man to fish (Job Training), but given that it's a government program either way I have my doubts that he's wrong.

  • Rhywun||

    it's a government program either way

    Yes, and my point is that government job training programs are not even necessary. Think about it for a moment. What, exactly, do these things even do? Teach you how to tie a tie? How not to talk back to your boss (I learned that one at one of my first jobs, by the way)?

  • Tony||

    If we accept the premise that we have to subsidize farming in order to maintain a stable food supply for a large population, where do the problems start happening? If we're talking about maintaining capitalism while using government intervention to meet a social welfare end, that end is presumably feeding people (as opposed to propping up farmers who employ lobbyists). Representatives who want to deliver for their agriculture-heavy states distort things, but I think that's fair enough play for a federal system.

    The problem with any sector engaging in inappropriate cronyism is that wealthy or influential interests crowd out rational policy discussion. So do you guys want to do away with capitalism altogether, or just the equation of campaign donations to free speech?

  • Jerryskids||

    If we accept the premise that we have to subsidize farming in order to maintain a stable food supply for a large population...

    If you read the comments, they're making the argument that farming is a uniquely risky business that therefore deserves subsidizing. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans manage to avoid the risks of farming by the simple expedient of not being a fucking farmer.

  • Tony||

    That excuse by itself is dumb of course, but "It's both risky and when it fails we all starve" does incorporate the social good aspect.

  • ||

    Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans manage to avoid the risks of farming by the simple expedient of not being a fucking farmer.

    My point above was unless you're completely subsistent on your own land, you're a beneficiary of crop insurance. Yes, the money gets handed to farmers and disproportionately large farms (since when have libertarians been about equality of redistribution?) but unless you subscribe to the notion of Evul KKKorpirate Farms, the savings gets handed back to or trickles down to the consumer.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Aside, of course, from the massive skim-off required to provide all the personnel and other infrastructure required by those programs.
    Combined with the perverse incentives of any bureaucracy— every manager wants more staff, better space, etc.

  • Darr247||

    Also, completely stop paying farmers to leave fields fallow, and spend it on development of biodiesel production instead.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If you grow any crops, you can be forced to comply with government regs on farming thanks to long SCOTUS precedent.

  • 2VNews||

    Republicans: We are for smaller government,.
    Reality: Some other time, when it will not cost me my reelection.

  • Darr247||

    When are they going to wise up and help our farmers build solar powered micro-refineries to press vegetable oil from rapeseed (aka Canola) then, after heating and mixing in ~20% ethanol (instead of mixing it in our gasoline) + ~1 oz KOH / gallon of oil to make biodiesel... totally isolating the cost of our food production from the whims of OPEC. For less than what we spend on the war in Afghanistan in 8 hours, we could build 10 such micro refineries (each capable of processing 400 gallons per day) in every state... yes, that's only about 72 million gallons per year, but that's also using the same amount of money we spend on the Afghanistan war in just 8 hours. It takes about 2 gallons of diesel in the tractors to fit, plant, cultivate and harvest an acre of rapeseed, and each acre will produce 40 to 50 gallons of oil. Oh, and the leftover pressed seed/cake makes a nutritious supplement for livestock feed.


    Of *course* such a plan would be opposed by the petroleum companies, since it would drastically reduce the demand for their diesel fuel (i.e. reducing demand means the price of petro diesel would likely fall to less than that of gasoline, like it used to be before 99% of railroad shipping was taken over by semi-tractors thanks to our interstate highway system).

  • VinniUSMC||

    A recent paper from the American Enterprise Institute found that 68 percent of all subsidized federal crop insurance payments in 2014–2015 went to the top 10 percent of farms, measured by the value of their crop sales. This goes for cash subsidies as well: The top 10 percent of farms received 58 percent of these subsidies, while the bottom 80 percent of farms received less than 20 percent.

    Similarly, the Environmental Working Group has shown that in 2016 the top 1 percent of farm subsidy recipients got an average payout of $116,501. The median farmer received a more modest $2,479.

    How do these numbers relate to the output of the farms? If the top 10% of farms produce 90% of the total output, then it would seem that they are getting the worse end of the deal (or, they're doing better, so they need less support). Or, if the top 10% of farms produce 15% of the total output, then they are getting far more than others, then why?

    You can't just complain about "the 1%" for the sake of complaining about "the 1%". (Well, obviously one can, but it's intellectually bankrupt).

  • TJJ2000||

    Whats funny is; what I've seen living in and being a farmer is the struggling farmers don't accept hand-outs as a matter of principle while the miserable cry-baby spoiled rich farmers grab every hand out they can get their hands on including exploiting illegal workers and every subsidy ever existing while they just keeps on complaining about "rough" times in their multi-million dollar homes miles away from their stinky and immigrant ran farms.

    The government needs to stop spoiling and nanny-ING their cry-baby constituents if they ever want a prayer of governing a responsible society. It is shocking to see the biggest cry-babies get billions in subsidies from irrigation gasket repairs to millions for dormant land, etc.. etc.. etc.. Its appalling!

  • livelikearefugee||

    But, how will we meet our 5 year plan production quotas of providing grain for the proletariat?

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