A recent report released by the Environmental Working Group tallies up farm subsidies received by members of our illustrious 112th congress. Interestingly enough the report reveals that 63% of American farmers do not receive any direct payments from farm subsidy programs. More interesting is that the top 10% of the largest and wealthiest farms received 74% of government payments.
While most of our farmers struggle to stay on the land and continue to farm those in Washington are dipping into a pot that was meant to help those struggling farmers. How has the farm subsidy programs turned into welfare for those who represent us and for those wealthiest and largest farms that are not in need?
Regardless of which party affiliation one might have the Washington DC Hogs feeding at the farm subsidy trough come from all parties including the “cut wasteful government spending” Tea Party. Vicky Hartzler, recently elected to Congress from Missouri and a Tea Party candidate, is one of those hogs. Her excuse is that some farm subsidy programs are tantamount to our National Security. I have to wonder who is minding her “farm” in Missouri while she is in DC making sure she continues to receive her welfare payments.
The disproportionate share of these welfare payments can also be seen in the amounts handed out to Republicans and Democrats. Six Democrats and 17 Republicans received payments between 1995 and 2009 with $489,856 going to the Democrats and $5,334,565 going to Republicans.
What makes all of this much sadder is that according to a report by the National Journal a letter submitted by the House Agriculture Committee will review cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also know as food stamps despite the increase of recipients from 17.3 million in 2001 to 44.3 million recipients in 2010. The increase of recipients for food assistance is contributed to the downturn of our economy and the high number of Americans who are now jobless.
Using an argument which could be seen as inaccurate for the real “Rural America” rather than figures that include corporate agriculture our House Agriculture Committee says that “it bears mentioning that during some of the most worst economic times in the last fifty years, production agriculture served as a catalyst for economic growth”. The further argument is that every “8,000 jobs” rely on “1 billion in agriculture exports”.
Who are the major players of agriculture exports? Surely it is not the 63% of American farmers who receive no farm subsidies and surely it is not even the American farmer rather the corporate entities they are indentured to.
What has happened to those in power in Washington when it has become more important for the DC Hogs at the trough to take from the American taxpayers and not provide for the people they supposedly represent? This projects a clear picture of politics as usual and to hell with the American people.
The majority of farmers that I speak with want to see farm subsidies eliminated. If Congress is so set on keeping farm subsidies in place then a major overhaul of who needs and receives the subsides must happen to ensure our “National Security” and keep the real farmers on the land.
If you would like to learn more about the DC Hogs at the trough start with the Environmental Working Group analysis