Top 10 Urban 'Farmers'
Created on July 16, 2007
Congress Can Prepare Soil for Sane Farm
A total of 55 farmers cashed federal crop subsidies worth more
than $1 million each in 2003 through 2005.
The program that began as a "temporary solution" to an
"emergency" - collapsing farm incomes during the Great Depression -
now looks more like a strike-it-rich scheme for agribusiness.
"Current farm policies are obscenely expensive, doling out $25
billion in subsidies each year," says Brian M. Riedl, an expert on
the federal budget with The Heritage Foundation. "Most of the money
goes to commercial farms, where average household income is
$199,975 and average net worth is almost $2 million.
"If Washington really wants to help struggling farmers, as the
subsidies are promoted as doing, it would be far cheaper just to
hand every full-time farmer $40,000 a year," Riedl notes.
Ten percent of subsidy recipients collect three-fourths of the
money - about $91,000 a year per farm. Those in the "bottom 80
percent" receive less than $3,000 a year, according to the
Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database.
Meanwhile, Riedl notes, the typical American family forks over
$322 a year in taxes to pay for the subsidies. He says Washington
should stop pandering to special-interest groups and let the
free-market law of supply and demand work.
Heritage's latest research on farm subsidies arrives as
lawmakers consider how to reauthorize the policies, now set to
expire in September.
For details on the subsidies, visit heritage.org.