NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 27, 2007

A Bush Administration proposal that would reduce the eligibility cap for farm subsidies to an annual adjusted gross income (or AGI) of $200,000, averaged over three years -- as opposed to the current cap of $2.5 million -- would eliminate subsidies to the rich while keeping them for the merely affluent, says the Wall Street Journal.

Consider who is being helped:

  • In 2004, 276 Washington, D.C., "farmers" filed an IRS "Schedule F" -- for taxpayers who actively participate in their farms -- and 80 of them reported AGI of more than $200,000.
  • Nationwide there were nearly 85,000 Schedule F filers who earned more than $200,000 in 2004, and 25,000 of those received farm payments.
  • More than 9 percent of filers in Maryland, 12 percent from California and Nevada, and no fewer than 13.4 percent in rustic New Jersey also had at least $200,000 in income.

In addition:

  • In 2004, another 640,000 Americans who had farm income but don't actively participate in their farms filed IRS form 4835, instead of Schedule F.
  • About 29,000 of those reported AGI of more than $200,000 -- and some 13,000 of those received federal farm payments.
  • All in all, some 38,000 "farmers" who reported AGI of more than $200,000 in 2004 received more than $400 million in federal farm subsidies.

Source: Editorial, "Washington Harvest," Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2007.

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