NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

FARM BILL IS FULL OF STUFFING

August 16, 2005

A bloated Farm Bill costs every household thousands of dollars in higher taxes and inflated food prices and impacts the lives of workers throughout our economy, says the National Taxpayers Union (NTU).

According to an NTU fact sheet on current agricultural policy:

  • Since passage of the 2002 Farm Bill, direct payments have grown to more than $20 billion per year -- up from an average of $9 billion in the early 1990s.
  • These programs raise costs to consumers embedded in farm products by working at cross-purposes; for example, farmers receive Milk Income Loss Contract payments to keep producing when prices are low (resulting in an oversupply of milk), and then qualify for government Dairy Price Support buyouts of the extra milk.
  • Currently, the richest 10 percent of farm-subsidy recipients gobble up almost two-thirds of all government payments, while the bottom 80 percent receive less than one-fifth of the total.

NTU President John Berthoud finds it hard to imagine a group not harmed by inflated food prices, except perhaps the big corporate farms reaping their profits from taxpayers' pockets. He wants officials listening to all of the Americans who have a stake in the tens of billions spent every year on federal farm programs.

Berthoud says when drafting the next Farm Bill, Congress must pay closer attention to the national interest, and that means the farmers, producers, workers, consumers and small business owners who comprise America's taxpayers.

Source: Press Release, "USDA Farm Bill Forums are for Taxpayers, Consumers, and Small Business Owners Too, Citizen Group Says," National Taxpayers Union, August 4, 2005.

 

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