Farming Sector May Be Most Welfare-Dependent Industry in America
December 17, 2001
This week, the Senate will vote on a farm bill which will be far and away the most expensive ever -- $170 billion over 10 years. It comes just five years after the Freedom to Farm Act, which was supposed to wean farmers off subsidies. Its effect was just the reverse.
- Even though farmers have higher average incomes than do nonfarm taxpaying households, since 1980 they have received $200 billion in direct taxpayer assistance -- enough to buy every acre of farmland in America west of the Mississippi River.
- Farm subsidies now average out to roughly $200,000 in welfare payments to each recipient.
- This doesn't include the billions of dollars in emergency taxpayer aid farmers receive nearly every late summer and fall to compensate them for every conceivable natural and manmade disaster -- floods, droughts, tornadoes, hail, the Asian market meltdown, the strong dollar, European trade restrictions and so on.
- Since the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act was passed, federal farm payments have increased from $7.3 billion to $22.9 billion last year.
In the early 1990s, only about 18 cents of every dollar farmers earned came from government payments. But over the period 1998-2000, agriculture price supports accounted for 35 cents of every dollar of farm income.
Source: Stephen Moore (Club for Growth), "Food Fight on Capitol Hill," Washington Times, December 17, 2001.
Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues