I find it amazing that while people are complaining about programs that they say will waste tax dollars on health care for American citizens, they are oblivious to the fact that our government is paying subsidies to the tune of $3 billion dollars a year to less than 20,000 cotton farmers. The program encourages American planters to grow cotton even when supplies are high, and this overabundance keeps prices low on the world market.

That really sounds dumb, right? But how do you feel about the fact that, because we pay American planters to grow cotton nobody needs, we then pay Brazilian cotton farmers over $147 million dollars a year of your tax dollars to compensate them for the unfair advantage that we give to our farmers?  As an item in Time magazine says, “If you’re perplexed, here’s the short explanation: We’re shoveling our taxpayer dollars to Brazilian farmers to make sure we can keep shoveling our taxpayer dollars to American farmers…. Basically, we’re paying off foreigners to let us maintain our ludicrous status quo.”

Of course, we’re not talking about old Luke McCoy, out there on his John Deere tractor, planting a crop. Most of that money, our money, is going to big corporations who have bought out the small family farms who could not compete with them and their government subsidies.  

Now just think about this for a minute. You and I bust our butts all year, along with millions of other Americans, so we can pay rich farming corporations huge sums of money to produce a product that nobody needs, because there is a glut of it on the world market. Then, we pay a bunch of rich foreign farmers huge sums of money to make them feel better because they cannot compete with the rich farmers here that are ripping off the system. Huh?

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2005, the government paid farmers $4.8 billion to compensate them for low corn prices. That was $3.8 billion more than they needed to match the government-guaranteed price. The corn subsidy program cost taxpayers $29 billion between 1998 and 2005. Another program, in 2002, gave farmers and ranchers $635 million to help them with drought relief, even though there was no drought!

The Washington Post reported that at least $1.3 billion was paid annually to landowners who had planted nothing since 2000. The report said that many of those receiving Federal money were homeowners in new developments whose backyards used to be agricultural fields. They are not even farmers, but they get billions in farm subsidies!

Between 1995 and 2005, 73 percent of farmers and ranchers in New York State did not collect one cent of the $1.11 billion in Federal farm subsidies for that state. Instead, most of that money went to just 10% of subsidy recipients, including over 1,300 businesses located in New York City, most of them large multinational corporations. 

Ripping off the American taxpayer in the form of farm subsidies is an old and honored tradition. Wealthy landowners, many of whom live in big cities and have never set foot on a farm, reap billions of dollars in farm subsidies every year. One report revealed that wealthy men like media mogul Ted Turner and billionaire David Rockefeller were taking in large sums of money every year in the form of farm subsidies. Given all of this, I guess we really can’t blame foreign farmers and farming corporations for wanting a piece of the action too, now can we? After all, America is the land of opportunity!

We’ve all seen that bumper sticker that says “Pay Your Taxes. Millions Of People On Welfare Depend On You!” It looks to me like a whole lot of rich people depend on you and me too!

Whoever dreams up these ideas must have cotton for brains!

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10 Comments on Cotton For Brains

  1. Joe says:

    Our government really needs an overhaul!

  2. Tom in Ohio says:

    AS usual Nick I stated my day with coffee and your blog. Then I turned on the news, watched the local, which consisted of murders and break ins at homes amd businesses. I switched to the national news and as usual saw the depressing signs of our debt and our troubles around the world. I got up shut the TV off and for a few minutes my world was quiet except the noise of nature outside our rv window. I remembered recent blogs you wrote about growing up and how it used to be when we didn’t have a care as we went out the door to play all summer. I stated to get depressed and then I looked around at where we are in life now. Not rich..fact its kind of tight right now for us. I thought of all the cotton for brains folks that run our country now and in the past. Know what? As long as we can continue our full time lifestle..wake up knowing we can have another day of this we can survive. I also hate the waste and down right abuse of power we see in Washington day after day. As long as I have friends like you and Terry and love of family we will continue to have hope that this country can find its way back. We will vote and express our voices. The only thing that has ever lasted forever to this point is death and Gods love. My monies on him.

  3. We should all make a concerted effort to send a link to this blog to our congressional representatives — and to the candidates who want to take their seats — voice our opinions, and ask for their position.

  4. Glen says:

    Want to bet how many of those receiving those large payments also want “smaller government”?

  5. Ken says:

    Now let someone try to tear away those farm-ish freebies and you will see a hail storm from the right,left and media.
    Destroying the American farmer, no just keeping the wealthy happy.
    Farmers, people who try to live off the land and make a living from it are very few now.
    Welfare for corporations is what America is about, not the person who is making it day by day.
    I grew up on a family farm. I don’t want to work that hard again for so little in return.

  6. Pat and Jim says:

    Who could even imagine dreaming up antics such as these, sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction could possibly be.

  7. LR says:

    “Whoever dreams up these ideas must have cotton for brains!”

    They gotta use all that cotton paid for with subsidies for something!!

  8. John Brown says:

    A thorny problem Nick, do we keep the subsidies and keep the jobs in the country or drop them and let the jobs go offshore. Somehow we have to solve the issue, and as a Canadian farmer, no cotton here, who receives no subsidies, I struggle with these issues. I wonder how to keep the jobs home and keep prices low, but the two seem to be at opposite poles.

  9. Jerry says:

    I’m trying to think of one time the gov. did something that made sense. They are so very good at giving away money, yours and mine. We are in wars that make no sense. The borders are highways for drugs and people wanting to “get the stuff” and the gov. now wants to make them citizens so they can vote for more free stuff.
    They want control of health care – or is it just more control over us? If you think this new plan will save us money and provide better care – wait and see. Oh, and I understand we will get to pay for it for the next 4 years before it can be used along with what we are paying for health care already.

    It’s very plain we are in a lot of trouble but more gov. and
    less freedom will never fix anything. We want our Country back!

  10. Jim Burnett says:

    So, there are “20,000” Cotton farmers and how many of us? How come their voice is louder than ours. what would it take to raise an uproar (without firearms) to out yell, out talk, out write this small minority? I’ll write a letter to my senators and representatives and to the president and VP? I’ll even send email too. Anyone else interested in, or would we rather sit back and complain to each other???

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