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!
Tags: cotton farmers, David Rockefeller, drought relief, farm subsidies, farmers and ranchers, farming corporations, foreign farm subsidies, government subsidies, health care for American citizens, John Deere tractor, New York City, Ripping off the American taxpayer, taxpayer dollars, Ted Turner, Time magazine, Washington Post, waste tax dollars