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Harvesting tax dollars. (Correction, Please!).

ITEM: "Federal farm subsidies," contended the Houston Chronicle for January 2nd, "are supposed to help family farmers keep their heads above water so they can stay on their land."

ITEM: Wisconsin's Green Bay Press-Gazette for January 7th reported: "A Washington, D.C., environmental group has raised hackles in the farming community by publicizing information farmers are used to considering private."

CORRECTION: Spilling these beans is a public service, since taxpayers continue to pony up $20 billion annually in farm subsidies. The Environmental Working Group's website (www.ewg.com) posted figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which show who is getting the subsidies.

Two out of three subsidy dollars don't go to small farmers. Rather, Congress has been handing agricultural subsidies to Chevron, John Hancock Financial Services, CNN founder Ted Turner, Sam Donaldson of ABC News, and former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee.

Commodity subsidies rise as prices are driven lower, with the government making up the difference. Megabusinesses are thus encouraged to overproduce, which further depresses prices, sometimes driving small farmers off the land. Meanwhile, the government has paid multimillionaire professional basketball star Scottie Pippen, for instance, $130,000 from "Soil Reservation Funds." Actually, as Mark Tapscott of the Heritage Foundation has written, taxpayers are paying Pippen "not to grow anything on his Arkansas farm."

Pippen is just one example. Consider Charles Schwab, who reaps money from stock brokering. Schwab, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, got more than $500,000 "in federal price supports for rice, grown on land be owns primarily for goose and duck hunting. Other beneficiaries include a dozen members of Congress, Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller, and colleges and universities." In short, farm subsidies pay the big guys to beef up their bankrolls at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:farm subsidies
Author:Hoar, William P.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 11, 2002
Words:297
Previous Article:Dressed for defense. (Exercising the Right).
Next Article:Overstaying their welcome. (Correction, Please!).
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