Members Of Congress Got $238k In Welfare Last Year Thanks To Farm Bill

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Four U.S. Senators and 11 House Representative were among the beneficiaries of taxpayer-funded farm subsidies last year, according to information compiled by Environmental Working Group (EWG), a health and environmental nonprofit.

The $237,921 the Congressmen received represents a drop in the $20 billion-per-year ocean of Farm Bill direct-subsidy money. A product of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era government expansion, the omnibus piece of budgeting and entitlement legislation now not only pays subsidies to farmers, but also dictates National food policy for both production and consumption, and funds the ever-swelling SNAP food stamp program.

In short, the Farm Bill is an entitlement monster. In socially conservative, rural States, a lot of sworn Republicans’ staunch talk about smaller government and ending welfare melts away to the loudest of Liberal bellyaching when talk of trimming, or ending, the Farm Bill comes up. Being against agricultural subsidies and the lobbying interests that back the farming business is a sure way to be a one-term Legislator in districts dominated by agriculture.

In the case of farmer’s subsidies, you don’t have to be out on the land to qualify. I’ve you’ve got any skin in the farming game at all —  no matter how tenuous the connection — you may qualify. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, for example, owned 16 percent of Racota Valley Ranch until 2008. She received more than $500,000 in subsidies between 1995 and 2012.

President Jimmy Carter’s farm has received $272,000 in subsidies over the same period — and although he arguably has more skin in the game than many of the Congressmen on the list, he’s also a wealthy former U.S. President who doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a needy farmer reaching out for a helping hand.

Politicians make easy targets, but the unchecked largesse of the Farm Bill knows no favorites. People like Ted Turner and Larry Flynt also have received farmers’ “welfare” payouts. Small farmers often receive subsidies to prevent them from cultivating certain crops.

Some subsidies are even given to individuals and companies that have absolutely nothing to do with agriculture. Food conglomerates and liquor distillers are only two examples.

Farm subsidies are just another example of the redistribution of wealth. Just another example of the federal government stealing money from one group of people and giving it to another. Just another example of crony capitalism.

The federal government would have you believe that these farm subsidies are meant to give assistance to small farmers when in reality, most of the money is given to larger farms, which of course, not only does not assist small farmers, but increases their chance of going out of business because of larger farms cornering certain markets. Additionally, some of the large dairy producers that are heavily subsidized have convinced the federal government to prohibit the sale of raw milk, continuing the trend of trying to put the little guys out of business and flooding the market with heavily pasteurized and potentially dangerous dairy products.

For a full list of Congressmen who received subsidies last year, check out the EWG study, or read an expanded article at CNS News.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • DonnaAngelStar
  • Jana

    I notice Michelle Bauchman is NOT on the list.
    Jimmy Carter is.
    We have a farm, and have never even applied. We won’t apply either.

    • Jeff

      I noticed how Jimmy carter was singled out in the article although 13 of the 15 members of Congress receiving such largesse are Republicans. Be sure to focus on the 2 Democrats, though.

      • Jana

        No member of Congress whether Democrat or Republican should get any type of farm aid!

  • Dave

    Jana,
    Michelle Bachmann already gets 250K from the Gov in subsidies…
    But this is nothing new… Consevatives talk a big game about small gov, entitlements and being self-suffiecient yet their states are the biggest leaches in the country. So the moral here is reduce for everyone else but let me keep mine. The Conservative mantra.

    • Jeff

      Dave: My variation on that theme (Republican First Commandment): I’ve got mine; screw you.

      • James Tetrick

        Yes it is only republicans. Keep telling yourself that as you shill for the Democrats and then when you go to bed at night you will know that at least you werent fooled.

    • James Tetrick

      Keep telling yourself that as you shill for the Democrats and then when you go to bed at night you will know that at least you werent fooled.

      • Jeff

        One scarcely need be a “shill for the Democrats” to recognize that Republican priorities are tax cuts for the well-off and deregulation of big oil, big pharma, big insurance, etc. They hate the Government so long as the Government is doing anything for people unlike them (the poor, the powerless, the sick), but they see it as the natural order of things (“just business”) when Government policies favor the wealthy. Over the past 30 years (since Reagan), we have seen a redistribution of wealth upward, away from the poor and the middle class and toward the wealthy with the ultra-wealthy being the primary recipients of this “class war.” If any politician proposes doing anything to slow this trend, he is accused of engaging in class warfare and compared to Robespierre and Lenin. Meanwhile, as Warren Buffet has noted, “the class war is over and my class won.” Unfortunately, the Democrats have been insufficiently motivated to take up this cause and too often have been nearly as tied to corporate apron strings as the Republicans. Take the money out of politics and maybe some of these trends will reverse.

  • johnd

    The farm subsidies are a joke. I had an uncle with a dry land farm in a very rural community. He was approached by a farm agent trying to get him to put most of his farm in a set aside program. My uncle informed the agent that if everyone took the welfare it would hurt the community. The tractor and implement dealers, the fertilizer outfit, the fuel dealers, tire store, etc. would all eventually pull out of the community. He wasn’t nice about it either.
    The uncle died and his brother, an educated city guy, inherited the farm and immediately took the subsidies and put most of the land in the set aside. The town is half the size it was 20 years ago. Those that still farm have to drive almost 50 miles for parts. Not much left of what was once a nice little community.

  • Steven Chavez

    the spirit of greed is real… we need to realize satan uses every trick in his bag of deception… to keep us down.. most members of congress become millionaires when they step down. That needs to change.