We hear about people who are trying to scam us on the internet. But scamming seems to be an art which is even quite prevalent in our own Congress. At least it seems to me that to allow precious tax dollars go to "Phony Farmers" is a scam. If you are not a fan of Michael Crowley who writes "Outrageous" for the Reader's Digest, then hopefully you will become one. If everyone who gets a Reader's Digest makes copies of this article and sends it to their congresspeople - MAYBE things will change. Yes, my three Ohio congresspeople will get a copy of this article and the $1.32 postage costs for snail mail will be well worth it. They probably don't get much of it nowadays so they may well read it. Just consider if EVERYONE who is horrified by the misuse of our tax money did this, maybe- just maybe there will be a long overdue change in this department.
Years ago I heard about "Gentlemen Farmers" getting Farm Subsidies for NOT PLANTING their land. I can't believe that this outrageous handout has not been stopped. And what saddens me most is that these people are as guilty of scamming our treasury as any unscrupulous person you'll find on the internet except that our Congress is allowing them to do this!
Just as there has been so many cases of Medicare fraud - we find it here and even 234 people listed as deceased are getting farm subsidy checks from Washington. As Crowley wrote: "All told, about 9.5 million dollars in farm subsidies went to folks who were pushing up plants, not harvesting them."
If that wasn't bad enough-of the 2,702 of the 1.8 million "farmers" who received federal funds between 2003 and 2006 had adjusted gross incomes of more than $2.5 million dollars. (Read the Digest Article to see who some of them are.)
Thanx to a worthwhile program started during the Great Depression to help poor farmers, it has become one of the largest corporate welfare programs according to Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation. The agricultural industry has 1,200 registered lobbyists in Washington and they spend millions each year to make sure the money keeps flowing. But the flow isn't helping too many small farmers. Seventy-five
percent of all farm subsidies goes to 10 % of the recipients and of course that is what the the lobbyists want.
One blogger worried that if we use corn to produce ethanol there won't be much left for our food consumption. I then told her about how Congress since 1996 has been paying people NOT to farm their land. Supposedly a temporary fix (for what- to help small farmers?) the payments kept on coming and since then -per the Washington Post the government sent $1.3 billion to people who don't farm. (Don't Congresspeople read the Washington Post?)
It's really a joke the way Congress operates. In l986 Sen.Kent Conrad from North Dakata came to Washington with lofty ambitions to bring the federal deficit under control. Guess what? The deficit has grown by a factor of seven and instead of trying to lesson the deficit, he is still raking in big farm subsidies for his state. Are there any people in Congress who can't be bought or who want to keep their jobs by seeking subsidies for their state? Are there any people taking seats in Congress who have managed to keep their altruistic promises? Yes, I'm sure there are. I wish that someone would write about them because I am clearly disappointed and disgusted by what I read about that happens in the halls of Congress for as long as I can remember and I am a senior citizen.
To his credit, Pres. Obama has proposed new limits on farm subsidies. Unfortunately, Congress isn't going along. A suggestion. SCRAP the present Farm Subsidy Program and start all over.
I have picked out the salient points in Crowley's post, but PLEASE read it for yourselves in its entirety. It's in the June/July 2010 issue. I hope that you will be compelled to do something to effect needed changes. We don't have extra money to be subsidizing rich corporations and "gentleman" farmers.
You know I thought to myself - For the past 40 years I have been worrying about short-changing the government when it comes tax time and I'm in the bottom 25 percent bracket. Would to God these unscrupulous people develop a conscience too and soon.