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Noem, GOP See Waste in Money for Unemployed, Not Subsidized Farmers

Rep. Kristi Noem and her Republican pals want to block an extension of unemployment benefits... but their Tea Party grinchiness doesn't extend to big farm business:

Some GOP lawmakers make the egregious argument that the extended benefits -- an average of $295 a week -- encourage the jobless not to look for work. While the unemployed lie on the couch, treating their families to all the luxuries those benefits can buy, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is devising a plan to lavish federal funds on another, more favored group of workers.

Every student of cutting federal spending has concluded that wasteful and generally unneeded farm subsidies would be an ideal place to start.

As the Associated Press succinctly summed it up: "Farm-state lawmakers are moving to create a whole new subsidy that would protect farmers when their revenue drops -- an unprecedented program that critics say could pay billions of dollars to farmers now enjoying record-high crop prices."

The insurance would be free, kicking in to cover "shallow crop losses" -- say, when a farmer's revenue falls by as little as 5 percent or 10 percent. Deeper losses are already covered by federally subsidized crop insurance.

"Federally subsidized crop-insurance programs are now costing taxpayers up to $7 billion to $8 billion annually despite the biggest farm profits in four decades," AP noted [Dale McFeatters, "Cut Jobless Benefits But Raise Farm Subsidies?" Scripps Howard, 2011.11.07].

Meanwhile, a majority of the unemployed are not receiving unemployment benefits. A majority of the unemployed are also not working.

One Comment

  1. Charlie Johnson 2011.11.09

    Federal subsidies in agriculture whether for crop insurance, direct payments, or ethanol are creating a greater and greater divide between the haves and the have nots in rural areas. Our tax dollars are being used to make millionaries out of ordinary farmers, I should say land owners(myself included), at the expense of young and beginning farmers. It is so true today that entry in farming depends on who you marry or who your parents are. Soon it may depend on how many wives you obtain and how many parents you can claim.

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