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Old 02-11-2005, 06:56 PM   #1
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Default Farmers Betrayed By Bush

The most fuc$ed up thing about this is that most of the farming states are RED STATES and most farmers voted for bush obviously. We have billions to destroy lives in Iraq and use for "false" wars yet we can't even spend 1/4 of that to save our own working people, way to go Bush, once again you proved your worth.

Farmers Shaken by Bush's Subsidy Plan

Fri Feb 11, 3:00 PM ET Politics - AP

By JIM WASSERMAN, Associated Press Writer

LIVE OAK, Calif. - Rice grower Frank Rehermann contemplates his 33rd spring planting while worrying about the lowest crop prices he has ever seen. And not only that, he is hearing troubling things from the federal government, his silent partner on 900 acres about 60 miles north of Sacramento.

President Bush, in his budget plan released Monday, is proposing to cut farm subsidies by 5 percent this year, cap them at $250,000 per farm and reduce overall spending by about one-third over across the next decade.

"I expect when it's all said and done the rice industry will sustain cuts. The question is how much?" said Rehermann, who along with 5,300 other rice growers in Northern California received $260 million in federal crop subsidies in 2003.

From North Dakota wheat country through the Midwest Corn Belt to the South's cotton fields, farmers who considered their government payments guaranteed are worried.

"What do they want from us? Do they really want us to succeed out here and support our local communities? Or do they want us to quietly go away and sell out to an investor?" asked Eunice Biel, a dairy farmer with 860 acres near Harmony, Minn.

In many farm states that helped re-elect Bush in November after never hearing any campaign talk about cutting their payments, there is a sense of betrayal.

"I'm not happy. I voted for George Bush," said cotton grower John Rife of Ferriday, La.

Between 1995 and 2003, U.S. farmers received $131 billion in federal subsidies, with the largest share — 28 percent — steered to Midwest corn growers, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan Washington advocacy group. In 2003, the first year after Bush signed the most recent farm bill, about one-third of U.S. farms received $16.4 billion in federal subsidies,

By proposing such cuts, Bush has reignited a long debate in farm communities and urban America about the government's Depression-era practice of subsidizing what are now the world's most productive farms.

Critics say the subsidies benefit mostly large agribusiness corporations rather than small family farms, contribute to excessive federal spending and act as a barrier to free trade. An EWG analysis found that 10 percent of recipients get 72 percent of the nation's farm aid.

Among farmers, who make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, many say such payments are critical to their businesses, where production costs often outstrip commodity prices and the profit margin is perilously small and can easily be wiped out by heat, by cold, by rain or by drought.

Terry Wanzek, a fourth-generation wheat farmer in Jamestown, N.D., said: "My payment goes right into the checkbook and back out to pay local taxes and farm equipment. It's not money that goes into my Swiss bank account or goes on vacation."

Farmers say people who are not familiar with agriculture misunderstand subsidies.

"In a town of 15,000 or 20,000 people, you can tell the difference when the farms are doing good and farmers are more optimistic about things," said Cruger, Miss., cotton grower Rob Farmer. "Everybody does better. All the businesses do better."

Farmers plan to fight Bush's proposal, and Congress has traditionally backed crop subsidies. Harry Zeeve of the Concord Coalition, a balanced-budget organization that welcomed the Bush proposal, acknowledged: "Given the resistance that the administration may face from both Democrats and Republicans who would be affected by that, we're certainly not confident that these cuts will survive."

North Dakota's farmers are, by one measure, the nation's most heavily subsidized, with 78 percent of the state's farms receiving federal payments, according to EWG data.

Over the eight-year period from 1995 to 2003, Texas received the most in subsidies, $11.8 billion. A third of that went to cotton growers. Iowa ranks second with $11.2 billion, three-fourths of that going to corn growers. Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota were also top recipients, each landing about $7 billion.

California's $27 billion-a-year farm economy, the nation's largest, ranked ninth in federal payments, mostly for major export crops such as cotton and rice. California's many fruit and nut crops do not qualify.

While some farmers say they are resigned to cuts because of the federal deficit, most are fiercely protective of their own category of subsidies. That could mean furious infighting among competing commodity groups as Congress decides what to do.

"There's going to be a battle royale," promised Rehermann, who also heads the California Rice Commission.

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Old 02-11-2005, 07:36 PM   #2
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Default RE: Farmers Betrayed By Bush

As usual a hot bush bash comes over the wire and without a seconds thought(or probably even an actual read) it gets posted by the vin-meister. You think a farmer getting 250,000 in subsidies might have a little strangeness going on? The subsidies were intended to support smaller famers but the majority of them are very,very large. That's why bush wants to cap it.

And of course, if bush does what he thinks is right with his own constiuency he's called heartless, not politically courageous. Who would expect a liberal to argue FOR corporate welfare, only in the continuing to dwindle leftist dem party. I do as usual expect little or no thougth before something is posted however and that continues to be a truisim. Whatever?

Per [Lowry]http://dallas-mavs.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=36&threadid=21506[/l]
The Bush administration is set to take on one of the great scandals of American governance: a system of farm subsidies so perverse that it should get whatever the equivalent of an NC-17 rating is for a federal program. Decent people everywhere should want to avert their eyes. In seeking to cut and reform the subsidies, President Bush will provoke a fight every bit as fierce, in its own way, as that over Social Security, prompting opposition from the forces of greed and political cowardice.

Farm subsidies as we know them grew up around the Great Depression, when they didn't work particularly well, and they have maintained their tradition of not working for more than seven decades now. As the New York Times recently reported, farm income doubled during the past two years, and — holy soybean! — farm subsidies still went up 40 percent. Farmers game the commodity markets to get both high prices for their products and high federal subsidies. It goes to show that few things are as addictive and distorting as a government handout.

The system is supposed to help family farms — but if this is a family-farm-friendly government program, what would a hostile one look like? Family farms aren't big enough to garner the largest subsidies and are squeezed by the way the federal payments increase land values and stimulate overproduction. "The subsidies reward the guy who gets higher yields with higher subsidies, and he's able to buy out his neighbor and get even bigger," says Dennis Avery, an agriculture expert at the Hudson Institute.
"Yankees fans who say “flags fly forever’’ are right, you never lose that. It reinforces all the good things about being a fan. ... It’s black and white. You (the Mavs) won a title. That’s it and no one can say s--- about it.’’
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