Because the inception of farm subsidies, high-powered officers and celebrities have acquired lavish funds. OpenTheBooks’ honorary chairman, Dr. Tom Coburn, demonstrated this throughout his tenure as a U.S. senator: He issued a report in 2011 that discovered government-funded celeb farmers included former NBA star Scottie Pippen, media mogul Ted Turner, Tony Award-winning rock icon Bruce Springsteen, and fellow rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
Final yr, even billionaire businessman Glen Taylor – the proprietor of the Minnesota Timberwolves – acquired $116,502 in federal farm subsidies. Does Mr. Taylor, No. 350 on the Forbes 400 listing of wealthiest People, really want taxpayer funding for his egg and dairy farm in Iowa?
Farm subsidies had been by no means supposed to grow to be welfare for the rich. Throughout the Nice Melancholy, they had been created to maintain the small household farm afloat and guarantee a secure nationwide meals provide. In the present day these subsidies have grown so profitable that rich buyers, massive companies, and farm-estate heirs use taxpayer cash to maximise their private returns.
In the present day, our group, American Transparency, launched its OpenTheBooks oversight report, “Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies.” The report catalogues $13.2 billion in these subsidies flowing to almost 958,000 recipients in fiscal yr 2017. Utilizing our interactive mapping platform at OpenTheBooks.com, taxpayers can search all recipients receiving $100,000 or extra in FY2017 farm subsidies by ZIP Code.
Contemplate some examples of the modern-day farm subsidy:
- Residents in America’s 5 most populated cities acquired practically $17 million over a three-year interval, together with Chicago ($7.7 million), Miami ($4.5 million), New York Metropolis ($2.eight million), Los Angeles ($1.6 million), and Philadelphia ($309,000).
- In fiscal yr 2017, $4.eight million flowed to the upper-middle-class elites in America’s most prosperous ZIP Codes. It’s arduous to imagine of us in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are farming, however these two ZIP Codes acquired $139,080 and $94,090 during the last three years, respectively.
- In Washington, D.C., greater than 350 recipients acquired $1.7 million in fiscal yr 2017 farm subsidies. Van Boyette, a sugar trade lobbyist and lawyer, acquired practically $32,000 by a managed company final yr.
We found greater than $626 million in federal farm subsidy funds over the past three fiscal years flowed to recipients in city areas with populations exceeding 250,000. Simply final yr, a lucky 400 farmers throughout America pulled down $1 million or extra in farm subsidies every. Pinicon Farms in Iowa acquired the most important sum: $9.9 million.
Taxpayers even forked over $1.eight billion to pay farmers to not farm their land. Via the Conservation Reserve Program, farmers acquired rental funds in change for not farming land deemed environmentally delicate – and these contracts can final 10 to 15 years.
Why can’t Congress rein within the largess and cease farm subsidy abuses? Nicely, our auditors discovered 12 members of Congress collected as much as $637,059 in subsidy funds final yr alone.
In truth, lawmakers crafting the insurance policies on the agriculture committees are, many instances, massive recipients of their subsidy. The listing contains Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) with $1.three million, Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) with $20,420, Robert Gibbs (R-Ohio) with $7,660, and Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) with $58,210, and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) with $16,190 (funds between 2015-2017).
We additionally discovered that in 2011 the Inner Income Service reported that 172,801 deceased farmers acquired $1.1 billion over a six-year interval. It actually appears as if farmers – like their farm subsidies – by no means die.
Congress desires to wrap up the farm invoice as quickly as doable, maybe earlier than taxpayers know what it comprises. In case you don’t like funding a large subsidy program to rich, city farmers, now could be the time to inform Congress that you simply, not Springsteen, are the boss.