I will be joining Michael Olson of MetroFarm.com on his FoodChain radio show today at noon. The program is syndicated nationwide – details on local airings are in his release reposted here. Should be lots of fun – except for USDA bureaucrats.
Food Chain Radio Show #1087
Michael Olson, Author & Urban Farming Agriculturalist
Drain the Swamp of Washington, DC?
Guest: Libertarian Author James Bovard “The Anti-Czar Czar”
A new president is moving on Washington, DC, with a promise to “drain the swamp!” What is “the swamp” and how would one go about draining it?
A good place to start looking for answers would be the United States Department of Agriculture, an agency with a $19 billion a year budget that grows nothing and sells nothing. For what USDA does, consider the Wall Street Journal Op Ed penned by James Bovard…
• USDA has paid Brazilian cotton farmers $750 million dollars to grow cotton in competition with U.S. farmers, to whom the agency pays about $1.5 billion a year to grow cotton in competition with Brazilian farmers.
• USDA maintains import quotas and price supports that drive U.S. sugar prices to double or triple the world price, thus eliminating over 120,000 U.S. food manufacturing jobs.
• USDA is forecast to spend about a $1 billion a year supporting peanut farmers, and now has mountains of surplus peanuts peanut farmers have dumped on the government.
• USDA will spend about $7.5 billion this year guaranteeing the price of crops for which buyers may or may not wish to buy.
And who receives the largess handed out by USDA?
• The top 1% of U.S. farm subsidy recipients receive 26% of the subsidy payments.
• The top 20% of U.S. farm subsidy recipients receive 91% of all subsidy payments.
• The bottom 80% of U.S. farm subsidy recipients receive 9% of all subsidy payments.
• The largest share of farm subsidy recipients have an average net worth of $2,586,000.
Given the amount of taxpayer monies being handed out by the federal agencies in Washington, DC, and the number of people and organizations that receive that money, and the extent to which those people and organizations will fight to keep the money coming, we simply must ask…