Skip to comments.Jimmy Carter: U.S. farm subsidies' harvest of misery
Posted on 12/11/2007 7:45:04 AM PST by SmithL
Congress can still act decisively this year to right a wrong that is hurting both small American farmers and the poorest people on the planet. A long-overdue debate is taking place on reform of the 1933 farm bill, passed during the Great Depression to alleviate the suffering of America's family farmers. I was a farm boy then, and the primary cash crops on my father's farm were peanuts and cotton. My first paying job was working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, measuring farmers' fields to ensure that they limited their acreage and total production in order to qualify for the life-sustaining farm subsidy prices.
Tragically, in its current form this legislation does not fulfill its original purposes but instead encourages excess production while channeling enormous government payments to the biggest producers. This product of powerful lobbyists now punishes small-scale farmers in the United States and is devastating to families in many of the world's least affluent countries.
It is embarrassing to note that, from 1995 to 2005, the richest 10 percent of cotton growers received more than 80 percent of total subsidies. The wealthiest 1 percent of American cotton farmers continues to receive over 25 percent of payouts for cotton, while more than half of America's cotton farmers receive no subsidies at all.
American farmers are not dependent on the global market because they are guaranteed a minimum selling price by the federal government.
American producers of cotton received more than $18 billion in subsidies between 1999 and 2005, while market value of the cotton was $23 billion. That's a subsidy of 86 percent!
The Carter Center works primarily among the world's poorest people, including those in West Africa whose scant livelihood depends on cotton production....
(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...
He is sounding strangely conservative.
What did he drink?
I don’t recall Dimmy doing anything about this when he was supposed to be acting as president. Did he know there was a problem then or did he just discover it when Bush took office?
Jimmah’s first job was a bureaucrat. How sweet.
Missing from Jimmie’s liberal rant on dollar subsidies are the governmentally sanctioned subsidies for farm labor, namely, the allowance of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to these same farm conglomerates.
The money saved in wages, taxes collected, and benefits probably totals more than all the cash subsidies.
No kidding, I read it and had to double check the Author’s name since I was agreeing with him!
—since I don’t sign in for the Bee, does Jimmah get into the peanut subsidy?
Sounds like he is actually saying something I agree with.
I’ve never understood farm subsidies and getting paid NOT to grow something.
Anything with the words gov’t and subsidies in it has got to be bad.
He's actually making the case for the ceasing of the subsidies and moving cotton production overseas.
I bet his liberal water carriers haven't noticed this yet.
It should be interesting to see what happens to this issue now that it’s been picked up by one of the anointed on the left and reframed as a rich vs. poor issue. I’ve always felt that the gov’t should get it’s nose out of the farm industry and let it be sorted out on its own. The upside is it may actually get some attention. The downside is that if it becomes a liberal “problem” to solve, the only thing I can be assured of is that I’ll have less money, and a targeted voting block will receive it.
the AG subsidy is the Third Rail of politics for our nation of farmers and has a high probability of never seeing substantial reform.
Farm subsidies are among the most wasteful excesses in the entire budget. I think we pay out like 200 billion a year aiding giant agribusiness, for no apparent reason.
“He’s actually making the case for the ceasing of the subsidies and moving cotton production overseas.”
You got it!
I just hate it when I agree with Jimmy Carter. Thankfully it only happens every 30 years or so.
Even a blind pig finds an occasional acorn.
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