Monday, March 26, 2007

Chicago Tribune - End Farm Welfare

The Chicago Tribune editorialized against continued farm support programs:

If you go into one of the countless small farming communities in Illinois and
mention cutting farm subsidies, you might find yourself facing the business end
of a running combine.American farmers are the most efficient and productive
growers in the world. This competitive advantage will ensure that American
agriculture remains at the top of the global food chain, regardless of subsidy
levels. However, since the New Deal, American farmers have also enjoyed a
massive, government-supplied, competitive advantage in the global agriculture
market because Washington has subsidized them out the ear. That advantage for
the U.S. translates into a crippling disadvantage for millions of poor farmers
around the world. And, with regard to trade talks, it's the reason why things
are All Quiet on the Doha Front.

The Trib went on to say Bush Administration had made some progress with proposing to limit payment caps with a benchmark of $200,000 instead of $2.5 million.

The president's plan would make it harder for large, wealthy farms to
receive government handouts. It would do this by lowering the highest subsidized
annual income level from $2.5 million to $200,000. In the words of Agriculture
Secretary Mike Johanns, "After $200,000, you should graduate from taxpayer
subsidies." In addition, the president's farm plan would limit a large
agriculture corporation's ability to game the system by breaking into several,
smaller entities to receive more subsidies. These are good ideas to ensure that
federal assistance goes to the farming families that need it most.

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