Mr. Niewenhuis (New Jersey Farm Bureau President) is correct about one thing: the farm bill before Congress has lots to do with you. The farm bill will cost you, the taxpayer, $211 billion, have negative environmental consequences, is extremely harmful to our international relations, and will end up hurting the small family farm. The farm bill subsidies are an un-American affront to fairness and common sense.
The 2002 farm bill cost taxpayers an average of $85 billion per year between 2002 and 2005. In 2005 it cost the taxpayer $100 billion. The 2007 farm bill is even more bloated. Instead of allowing the free market to set prices (and as a result the levels of production_, the farm bill attempts to micromanage production by paying some farmers not to farm while paying other farmers to farm. The result is higher prices to the consumer. In effect, the prices of some goods such as milk and sugar are set to artificially high levels by a government enforced cartel. The largest beneficiary is Florida's Flo-Sun. The owners have an estimated net worth of $500 million. If the 2007 farm bill is passed, they are expected to receive $125 million annually in farm sugar production price supports.
The vast majority of farm subsidies go to just five crops. According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, the average income of the farmers receiving subsidies is $191,000 and has an average net worth of just under $2 million. These farmers are subsidized to the detriment of the small farmer. Recipients of subsidies include lawmakers, big agribusiness, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, Sam Donaldson, Bob Dole, Texas oil billionaire Lee M. Bass, and former NBA star Scott Pippen. Fourteen members of Congress receive 160 times the average farm subsidy and 15 Fortune 500 companies receive 58 times the average farm subsidy. Farm subsidies are no more than welfare for the well-to-do.
The farm bill, like most socialist programs, makes absolutely no economic sense. Congress needs to free our farms and bring the free market back to our food production. For the sake of the taxpayer, the small farmer, the environment, and our international reputation, Congress needs to put an end to our largest corporate subsidy program.