Wealthy farmers still getting bulk of subsidy money

Any time a bureaucrat of any stripe utters the word “reform” you can be sure they hold a completely different definition than what you would find in a dictionary. In fact their definition is actually an antonym. Here is how the dictionary describes “reform.”

Reform: noun

  1. A change for the better as a result of correcting abuses
  2. A campaign aimed to correct abuses or malpractices
  3. Self-improvement in behavior or morals by abandoning some vice

And here’s the bureaucrat definition:

  1. An effort to maintain the status quo of bad policy while promising to change it
  2. A campaign to add more bureaucracy and government control while promising less
  3. Promoting and hiding more corruption and malfeasance while claiming “transparency” and good ethics
  4. Spending more taxpayer money while claiming to spend less and/or calling it “savings”

In other words, when a bureaucrat utters the word “reform,” it can only mean one thing – you’re screwed. A good example of this version of “reform” can be found in this story (from the AP).

Lawmakers crafting a sweeping farm bill in 2008 promised it would cut government payments to wealthy farmers. Two years later, little appears to have changed.Data being made public Wednesday shows that the wealthiest farmers in the country are still receiving the bulk of government cash, despite claims from lawmakers that reforms in the bill would put more money in the hands of smaller farms. At the same time, a series of exemptions written into the bill has made it more difficult for the public to find out who is receiving what.

Lawmakers writing the $290 billion bill included several provisions aimed at cutting down on government subsidies to the wealthiest farmers. They sought to eliminate a loophole that allowed farmers to collect higher payments and they set income limits for those who received subsidies. Though those new laws may have cut down on payments to some farmers, others have been able to find ways around them.

Such subsidies to the nation’s largest farms are a mainstay of congressional politics and an eternal frustration to those who want to eliminate them. A powerful coalition of farm-state members of Congress have successfully defended their constituents’ interests in farm bill after farm bill.

So, in the name of “reform” the status quo is maintained. Not only that, but they were also able to hide the results – also in the name of “reform.”

While the Agriculture Department previously released data that showed which individuals received subsidies through business entities and how much they received, the group was not able to get that information this time after Congress wrote a series of data exemptions in the farm law.Whether all of that information will be available again is unclear. Lawmakers writing the farm bill directed the USDA to track that information in a different way with the stated purpose of improving the transparency of who is receiving what, while also prohibiting the release of some data due to privacy concerns for farmers.

Members of Congress declined to talk about how their bill has performed. House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and former Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the two lead negotiators of the 2008 farm bill, were unavailable for comment, according to their spokesmen. Current Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., would say only that the bill “made great strides to improving farm programs.”

The crafters of this “reform” won’t comment and one of the bureaucrats claims success. A trifecta! UGH…


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