Monday, July 27, 2009

Tax Farming

Burton Folsom, Jr., details the origin of farm subsidies in America in his article, The Origin of American Farm Subsidies.[1] Like a lot of government programs, it's easy to assume that farm subsidies have been with us from the day of the signing in Philadelphia during the summer of 1776. In actuality, farm subsidies have a relatively short history.

Folsom notes that President Coolidge fought one of the first subsidy programs with the words, "Such action would establish bureaucracy on such a scale as to dominate not only the economic life but the moral, social, and political future of our people."

This wise warning was ignored by the nation's next two presidents, Hoover and Roosevelt. And, exactly as Coolidge pronounced, farm aid subsidies were the beginning of our long, wretched history of redistributing wealth to those who can grab hold of the politician's elbow.

Some of us are taxpayers while others are tax recipients. Ludwig von Mises long ago describe the real class structure of modern society: Two classes exist, those who pay the taxes, and those who receive them.

link takes you to some of the biggest welfare recipients -- er, tax recipients -- of my county, Delaware County, Ohio. With a few clicks you can find similar data for your county or state.

Some of the farmers receiving federal subsidies have such a tough life. Imagine getting close to $100,000 per year from the federal government, almost $1 million over the last ten years. Not a bad way to make a living.

We keep paying and they keep cashing.

Go to the
Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Farm Subsidy Database to learn more.[2]

And, when given the opportunity, thank those who farm tax dollars for a living.


[1]This article was published by
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in their monthly magazine, The Freeman.

[2] While I do not subscribe to the politics of EWG, they have a wealth of data to mine.


Connie said...

Thanks for the tip. I already looked up the piggies in my county.

Paul said...

Our method for funding schools is a farm subsidy as well. When farm property is appraised at a fraction of its market value through the CAUV process, the effect is cause Foundation money to be transferred into agriculture-heavy districts.

Whether or not one agrees that this is appropriate, a farm subsidy it is, and it's rarely identified as such.