Farm Bill Saddles Taxpayers with Billions in Subsidies

Washington, D.C., November 2, 2007—As Congress is poised to approve a new farm bill that further burdens consumers, taxpayers, and the poor while paying for bloated farm subsidies, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is calling for reform in a new video: "Farming for Dollars: How Farm Subsidies Hurt Consumers, Taxpayers, and the Poor."

The House of Representatives already passed its version of the bill, which is estimated to cost $286 billion over the next 10 years. The Senate version, approved by the Agriculture Committee, carries a taxpayer bill almost as high and is expected to be considered by the full Senate soon.

“Both farm bills expand and extend bloated programs that mostly began during the Great Depression, when the farm population accounted for one-fourth of America’s total population. Now that number is less than 1 percent,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Adjunct Scholar Fran Smith.

More and more subsidies are going to large farms. In 2002, over 50 percent of subsidies went to farms with annual sales over $250,000. Farmers too are doing very well—the average farm income is projected to be $86,000 this year.

"These outdated farm programs not only carry a high cost for taxpayers, but can hit consumers with higher food prices,” added Smith. “In addition, heavily subsidizing U.S. crops means that poor countries can’t compete in the world market."

View the video online here.

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