Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Green Acres" to be History? It's About Time

GWB's boyzzz came up with an entirely defensible (and sensible) idea here. Let's see how long it takes for an Army of well-funded tax lawyers, CPA's and Idle Rich to scream.

The Bush administration yesterday proposed ending farm subsidies for an estimated 80,000 wealthy individuals as part of a broad plan that would close loopholes and cut traditional farm programs by $4.5 billion over the next 10 years.

...The Post found, for example, that wealthy commercial farmers were easily able to legally avoid the limits on government subsidy payments. The Johanns plan would save $1.5 billion over 10 years by eliminating subsidies to people with adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000 -- income after subtracting farm expenses and certain deductions. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Charles F. Conner said that if a farmer is at that level "you're the richest guy in the county."

The administration also promised to tighten rules that have enabled distant relatives of a farmer or a friend in a far-off city to collect payments on the farmer's behalf while doing little or no work.

The plan would close a major loophole highlighted by The Post that in 2005 allowed corn farmers to receive $3.8 billion more than needed to ensure they got the government-guaranteed price. Farmers would no longer be able to collect these "loan deficiency payments" when prices are low and then sell later when prices rise.

Johanns also proposed changes in a program that since 2000 has enabled some landowners who do not farm to still collect $1.3 billion in "direct" farm payments. The Post detailed how some Texas homeowners were drawing these payments on back yards once used as rice fields and known as "cowboy starter kits." The new plan reduces the amount of land eligible for the direct payments after farmland is sold.

These programs are rackets, to say the least. They've been abused since Day One, and trust me, they won't go away easily. The people who take this money are NOT 'the farmer in the dell' with hardscrabble land and 5 underfed/overworked children. They are 3-piece suits and system-gamers--aided and abetted by CPAs and lawyers.

HT: Right Off the Shore

1 comment:

Billiam said...

Amazing that so many bitch about oil company subsidies, yet defend these.