Beltway Confidential

Billionaire farmers raking in farm subsidies

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Agriculture,Farm Bill,Subsidies

Republicans talk about cutting welfare for the poor. Democrats talk about hiking taxes on the rich.

Here's a compromise: cut welfare for the rich. One place to start would be farm subsidies.

The Environmental Working Group reports:

At least 50 billionaires or farm businesses in which they had a financial interest benefited from $11.3 million in traditional farm subsidies between 1995 and 2012, according to a new analysis released today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

(Disclosure: One of the billionaires on the list is Philip Anschutz, who owns the Washington Examiner. Two farms owned by Anschutz hauled a combined $600,000 in federal crop subsidies between 1995 and 2003, but none in the past decade.)

Amazingly, Congress is on the verge of exacerbating this problem with a rejiggered subsidy program that could increase costs to taxpayers while increasing the subsidy to banks that lend to farms.

This is a pattern: Government gets involved in an industry, and the wealthy and well connected benefit.

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