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Farm Subsidies

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OPINION
May 21, 2002
President Bush just signed a $190-billion farm subsidy bill guaranteeing higher subsidies to Midwest and Southern farmers, where key political races will decide which party controls Congress next year, and putting additional bucks onto large corporate-farm profit lines (May 14). At the same time, President Bush is trying to again cut Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals and other care providers in an attempt to cover some prescription drug costs. Once again, party-politics dollars given to a few win out over the need for a better medical care system for all U.S. citizens.
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BUSINESS
January 29, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
Backers of the new farm bill, approved by the House today and destined for consideration by the Senate next week, are patting themselves on the back for saving billions by eliminating a huge wasteful farm subsidy program.  Don't believe the hype. The conservative American Enterprise Institute says the measure could cost taxpayers $15 billion more per year than do existing crop programs, much of it going to the wealthiest farmers and the crop insurance industry. The AEI calls the farm bill a "bait and switch" scheme and the product of "beggar thy neighbor cronyism.
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BUSINESS
February 14, 2011 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
President Obama's 2012 budget plan calls for the elimination of more than $5 billion in public support for agricultural programs, including subsidies to the wealthiest U.S. farmers. On Monday, Obama signaled that his administration wants to shift federal dollars away from farm programs, setting up a battle between the White House and legislators from agricultural states. It will also test the political will of some Republican and "tea party" lawmakers from rural districts who have vowed to trim federal spending.
BUSINESS
October 17, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
It seems we may have been unfair to Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) by suggesting he's a hypocrite for voting to cut back food stamps while he collects millions in government farm handouts. The Central Valley Republican's vote Wednesday on the shutdown-ending House bill tells a different story: In fact, he's a man of principle. LaMalfa has generally stood for smaller government, especially smaller poverty programs, which he believes should be handled by individuals and church groups.
BUSINESS
September 20, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Let's visit again with Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, who distinguished himself a few months back by making it into Rep. George Miller's Hall of Hypocrites by pocketing millions in farm subsidies for his family farm while acting to slash food stamp benefits for the poor. This week, the House of Representatives voted again on food stamps. LaMalfa voted with the Republican majority to cut $40 billion from the program over 10 years. That would be devastating, if the Senate concurred.
WORLD
March 7, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson
When Mexico and the United States were entering a landmark free trade agreement 16 years ago, one thing was clear: Mexican farmers would initially find it difficult to compete with heavily subsidized U.S. agricultural products. The solution: Mexico created a special fund to dole out cash to the poorest and smallest farmers. Somewhere along the way, something went wrong. Today, the fund -- far from helping the neediest -- is providing large financial subsidies to the families of notorious drug traffickers and several senior government officials, including the agriculture minister.
OPINION
July 31, 2006
Re "The world's other crisis," editorial, July 26 To lament global poverty while later implicating U.S. farm subsidies, not only as the culprit in the collapse of the World Trade Organization negotiations but as harming "every American taxpayer and consumer," indicates a lack of understanding of the issues. U.S. farm subsidies originate from the Dust Bowl era, when famine was a real possibility. They ensure sufficient production of grains by guaranteeing that farmers will receive a minimum "floor price."
OPINION
December 19, 2007
Re "Senate passes bill that keeps subsidies for wealthy farmers," Dec. 15 Between the Democrats' support for billions in subsidies to wealthy farming corporations and the Republicans' support for the $13 billion in tax relief for the obscenely wealthy oil companies, it's fairly clear that our representatives gave up representing the people a while back.
BUSINESS
September 20, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Let's visit again with Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, who distinguished himself a few months back by making it into Rep. George Miller's Hall of Hypocrites by pocketing millions in farm subsidies for his family farm while acting to slash food stamp benefits for the poor. This week, the House of Representatives voted again on food stamps. LaMalfa voted with the Republican majority to cut $40 billion from the program over 10 years. That would be devastating, if the Senate concurred.
BUSINESS
July 24, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Congressman George Miller (D-Martinez), has called out his colleagues in the House of Representatives who voted two weeks ago to zero out funding for food stamps while collecting millions of dollars in farm subsidies for themselves with both hands.  There are 14 of them, all Republicans, according to the report Miller's office issued this week . Titled "Pork Barrel Politics," it names names. This rogues' gallery of hypocrisy has a total net worth of up to $124.5 million (the exact figure isn't public, because members of Congress only have to declare their wealth in ranges)
NEWS
July 9, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Agricultural subsidies are contributing to the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and should be revised to help improve public health, Canadian researchers say. Agriculture policy “remains largely uninformed by public health discourse,” they write in an article published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Government farm subsidies have helped create an inexpensive food supply with the sorts of foods that lead to obesity, they said. That's a position about which there is a great deal of contention, with some arguing that inexpensive commodity prices do not do much to reduce retail prices; and that other countries with high subsidies do not have high obesity rates.
NATIONAL
June 20, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - A revolt among rank-and-file Republicans helped kill the farm bill in the House on Thursday, the latest vote to reflect the influence of conservative groups that have often been at odds with the chamber's GOP leadership. More than a quarter of the Republicans joined with most Democrats to defeat the nearly $1-trillion bill to reauthorize farm subsidies and nutrition programs, legislation that has traditionally been bipartisan. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
NEWS
June 20, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Supporters of the federal food stamp program exulted Thursday when the House defeated a major agriculture bill that would have trimmed its budget by a few percent. But if they think the House rejected the bill because of the food stamp cuts, they can't count votes. The bill, HR 1947, would have reauthorized the full range of farm programs for five years at an estimated cost of almost $1 trillion. About three-quarters of the funds would have gone to food stamps, a.k.a. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
NEWS
June 18, 2013 | By Jon Healey
I realize that members of Congress have to suspend their sense of irony just to get through the day, but I'm still having trouble understanding how the House could consider cutting food stamps in the name of personal responsibility while creating new subsidy programs to preserve farmers' incomes near their historic highs. Food stamps and farm subsidies are joined at the hip in part because the former (a.k.a. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ) is overseen by the federal Department of Agriculture, which also administers the panoply of farm supports.
BUSINESS
June 14, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
As a member of Congress, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) is proud to stand up for the principles of limited government and individual responsibility. The first-term congressman expresses skepticism about such safety-net programs as food stamps, regarding them as the handiwork of an "oppressive" government that snatches wages from the hands of working people. Helping the poor is better left to individuals and churches, he said at a recent committee hearing in Washington, because then "it comes from the heart, not from a badge or from a mandate.
BUSINESS
July 13, 2012 | By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
Congress wants to ditch the usual subsidies for dairy farmers and replace them with a new type of insurance to protect farmers' bottom lines during hard times. But some California dairymen aren't lapping it up. The measure would replace outright subsidies with a voluntary insurance plan to pay farmers enough to maintain a profit margin when milk prices drop too low. Farms that opt into the insurance plan, however, would be required to produce less milk whenever prices fall below a certain point, based on the idea that a glut of milk forces prices down.
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