July 2, 2006

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Okay, these aren’t earmarks, exactly, but we’re still talking pork:

Even though Donald R. Matthews put his sprawling new residence in the heart of rice country, he is no farmer. He is a 67-year-old asphalt contractor who wanted to build a dream house for his wife of 40 years.

Yet under a federal agriculture program approved by Congress, his 18-acre suburban lot receives about $1,300 in annual “direct payments,” because years ago the land was used to grow rice.

Matthews is not alone. Nationwide, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post.

As the Nebraska Guitar Militia put it: Farmin’ the Government beats actual, you know, farming: “Reap what you don’t sow.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Spruiell notes the connection with Doha’s collapse.

UPDATE: You can hear “Farmin’ the Government” here. It just might be the best song on agricultural subsidies you ever hear!

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