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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

Your view: Get the facts

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

This is written in response to the recent drivel that some mindless idiots have called in to SpeakOut regarding farm subsidies. SpeakOut is an apt title for this section of your paper. A title such as "Speak Your Mind" would not apply to these idiots as they do not have one, in my opinion.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "Our farmers are the most efficient in the world. In no other country do so few people produce so much food to feed so many at such reasonable prices."

This continues to be true today. Although farmers make up less than 2 percent of our total population, they are so efficient and productive that American consumers spend only 10 percent of their disposable income on food. By comparison, the French and Australians spend approximately 15 percent; German, Italians and Japanese spend about 17 percent; Mexicans spend almost 25 percent; and in India, consumers spend almost 50 percent of their income on food.

Even so, American farmers and ranchers receive only 19 cents of every dollar spent on food, a figure that has declined from 31 cents in 1980.

Foreign farm subsidies are more than six time higher than subsidies in the United States, while foreign tariffs on American agricultural products are more than five times higher than the average U.S. imposed tariff.

Economists estimate that agriculture is the foundation for 17 percent of all U.S. jobs and 13 percent of the total U.S. Gross Domestic Product. This alone is sufficient reason for keeping American agriculture viable with subsidies as long as economic forces require it to be done.

Only about 30 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture budget represents farm programs. A much larger portion, 44 percent, is directed toward food and nutrition social programs, which assist one of every six Americans annually.

From a taxpayer perspective, the amount of money spent supporting farmers is very small, amounting to 4.4 cents per meal (or 13.2 cents per day). When compared to the amount each taxpayer pays to support the total federal budget, which is $23.45 per day, federal financial support for farmers amounts to about one-half of one percent. This amounts to about 0.56 percent of the total U.S. federal budget.

If you want to bellyache about subsidies, consider the railway system in this country. It has been subsidized by taxpayers since the beginning. What about our highway system? The large trucks are responsible for 90 percent of the wear and tear on the highways we taxpayers pay for. Is this not a subsidy to the motor transportation system of this country? Of course it is. In the past I've seen trucks with something like "this vehicle pays $4,200 a year in highway taxes." Right behind that notice should be painted, "and tears up $75,000 worth of highway." I could go on and on, but those of you with the ability to think for yourselves will get the point. The nincompoops who complain about farm subsidies are too stupid to understand the facts.

There are numerous sources available where factual information can be found regarding this issue. I would urge anyone who is truly interested in the matter to pursue a little intelligent investigation into the matter and not listen to the brain-dead uninformed who so frequently use SpeakOut as a platform for their stupidity.

By the way, I am not a farmer - not that it really matters. Facts are facts, no matter who speaks them.

D.H.J.