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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 15, 2007 / 1 Elul 5767

Dead men farming

By John Stossel


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | By now you've probably heard that a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report states:


From 1999 through 2005, the USDA "paid $1.1 billion in farm payments in the names of 172,801 deceased individuals. ... 40 percent went to those who had been dead for three or more years, and 19 percent to those dead for seven or more years." One dead farmer got more than $400,000 during those years.


And they say you can't take it with you.


Defending the USDA, the GAO adds, "The complex nature of some farming operations — such as entities embedded within other entities — can make it difficult for USDA to avoid making payments to deceased individuals."


Exactly. The agricultural section of the U.S. code is nearly 1,800 pages.


There's an easy way to avoid such absurdities: Abolish all farm subsidies.


Why are taxpayers forced to pay farmers $25 billion a year? Sure, farmers face droughts and floods, but that's been true since Moses' day. They can't say they weren't put on notice that farming has risks. Running a restaurant or a software company entails risks, too, but we don't guarantee their continued operation. Those businesses and America are stronger for it.


Farm subsidies are popular with politicians because Big Agriculture lobbies hard, and many people believe that without subsidies, we wouldn't have a reliable food supply.


But what an insane myth that is. As I wrote in "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity", most crops are not subsidized. Yet we have no shortages of fruits, vegetables, livestock and poultry. America has plenty of peaches, plums, peas, green beans, etc., and farmers who grow those crops do fine. What makes wheat, cotton, corn, soybeans and rice different?


Last week, the New York Times reported that dairy farmers in New Zealand get along perfectly well without subsidies: "[E]ver since a liberal but free-market government swept to power in 1984 and essentially canceled handouts to farmers — something that just about every other government in an advanced industrial nation has considered both politically and economically impossible. ... [O]utput has soared."


Yet in America, our congressmen enact a 742-page farm bill that, among other things, includes 10 times more money than in 2002 for "specialty crops," including citrus, tomatoes and melons, and an amendment to include goat meat in the mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Program.


An amendment that would have withheld subsidies from farmers with incomes of $250,000 or more was rejected by the House.


The farm program is repulsive welfare for the rich. The average farmer earns much more than the average American.


And even rich nonfarmers have received subsidies — among them the late Ken Lay of Enron; Ted Turner, founder of CNN; my ABC colleague Sam Donaldson; and banker David Rockefeller.


And how absurd is this? "After handing out commodity subsidies that pay farmers to plant more crops," Heritage Foundation senior fellow Bruce Riedl notes, "Washington then turns around and pays other farmers not to farm 40 million acres of cropland each year — the equivalent of idling every farm in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio".


It's time we got over the myth that the government helps the heroic family farm. Riedl points out that "federal farm policies specifically bypass family farmers. Subsidies are paid per acre, so the largest (and most profitable) agribusinesses automatically receive the biggest checks."


Besides all the obvious ones, there's another reason to end farm subsidies. They show us to be hypocrites. How can we preach free trade in talks with developing nations when we subsidize farmers who then dump their crop surpluses in poor countries and wreck their domestic farms?


Give me a break.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JUST OUT FROM STOSSEL
Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel --- Why Everything You Know Is Wrong  

Stossel mines his 20/20 segments for often engaging challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposes of government waste and regulatory fiascoes. Sales help fund JWR.



JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


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