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Is Congress Capable of Making Farm Subsidies Fair?

This week, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL collaborated with EXPOSÉ: AMERICA'S INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS to examine wasteful and unnecessary spending in farm subsidies.

EXPOSÉ reports:

"[In 1996] the Republican controlled Congress -- critical of what it termed 'big government' -- wanted to wean farmers off subsidies and to encourage them to grow whatever the market demanded. But to get votes, the reformers had to make trade-offs with farm state congressional Democrats and Republicans bent on maintaining payments to their farmers. The result was a classic Washington compromise: one kind of subsidy was ended but, in exchange, a new subsidy was created, one that paid farmers not for the crops they grew but for the land they owned. That compromise now costs taxpayers billions."

What do you think?

  • Given that Congress is made up of lawmakers who represent individual districts and states, is it capable of creating a sensible and fiscally prudent national policy for farm subsidies?


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    Comments

    ... And that's why I threw all of my daughter's plastic bottles & sippies away and got glass ones!

    Big farmers (i.e. big subsidy getters) are really big businessmen. The 'smaller' farmers who need the help are not getting it and the rich farmers are getting richer off the goverment, that is wrong, the system should have been set up to help the poor farmer who cannot make ends meet but instead it is helping the rich farmer get richer. I know all of these farmers except one or two. I personally think the farm bill should be turned down or at least cut back and divided with every farmer who farms. These farmers on this list, drive new vehicles every year, live in big houses, have 2 or 3 hired hand and buy more land every year when the poor farmer goes bankrupt and cannot hold on to his farm. I have watched the farm sells around here and its these farmers buying up all the land. These farmers have oil wells and lots of minerals which pays alot of royalty payments to them. They don't treat their hired hands to well either, seven to eight dollars a hour and no health insurance. I think to receive goverment subsidies, they should provide health insurance for their hired hands. I think requirements should be placed on the farmers who receive gov.subsidiess, (1) Medical Insurance for their workers (2) a decent wage (3) sick leave and vacation. The ones I know who work for these wealthy farmers get none of these benefits. I cut alot of the farmers hired hands hair and the hired hands do not have insurance for medical. They cannot go to the doctor.The wealthy farmers have learned the system very well and have misused it to their advantage. I think the farm bill should be turned down, because with that kind of gov. subsidy they could pay for medical benefits for their workers and should be required by law to do so.

    No, Congress can not pass a farm bill without obscene subsidies, and this farm bill proves it. I am sitting on a 2300 acre farm that has gas wells all over it. The gas well I am on is making well over $50 thousand dollars a day, of which 1/8 to 1/4 goes to the landowner who holds the mineral rights. This is one of many gas wells on the 2300 acres. I have seen the cotton being planted and now it is up. The people actually doing the farming were hired hands. The family rarely sees the property. They live in the nicest part of Shreveport Louisiana, well away from the cotton fields.

    I am working in the the gas fields, spending only 20 days home in the last 8 months because Tyson Foods, who spent $492,000 in the first quarter of this year lobbying to change the Livestock Title of the the Farm Bill watered down, which they did. The courts are not enforcing the law and the Livestock Title was legislation to ensure that they did. These courts are being packed by members on the Judiciary Committees for their friends in business. It was one of these hand picked judges that overturned the jury verdict in the cattle price manipulation case (Pickett) where the cattlemen won a 1.48 billion dollar jury verdict. The appellate court re interpreted the Packers and Stockyards Act to accomplish this turning about 4 "or"s into "and"s.

    Bush (and Arlen Specter) put in a new U.S. attorney in our district to handle the Tyson's illegal alien case so he could undermine the local FBI's evidence and throw the case for Tyson. This U.S. attorney was then put on the bench as a judge in the 6th circuit. He is summarily dismissing all cases against Tyson with prejudice which means Tyson lawyers can blackmail farmers like me saying to drop my case or I may have to pay Tyson's legal fees (this is even before being able to go to court). Tyson has hired this judge's old law firm where he was a partner.

    Farmers in my complex were concerned about the deaths in our complex surrounding the case and about Tyson ignoring the law. I was voted President of the TN Poultry Growers Association to try to do something about it. I made complaints to the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) who were just ignoring the complaints, yet were telling Congress they were investigating these complaints. An OIG (Office of Investigator General) report on GIPSA came back so damning to the agency that the person running it, JoAnn Waterfield, left after it came out, not to be found again.

    Now the new version of the Livestock Title takes the protections I and my friend Scott Hamilton, who testified in front of Congress, (and later committed suicide), fought for. Instead of being in the law, the protections are again required to be written by the USDA. If they didn't get it right the first time (the USDA delegated its responsibility to GIPSA to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act), then how can we expect them to do it now?

    Instead of solving the packed court problem farmers have, Congress has "solved" the problem by giving the problem back to those responsible for it in the first place. It does provide ample opportunity for politicians to get bought off and not fulfill their oversight responsibilities.

    No, Congress can not solve the farm welfare. They are too busy congratulating themselves on a job not done well. They have done what they have been doing over the years---spending taxpayer money where it doesn't need to go and selling justice to the highest bidder.

    We have the best government money can buy.

    This is exactly why we need a change!!!


    "Corporatism should be more accurately defined as Fascism, as it is the merging of corporate and state interests"-----Benito Mussolini

    No, Congress can not pass a farm bill without obscene subsidies, and this farm bill proves it. I am sitting on a 2300 acre farm that has gas wells all over it. The gas well I am on is making well over $50 thousand dollars a day, of which 1/8 to 1/4 goes to the landowner who holds the mineral rights. This is one of many gas wells on the 2300 acres. I have seen the cotton being planted and now it is up. The people actually doing the farming were hired hands. The family rarely sees the property. They live in the nicest part of Shreveport Louisiana, well away from the cotton fields.

    I am working in the the gas fields, spending only 20 days home in the last 8 months because Tyson Foods, who spent $492,000 in the first quarter of this year lobbying to change the Livestock Title of the the Farm Bill watered down, which they did. The courts are not enforcing the law and the Livestock Title was legislation to ensure that they did. These courts are being packed by members on the Judiciary Committees for their friends in business. It was one of these hand picked judges that overturned the jury verdict in the cattle price manipulation case (Pickett) where the cattlemen won a 1.48 billion dollar jury verdict. The appellate court re interpreted the Packers and Stockyards Act to accomplish this turning about 4 "or"s into "and"s.

    Bush (and Arlen Specter) put in a new U.S. attorney in our district to handle the Tyson's illegal alien case so he could undermine the local FBI's evidence and throw the case for Tyson. This U.S. attorney was then put on the bench as a judge in the 6th circuit. He is summarily dismissing all cases against Tyson with prejudice which means Tyson lawyers can blackmail farmers like me saying to drop my case or I may have to pay Tyson's legal fees (this is even before being able to go to court). Tyson has hired this judge's old law firm where he was a partner.

    Farmers in my complex were concerned about the deaths in our complex surrounding the case and about Tyson ignoring the law. I was voted President of the TN Poultry Growers Association to try to do something about it. I made complaints to the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) who were just ignoring the complaints, yet were telling Congress they were investigating these complaints. An OIG (Office of Investigator General) report on GIPSA came back so damning to the agency that the person running it, JoAnn Waterfield, left after it came out, not to be found again.

    Now the new version of the Livestock Title takes the protections I and my friend Scott Hamilton, who testified in front of Congress, (and later committed suicide), fought for. Instead of being in the law, the protections are again required to be written by the USDA. If they didn't get it right the first time (the USDA delegated its responsibility to GIPSA to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act), then how can we expect them to do it now?

    Instead of solving the packed court problem farmers have, Congress has "solved" the problem by giving the problem back to those responsible for it in the first place. It does provide ample opportunity for politicians to get bought off and not fulfill their oversight responsibilities.

    No, Congress can not solve the farm welfare. They are too busy congratulating themselves on a job not done well. They have done what they have been doing over the years---spending taxpayer money where it doesn't need to go and selling justice to the highest bidder.

    We have the best government money can buy.

    This is exactly why we need a change!!!


    "Corporatism should be more accurately defined as Fascism, as it is the merging of corporate and state interests"-----Benito Mussolini

    Bill, please do not invite David Beckmann on your show again. The man is well educated and can quote statistics (as expected of an economist), but he is totally ineffective in inspiring action. He doesn't even have a plan of action! Nor does he communicate well. I can't imagine his convincing anyone, especially a politician to change their minds about anything! I truly doubt that he ever rolled up his sleeves and dirtied his hands to plant a seed or a tree, but I suspect he is filled with "shoulds" and "oughts" for other people.

    Gustavo Corral:
    Are you a farmer? A business dude? You never stated your position except to threaten burning us.
    At Beret Co-op we are trying to define "farmer." We reviewed the commodity crisis during the 1930s (price supports/parity/land bank) and began to understand the origins of corporate farming welfare.
    It is a far different thing to encourage your local organic diversified farmer than to underwrite a wealthy landowning class. The former, once up to scale,would produce better food. My colleagues, Jack and Coley are trying to understand farmers and food production. They have encouraged us to put our growth pittance into gardening and have established a conversation with Vermont farmer Ethan Allen (plus locals here in N.C.).
    It was hilarious yesterday when the city mouse and the country mouse had a fight over a 12 gauge shotgun. Ethan had the stock and Jack had the barrel. If someone had called the police it would have been Falugia all over again. Anyway, they agree on nutrition (no twinkies or pop tarts) and food banks (not holding the hungry hostage).
    Grease your windmill and work your compost Gustavo. This may be the longest and hottest summer on record. Is that a flame weeder you're holding? beretco.op@gmail.com
    I depart for the Maryland suburbs of Washington D. C. Sunday. I have been pleasantly surprised by the peace rhetoric of David Eddy recently and I wonder if his activism and example in real life match his words. Feel free to contact us, David. Bill Moyers, who can't say how the food brokers have now merged with the energy conglomerates, has now remained a hostage 82 days.

    Grady et al:

    I hate to start a flame-war on this blog, but...some of the comments made show the complete lack of understanding farmers have for non-farmers.

    Farming is a tradition; it is a way of life. Good for you if you like practicing it!
    You are still not entitled to public money for it.
    Naturally there are problems on the farm. ( these problems, you understand are Unique and unlike the problems of Life that the rest of us have ). That is why when a farmer goes bankrupt ( and how many of those do you expect with agricultural prices the way they are ? ) it is particularly bad and a lot worse than say when a small businessman or manufacturer goes bankrupt.

    Why shouldn't farmers pay an extra tax to keep small businessmen in the black ?

    So to sum up my message to farmers: you are doing pretty well now. The rest of us simply don't care if you aren't. We want our money back. You've had a long run with your subsidies and can't complain. Your subsides only exist because there are a lot of farm states who have become convinced that that is their way of life.

    There are a huge number of online articles (in case anyone wants to learn more) from many sources dealing with corporate welfare, particularly corporate farm welfare, as in Archer Daniels Midland (ADM - Supermarket to the world). I am disappointed Mr. Moyers didn't go into more detail regarding them, as opposed to smaller or family farms. I would also have liked to seen more on the global effects of our farm subsidies on other countries and how they are related to the so-called "Free-Trade" agreements. It's all interconnected, and the better we understand it, the better we can advocate for the needed changes for our country and others.

    Don: Good points, but only the 3rd one directly highlights the general interest. The place of mega-brokers (like those who advertise on the Sunday chats) in shaping the food production market (and the energy from food market)have asymmetrical power compared to those of us who eat (Corporations don't have to have food). I call the divide between us and them the Dwayne Andreaus fault. It is more than who getsa their contributions and whose spouse or children may get jobs or perks. It is the absolute power they have which legitimizes injustice and intimidates. Multinational, after all, often means beyond any law enforcement. They resemble oil companies in their methods of power.

    Don is correct about ignorance. People don't want to know the details of food production any more than they want to know how their car engines or i-pods work. A good elementary education would include agricultural and food processing experiences. I think this would lead to a rise in vegetarianism and a more rational use of fertile land.

    Remember when the Pacific didn't have a tsunami warming. Well, we don't have a famine warning, and are even ignoring the cries of the starving abroad and the hungry at home. Our government spends many time s on drug research what it spends on energy development and useful food research. Medicine is no good in a diseased, hungry populace.

    The market alone can never solve hunger but will only exacerbate the intensity. That's what derivatives are: bets on disaster. Poor people can't buy tools or seeds or anything else, and Dominic McSorley's hope on bikes can't move fast enough.

    Of course, food technology must be accompanied by worldwide birth control and legislative birth limits. One realizes that the Pope and George Bush are two of the most out of control monsters in history when we agree the Earth has far exceeded its carrying capacity. There is still plenty of room to starve, thirst, fry and freeze but not enough possibilities for food production (and bio-energy production)as we degrade our environment.There are just not enogh resources to do the moral and ethical thing, but we should be trying our best. I am ready to make sacrifices and work to feed myself and others. Are you ready?

    Mr. Moyers,
    I try to catch your program whenever I can and appreciate your efforts to present an accurate representation of problems our country and its citizens face. However, I'm afraid you've fallen woefully short of this standard on the farm subsidy issue. I should know I’m not only a farmer, but also a banker, and get to see both sides of this situation in particular.

    The farm subsidy issue is an extremely complex problem, and I will grant you that even though the issues presented were gross oversimplifications of the real issues (I know you can only show so much in a 20+ minute segment) most of what was shown was in its own right things that need to be corrected. I felt some of the values that PBS prides itself on were lost in this piece as the writers for the Washington Post were grabbing onto popular incendiary catch phrases trying to provoke ill sentiment for the current system. Do not forget that even though there were, (and are) abuses of the farm program, that the farm program saved thousands of farmers from bankruptcy as recently as the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I should know, I’ve looked at many a farmers tax returns over the last decade. I’ll be the first to agree that the farm subsidies need fixed, however we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak, and vilify all farm payments and farmers.

    There are 3 points I’d like to make.
    1) The issue is so complex that a whole week long series on farm subsidies still probably wouldn’t do it justice. If anyone wants to really explore the issues with farm subsidies I’d suggest they speak with, or read the writings of Dr. Daryll E. Ray, a professor of Ag Econ at the University of Tennessee. The LDP issue really wasn’t presented well at all. Let alone all the other issues with US farmers really needing a safety net, and WTO issues.

    2) A huge part of the problem with subsidies and getting the problems corrected is the general public’s ignorance of farming (and lawmakers ignorance of farming). As our country has become more urbanized fewer and fewer people truly understand the problems farmers face. In fact many farmers themselves do not fully understand a lot of the issues, or the ramifications of certain policies etc. I live in a rural community (less than 1,000 people) and I am amazed every day at how little of an understanding people around here have of farming, let alone someone who has lived their whole life in Chicago, or Washington.

    3) My personal feelings are that the real story in farm subsidies is not the money paid to individual producers or even issues with land owners, but is the multinational corporations who buy the subsidized grain at artificially low prices (due to the current program) and then profit from them on the world market. This is the story that never seems to get out.

    Thanks for all of your thought provoking commentaries, and I look forward to having you cover this issue more thoroughly.

    Don

    Comments to Blogs may have become outlets for the silent majority to express views that once were relegated to local barber shops, work, or recreation activities.
    "I plan to vote for Hillary..." or about Obama, "He can have it, my useless vote", may be comments from the same person.
    The Farm Issue, race, or politics can be commented on by the unidentified activist, special interest groups, or by anyone.

    The number of Comments suggest how stimulating a blog subject is, but are Comments just a pressure outlet and not read by most responding to the blog?

    Military recruits are volunteers not draftees. For those that object to military recruiters contacting our youth, but do not object to corporate recruiters, or employment ads then does that suggest you are happy with the influence corporations have on our youth?

    Is an issue as important as Farming being helped by blogs, or is this just barber shop talk?

    Respectfully,
    Billy Bob

    A final farm bill that underfunds improvements in the nutrition title is unacceptable. The final bill must include permanent funding at no less than the House-passed levels of $11.5 billion over 10 yrs.

    We need a strong nutrition title. Every month, more than 25 million Americans receive food stamp benefits to help them buy groceries.

    This Farm Bill Must Include An Industrial Hemp Clause that allows our American farmers to grow Industrial Hemp, i.e. The Industrial Hemp Act of 2007 sponsored by Congressmen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich!

    I’m a baby-boomer who learned in the 70’s the true meaning of the term “Appropriate Technology,” as addressed in E. F. Schumacher’s book, Small is Beautiful, ECONOMICS AS IF PEOPLE MATTERED. Schumacher and Buckminster Fuller both viewed the Planet as a Living Spaceship (a Closed System which had to be Properly Maintained by Humans). Using Dirty Fuels like Coal, Oil, Gas and Atomic Energy is Not Appropriate when we have the Oceans and Wind to power energy in some places. Volcanoes and Sun in other places. Almost everywhere on Spaceship Earth People can grow HEMP for food, fuel, fiber, plastics, paint, Oil, etc. Some American Indians believed every generation must live for the next 7 generations…All we have to do is KISS - Keep it Simple Stupid !!! CLEAN - GREEN - ORGANIC- BIODEGRADABLE - ECO-FRIENDLY - APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY!
    AND WE WANT IT IN THIS FARM BILL NOW !!!

    Linda Verde Austin, Texas 512-619-4353

    Billy Bob is the pseudonym of the original Katherine Harris.
    Go fix your blush, Honey! Unmasked ball.
    As Moyers warned in "the Secret Government"
    "When anything goes.....
    ANYTHING, can come back and bite you in the butt."
    I am Irene Emerson of Spencer Mountain, N.C. I work in the insurance industry, a job I hate and the only work I can get. I plan to vote for Hillary Clinton in the May 6th primary, though I don't think it will matter. I don't know if we'll even get to the November election. There may be a coup following another fake attack. If there is an election I expect it will be fixed by various means.
    My latest act of resistance is to confront the military recruiters who are contacting my son, who will be 18 in December. Ben wastes most of his time editing electronic music on the computer because he can't deal with our environment.I am trying to get him out of the country.
    I do have personal hope. I am growing a vegetable garden out back. Global Warming instability brought a frost last night but my tomato plants were in the back of my old escort wagon.
    I will not reveal my ethnicity. I don't think it should matter. I am old enough to remember when Reagan couldn't remember that Daddy Bush was a drug dealer.

    Irene 4-15 11:02AM
    "Grady"-oh. good guess-uh?
    If Obama has you believing he understands the troubles facing field hands picking cotton on cold, overcast, windy, days in the Mississippi River Bottom, or living in an old house without a ceiling under the roof so that birds can fly inside between the rafters & roof & some days having little more than polk salad to feed a half dozen kids no older than 6, then he may be elected.
    It is probably no big deal who the next president is, as it will be for 1 term & not will be done in the next 4 yrs.--given the sentiment of the country.

    Respectfully,
    Billy Bob, Florida

    Thank you, Bill Moyers, for this incredible story of taxpayer rip off and starvation of Americans and others in the world by the Ag Committees of Congress. We are sending the following letter:

    Dear Chairman Harkins:
    We had our eyes opened to the contents of the current farm bill renewal. Thank goodness for unfettered news on Public Broadcasting. We had no idea farm subsidies have risen to such a massive rip off of American taxpayers!
    Still, it is not a new issue we city dwellers just discovered. Years ago, we remember one building in Fresno with 20 separate addresses so a huge agribusiness could masquerade as many small farmers. We have seen articles and shows devoted to the plight and increasing scarcity of authentic small farmers. We have watched and wept over fertile farmlands becoming housing. When in the South last fall, we saw amazing numbers of fields devoted to corn for ethanol production, instead of for food. Ethanol is not in any way a sustainable, efficient product.
    We learned of ‘Cowboy Starter Kits.’ We were shocked to learn that claims of disaster throughout Texas from a few pieces from a space shuttle accident raining down triggered a wave of financial benefits for ranchers, many of whom still don’t understand why they got the subsidy. We want to know how already wealthy ranchers faced more of a disaster than the people who still wait for ‘disaster relief’ from Hurricane Katrina three years ago?
    We learned of massive spreads of fallow land for which hugely wealthy farmers are collecting millions in annual subsidies—a “system of farm income protection” you called it in your speech last week. At the same time there is so little regulation they are being allowed to augment even that bounty by running cattle on the same land.
    We have always believed that paying farmers NOT to produce food to feed the hungry is a flawed, utterly corrupt plan. The knowledge we gained recently about the extent of these abuses has shocked us.
    As American taxpayers we object to these blatant misuses of our tax dollars. They could so simply be turned to feeding hungry people. World markets, formerly dependent on American surplus crops, are feeling the pinch from reduced surplus rice and edible corn crops. Americans are now starving the world; your cohorts are the culprits.
    One quick and easy correction you all can make now? Redirect some of this flagrantly wasted money to increase food stamp allotments so that a low income American family can feed all its members for a month, as suggested by the organization, ‘Bread for the World’. It would be a drop in your gigantic farm bill bucket of giveaways.
    In this time of economic disaster, a clear recession, Americans of all walks of life are feeling a pinch somewhere in their budget. Your committee has a moral obligation to sharply trim the MAJORITY of inappropriate farm subsidies to wealthy people who do nothing with their land and give back nothing in return.

    Thank you Bill we need good ol Americans like you speaking the truth. Our country has been sold out by the rich pukes running this country accountability is upon us.Run you cowards.Your time is up and it is time you pay the piper.

    I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

    - Thomas Jefferson

    I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
    - Abraham Lincoln

    Big business is not dangerous because it is big, but because its bigness is an unwholesome inflation created by privileges and exemptions which it ought not to enjoy.
    - Woodrow Wilson

    The citizens of the United States must control the mighty commercial forces which they themselves called into being.
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
    - Dwight Eisenhower

    I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves - and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
    - Thomas Jefferson

    The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
    - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    The comments by Jack Martin down below is the solution! This system is way beyond repair; do not kid ourselves anymore my fellow citizens...

    I have farmed for 30 years, still struggling with a big government mortgage. How about sending some of those subsidies this way.

    The intent of the permanent government is to eliminate small producers - here are some of their tools:

    http://www.davidcrowe.ca/SciHealthEnv/footandmouth.html
    http://www.nonais.org/

    I'm aware of Colin Powell's history:
    1.Rose through the ranks after covering up Mai Lai massacre to protect those above combatants
    2.Worked as the "yes man" for Saddam's set-up in Kuwait and the massacre that followed, being fully aware Saddam had been maintained in power (during gasings)by Reagan/Bush and the CIA
    3.Had son made FCC chairman as a perk to serve and fundraise for W
    4.Knowingly lied at the UN to get us into this endless occupation

    I suppose you prefer the house servant variety to those field hands like Obama. Is Grady Howard Black too? I don't know. On the web you never know if people are as they describe, or if they are made up. Most of my single middle aged girlfriends like to run back the odometer 20 years on My Space to play with boys, but it isn't always boys they get, just fantasy. Maybe Billy Bob and Moyers are fantasies too. The Dept. of Agriculture runs on in make believe.

    Irene, 4-14-3:23PM Your comments remind me some what of Gary Lee (Hyde)Howard found in similar blog comments.
    The sky isn't falling. When I talk to fellow citizens I don't feel the dispair you embrace.
    I can think of no better person to be our next president than Collin Powell. He has realiable judgement, solid character, and unmatched experience as comparied to anyone seeking the nomination this year.
    Obama is as surprised as anyone that he may actually be the DNP candidate in 2008. His plans were for 4 or 8 yrs. down the road, when he would be able to claim experience.

    Respectfully,
    Billy Bob

    Billy Bob: In the old Soviet Politbureau, the return rate for deputies was only 92%: The re-election rate for the U.S. Congress is about 98%.
    As for Obama (a toast too dark for Billy Bob) he gets a trickle of the Iraq conspiracy money, more Wall Street dollars than Hillary and Handouts from the corrupt Pritzger fortune.
    Maybe this makes him qualified after all.
    The on-going wasteful expenditures in Iraq dwarf the farm bill by a million times. The corruption we are witnessing over there in every ministry and our operations is simply the long shadow of our governmental-corporate crimes at home. We have successfully fully imposed "our way of life" on Iraq. See how GOOD it works Billy Bob? Old doddery Napalm McCain will really fire it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran.
    Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Venezuela (Did you see the kids orchestras on 60 Minutes?).
    Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Darfur and the Congo too, just to up defense spending and cut entitlements.

    I contacted the offices of my senators and representative today. It felt really good to hear the silence of the aids who answered my calls when I explained that I am an independent voter and a Christian who cannot support ANYONE who continues to vote for these wasteful subsidies while millions of people in this country and around the world go hungry.

    As someone stated in an earlier post, there are more of us than there are of them. Let's show them some push back they'll never forget. Let your voice be heard on this issue today. The contact numbers can be found near the end of this post.

    I recall my father telling how a friend bought a 200 acre farm in Tenn. near the Mississippi bottom land. The farm was bought and then paid for by govt. payments to NOT grow cotton or corn or beans, however, hay & cattle must have been OK.

    As long as American voters vote for the one approved candidate of the two parties for president, and those approved for Congress then responsible govt. will be for those that can deliver the most support for re-election & that is big money & backroom, political, power brokers!

    The Dem party's quagmire caused by unqualified, but popular Obama, caught Howard Dean & the DNP flatfooted, and their hand picked candidate may loose.

    Wonder if the Russians learned that hand picked candidates were the way to controll democratic elections--from the USA's examples over recent decades?

    Respectfully,
    Billy Bob, Florida, where votes don't count unlike Chi-town where even the deads' count

    I was both sickened and angered once again by more proof of the wastefullness of the farm program and the unwillingness of the politicians to do anything about it. If they all agree that the program is in shambles but won't do anything about it because it can't get fixed, then maybe it is time to start the revolution. A democracy is supposed to have checks and balances, but I guess it does not apply when large amounts of money are involved.
    I grew up in and worked in a rural communinty, and was able to see first hand all the games and gimmicks used by "producers" to scam the program. When these are brought to the attention of the local Farm Service Administration official, the usual response is that "their hands are tied behind their back". That and the fact that most county offices are overseen by a group of farmers that are either getting the money themselves of have family and relatives getting the handouts. Lets get rid of the welfare program for the rich, and get the subsidies a nd help to those that need it.

    As long as the 9/11 lie is perpetruated, the USA is doomed. It is utterly and seriously depressing to see people murdered on a mass scale by a cold sinister reasoning. It is worse to see the populace stand by and accept it. The television and the medias continue to approve of this treason, scheming, and murder, this trade of American lives to jump start an attack on the Middle East. It is utterly humiliating to be a part of it and to work and pay taxes into this murderous sham that is not even governed by citizens from the USA. The United States government has been changed into a web of organized crime. The criminals do not go to jail. The criminals are not even identified. A politician who resists is assasinated. It has been done so much, people are numb to it now.

    The only comfort is to know that things do not forever remain the same.

    As always,
    Thank you Bill Moyers.

    Amen to Jack Martin.
    If money is our God, then we have been worshipping at the mall.

    Here are some suggestions to the attention of those who HOLD the wealth.

    1. Stop buying subsidized foods like corn, soybeans, wheat, dairy, and meat.

    2. Become a vegetarian. Meat production is a wasteful process by which only large producers get richer.

    3. Ditch the SUVs and pick up trucks. Quit using gasoline powered tools. Use as little gasoline/diesel as possible.

    4. Quit watching commercial & pay television. It is a mass brainwashing scam designed to get you and me to spend money that we don't have on things that we don't need.

    5. Ditch the 2 parties. Vote for a third party candidate or independent. The two parties that got us into this mess are not going to get us out of it.

    Look around. Why is it good for people to work 50, 60, 70, and even 80 hours a week, even while many others are out of work? Overtime premiums were meant as a penalty to companies for working people past a NORMAL work week, which should be no more than 32 hours a week given the exponential growth in productivity in the last 40 years.

    The system we have has been gamed. Money is only flowing upwards. Freedom is diminishing under the weight of power, whether it be financial, political, or otherwise. Power is never taken, it is always given away.

    How can we afford to fight terrorism if we can't afford to feed ourselves as a Nation? Who's freedom our American soldiers defending?

    Ask your friends to quit watching, reading, and listening to fiction. We need them to wake up and help us reclaim our destiny as a country of good people.

    Class warfare, class consciousness, contradictions, conditional truths in the media, the holographic organization of institutions under capitalism for the unspoken purpose of maintaining an ownership class, by extracting the value of labor from the others and dominating the choices concerning natural resources. That's why you find no surprise in farm subsidies, in David Cay Johnston's "Free Lunch." Do you feign surprise at impending world famine? The reason we agreed Marx's communism (which he never really described except as a potential) was bad stemmed from the violence he predicted if capitalism were to be overthrown. Overcome, can we overcome a systematic greed without counter-violence? Frederick Douglas and Karl Marx said, probably not. It was not until Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King experimented with people power that we saw any other possibility. Now I ask how many of you out there want to overcome. Would you join the struggle if it were non violent, if we didn't have to behead the Bushes and Cheneys, Donald Trump, Bill and Melinda Gates? George Soros, Warren Buffet and the Clintons? And some of you who serve elite interests?
    Most of you Moyeristas are relatively affluent. You have time and capacity to think and write. Even I with my shack and 15 year old car am many times richer than some others, just by living near a surging stream of wealth.
    Others who spend as if they were wealthy are deep in debt and facing an imminent reckoning. You say you want to help but you never consider anything more than donating some unneeded junk (for a tax break) or changing to florescent light bulbs, taking a trip to an exotic locale to watch your equals writhing in agony. What made your heart sadistic? You confuse kindness and generosity with your piety and your tender self-regard. Rev. Beckmann pretty much typifies your attitude and that is why he is operating a charity valve, opening and closing, taking his cut. You see hungry people at a soup kitchen and you think they must be defective or flawed, not like you. You say greed is human nature without realizing how mis-socialized and indoctrinated you are, without realizing you are a conformist in a toxic system, without admitting much of our education you so highly recommend is brainwashing and mind crippling. Our ways have to end if the Earth is to continue supporting human life, and only Americans are in a position to set the proto-typical example, going where people have never gone before.
    I looked at the people shopping today as I went for a paint brush and some nails: The vision seemed hopeless; they were in a daze, a frenzy of pointless spending. This is not greed: This is automaton behavior: We are capitalist robots!
    It is you Moyeristas who set the limits on Bill Moyers. It is you who will not let him address world famine directly. It is you who will not ask him to broadcast the cruel conspiracies of the rich, 9/11 treason, the faux wars, the gambling game of derivatives fraud and the carry trade, the Meta-Static which values profit above technological progress and innovation, the monopoly board debt being heaped on the future generations of humanity. It is you dumb bastards (unworthy of the Creator's Earth) who are tolerating without reacting. If we are to survive we need general strikes, marches on the Capitol, sequestering of authorities, tax revolts, mortgage revolts, boycotts, demands for prosecutions and truth commissions, car-less days and weeks walking the roadways, liberation of foodstuffs from the warehouses for the hungry, until the downfall of the price system and excess ownership as we know it. These ideas are blooming in South America, but our overlords threaten intervention, warfare, overthrow, torture and imprisonment, deals with narco-states.
    Liberalism and conservatism are over, Democrats and Republicans a checker game in a feed store. Racist fear mongering is over. These are foolish maladaptive luxuries we can't afford to indulge, like March Madness and the Masters and NASCAR. Would you sacrifice human life to see Tiger Woods and Miley Cyrus? You may have already. We must truly overcome or die trying. The urgency is manifest in our actual physical world.
    And here you are, still joking around, being polite, setting limits to please your masters, meet their needs. You upper middleclass fools, without shame, cannon fodder for capitalism, only to maintain some fleeting possessions. All our days are numbered now and we must embrace the wonderful tendency to Overcome if we are to prevent the violence, the suffering, the collapse, the conflagration. Cheney says, "So?" He values property over life, power over human dignity.
    Will you push Bill Moyers or muzzle him? Will you join the struggle born at Highlander Folk School? The struggle to OVERCOME...Capitalism.
    The only faith that is necessary, is to believe that an egalitarian, engaged humanity can by consensus, create better, fairer solutions than the unworkable nightmare we are experiencing.

    For years I've heard libertarians and other anti-government types scream at the underclass about self-reliance. We need to expose those "farmers" needlessly subsidized by the rest of us as the real welfare queens.

    Nutritious? School lunches? Oh please. Have you ever actually seen or eaten a school lunch? There is hardly any fresh food contained in it; mostly canned and frozen food, high in fat and with a high glycemic index. Definitely no organic food; not even organic milk.

    No, children definitely can NOT rely on school lunch or breakfast programs to keep them healthy.

    Rev. Beckman didn't mention the School Lunch Programs. From preschool to the 12 grade a nutritional breakfast and lunch is served in public schools, Many have after school snacks. A portion of the food is available from surplus commodiites grown by the best farmers on the face of the earth. Rev. Beckman reminds me of Ms Clinton and sniper fire.

    This is in reply to Terry's impassioned comment about the need to overcome the greed of those who prey on others, in order to restore humanity to decision-making in Washington.

    A few days ago, I heard perhaps the pithiest words ever said about the problem: "Republicans want to get rich and Democrats want to be right." I wish I could attribute the statement properly, but all I remember is that it was made by a caller to one of the radio shows on AirAmerica or NovaM.

    That does seem to nail it in one, doesn't it, Terry? Sadly, I don't believe predatory greed can ever be rooted out, but fortunately there are more of us than there are of them -- and we're going to have to demonstrate that at the ballot-box. We'll always win, if we refuse to let wedge issues contrived by the other side divide us.

    In my last post, the link to Dean Baker's response on your farm subsidies piece didn't show up. Let's try again:

    http://tinyurl.com/62vj33

    Bill,

    Dean Baker's "Beat the Press" blog has a very good response to your piece on farm subsidies. I can't say it any better, so see . Bottom line: farm subsidies are really small potatoes. No pun intended.

    Thank you Bill as always. The fundamental problem is greed. Until we find out why some people who have, feel it is ok to screw those who have not we will never solve the world or U.S. problems. The subsidies have good intentions but are abused by wealthy capitalists. The question to me is how can someone do this? Most of these people claim they are Christian. So what does that mean? They think because it is there to manipulate and they are wealthy enough to pay crocked lobbyists to work for them then it is ok. While ignoring the bigger picture of how does this affect the rest is the problem. They say this is capitalism and if your not smart enough to know how to play the game then tough luck gives them the right to take from the rest. Until big business/wealthy Americans get a conscious this will never end. We see it in corporations where the top people get horrendous amounts of money because they are good at taking from their own employees by low pay and benefits. Why do they have no respect for a hard day of labor. If no one cleaned the toilets or emptied the trash what would they do? There is value in every job so why do they feel they deserve so much more then others? We see it in how they ship jobs away because they can pay other countries practically nothing because it is run by dictators with no human or environmental rights. We have to even the playing field and this will never happen until humans get some humanity. The question to me is where is the compassion, humanity and honesty? It can be applied to business and government, it is not just an idealists dream. It is common sense for the survival of humans and the earth. Lets get back to the basics because we are all in this together. Use your brain and try to find your heart.

    Thank you, Bill, for another evening of enlightening, inspiring television. If only your excellent program on the farm bill abuses could be shown to a much wider audience before Congress votes this week. Most Americans cannot possibly know about this terrible misuse of taxpayer money. If they did, there would be a groundswell of opposition so loud that the issue might finally be discussed on mainstream news programs and Congress might be pressured to come up with a fairer bill. So much airtime is spent on polls and the political horserace that important issues such as this farm bill cannot break through all the clutter. I will write to my Congressmen.

    Congress is certainly "capable" of making any sort of change. The problem is a want of willingness. They'd rather have lobbyists cosset them than do the public will.

    We've told our supposed representatives very clearly that we want them to get us out of Iraq, stop torture, cease giveaways to grillionaires, restore our rights and eject the criminals who're running the White House and (In)Justice Department. Somehow I don't think we'll have any better luck with the Farm Bill -- but thank you very much, Mr. Moyers, for introducing us to Rev. Beckmann last Friday and bringing him back this week. Hearing yours and the other ardent voices of decency reminds us that, even though we're crying in the wilderness, we're doing it in marvelous company.

    Yet another excellent justification for public financing of elections. The one thing that a Democracy really doesn't need is privately subsidized politicians !

    To most of us on the outside, this show was at the same time a dynamite expose' of the corrupt farm subsidy process and a velvet glove slap to the participants. It would have been hugely powerful on both counts if real beneficiaries and their elected reps were presented. Mr Beckmans' reticence was revealing, even painful to watch and hear, speaking volumes about the power of the institution the the subsidy program has become. The ONLY antidote to such powerful toxin is public outrage and Moyers has made a huge first step. Unless public outrage continues and grows, I'm afraid the signal will be... acquiencence -full speed ahead.

    To most of us on the outside, this show was at the same time a dynamite expose' of the corrupt farm subsidy process and a velvet glove slap to the participants. It would have been hugely powerful on both counts if real beneficiaries and their elected reps were presented. Mr Beckmans' reticence was revealing, even painful to watch and hear, speaking volumes about the power of the institution the the subsidy program has become. The ONLY antidote to such powerful toxin is public outrage and Moyers has made a huge first step. Unless public outrage continues and grows, I'm afraid the signal will be... acquiencence -full speed ahead.

    This is just Plain Theft and corruption instituted by career politicians both Democrate and Republican, and reaching to the top.I believe we can sit here and rant and rave about this but it would do no good.One thing i think we should all do is unregister from your affiliated party. This is not to tell you who to vote for, but it sends a message that your vote is not a blank check.Another issue is that we are litearally consuming ourselves into corruption the money thats paid into the majority of what we buy food,clothes,electronics,energy etc-funds these lobbyists and special interests.The internet can be the most valuable tool against corruption it can allow you to cut out the middle man and organize on a grand scale as well as track the votes of our representitives. The point being is that we are headed for very tough times it can either be an opportunity or kaos .The methods to begin to combat this corruption have already been laid out through previous struggles with inequality and injustice we just need to muster up the will and apply our knowledge.

    Thank you to everyone involved in putting this show together.

    I guess red state residents love cashing welfare checks just as much as blue state residents. Who would have ever thought that? Of course, come voting time, they always think differently and look down on the principle. You know, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and all...

    The otherwise excellent expose segment suffered from a weakness that often plagues reporting about rural issues. The report often portrayed the corrupt farm subsidy program as a effort by Congress and the president to funnel money to rural areas.

    In fact, rural communities continue to subsidize suburban and urban areas by exporting their children who cannot survive in their native areas. The collectors of farm subsidies are increasingly neither from nor in rural areas.

    "Farmers" are often counseled by the sharp "experts" to manage their "farm" land to maximize their subsidy "opportunities." As your segment demonstrates, the USDA is a leading advocate of this "strategy."

    The segment made an implicit point that should have been connected to the specific subsidy programs you considered. Farm subsidies, by making land ownership a license to collect government welfare, drive up the price of farm land and prevent young, and old, farmers from farming.

    Artificially inflated farm land prices also subsidize chemical and farm machinery industries by inflating the collateral that farmers can use to borrow against.

    Of course, the other farmers that suffer from US farm subsidies are the subsistence farmers around the world who have their few sources of cash income destroyed by the cheap grains (now not so cheap, but still subsidized)exported by US farmers.

    Media outlets in the US are controlled, written for and edited by people who are consumers of farm goods. They naturally see the issues of waste and abuse from a consumer's perspective. The worst damage done by the farm subsidies has been done in rural areas, yet this damage is almost invisible to America's non-farm population.

    I am appalled and outraged by the revelations in this program. Thanks to Bill Moyers and PBS for airing it.

    Besides an additional contribution to PBS, I am diverting my political contributions for this year to Bread for the World. This galling situation needs to be fixed.

    We have no minimum standards for hiring representatives. Incompetents with no sense of public service can get themselves elected provided they have sponsors with money in the right places. They are hand-picked by special-interest groups, at the local, municipal, and state levels, precisely because they seem to suit their purposes. They are essentially mercenaries looking for a cozy job, not competent and civic minded leader types.

    Lobbyists, on the other hand, usually come from large corporations who hire the best and the brightest, highly educated and thoroughly professional. They are competent (in their own and often twisted way).

    We are electing Chihuahuas to protect us from pit bulls.

    Perhaps we need to stop badgering the big bad lobbyists and get serious instead about strategies to elect competent, civic minded legislators. I am not sure how we can do this, since I can vote for my friendly, half-illiterate baker (my cuddly "Chihuahua") if I happen to like him, but we need to fix this side of the problem if we are going to get our country back from the special interests. Until then, the country will be remaining in the hands of the pit bulls.

    "Is Congress Capable of Making Farm Subsidies Fair?"

    Is that even a rhetorical question?

    I mean, we're talking about the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., right?

    Are you kidding, our Congress couldn't locate their own butt-cheeks using their own two hands.

    Thank you for a terrific and eye-opening show Bill, you're tops!

    I'm almost at a loss for words whenever I'm forced to contemplate issues that completely escape the scrutiny of the cable news cycle (and the candidates, for that matter) concerning the depth of the problem in Washington. Another Friday night ruined! Thanks anyway, Bill. You're the sane person's Lou Dobbs. Keep up the excellent work.

    Robert w. Limbocker: Let me see if I've got this right. You're against increasing subsidies to that elderly lady in the earlier segment in favor of continuing to support mostly well-off landowners who may or may not farm and who may, but probably haven't, suffered real loss due to an emergency? Notice I didn't even try to tackle your resistance to preventing agra-business from dumping US taxpayer subsidized commodities on countries where their citizens can barely support themselves in part because their own farmers cannot compete as a result? You're running for congress, right?

    The report on the PBS broadcast of Bill Moyers's Journal, Cash Cows and Cowboy Starter Kits exposed how well-organized agro-business lobbies have bought Congress and its agriculture-committee members with $80 billion in lobbying. The result is farm subsidies that pay up to hundreds of thousands of dollars to each of the organized, wealthy landowners who have gross incomes of from $125,000 to several $million, living in mansions, on farm land where no crops are grown, just because their counties have been declared a disaster area for some reason, including for recovery of destroyed space-shuttle parts, despite that they suffered no losses.

    Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has towed the Bush corporate-wealthy line throughout his Senate career, who is supposed to represent citizens in one of the nation’s poorest states, leads the placement and support for this kind of immoral abuse in a farm-subsidy system that pays wealthy land owners instead of helping poor farmers who really need the help, and he has just introduced a subsidy into the current bill, now being debated for passage this term, the subsidized steeple chase, which benefits owners of race horses. The Republican government of Bush-Cheney, in concert with rubber-stamp elected officials like McConnell, Ohio’s Republican Senator Voinovich, and Republican Representative Steve Chabot, have made the deaths of the seven Columbia astronauts into a windfall for their wealthy contributors, through their facilitation of $billions of abusive, unwarranted farm-subsidy payments, and there will be no chance for honest, representative government, free of greed-based, blood-sucking influence peddling until they and their ilk are thrown out office for good.

    There should be some way for this kind of journalism, which is so important to a dying democracy, to be more widely distributed. Legislators who vote these abuses should be convened in joint session, strapped to chairs, forced to view and then answer for their votes before being impeached and jailed. Their crimes do no less serious harm to America than those of any felon, and there should be no tolerance or compassion for them in dealing with their high crimes.

    I plan to email my legislators and let them know how I feel about "wasteful, unnecessary, or redundant subsidies." Why not help the people who really need it, not the wealthy! I also plan to email tonight's story to all my friends and relatives.

    First, thank you Bill and your staff for all the great reporting that you do, and for all the information that you make available to the American public. We are in need of real news of what is really happening in the world.
    I have been a farmer ( owner and operator of a large dairy ) and a Republican for most all of my life; however, I have lost all faith in the Congress as well as the other two branches of our goverment to get anything done right. I believe the President, Vice President, and Republican Congressmen who allowed Bush to take our country so far down the wrong roads should hang their heads in shame for all the damage they have brought to the world.
    Unforgiveable!!
    I agree with the above comment that they all need to be replaced. Congress cannot and will not do the right thing with the farm bill, because they are more concerned in keeping the lobbyist and special interests happy. Most of the real farmers that I know (not the rich absentee landowners) would be in favor of having unneeded subsidies redirected to help feed the people who are in need. The majority of farmers and ranchers love their work and the knowledge that they help feed so many people in todays world. They are only looking for a fair return on their labor and investment that is required to survive in this very competive industry. Farmers and ranchers are a strong independent lot who still have the traits that made this country great. Our leaders in Washington Do Not have these traits anymore and the country will suffer for their lack.

    As individuals with eyes and ears, they are capable of watching the same informative program as we have. The injustice is plain to see no mattter which side of the aisle they sit on. There is no justification for a government program that is designed to distribute money to farmers who have never farmed for disasters that have never affected them. Our lawmakers are capable of doing the right thing.

    But they won't. It's easy to slide legislation like this into a bill that is headlined by something totally different. The rest of the bill probably contained a whole collection of things that we might all agree were worthwhile, funding for programs that we find essential. Our current system of bundling earmark programs and pet projects into unrelated bills makes it next to impossible for a lawmaker to get anything done without having to comprimise the bill by tagging some other project onto it to catch the last vote that they needed to make it pass. The system is broken. If our senators and congresspeople keep creating patchwork bills that contain so much pet pork, it becomes impossible to say yes to something good without saying yes to something deplorable.

    3 dedicated journalists spent months putting together a program showing the aftermath of a small portion of a farm bill that most senators didn't even take the time to read through before they signed their name on it.

    Did your favorte senator sign for the Patriot Act? - the far-reaching legislation that has crushed our civil liberties so effectively in the the name of the War on Terror. Unless you live in Wisconsin, the answer is no.

    Our politicains are capable of doing the right thing. History has shown us that they RARELY do.

    WHO DO WE APPEAL TO AMONG OUR LEGISLATORS TO STOP THIS OUTRAGEOUS SITUATION BEFORE WE ARE ALL STARVING TO DEATH???

    An excellent program as usual on the farm subsidies and the current influence of money and rich lobbyists on legislators to act in a way contrary to the good of the country. Thank you, Mr. Moyer.

    My millionaire cousin with several homes, his own jet, and retired at 40 years old is a case in point. he brags as he drives his mercedes around how he receives tons of money from the government not to plant crops on his "farm" which also includes his luxurious log cabin estate.

    He laughs and I cry while I work for every penny I make. Our government is broken in virtually every respect, including the farm program that no one has the courage or desire to change. Given the economic mess in America, this is another nail in our coffins lined with worthless dollars.

    What happened to legislators who actually put the people's interests before their own? I will call my legislators but a few could care less what voters think. Our problem is not partisanship in Washington but instead the greed and self-interest of those who serve there.

    I jut recently watched your show about the concern of the farm bill. I think that Mr. Beckman is wrong for several reasons. If he was so concerned about wrongful spending than he might start looking at church groups first. Also I much rather have my tax dollars go to the farms in America rather to some foreign country such as Africa. The majority of persons in this country will not even show effort to take care of them and sit around and wait for other countries such as the U.S.A to help and take care of them. The majority of foods that I have bought in grocery stores are from the united states not Africa. Why in the world is this person much concerned for them? I heard him speak more about Africa rather than helping middle class and lower class families who are either making it from payday to payday to the poor here in the U.S. instead of wanting money for them maybe he needs to go and by seedlings from the farmers here and take that to Africa and teach them how to grow crops! And then he wouldn't have to worry about food stamps for people here due to the fact that he wouldn't be taking anything from America to help the poor idiots in another country. I get so sick and tired of hearing how another country needs money from the U.S. they never repay it. Also just a second thought of persons in Africa where Mr. Beckman has traveled. These are the same people that would kill an American on sight and has done so in reference to some of the states such as Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Libya, Kenya, Angola, and Congo!!!

    Dear Mr Moyers and Journal audience members,

    Thanks so much for your program. As usual, you provided a multi-faceted look at an issue.

    I'd like to encourage people to think globally and act locally, especially when it comes to food. Small, local, often organic, farmers are given little or no federal support. Federal subsidies are most often provided to larger, more commercial operations.

    I try to buy as much local produce, meat and cheese as I can. I choose these products because they taste better, use fewer nonrenewable resources and support local businesses. Many people make other choices, often because more industrialized food options are subsidized so they appear to be more affordable. Supporting local farmers who grow food in sustainable ways costs less when one considers the fossil fuels needed to create, fertilize and ship products.

    I'd rather pay a little more to roast chickens who walked around pastures near my neighborhood than to eat a creature who was imprisoned and fattened in another state without seeing sunlight. I need to consider what it took to grow fruit, pack and ship it when out of season in my home before I decide to put it in my grocery cart. Please encourage audience members to investigate local food cooperatives and other sustainable food sources, and to question legislators about subsidies and incentives in our food supply systems.

    Cheers,
    Lori Elliott-Bartle

    Absolutely not -- Congress is NOT capable of creating a sensible and fiscally prudent national policy for farm subsidies? I watched your journal tonight Bill Moyer and once again was literally "blown away" by the information you presented. Indeed, I learned so much. Additionally, you and your guest, David Beckmann, inspired me to write my congressman and congresswoman. Thank you for an outstanding job. Please continue and I thank you for your service.

    Mae

    No I don't think they're capable of creating a farm subsidy that is fair, they are too far removed from it. The small farmer that struggles just to pay the bills with 30-100 cows or a couple barns of pigs or chickens lives in another world from Washington. The money is now going to the rich which do not need it while the poor get nothing. Ownership of land is no reason for giving a subsidy. If one can afford much land they have enough money. Farming is best done on 100 acres or less with the family. The best food is grown on 5 acres of a market garden. These people cannot start to farm or keep farming without working 14 hours a day, no days off, no holidays, no insurance, nothing...What would Washington know about that? We need REAL people making real decisions who care about what happens to the poor who feed us. There is definately something really wrong where farmers cannot keep their farms because of taxes. There is no money to be made when we compete with the BIG guys. It is the big farms that get the government money that put the small farms out of business all in the name of better prices. If you have millions of bushels of wheat it certainly can be sold cheaper at a profit especially with the government giving them $thousands even millions.

    Dear Mr. Beckman (Farm Tax Giveaways)

    I saw you on Bill Moyers this evening. What I found most interesting is that waisted money was spoken about and more money for food stamps and the problems in congress, were addressed. (All for good reason)
    What I found most fascinating is that there was no mention to keep the “cowboys” accountable by actually growing crops on there land. As in "If you want the tax breaks grow the crops!"
    Employing “people” feeding the “hungry” having food for food banks, and perhaps donating it to others in need.
    Call me crazy, but how really simple is that!
    I really appreciated the knowledge I attained but the simplicity of what could be done is staring all of us in the face.

    Yours truly.

    Cec

    No Congress cannot do the right thing for all they care about is being re-elected at all cost. They don't care and give themselves & their friends large amounts of public money. It took over ten years to raise minumun wages but every year they got a raise and better health care along with their families but employers today don't cover your family, just the worker. Also these people in Congress are dumb! What is with all of the law degees and no one is a constitutional lawyer? No one can outsmart that C- student who is president? No one can outsmart the religous college who failed several times to be accredited and those students came in a ran circles around those old men & women in Congress. It is time to wipe those people out for they have come to believe their own hogwash and won't change and can't change for they would not get the free money they get today if they had a real job.

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