from The Washington Post
Farm subsidies have for decades disproportionately benefited richer Americans.
Even if they live in posh Manhattan penthouses. Even if they’re, say, on hit television shows. Chris Soules, this season’s star of “The Bachelor,” for example, has raked in more than $370,000 in farm subsidies since he turned 19 in 2001.
Call it agricultural inequality. The country’s top recipients swept 77 percent of subsidies from 1995 to 2012, said Craig Cox, senior vice president of agriculture policy at the Environmental Working Group.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon propose a rule that could drive that percentage down, Politico reports, starting with tightening the definition of an “actively engaged” farmer. The eligibility for agricultural subsidies remains broad: Anyone who invests time, money or guidance in a farm can qualify for a fat government handout.
“It’s a loophole some folks not ‘actively engaged’ in farming are using to collect farm benefits,” USDA spokesman Cullen Schwarz said, “and we’re trying to close that to the extent that we can.”
The USDA proposal is parked in the Office of Management and Budget, Schwarz said. Change could take months. Farm subsidies, meanwhile, continue to cushion the privileged.
Continue reading HERE.