farm subsidies

Will the Federal Government Stop Paying Dead Farmers with Taxpayer Money?

It would be nice if that were the title of an Onion article.  Sadly, the federal government has given millions of dollars to dead farmers.  The only question is: will they stop?

The Heritage Foundation’s Diane Katz suggests they stop, though this is just one of a myriad of reforms she and Heritage have suggested.

The waste is egregious:

Between 2008 and 2012, we now know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disbursed more than $36 million to some 6,300 farmers who had bought the farm (so to speak). The improper payments were revealed in a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Katz explains that the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) finally began keeping slightly better track of deceased farmers in 2007 and has recouped about $1 million out of a total of $3.3 million in improper payments for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. 

Unfortunately, similar progress has not been made for the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), which administers the federal crop insurance program.  Remember, we, the taxpayers, subsidize 60 percent of farmers’ crop insurance premiums.  And Katz notes:

The agency has no procedures in place to prevent payments to those in heaven’s pastures. Between 2008 and 2012, the RMA provided $22 million for some 3,434 farmers two or more years after death.

Hey Congress, when do you think it’ll be a good time to end the madness?  When we’re $20 trillion in debt?

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