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How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)


How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)

Karen Stillerman

Usually, when you buy something, you pay for it just once. But if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying twice for the food system you’re “buying” with your hard-earned tax dollars. An example: today’s massive federal farm subsidies encourage farming practices that lead to toxic algae blooms, drinking water pollution, and other costly problems we have to pay for again downstream. By contrast, modest investment in just one proven alternative farming system would achieve annual savings—in the form of water pollution averted—of $850 million.


I do not know why this planting of strips of prairie plants along fields is seen as something that is new or evolutionary. It a practice that has been used for a long time. I grew up on a farm in Alberta and my father always left areas around his field unplanted to go wild.

Where this all changed was when people with MBA's and Bankers started claiming that this "inefficient" as it left 10 percent of a farmers available land "non productive" . They encouraged farmers to put ever more land into production so as to "maximize yield".

This is not rocket science. The seeming stupidity comes down again and again to ignoring everything but the bottom line whereby profis maximized by transferring costs to the environment. It is how Corporations work and the only reason they exist and make those shareholders a "return on investment"


I wonder if the writer, Ms.Stillerman feared retaliation in not mentioning the toxic elephant in the room, Monsanto:

"The Federal Crop Insurance Program is anticipated to cost taxpayers a total of $22 billion from 2016 to 2018, and cost estimates keep rising.

"Corn, the largest beneficiary of federal subsidies, is often grown in ways that lead tonitrogen and phosphorus pollution of the nation’s inland and coastal waters, with costs borne by the people and businesses that rely on them."

Monsanto has a monopoly on corn. That means this company that cut its teeth on Agent Orange to become a fixture of the U.S. War Department goes around the world polluting... and being paid handsomely for it.

I wonder if Ms. Stillerman is aware of the work of Vandana Shiva and just how much damage is taking place in India due to Monsanto's political clout and its mono-crop model.

I had a talk with a friend this week whose nephew is in med. School and he knows so little about the relationship between who funds the curricula and their overall objectives. For instance, big pharma., big agri., and big chemical factor heavily into what's now taught as solid curricula and no one better ask any questions even though these industries write--and endlessly insist upon--their own (false) safety claims.

This is a wise strategy that needs to be implemented soon:

"But an innovative farming system developed at Iowa State University shows great promise to address this problem. Researchers at the university’s STRIPS project have found that planting areas of perennial prairie plants (“prairie strips”) on just 10 percent of farmland in and around crop fields can reduce nitrogen loss into rivers and streams by 85 percent, phosphorus loss by 90 percent, and sedimentation by 95 percent."



While not directly related to this particular article this shows how Public Policy compromised by those in power having investments in particular Corporations. The threat of Zika in Florida can make that states Governor a lot of money.


While it's clear inside the DLC and at the Presidential level that there's seldom a dime's worth of difference between the official candidates (on either side of the purported aisle), there are important distinctions at the level of state governor.

My state, Florida, being designated as Ground Zero for the Zika B.S. is run by a man who looks like David Icke's version of a Reptilian. This maniac thinks fracking is a good idea for this state... like the vast majority of right wing Republican anti-nature toxic clowns, he views EVERY natural resource as something to sell.

Florida has a vast network of prehistoric rivers running under it. In my area there are springs which are world class and carry some of the last of clean water. (That's one of the reasons I moved to this area.)

It's hardly a surprise that this bastard would have a personal financial interest in the Big Pesticide approach to fighting Zika (which is naturally occurring, and for which the only evidence linking it to the recent span of birth defects is contrived... in order to beef up Monsanto's and its subsidiaries' profits).

Edgar Cayce's warnings about the return of Atlanteans and their focus on genetic engineering is taking shape and form. And THAT was one of the causes for the destruction of that civilization.

Time is not linear. Dire matters are coming full circle before the eyes of those who CAN see.


Economists have a cute little word for the costs, like pollution, that don't get figured into the bottom line. They call them "externalities." That's for any economic consequence accruing to a third party. People end up paying twice for a lot of things today.


Please go ahead and tell my that the poor are taking advantage of the system. Remember the poor have teams of lawyers, lobbyists, prostituted politicians, propagandists and accountants who tell them and help them take advantage of the system. Wait, I was wrong, it's the rich.


It kind of sounds like "collateral damage," a cute phrase to describe the murder of an innocent person or a member of your own army.


I could not agree more with all that you've said here, but the last statement is exact!


Yes the promotion of big ag through taxpayer subsidies has many consequences downstream, including the enormous public expenditure into border surveillance; it was agricultural subsidies that allowed for the US flooding of the Mexican market with cheap corn and beans, undercutting the local family farm production and sending the destitute farmers northward in search of a way to provide for their families.
Of course, the cost to the US taxpayer pales when compared with the cost to those campesinos south of the border.