By Virgil Vaupel
Thanks For Listening 

Corporate Welfare

It Costs You, Fellow Americans, Billions A Year


What do companies like Archer Daniels Midland, lumber giant Boise Cascade, major pharmaceuticals like Pfizer and Eli Lily, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance, Monsanto, ConAgra, Caterpillar, and R.J. Reynolds have in common, you ask? Well, here’s what.

They are all in the corporate welfare feeding trough chewing up billions of taxpayer dollars with little or no transparency.

Being as Archer Daniels Midland, also known as ADM Super Market to the World, is one of the big hogs at the trough, I’ll focus on them first. The following comes from an analysis from the Cato Institute, a think tank filled with very smart people:

“ADM has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM’s annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM’s corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its bioethanol operation costs taxpayers $30.”

ADM products are in many food stuffs you buy and in pet and livestock feeds as well.

Archer Daniels Midland reaps tens of millions of dollars in farm subsidies yearly. In 2012, its CEO received a total of $20.6 million in salary, stock options and bonuses.

Now let’s take a look at farm subsidies: At first it was named the Soil Bank. This was a program sorely needed back in the 1930s to help starving farmers through the Depression and drought.

But like the unions, Affirmative Action, flower power, slavery and the AMC Gremlin, the Soil Bank, like many good ideas at the beginning, turned bad toward the end. It became the Agriculture Adjustment Act and according to then Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace, was to be “a temporary solution to deal with an emergency.” The temporary became permanent in 1949.

Then as in all things political, the politicians saw an opportunity to line their pockets by first allowing large corporations to dip into the trough meant to help the family farmer.

The term “corporate welfare” cropped up in daily conversations amongst the rich and infamous. They didn’t seem to mind that the term was derogatory toward folks like themselves. To them it meant dollar signs.

So ... does this mean “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?”

About $4.61 million in farm subsidies were awarded in Valley County in 2012. There were 609 recipients in Valley County receiving subsidies, with 10% of those 609 receiving 58% of all subsidies and 90% or 548 sharing the remaining 42%. See the disparity there?

The larger farms get the fat side of the hog while the smaller farms, the ones who could use some extra cash, get the feet.

I hear folks railing at Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and other social welfare programs, but did you know that those programs in one year cost taxpayers about $59 billion, or 3 percent of the federal budget, while “corporate welfare” subsidies cost taxpayers a staggering $92 billion? That’s 5% of the federal yearly budget going into corporate pockets that will ultimately drive up consumer prices at the pump (Exxon/Mobil), at the pharmacy (Eli Lily and Pfizer) and at the local grocery (Smithfield Farms and Pilgrims Pride).

I don’t know if this makes any sense to you, but if it does and you are concerned about the way things are and want to make your voice heard why not start by e-mailing senators Baucus and Tester or Rep. Steve Daines?

Don’t give up. Keep making your voice heard in D.C. And in Helena.

That’s it for now folks. Thanks for listening.


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