Cash on the Scarecrow, Pork on the Plow
April 17, 2005 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Cash on the Scarecrow, Pork on the Plow
Matt Welch, using data from Environmental Working Group, examines the largesse of subsidies to Mellencamps.
posted by trharlan (12 comments total)
This is incredible. Using that search engine, I discovered that a guy in my zip code (whom I happen to know) is getting $126,000 a year in corn subsidies. This is a danged suburb. Nobody grows anything here! Also, to their credit, the couple up the street with the lamas in their yard, which I had always supposed to be an excuse for applying for some kind of farm subsidy, are getting nothing, bless 'em.
John Cougar has long ago used up the good will he earned from his one good song -- "Hurts So Good." In fact, he burned most of it up with "Jack and Diane," which actually put him kind of in the hole. But if he'd kept his mouth shut, he might have stayed out of hell. But the incredible, cynical hypocrisy of "Farm Aid" -- especially in sight of this familial pork orgy -- more or less guarantees that he'll be an attraction on Dante's next guided tour of you-know-where.
posted by Faze at 10:14 AM on April 17, 2005

i used this database to blow a few starving farmers right out of the town hall a few years ago. they were appealing thier property taxes based on poverty.
posted by quonsar at 10:18 AM on April 17, 2005

How much per year did these folks get? Was Andrew's $420 "largesse?" How much did this compare to what agricultural conglomerates received from subsidies, as well as municipal, state and federal tax breaks? Is Mellencamp even related to all these folks? Does Welch think everyone is close to everybody in Seymour, and that Mellencamp (based in Bloomington?) calls these folks even when on the road, or something, especially since they're presumably family? Vaguely interesting, but crap reporting on the whole. What's next? How many Nelsons receive farm subsidies in the Abbot, Texas area? And . . .. well, Neil Young's from Canada, and Dave Matthews is from South Africa. But maybe there's an international ag subsidy story in there somewhere.

Also, I guess the farm crisis of the '80s didn't happen, based on the headline?
posted by raysmj at 10:19 AM on April 17, 2005

From the Environmental Working Group's site . . . So, there's no purpose for "Farm Aid?":

It's not as if the subsidies are 'saving the family farm.' Of the 2,128,982 farms enumerated by the most recent Census of Agriculture, for 2002, only 33 percent received government payments. Two-thirds of the nation's farmers get no subsidy payments whatsoever. For the most part they don't qualify because they grow the 'wrong' things. If you want to see what the wrong things are, stroll through the produce aisle or meat department of your local supermarket. The farmers who produce most of America's food do so without a check from taxpayers.
posted by raysmj at 10:24 AM on April 17, 2005

Too bad that the database would have been a better post than that crap bit o' Reason.
posted by klangklangston at 12:00 PM on April 17, 2005

it would be interesting to know how much money these melloncamps are actually making as farmers ... it may well be that these payments are what's keeping them from going broke

out where i live, michigan's rural population seems to be going into the meth business ... not to mention the practice of planting pot in other people's cornfields

people will find a way to make money one way or another, won't they?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:33 PM on April 17, 2005

Too bad that the database would have been a better post than that crap bit o' Reason.

i may be wrong but i bleeve the database WAS an fpp here once.
posted by quonsar at 12:56 PM on April 17, 2005

Obviously, the Mellencamps should move to Stuttgart, Arkansas, and start growing rice.
posted by eatitlive at 3:05 PM on April 17, 2005

Some farmers actually spend their subsidies, which helps the local economy. There are areas that need this money or they would erode into a _Grapes of Wrath_ scenario.

Others give the program a bad name by doing no land improvements, buying a new truck every year, and flaunting their artificial wealth.
Like so many other federal programs, once the subsidies are built they never go away... too much job loss, financial ruin, foreclosures, and other negative outcomes to ever fully correct the program.

Could be another good vs. evil paradox of life. Poor and proud, or sold out and rich? Driving the old tractor another year, or taking the handout to the John Deere dealer in town for a new air conditioned one? This stuff shows in a sharp contrast once a person knows who uses the subsidies and who doesn't. At the extremes, each is a sad situation.
posted by buzzman at 8:58 PM on April 17, 2005

quonsar, I'd like to hear more about that if you're being serious.
posted by NortonDC at 10:02 PM on April 17, 2005

they were regulars - appealing year after year trying to get reductions. between the 4 brothers they got over $400,000 in crop subsidies, each year. in addition to the sizable acreage they outright owned, they also leased non-producing fields from others around the township and got paid to not grow stuff on them.
posted by quonsar at 10:20 PM on April 17, 2005

Amazing- my landlord got $47k for NOT growing corn on the land I'm leasing from him. How's that work? He's collecting rent from me, AND collecting money from the government on the same acreage?

His brother owns the next plot over and made $183k for not growing rice.
posted by Mamapotomus at 10:39 AM on April 18, 2005

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