Boondoggle: Fixing the 2012 Farm Bill - New Website & Experts Available

When Congress returns from its August recess, one of the first items it will take up is the 2012 farm bill, which proposes to spend almost $ 1 trillion over the next decade.

Over the past year, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) experts led by scholars Vince Smith and Henry Olsen have examined the farm bill and have authored numerous research papers and articles which explain that by eliminating some programs and restructuring others, taxpayers could save over $100 billion over the next 10 years without affecting the security of the US food supply chain.

Today AEI is launching www.AmericanBoondoggle.com, a one-stop shop for AEI research on the farm bill. Bringing together research papers, interactive maps, and a new two-minute video, the site explains why reform is necessary and charts a comprehensive path forward.

  • Fact: 80% of farm subsidies go to only 15% of farmers, most of whom are wealthier and more secure than the average American. (2010 farm household net worth: $576,745—up from $534,727 in 2007; 2010 media household net worth: $77,000—down from $126,400 in 2007)
  • Fact: Average crop insurance policy is subsidized $3,591 by taxpayers. Americans do not expect their neighbors to pay for the auto insurance, why should taxpayers pay for their neighbor’s crop insurance?
  • Fact: Americans pay $147 million per year to Brazilian cotton producers, so we can continue to subsidize American cotton producers. To avoid trade sanctions for subsidizing US cotton farmers in violation of WTO commitments, the US government also subsidizes Brazilian cotton producers.

These startling examples are indicative of a broader fact: the farm bill is unfair and in need of reform. Visit www.AmericanBoondoggle.com to learn more.

Interviews:
AEI experts are available for interviews on reforming the 2012 farm bill. Please contact Jesse Blumenthal (jesse@aei.org / 202.862.4870) for more information.

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About the Author

 

Henry
Olsen
  • Henry Olsen, a lawyer by training, is the director of AEI's National Research Initiative. In that capacity, he identifies leading academics and public intellectuals who work in an aspect of domestic public policy and recruits them to visit or write for AEI. Mr. Olsen studies and writes about the policy and political implications of long-term trends in social, economic, and political thought.

 

Vincent H.
Smith
  • Vincent H. Smith is Professor of Economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University and co-director of MSU’s Agricultural Marketing Policy Center. He received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1987 and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Manchester in 1970 and 1971. Dr. Smith’s current research program examines agricultural trade and domestic policy issues, with a particular focus on agricultural insurance, agricultural science policy, domestic and world commodity markets, risk management, and agricultural trade policy. He has authored nine books and monographs and published over 100 articles on agricultural and other policy and economic issues. His work has been recognized nationally through multiple national awards for outstanding research programs. In 2008, he became a Distinguished Scholar of the Western Agricultural Economics Association. Currently he is a Visiting AEI Scholar and co-director of AEI’s agricultural policy initiative. Dr. Smith is married and he and his wife, Laura, have two children, Karen and Meredith.
  • Email: uaevs@montana.edu
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Neil McCray
    Phone: 2028625826
    Email: neil.mccray@aei.org

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Graduation day: How dads’ involvement impacts higher education success

Join a diverse group of panelists — including sociologists, education experts, and students — for a discussion of how public policy and culture can help families lay a firmer foundation for their children’s educational success, and of how the effects of paternal involvement vary by socioeconomic background.

Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Getting it right: A better strategy to defeat al Qaeda

This event will coincide with the release of a new report by AEI’s Mary Habeck, which analyzes why current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates and what the US can do to develop a successful strategy to defeat this enemy.

Friday, April 25, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Obamacare’s rocky start and uncertain future

During this event, experts with many different views on the ACA will offer their predictions for the future.   

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