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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Farm Subsidy Scam

    The database includes about 358,000 beneficiaries who received $9.8 billion in crop subsidy benefits between 2003 and 2005.

    That includes Texas oil billionaire Lee M. Bass, who qualified to receive $242,787 in subsidies from 2003-2005. Former NBA star Scottie Pippen received $78,945 over the same period in conservation subsidies for land he controls in Arkansas. And Washington uber-lobbyist Gerald Cassidy got $10,540 for maintaining a portion of his Dorchester County, Md., farm as wetlands.

    The current farm bill, which expires Sept. 30, limits farmers to $360,000 in subsidies per year, but that ceiling is filled with loopholes that allow many farms to exceed it.

    The Bush administration has proposed closing the loopholes and halting subsidies to anyone making more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income. Last month, Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced legislation that would cap individual farm payments at $250,000.

    Those changes would target people like Maurice Wilder, a Clearwater, Fla., developer listed on the new EWG database as the nation's top beneficiary of farm payments in 2005, the most recent year for which information is available.

    Wilder received nearly $1.8 million in farm subsidy benefits that year, according to the database. He owns a corporation worth $400 million and controls about 180,000 acres of farm and ranch land in more than a half dozen states.

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