by Ben Shapiro [http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/06/20/USDA-slashes-care-subsidies]:
On Wednesday, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs penned a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack pointing out waste and abuse within the department that could be cut in order to pay for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) assistance that the department slashed for 600,000 women and children. Coburn points out that despite sequestration, on April 4, representatives from the USDA Rural Development Office held “a workshop on their agency’s economic development and affordable housing programs” for residents of Martha’s Vineyard. Clearly, affordable housing is not the key issue in an area whose cheapest home is listed at $260,000 (a two-bedroom condo). In fact, Coburn points out, the “entire island of Martha’s Vineyard has been designated as a rural area eligible for taxpayer backed home loans by USDA.”
That’s not the only giant waste of money. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the USDA will now provide “free meals to all children 18 years of age or younger this summer through the Summer Café program of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) regardless of need.”
The USDA Rural Development agency also touted a program to subsidize the Wine Barn LLC in “marketing and increasing production of its Kansas produced wine.” That cost $25,000. The USDA Rural Development also said it would hand $300,000 to the Mackinaw Trail Winery in Michigan, $100,000 for the Appleton Creek Winery in New York, $162,500 for the Old Westminster Winery in Maryland, and tens of thousands of dollars to wineries in Nebraska and Iowa.
Liquor is the name of the game for the USDA, apparently – they’re also subsidizing the production of vodka in North Carolina, Bloody Mary mix in West Virginia, and hard cider in Virginia.
The USDA has also awarded value-added producer grants for social media for pickles, pizza, and ice cream.
Coburn asked for a full list of savings and efficiencies the USDA has implemented to reduce impacts of sequestration by July 22.
2013-02-18 "A Fifth of Americans Go Hungry"
from "Validated Independent News" [http://www.mediafreedominternational.org/2013/02/18/a-fifth-of-americans-go-hungry-2/]:
An August 2012 Gallup poll showed 18.2 percent of Americans lacked sufficient money for needed food at least once over the previous year. To make matters worse, the worst drought in half a century impacted 80 percent of agricultural lands in the country, increasing food prices. Despite this, in 2012 Congress considered cutting support for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as part of the 2013 farm bill.
Proposed Senate cuts would cost about 500,000 households about $90 a month in nutritional assistance. Proposed cuts in the House of Representatives would go much farther than the ones in the Senate, and would have kicked at least 1.8 million people of off food stamps. Republicans controlling the House have been eager to cut spending and were the primary supporters of food stamp cuts.
Opponents of the cuts have expressed concern over the harm the cuts would cause to more vulnerable members of society, namely seniors, children, and working families. Rising food prices would hit Southern states the hardest, while Mountain Plains and Midwest states would be least affected. Despite all the food hardship, the National Resources Defense Council reported 40 percent of food in the country goes to waste.
Source: Mike Ludwig, “Millions Go Hungry as Congress Considers Food Stamp Cuts and Drought Threatens Crops,” Truthout, August 23, 2012. [http://truth-out.org/news/item/11067-millions-go-hungry-as-congress-considers-food-stamp-cuts-and-drought-threatens-crops]
Student Researcher: Noah Tenney, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth, Sonoma State University