What's the Budget Deal mean for Rural America? Print
News Releases - Business, Economy & Finance
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 16:30

Center for Rural Affairs statement on debt ceiling and budget compromise

Lyons, NE - While President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and other Congressional leaders worked to reach an eleventh hour compromise that would allow the national debt ceiling to increase in exchange for, potentially, as much as $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts, many in rural America continued to try to sort out what all the horse-trading will mean for their communities.

“Rural development funding for small towns and small business will face growing pressure under the federal budget agreement, which will reduce annual appropriations for all programs by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade,” said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs. “But rural development funding has already been cut by more than one fourth, just since 2003.”

According to Hassebrook, there is an alternative to reducing investments in the future of rural communities. “We should make the first cut by putting hard caps on subsidies to the nation’s largest farms – subsides they use to drive mid-size farms out of agriculture,” explained Hassebrook.

“The current policy of unlimited mega farm subsidies is so misguided that smart reforms could both save money AND strengthen rural America,” Hassebrook argued. “It seems like a no-brainer for both parties - cut counter productive spending first."

A 2007 Center for Rural Affairs analysis demonstrated that USDA and Congress have severely over-subsidized the biggest and most powerful farmers while consistently under-investing in rural America’s future, spending twice as much on subsidizing the 20 largest farms in each of 13 leading farm states as it invested in rural development programs to create economic opportunity for millions of people in thousands of towns in the 20 rural counties with the most out-migration in each respective state - (the full report - An Analysis of USDA Farm Program Payments and Rural Development Funding In Low Population Growth Rural Counties, a.k.a. Oversubsidizing and Underinvesting... can be viewed or downloaded at: http://www.cfra.org/node/603)

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