Report: Millions in farm subsidies go to dead farmers

You can’t take it with you when you die but you can keep making money after you’re gone if you’re a farmer.

The Economist reports that between 2008 and 2012, the United States paid $10.6 million in crop subsidies to farmers who had been dead for over a year.

American farm subsidies are egregiously expensive, harvesting $20 billion a year from taxpayers’ pockets. Most of the money goes to big, rich farmers producing staple commodities such as corn and soyabeans in states such as Iowa.

Few politicians are inclined to vote against farm subsidies: though farmers make up only a small number of voters, even in agricultural states, they are loud and organised enough to punish lawmakers who vote against a farm bill. Opposition to spending is muted; few voters realise how much of their money is given to farmers and even fewer would change their vote because of it.

Most of the money for farm subsidies goes to wealthy farmers, The Economist says. And it indicates the situation is going to get worse as crop prices plummet because the harvests have been far too bountiful.

Minnesota ranks fourth in farm subsidies. Ten percent of farmers received 62 percent of available subsidies, according to the Environmental Working Group.