Rep. Denny Rehberg is running for senator on the slogan “get the federal government out of our lives.” I’m sure the taxpayers in the rest of the nation would appreciate his efforts, since Montanans receive $1.47 back in federal dollars for every dollar we send to Washington. And Montana’s rural communities, Rehberg’s core supporters, get an even larger per capita percentage of the federal largess, including things like federal highway funds, federal fire fighting, federal flood insurance and disaster relief, FAA’s Airport Improvement Program for rural communities and many other federal programs worth cutting.
However, the greatest percentage of federal dollars on a per capita basis goes to Montana’s welfare farmers and ranchers, who have received $5.89 billion in subsidies between 1995 and 2010. To name a few ag subsides and not give a comprehensive list, there are federal price supports for wheat, corn and other crops, the Market Loss Assistance Program, loan deficiency payments, Hard Winter Wheat Incentive payments, the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment Program, hail insurance, drought insurance, the Livestock Compensation Program, the Emergency Livestock Feed Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Emergency Assistance Program, wool subsidies, the Milk Income Loss Contract Program, Dairy Market Loss Assistance, the Milk Income Loss Transitional Payment, the Dairy Economic Loss Assistance Program, the Sugar Beet Diversion Program, the Sugar Beet Disaster Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program, the federal Conservation Reserve Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, federal marketing support, ag research stations, the Conservation Security Program, Counter Cyclical Payments, the Marketing Loan Program, export subsidies and the Risk Management Agency.
The best way to save money and get the government off our backs is to stop government assistance to Montana’s welfare ranchers and farmers.