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Ryan Announces Latest Recipient of Budget Boondoggle Award: Subsidies for Manhattan “Farmers”

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April 03, 2008 | Conor Sweeney (202-226-7326) | comments

WASHINGTON – Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan today announced the recipient of the latest Budget Boondoggle Award. The award, an homage to the late Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award, is intended to highlight the most egregious, wasteful, and unnecessary spending American taxpayers were forced to fund. 

Congressman Ryan has awarded the dubious honor to our U.S. farm policy for handing out subsidies to hundreds of wealthy New York City residents. In 2005 – the most recent year for which complete data are available – more than 300 well-heeled “farmers” on the distinctly rural island of Manhattan received subsidies from the Department of Agriculture, which notes this largesse on its website. Among the recipients were: at least two billionaires; a former CEO of Seagrams; and numerous Wall Street power brokers. Additionally, a member of the prestigious Rockefeller family has received $228,000 in subsidies in the past 5 years. In response to this alarming misuse of taxpayer money, Congressman Ryan issued the following statement:

“Our nation’s farm policies should be aimed to provide a safety net for family farmers in times of need, yet they continue to be a source of poorly targeted wasteful spending. As this award highlights, it is unacceptable when our farm policy subsidizes wealthy urban dwellers in Manhattan at the expense of rural family farms and American taxpayers. Meaningful reform to our nation’s farm policies is long overdue. It is my hope that by highlighting these abusive spending practices, we can greatly reduce the loss of taxpayer dollars to federal government waste.”

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