Ryan would also means-test farm subsidies. He points out that, while the rest of the economy struggles, the American agricultural sector is booming. Yet the government continues to make agriculture support payments to farmers with joint-incomes as high as $2.5 million. Ryan sees no reason why the federal government should be making direct cash payments to multimillionaires. He would limit agricultural support to those making less than $250,000 and has proposed cutting $30 billion over the next decade in price supports and other agriculture subsidies.
In addition to cutting cash payments to wealthy individuals, Ryan wants to end what he calls “wasteful welfare for corporations such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, big agribusinesses, well-connected energy companies, and others that have gotten a free ride from the taxpayer for too long.” He points out that the president’s stimulus spending bill allocated $80 billion specifically for politically favored renewable energy businesses, such as the now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received $500 million in federal loan guarantees from the Obama administration. “I mean, Solyndra, that’s half a billion dollars in one company,” Ryan says. He would do away with such loan-guarantees and “stop subsidizing businesses with industrial policy and crony capitalism.”