July 14, 2013

Rep. Marlin A. Stutzman (R-Ind.) said that “agriculture is going to be getting the attention it deserves rather than being leveraged by a welfare program” [“House passes farm bill without food stamp funds,” front page, July 12].

How do government agricultural subsidies differ from what Mr. Stutzman refers to as “welfare”? Between 1995 and 2012, Indiana received $10.3 billion in farm subsidies, nearly 80 percent of which went to 10 percent of Indiana’s agricultural businesses. Indiana’s farm revenue reached a record $4 billion in 2012.

The difference between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and agricultural subsidies is that the latter supports private-sector, profit-driven enterprises. Food stamps enable millions of under- and unemployed people living at or below the poverty level to feed their families.

If Republicans are eager to get government off the backs of people, they should remove all government impediments to the growth of private enterprise, including handouts, which would reduce government spending. If agricultural businesses can’t make it without government handouts, their talented business executives can surely pull up their bootstraps and find employment that will adequately support their families.

If privately owned family farms go under without government financial support, leaving their owners unable to feed their families, how do their government “handouts” differ from those that food stamp recipients receive?

Maureen Clyne, Alexandria