A Nutty Kind of Corporate Welfare

Some members of the U.S. Senate defend the fiscal and healthcare-access disaster that is Medicaid, others zealously guard taxpayers’ dollars.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is out with another exploration of “some of the questionable expenditures lurking throughout the federal budget.” Wastebook: PORKémon Go is a 201-page compendium of transportation boondoggles, dodgy “science” grants, corporate welfare, and other fiscal atrocities. Unlike last year, New Mexico isn’t specifically mentioned in this year’s publication. But the state is listed as a beneficiary of a program that “allows federal farm loans to literally be repaid with peanuts.”

Instead of covering borrowed funds with actual cash, American peanut farmers can forfeit their crops to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation. And since Washington “pays a rate greater than the market price for the peanuts,” the sweetheart deal “has become a ‘safety net’ for many agricultural operations.” As the Congressional Research Service explained: “The program essentially provides a price floor for producers because the government will take ownership of the loan collateral (i.e., the pledged crop) if prices drop below the statutory loan rate.”

The Land of Enchantment can’t match Georgia’s massive yield, but the National Peanut Board ranks New Mexico among the “major” peanut-producing states. In 2014, the harvest was 15.5 million pounds. So it’s a safe bet that peanut-based crony cropitalism is at work somewhere in the state.

For more of Flake’s findings — including a treadmill for fish, a carbon-capture boondoggle, and Washington’s appalling PR spending — click here.

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