How billionaires try to use farmers as props for tax cuts for the ultra-rich
Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—September 30, 2017
By: Chuck Collins
Kip Tom, the Leesburg Indiana farmer who will stand today with President Trump complaining about the federal estate tax, cashed over $3.3 million in farm subsidy checks, including $2.6 million between 2004 and 2014, the most recent data available.
Kip Tom and Tom Farms is one of the biggest corn and soybean producers in Indiana and the ninth largest farm subsidy recipient in Indiana.
Arriving at a total for Tom Farms subsidies required examining subsidies to three different ownership entities, as the farm went from individual ownership to an LLC in roughly 1995 and then formed Tom Farms Partners in 2004.
Between 2004 and 2014, Tom Farms Partners received $2,612,561 in subsidies, mostly commodity subsidies. Between 1996 and 2006, Tom Farms LLC cashed $667,732 in farm subsidy checks. In 1995, Kip Tom took in $42,826, but then refunded $17,494 for a net of $25,332. Between 1995 and 2014, this equals over $3,305,625 in government subsidies,
Over 41 of Indiana farmers do not receive any subsidies, according to the USDA.
The federal estate tax is a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. The tax only applies to households with more than $11 million in assets. In Indiana, where President Trump kicked off his anti-estate tax campaign, fewer than one in 1,000 estates are subject to the estate tax, a grand total of only 70 people according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Republicans have been using farmers and ranchers for decades to justify estate tax repeal. I have written extensively about the history of using farmers as the face of estate tax repeal, instead of the billionaires and multi-millionaires who actually pay the tax, going back to 2000.
From the Environmental Working Group Farm Subsidy Database:
- All three Tom Farms entities combined received $3.3 million in subsidies, which would place them number 9 on this list of biggest subsidy recipients.
- For data on subsidies to Tom Farm Partners, 2004-2014.
- Information about 1996-2005, Tom Farms LLC Direct subsidies.
- Direct 1995 farm subsidy to Kip Tom.
About the Author:
Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org, and is author of the new book, Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good. He is cofounder of Wealth for the Common Good, recently merged with the Patriotic Millionaires. He is co-author of 99 to 1: The Moral Measure of the Economy and, with Bill Gates Sr., of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes.
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