farm subsidies

Billionaire Gets Handout from Taxpayers!
corporate welfare


If you like reading appalling stories about welfare queens who abuse the system and get money that they don't really need from the taxpayers, well, here is a gem for you.

by Jim Hightower

Charles Schwab is one lucky duck. Not only is he a billionaire stockbroker, heading the Wall Street firm that bears his family name, but he also has his own private duck-hunting club on 1,500 acres of wetlands in picturesque Northern California.

He calls his place Casa de Patos, which is Spanish for House of Ducks. However, ducks don't read, so they're unaware that Charlie named his place for the birds and that they're supposed to swoop down from their migratory path to get a close enough for Schwab and his duck-loving friends to shoot at them. Also, while you and I know from his ubiquitous ads that Charles is a hot-shot Wall Street stockbroker, your average duck doesn't watch a lot of TV and wouldn't know Charles Schwab from a cotton swab.

But Schwab knows that his feathered friends are attracted to rice fields, so, to lure more of the game birds within gunshot range, Charles has had much of Casa de Patos planted in rice. Charles Schwab, billionaire duck man, discovered the federal farm program. Specifically, his legal eagles determined that, as a rice grower, Schwab was eligible for rice subsidies from us taxpayers. Lots of subsidies.

The bottom line here is that you and I, Mr. and Ms. Joe Schmoe Taxpayer, fork over some $500,000 a year in federal crop-support funds so Schwab can be sure that guests at his exclusive hunting club have plenty of ducks to kill. The farm program was originally meant to help struggling small farmers -- not a pleasure-seeking Wall Streeter with a net worth of some $4 billion. With program perverters like Schwab, we taxpayers are sitting ducks.


Jim Hightower's latest book is If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates. This article appeared in the Texas Observer.

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