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Paul expounds on farm subsidies, reaches out to conservative Dems

June 30, 2010 | | Comments 28

Rand Paul

By Jack Brammer and Bill Estep – jbrammer@herald-leader.com

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul tempered his opposition to federal farm subsidies Wednesday, saying he is “much more moderate” on the issue than he has been portrayed in the media.

Appearing on WHAS-AM radio in Louisville with host Mandy Connell, Paul did not repeat a previous blanket assertion against farm subsidies.

“The interesting thing is they start out with that being my position and I’m actually much more moderate than that. You know how moderate I am,” Paul said during the one-hour radio interview.

In a May 10 appearance on Kentucky Educational Television with other Republican primary candidates, Paul said he was not in favor of agricultural subsidies.

“I don’t think federal subsidies of agriculture are a good idea,” he said.

At the time, Paul said the subsidies often went to things that weren’t economical, citing ethanol subsidies, and also that aid often went to large corporate farms.

“I’m not in favor of giving welfare to business,” he said.

Paul’s Democratic opponent in this year’s race, Attorney General Jack Conway, has criticized Paul, especially in Western Kentucky, for opposing farm subsidies.

Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon making his first bid for public office, said on the Louisville radio show that the federal government first should stop providing subsidies to dead farmers.

He said a survey in Miami last year showed that 234 dead farmers in the area were receiving $9.1 million in subsidies.

“Let’s just agree that we will get rid of subsidies for dead farmers first,” he said.

After that, Paul said, the government should restrict subsidies to farmers who make more than $2 million a year.

Paul said 2,007 farmers whose income was greater than $2 million received subsidies last year.
“Let’s agree that maybe we can cut them out,” he said.

Paul noted that of the $13 billion in farm subsidies last year, $1 billion was spent to tell or pay people not to grow crops. “I don’t think that’s a good idea to pay people not to farm,” he said.

The United States has the greatest farm production in the world, Paul said.

“We are better at it than anywhere in the world. Instead of letting and paying our farms to go fallow, let’s grow more and export it,” he said. “Let’s become a great exporter like we used to be.”

Allison Haley, Conway’s press secretary, said Kentucky received at least $446 million from the Department of Agriculture last year “through programs that include helping our Kentucky farmers improve water quality, cope with environmental disasters and provide nutritional assistance for women and children.

“Paul’s willingness to yank these programs away from our farmers is another example of why Kentucky can’t afford Rand Paul,” she said.

In federal fiscal year 2009, Kentucky farmers got more than $265 million in commodities subsidies through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to a publication from the USDA Farm Service Agency.

The payments provided support when the effective price of a certain crop fell below the target price, for instance.

But most of that aid was in payments to ease the transition away from tobacco in Kentucky, money that comes from a fee on manufacturers and importers of tobacco products, the publication said.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau said Wednesday it has not endorsed a candidate in the U.S. Senate race but supports federal aid to farmers.

“Farm policy remains a high priority issue for Kentucky Farm Bureau and we proudly recognize agriculture as one of the most important industries supported in the Commonwealth,” it said in a statement. “Many Kentucky farmers benefit from farm bill programs and we will continue to follow our policy for maintaining an effective safety net which supports the farmers that produce the best and most affordable food, fiber and renewable energy on which our state, nation and world depends.”

Paul also was asked on the radio show what he thought of Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s decision not to take a position in the race between Paul and Conway. Mongiardo lost to Conway by less than 1 percentage point in the May primary election.

Paul said Mongiardo’s comment show that “there are a lot of conservative Democrats in Kentucky, and I think they are going to have trouble struggling with the liberal policies of Conway and the liberal policies of President Obama.

“We plan on working very hard to reach out to the conservative Democrats and say, ‘You know what, Conway is a liberal,’” he said.

Paul also defended attending a recent private fund-raiser in Washington in which nine of the 12 lawmakers who hosted it had voted for the $700 billion bank bailout – a move Paul opposed.

Paul said his position has not changed on the bailout. He said he “still is on the outside but they are talking to me now and that is a good first step.”

He said his “message won, so those people are now endorsing my message. Interestingly, I think the Republican Party has become more conservative and more unified against more bailouts since they are out of power.”

Paul added that he thinks both political parties have not done well in handling the national debt.

“We doubled the debt and now Democrats are tripling it,” he said.

And Paul criticized the Obama administration for waiting until this week to allow foreign countries to help with the Gulf oil spill.

“President Obama has said no because he is protecting the unions,” Paul said.

Filed Under: ElectionsJack ConwayRand PaulUS Senate Race

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  1. The Voice of Satan says:

    Yes, let’s plant every inch of farm land in Kentucky and hope that we don’t deflate the prices of whatever crops everyone rushes to plant. They tried that in the 1920′s, and it led to the greatest deflation of commodities prices in 100 years. Thousands of farms were abandoned, lives ruined, towns destroyed. Where do you intend to sell these deflated commodities? To the Chinese? You might want to spend a little time reading up on your history before placing your ignorance on display. To get started, you might want to read “The Worst Hard Times”. Crop subsidies will not go away just because you over produce.

  2. FormerDemocrat says:

    So much for Jack Conway’s lie about Rand Paul wanting to abolish the Department of Agriculture.

  3. LexDrex says:

    Paul obviously has a simplistic and flawed view of the world. In addition to the incredibly naive economic, the lessons of the dust bowl and 100+ years of soil conservation are lost him. Hey Rand, we already tried your idea and it was a DISASTER. This guy needs to buy a history book.

  4. Keith says:

    @The Voice of Satan:

    Wouldn’t it make sense to start growing crops that are largely imported to the United States? Yeah, we don’t need more corn or tobacco being raised, but much of the food we eat is imported from other countries. Let’s subsidize only the farmers who are willing to grow crops that create trade deficits.

  5. Disillusioned Paul voter says:

    Does Rand Paul still stand for anything that he stood for in the primary? He seems to be backing off everything he claimed he stood for when he ran against Trey Greyson.
    No backbone I guess. Seems like Paul is just a politician, not the person he claims he is.

  6. Jim says:

    Is there no end to this type of politician? I think we should remove these guys. This country has driven companies to other shores rather than give incentives for them to stay. Our energy resources, once substantial, are under attack by uninformed people who can do little else but talk. Now we want to mess up our food supply.
    After increasing the unemployment to outrageous levels, the politicians cut unemployment funding…sure hope we can sustain giving aid to all of the foreign countries, they are clearly more important than our citizens.

  7. hailiebug says:

    Republicans always run as moderates to get elected and then vote for corporate interests and against working people. Without using the word taxes, (which is a different issue anyway), name one Republican Party platform or policy that economically actually supports working people. There are none. It is not what they say, it is what they do. Forget the social bs that is how they get you to vote for them. Its the economy stupid.

  8. Jack McCock says:

    So, we should continue to give subsidies to dead farmers? We should spend millions of dollars a year on this? This is somehow supposed to be cost effective and not wasteful? Who is the government trying to kid? Also, farmers who make $2M or more a year shouldn’t be Federally subsidized. Rand Paul is looking for ways to cut the huge US national debt, and making common sense cuts to government waste is a good start.

  9. dd says:

    What does the libertarian/republican/conservative (I’m confused) think about Ky. farmers growing hemp, or (gasp) marijuana? Anyone. What does Conway think of that? Anyone. What does Conway think of anything? Anyone.

  10. Skip says:

    So which is it Dr. Paul- were you a liar then or are you a liar now?

    For a guy who’s against ‘big government’ he sure doesn’t mind taking his cut, or sucking up to others nursing at the government teat.

  11. William says:

    Skip,

    I think you have it backwards. He’s not sucking up to the insiders–they’re sucking up to him.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Dead farmers and millionaire farmers should not really be getting subsidies. We must also should not dump our surplus on the world market without a floor price. This hurts developing nations and its farmers that cannot produce food as cheap as millions of bushels of surplus grains with not floor price. Puts their farmers out of business and sets them up for major problems down the road not producing their own food when food price start to climb. Subsidies create a false market, look at what it did to US steel (created an industry that continued to use very old technology because they did not have to compete), other countries employed new technology and were able to produce steel for 80% less (and they did not even have their own resources like the US).

  13. nors says:

    Paul is a t-bagger, a know-nothing arrogant jerk.

  14. sbowner says:

    Good job getting out the liberal buzz. Please now explain where all the good ‘working people’ will work when you finally rid us of evil ‘corporate interests’? Who will pay for the health care?

  15. FormerDemocrat says:

    I hearing the moderate comment was a joke followed by laughter. I guess Brammer doesn’t have a sense of humor.

  16. scoopsky says:

    haliebug — lower taxes. That supports the working person.

  17. scoopsky says:

    nors, are you a whipworm or a donkey puncher? or both?

  18. scoopsky says:

    lexdrex, communism-statism has been tried before also, and yet we continue to try it again.

    “If we just deficit-spend faster and bigger, we won’t fail like we did in the 30′s”

  19. real policy says:

    If anybody ever checked out the 2008 Farm Bill, you’d know that measures are in place to keep from paying producers who make millions a year. In fact, the cutoff threshold for some benefits starts at $500,000 per year. Also, if it is discovered that a deceased producer has been paid, repayment is demanded from the estate.

  20. Josh says:

    Well this guy is a complete moron but I still think he will more than likely win. I sure as heck wont be voting for him. But this is Kentucky and somehow McConnell and Bunning got the seats so it wont surprise me. We are letting ourselves get dragged down into the stupid swamp the rest of the south has been mired in for years. I know Kentucky is better than that we just have to live up to what we can be.

  21. Prof. Gilligan says:

    I wonder where Jack Conway stands on subsidies.

    Anyone?? Buehler?? Anyone???

    .

  22. randpaul2010(Dott)com says:

    I’d rather take money from Tony Soprano than Uncle Sam. You can make farm subsidies look noble on paper. Thing is, once you accept the first dime, you suddenly have a new boss with a new agenda that changes with wind direction, or more accurately, not-so-local lobbyist’s influence. I hope after this election Rand starts sounding more like his dad again.

    And yea, where does Jack stand on anything? The obvious answer is: Jack will know his opinion when Obama tells it to him.

  23. ct stewart says:

    rand is a silly flipflopper…he needs to wash his toupee, dont you agree ‘former democrat’

  24. Robert says:

    Jack Conway – Who is that? One would think that he had dropped off the face of the earth or into witness protection given the amount (or lack thereof) of press coverage by the LHL. I’m sure he has opinions on most, if not all, of the topics that Rand Paul is routinely eviscerated by the LHL and many of the commenters here, yet those opinions/positions are not sought out nor presented by the LHL.

    Perhaps I missed it as well but has Conway filed a financial statement and was it given front page coverage as Paul’s was? LHL, at least TRY to make an attempt at unbiased reporting. Surely Conway has said or done SOMETHING newsworthy in the months since the primary election.

  25. Sam says:

    Rand Paul is a pathological liar who will say anything he can to deceive Kentucky farmers. He said “I don’t think federal subsidies of agriculture are a good idea.”

    That is about as clear and plain an attack on Kentucky farm families as you can get, and that was what Rand Paul said last month, okay?

    So now he’s bullxxxting and saying he’s for subsidies, and just doesn’t want dead people to be paid? Nice try at the McConnell spin, but that dog won’t hunt, Texas city boy. Come on out to the farm and we’ll even show you what a cow looks like. We’d show you what the hind end of a horse looks like, but you’ve probably got plenty of mirrors.

  26. Gotta love it says:

    Think the media is a bit left wing biased? Good Job Rand!!! You Win!!! so we Win!!!

  27. M.Y. Conscience says:

    Don’t you just love Rand Paul, “I Doc”. Pretty soon there will not be a subsidies that he doesn’t like. Didn’t hear him say anything about the medicare increase he will be billing the government for in June. By the way does anyone know if there are higher medicare reimbrusement rates paid to properly Board Certified ophthalmologist?

  28. TruthHurts says:

    NO farmers should get subsidies. It’s welfare, pure and simple. Rand Paul is to be congratulated on trying to end socialized agriculture.

    Time for Comrade Farmer to join the free enterprise system.