MOHAIR’S BACK!

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Aaron Taylor

October 6, 1998          (202) 467-5300

 

…And We’re Not Talking About the Paris Fashion Runways 

(Washington, D.C.) – It’s featured in Vogue magazine this month and de rigeur fashion mavens will be sure to sport at least one item made of it.  Unfortunately, says Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), the nation’s premier waste-fighting organization, taxpayers will also once again be paying through the nose for it.  The USDA’s mohair program has been resurrected in this years’ Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Budget watchers will remember that the mohair program was one of several tenacious agriculture subsidy programs which got the ax in 1993, after a bruising battle in Congress led by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).  The National Performance Review had also targeted the program for elimination.  Vice-President Al Gore called it “a tribute to adept lobbying” by a few wealthy ranchers, observing that “(t)he top one percent of the sheep raisers capture a quarter of the money – nearly $100,000 each.  The national interest does not require this program.  It provides an unnecessary subsidy for the wealthy.”  At the time, Gore pointed out that ranchers raising Angora goats got half the money and 80 percent of the resultant mohair was exported.

In an attempt to “pull the wool” over taxpayers’ eyes, legislators inserted the language to revive the federal mohair program – as well as the honey and wool subsidy programs – in the $56 billion agriculture appropriations bill, which is laden with other pork-barrel goodies disguised as “emergency” farm relief.

“I wasn’t aware that we were suffering a mohair emergency,” quipped Tom Schatz, president of CAGW.  “Perhaps we can divert funds from less important emergencies like relief for hurricane victims in Alabama.”

On a more serious note, Schatz continued, “The fiscal discipline that got us this far in reducing government spending is going out the window.  There is no justification for giving away taxpayer dollars in mohair subsidies.” 

CAGW is a 600,000-member nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of  government waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.

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