CAGW, National Small Government Nonprofits Announce New Joint Venture | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW, National Small Government Nonprofits Announce New Joint Venture

Press Release

For Immediate Release
March 30, 2012


Contact:  Leslie K. Paige 202-467-5334 Luke Gelber 202-467-5318

CAGW, National Small Government Nonprofits Announce New Joint Venture

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, five nationally-recognized fiscal conservative groups announced their joint purchase of a farm in downstate Illinois. The Heartland Institute, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), Taxpayers for Common Sense, Americans for Tax Reform, and the National Taxpayers Union will jointly own and operate this exciting and too-subsidized-to-fail venture.

“This will give a whole new meaning to ‘buying the farm,’” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “The federal government has been seeding and growing wasteful agriculture programs for years; it was time for us to cultivate some wasteful spending of our own.”

The farm, named ‘Greenback Acres,’ will serve as a profit center and living laboratory for the organizations. Instead of aiming to produce any food or fiber, the farm will profit by taking advantage of federal agricultural subsidies.

“Unlike the overwhelming majority of family farmers, who actually hew to the outdated notion that they should make money by growing things, caring for their land, and selling their products at market prices, we plan to take advantage of every loophole, subsidy, absurdity, and program in existence,” explains Greenback Acres general manager Lirpa Sloof. “Although it may seem a bit hypocritical, it would be foolish for us to pass up a perfectly legal opportunity to begin soaking taxpayers everywhere in order to obtain the resources needed to continue our fight against wasteful spending.” Sloof says the farm provides a variety of surefire taxpayer-supported moneymaking strategies, among them:

  • As much land as possible at Greenback Acres will be enrolled in the “Conservation Reserve” program that will pay the farm’s owners not to grow anything on the land.
  • Like many farms, Greenback Acres will be eligible for “direct payments,” based on crops it does not grow and has not grown in the recent past.
  • The farm’s management will take advantage of taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance by planting speculative crops subject to frequent market fluctuations in erosion-prone areas.
  • Subsidized crop insurance will produce guaranteed returns. If natural events destroy the crops, taxpayers will pick up the bill; if market prices for the crops decline, taxpayers will pay the difference.

During speeches he gave as far back as the mid-1980s on how to rein in government waste, CAGW’s founder, businessman J. Peter Grace, used to share a letter from a farmer who wanted to be paid not to raise hogs. The letter reads, in part, “My friend, Ed Peterson, over in Wells, Iowa, received a check for $1,000 from the government for not raising hogs, so I want to go into the not raising hogs business next year. As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be in keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I have not raised…If I get $1,000 for not raising fifty hogs, will I get $2,000 for not raising a hundred hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 hogs not raising, which will mean about $80,000 the first year…These hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn or wheat. Will I qualify for payment for not raising wheat or corn not to feed the 4,000 hogs I'm not going to raise? Also, I'm considering the not milking cows business. So please send me any information on that too.”

“When we looked at the astonishing range of guaranteed-money programs available to farms, we realized it was such a good deal we couldn’t afford not to take advantage,” said Heartland Institute Vice President Eli Lehrer. “After all, usually you need to be a member of Congress before the taxpayers start paying you good money for doing absolutely nothing.”

For Additional Information Please Contact:

Leslie Paige, Vice President, Citizens Against Government Waste, (202) 467-5334,
Eli Lehrer, Vice President, The Heartland Institute, (202) 615-0586,
Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense, (202) 546-8500,
Peter Sepp, Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union, (703) 683-5700,
Kelly William Cobb, Gov’t Affairs Manager, Americans for Tax Reform, (202) 785-0266,

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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