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Ryan issues his latest Budget Boondoggle Award

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Gazette staff
April 7, 2008
— In the spirit of Wisconsin’s late spending hawk, Sen. William Proxmire, Rep. Paul Ryan has award his latest Budget Boondoggle Award to federal farm policy.

Ryan, a Republican from Janesville, created Budget Boondoggle as homage to Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award. Ryan said in a press release that his award also highlights the “most egregious, wasteful and unnecessary spending American taxpayers were forced to fund.”


The federal Department of Agriculture earned the dubious distinction because it is doling out farm subsidies to hundreds of wealthy New York City residents, Ryan said.


In 2005—the most recent year for which complete data are available—more than 300 well-heeled “farmers on the distinctly rural island of Manhattan” received subsidies from the Department of Agriculture, the congressman sarcastically noted.


Among the recipients were: at least two billionaires, a former chief executive officer of Seagram’s and numerous Wall Street power brokers. Additionally, a member of the prestigious Rockefeller family has received $228,000 in subsidies in the past five years, Ryan said, adding:


“Our nation’s farm policies should be aimed to provide a safety net for family farmers in times of need, yet they continue to be a source of poorly targeted wasteful spending. … Meaningful reform to our nation’s farm policies is long overdue.


“It is my hope that by highlighting these abusive spending practices, we can greatly reduce the loss of taxpayer dollars to federal government waste,” Ryan said.



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