President Bush is asking Congress to halt farm subsidies to anyone making more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income. The current income cap is $2.5 million.
Lawmakers warn that such a limit might unintentionally hurt honest, hardworking families in rural America."They're not fat-cat farmers," said Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
The Bush analysis, based on IRS data, tells a different story.
"A fair number of these people do live in states like New Jersey, some in Washington, D.C.," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in an interview. "These are probably investor-owners, people that have a large income."
"Farm subsidies are America's largest corporate welfare program," said Brian Riedl, at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. "They are promoted as saving small family farmers in a Norman Rockwell vision of the world. The reality is, the majority of farm subsidies go to corporate farms."