By: Mark Joppa (Mark is a tea party enthusiast in the Hudson Valley, New York)
The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) in fiscal year 2010 had a combined budget of $134 billion (this alone is insane!). Just three years prior, in fiscal year 2007 the USDA had a lower budget of $88 billion. No one really knows how or why the Department of Agriculture spent $88 billion in 2007, together with an additional $46 billion in 2010, but let’s examine USDA’s 2012 budget.
President Obama has proposed $145 billion. In these tough times with high unemployment and the historically high national debt, it goes beyond the pale that President Obama can propose a budget of $145 billion for the USDA when we all know that gross and inadequate spending – our way out of debt – is not how we get the country going again.
Why the agency is named the USDA or “The United States Department of Agriculture” in the first place and what does it mean?
The legal definition of “United States” is, includes the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth an of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake Island, the Midway Islands, Kingman Reef, and Johnston Island.
“Department” is, one of the principal divisions of the U.S. federal government, headed by a Secretary who is a member of the President’s cabinet.
“Agriculture” means, 1) farming: the practice of cultivating the land or raising stock, 2) Agriculture is the production of food and goods through farming, 3) The art or science of cultivating the ground, including the harvesting of crops, and the rearing and management of livestock; tillage; husbandry; farming.
When you add the word agriculture to the words “The United States Department of . . .” it seems to have magically changed the natural definition to something that is almost indefinable.
“The Secretary of Agriculture, assisted by the Deputy Secretary, the Under Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries and members of their immediate staffs, directs and coordinates the work of the Department. Provide policy direction for all of the Departments responsibilities including research, educational and regulatory activities, nutrition, conservation and farm programs, forestry and International Farming.”
Identifying the lengthy list of Departments, Agencies and Companies that fall directly or indirectly under the auspices of the USDA and in turn those agencies have multiple agencies under them and so on and so on, alone, will have your head spinning. An entire series of twenty or more articles would be needed, to truly explain the enormous duplicative nature, fraud and abuse that occur with so many sub companies and agencies.
2012 Budget Proposal
Just one example, looking on page 2, there is a pie chart showing a slice of just 13% of the $145,000,000,000 budget going to what they term “Farm and Commodity Programs”. If I combine my Math and English skills together I come up with just a total of $18.2 billion being spent on agriculture out of the $145 billion being spent on “Agriculture Departments.”
I am beginning to feel like the Robot in “Lost in Space” having a meltdown as the preceding paragraphs do not compute. As I scanned the pages of the Proposed Budget, there was barely a mention of the words “Farm” or “Agriculture” for the first 12 pages until I finally reached ‘Mission Area/Agency Details”.
Sitting here for 2 hours looking at the mass of data that I have collected so far on the first of 10 major agencies under the USDA, I will admit defeat for the useless wording and deliberate confusion. Founding father, John Adams criticized English legal language and the “useless words” in the statutes of the colonial charters (I agree with him):
“…which from their verbosity, their endless tautologies, their involutions of case within case, and parenthesis within parenthesis, and their multiplied efforts at certainty by saids and aforesaids, by ors and by ands, to make them more plain, do really render them more perplexed and incomprehensible, not only to common readers, but to lawyers themselves.”
Here is a hidden surprise that might freak you out: The USDA is paying for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan to the tune of $200.5 million. $156 million is allotted for “Food for Progress,” whatever that is, so that they can feed preschoolers in other countries. Foreign Agriculture Services is paying the State Department an additional $7.4 million for overseas administration, yet we do not know how it is distributed, since pay scales in the budget are not clearly identified.
USDA has to be investigated and closed down
The USDA is structured this way: To make the average American’s head explode before they made it through the first set of agencies, and to bury additional, inapplicable costs in the USDA budget because they know no one will look there.
I suggest that everyone down load a copy of the USDA budget and bring your favorite parts to the attention of your Senator and Representative, I am sure they will be happy to hear from you – not!