Monday, March 2, 2009

He chooses hungry children over rich farmers

Vilsack said he already has heard concerns about the Obama administration's plan to redirect subsidy payments for large farmers into nutrition programs as a way to help end hunger by 2015 and stem the rising tide of childhood obesity.

"We will do our best to frame this discussion in that way, so that people understand: 30 million children, 90,000 farmers," Vilsack told Reuters after speaking to people who work with the nation's food banks and anti-poverty groups.

"It is a tough choice, but it's a choice that folks are going to have to make," he said.
President Barack Obama last week outlined what some have called one of the most ambitious agendas for social change ever seen in the United States, pledging to raise taxes on the rich to boost services for those lower on the economic ladder.

For his first budget, he proposed phasing out direct payments to farmers with sales of more than $500,000 a year, to save $9.8 billion over 10 years, or roughly one-fifth of the $5.2 billion spent annually on the payments.

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