After taking a long break, Off K Street is back to ponder, question, comment, opine, and address issues of injustice and absurdity that affect large cross sections of our community. To that end, one that issue that has received increased attention over the last few months but continues to be under-reported, the Federal Government's complicity for years of discrimination in the USDA Farm Loan program of Black Farmers.
All the way back to just after the Civil War, Black Farmers have struggled to till out a living from the land. Hoping to be paid, not just fairly but be compensated at all, for their labor in the fields that were worked by slaves and then as sharecroppers, Black Farmers were hopeful that their day of justice was at hand.
Unfortunately, the same partisan politics that has derailed the latest jobs bill and extension in Unemployment Insurance, has also stalled the $1.25 Billion settlement to Black Farmers from years of discrimination from the USDA Farm Loan program.
This brings up another point, in the spirit of less government and cutting the size of the Federal Budget. The Environmental Working Group has been tracking Farm Subsidy payments for several years now, of which the lion share going to "Corporate Farms." The EWG has a great web based tracker where anyone that is interested can find out who and how much is being doled out to Corporate Farms.
In a supposed "post-racial" America, why is this still an issue? It appears that Black Farmers are being teed-up to be used as a sound bite as we get closer to the 2010 Mid-Term Elections. The GOP continues to be deaf to racial, social, and economic justice and the Democrats are being obscenely opportunistic. This is just wrong. The entire Congress should just let this issue be voted on as a stand-alone bill and be done with it.
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