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Washington

United States: White farmers deprived of aid to reduce their debt

President Joe Biden's federal aid program only offers “socially disadvantaged” farm owners who are victims of “historic discrimination” hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Published: March 1, 2021, 10:22 am

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    Biden’s plan to revive the US economy, following the Covid-19 pandemic, was passed by the House of Representatives on February 27. The plan is estimated at 1,900 billion dollars, and welcomed by a large majority of Americans, according to the mainstream American media, but it remains “an affront to the American ideal which promises equal treatment” according to the New York Post.

    One measure in particular was highlighted by Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of the State of New York: The aid granted to certain farmers in difficulty because of the crisis. Thus, according to her, Article 1.005 offers “socially disadvantaged” agricultural owners a total debt forgiveness of hundreds of thousands of dollars, without any conditions attached.

    Struggling white farmers are not entitled to it, however. The definition of “socially disadvantaged” is confined to people or racial groups which have been victims of “historical discrimination”. This measure is supposed to compensate for “years of discrimination” noted Senator Raphael Warnock, rapporteur for the measure.

    The newly elected Warnock, a Democrat, proposed the bill which will also affect the aid provided to restaurants. It gives restaurant owners up to $5 million per establishment to offset losses caused by closures. It’s a lifeline for restaurants struggling to get by. Restaurant owners are one of the biggest employers in urban, suburban as well as rural communities in New York.

    But only women, veterans and restaurant owners “socially and economically disadvantaged in society” – once again, strictly according to the racial definition in US federal law – can apply during the first three weeks of the program. Most white restaurateurs will be the last served, even if their needs are more pressing.

    Treating white male farmers and restaurateurs like second-class citizens violates the principle that Americans are equal before the law, a principle guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    The pandemic has not discriminated against race – it has hurt everyone. Thus the bill appears to be about racial reparations rather than Covid aid. In New York, 47 percent of small businesses have closed, and those still hanging on have lost nearly 60 percent of their revenue, according to TracktheRecovery.org.

    Therefore many New York dairy farmers are threatened with bankruptcy as restaurants that used to account for half of the demand for their products, are no longer buying their products. Yet the farm aid provided for in the relief bill will not affect many of these farmers: most of them are white males.

    But the measure states that agricultural aid is “intended to combat long-standing, widespread discrimination against socially disadvantaged farmers”. The truth is, farmers have been struggling for a decade and more than half of them have been losing money. Minority-owned farms tend to be less indebted than white-owned farms, according to the Post.

    Betsy McCaughey has called for more emphasis on “economic survival rather than so-called racial or gender equity”. She concluded: “Racism will not cure past racism.”

    In the states of Oregon and Colorado Covid relief funds for minority businesses only, resulted in white business owners demanding equal treatment through the courts.

    Warnock and four other Democrats also introduced a bill on February 5 to give 32 million acres of farmland to black farmers over the next 10 years and none to whites.

    Among Democratic voters racial issues were of greatest concern. While Republican voters are mostly concerned with policy issues, Democratic voters are primarily concerned with white Trump supporters, “systemic racism” and “white nationalism” a recent poll showed.

    The greatest “problem” according to Democratic supporters, was Donald Trump supporters — at 82 percent. They listed “white nationalism” and “systemic racism” as the other problems at 79 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

    Republican voters were worried about illegal immigration, with 81 percent and the lack of support for police in the country, with 79 percent being very concerned, and high taxes, at 77 percent. They also cited liberal bias in the media, general moral decline and socialism.

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