Thursday, June 14, 2012

Southerners Who Hate the Federal Government Line Up to Beg for More Farm Support

Turns Out Conservatives are for Cutting Spending for Everybody Else - Just as We All Thought

Nowhere is there greater disdain for the Federal government than in the southern states.  The hatred goes back to before the civil war. In recent decades the fact that the Feds intervened to do offensive things like end official segregation, try to support better education and help people who cannot afford food, medical care other basic necessities has generated talk like maybe secession was not a bad idea.

So everyone  expected that as the Congress started debate on a new farm bill that the southern Congressional delegation would certainly be leading the charge for lower federal support of farmer, and maybe even suggesting that the time had come for the free enterprise system to take over and that Federal farm subsidies should end.  That would  be the principled approach, the Conservative approach and the right approach for people who despise the Federal government helping anyone.  Conservatives claim that above all else they are principled.

Dero Sanford for The Wall Street Journal
Farmer John Alter stands in his rice field in DeWitt, Ark.
Funny, he doesn't look like the typical welfare recipient

But that would not be the position of hypocrites, the people who talk about how they think the Feds should stay out of business, but when the time comes to line up for their handouts they elbow everybody else and get first in line.  So hypocrisy, not Conservatism explains why southern farmers and their representatives in Congress are arguing furiously for no cuts in the Federal farm aid.

Sen. John Boozman (R., Ark.), whose state is the biggest rice producer, accounting for about 42% of U.S. production, called the new measure unfair. "We can't support the bill unless we have a modification," he said.

He and other Southern senators, including Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.), whose state is the biggest peanut producer, are pressing Senate
Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) to make changes to the roughly 1,000-page bill to appease rice and peanut growers. Nearly all the peanuts grown in the U.S. this year will come from nine Southern states.

Who knew southern farmers were such socialists?

There are two other things of note here in the farm bill.  First there is the so-called spending reduction.

The farm bill, which cleared a hurdle Thursday when the Senate voted 90 to 8 to begin debate, would cut spending by $23.6 billion over a decade,

That’s right, a cut of $2.4 billion a year,  with a deficit of over $1,000 billion a year.  This is the equivalent of a family spending $10,000 more a year than they make and trying to fix things by not going out to Applebee’s for a $30.00 meal once a year.

Here's an idea.  Let's cut out all farm subsidies, every single one of them.  What, Republicans would howl in fury at such an idea.  No that can't be right, surely they would embrace getting the Federal government out of farming business.

The other thing is that no spending cuts can be complete without making low income people worse off.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said this week she would fight the bill's proposed $4.5 billion in cuts to food stamps, 

Yeah, this all sounds great.  Let’s subsidize the large wealthy farmers and penalize poor people who want to eat. 

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