Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Conservative Iowa Senator Charles Grassley Gets $325,000 Subsidy as a “Farm Manager” and Other Horror Stories From the December 11 WSJ

Just a Bad Day All Around

Sometimes the news is uplifting, but mostly it reflects the worst of American politics and business.  Such was the case on Wednesday, December 11 as published in the Wall Street Journal.  For example there are these nauseating stories.

  1. Part of the negotiations on a new farm bill, you know, the one that cuts nutrition assistance for children, is whether or not to restrict subsidies that go to farm managers to people who actually manage the farm.  Right now the definition is so loose that someone like Iowa’s Republican Senator Charles Grassley has collected over $325,000 over a period of several decades.  Of course, Sen. Grassley has no problem in condemning those who rely on food stamps as just a bunch of no good people living off the work of others. 
But maybe Sen. Grassley is a full time farm manager, after all, given his record in Congress it is clear he has done nothing there.  And while we do not know what kind of farm Mr. Grassley ‘manages’ the image of pigs feeding at the trough is one that comes to mind.

  1. Without even knowing what is in the compromise federal spending bill conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation were opposed to it.  Of course, knowledge and details of an issue are never actually a part of their positions anyway.
3.  Video game manufacturers are successfully fighting any efforts to study whether or not there is a link between violent video games and violent behavior.  The Entertainment Software Association, which includes among other member Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo maintain that there is no link, and to make sure everyone believes them they want to prevent any studies by independent researchers to determine if there is any link.  And no, the massive profits they make from these games are not a factor in their position.

  1. It was announced that Italy has finally pulled out of a recession.  This good news is tempered by the fact that the two year recession was entirely man made, a result of incredibly stupid economic policy by incredibly stupid European policy makers who had no problem inflicting misery upon millions, as long they retained their lavish life style.
  1. And finally, the editorial in last Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal newspaper is a full attack against some Democrats fighting free speech.  Well it turns out what the Democrats want is for a think tank, which of course is granted tax exempt status, to identify its donors.  This is in no way impinging on the freedom of speech of those who write policy statements for the think tank, but a way of exposing whether or not the so-called research group is really just an industry shill.  While we have no idea if they are, given the opposition to releasing the names of donors it would seem highly likely that they are.  After all, otherwise why the secrecy?

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