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Republican Hypocrisy - Down On The Farm

Last month, when the conservative Republican Study Committee released its plan for $2.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next ten years, one enormous item of wasteful government spending was conspicuously missing — farm subsidies.

Perhaps that reflects the fact that 24 of the RSC's 165 members sit on the House Agriculture Committee, the notorious overseer of farm-welfare programs. Total direct government farm payments to the districts of those 24 representatives alone costs taxpayers more than $1 billion per year. Numerous other RSC members hail from farm states, and therefore have a vested interest in protecting payments to their constituents.

We are also seeing the usual quadrennial pilgrimage of supposedly fiscally conservative Republican presidential candidates to Iowa, where they swear eternal fealty to farm subsidies generally, but, even worse, to ethanol subsidies in particular.

Perhaps the most revolting example of this spectacle was former House speaker Newt Gingrich's claim that opposition to ethanol subsidies and mandates stems from "big city" folks who just don't like farmers. But Gingrich is hardly alone.

The level of hypocrisy is breathtaking. For example, conservatives rightly denounced government subsidies to business when the auto industry was at issue. Why, then, are subsidies a good idea when directed to, say, Archer Daniels Midland?

Read the rest of Michael Tanner's article

Michael D. Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute

This article has been cross-posted to The Humble Libertarian


Wolfgang Sheehy said...

The co-opting of the 10th Amendment, during war time, under FDR, (surprise! surprise!) enabled all of this farm subsidy hocus-pocus in the first place.
Now, like most of the FDR legacy, it haunts us to this very moment in US history, because this radical departure from the framer's intent of limited government, is the foundation upon which Obamacare is wholly erected. I wish the Supremes would have heard this case yesterday before Scalia or one of his pals gets clipped by a DC taxi. Our nation is one Supreme heartbeat away from being OVER.

Grant Davies said...

The myth that the country's farms are mom and pop operations persists to this very day and the idea that we will all somehow starve if politicians stop subsidizing them is pathetically perpetuated because of it.

It's large agri-business that gets the cash and gives it back to the elected criminals in the form of campaign "donations." (kickbacks)

It's nothing more than crony capitalism and Republicans are as guilty as Democrats.