Paul Krugman has a beautiful piece
up on the obscene games being played with the Farm Bill, which contains both subsidies to big agribusiness and food stamp benefits for the poor. The Republicans want to eliminate the latter while bloating the former.
To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”
It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy.
Now, some enemies of food stamps don’t quote libertarian philosophy; they quote the Bible instead. Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, for example, cited the New Testament: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Sure enough, it turns out that Mr. Fincher has personally received millions in farm subsidies.
Here's the fuller story
Using Agriculture Department data, researchers at the Environmental Working Group found that Representative Stephen Fincher, a Republican and a farmer from Frog Jump, Tenn., collected nearly $3.5 million in subsidies from 1999 to 2012. The data is part of the research group’s online farm subsidy database, from which the group issues a report each year.
In 2012 alone, the data shows, Mr. Fincher received about $70,000 in direct payments, money that is given to farmers and farmland owners, even if they do not grow crops.
And yet this same guy dared to say the following:
“We have to remember there is not a big printing press in Washington that continually prints money over and over,” Mr. Fincher said during the debate.
Actually, there is. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Currency is located on 14th street just south of Independence Avenue. Oddly, the building does not have a street address.
(Some of my readers may now feel obligated to give a tiresome lecture about how money actually enters circulation via the Federal Reserve. Please don't.)