By Jim Hightower
“Stop the moochers!” shouted a flock of GOP budget whackers in the House of Representatives.
It was back in July, before they flapped away for their five-week long summer break. This was the battle cry of conservative House lawmakers as they ripped all food stamp funding out of the Farm Bill in a symbolic move.
They say they’re shocked that use of this safety-net program has jumped so dramatically in recent years. Crying that “those” people are costing us money, the House approved a version of the Farm Bill that stripped out the long-running program that gets food to the poor.
Well, yes, food stamp use is up. But — hello, clueless Congress critters — so is the need. Long-term joblessness and falling wages are sucking more and more of your constituents out of the middle class down into the vortex of poverty.
It’s disgraceful for well-paid lawmakers to gut a poverty program that’s working exactly as it’s meant to, at the very time it’s most needed.
Then, the flock of budget whackers suddenly flew completely off course. Going from disgraceful to disgusting, they approved a Farm Bill that gives ridiculous taxpayer handouts to the biggest and richest agribusiness operations in our land.
Big Ag is wallowing in record-high crop prices and farm income this year, yet pious Republican deficit scolds turned into free-spending corporate socialists, doling out the most generous farm subsidies in U.S. history.
For example, they perverted the crop insurance program into an absurd guaranteed-income plan for the wealthiest farms, each of which will collect more than $1 million a year from us taxpayers. Moreover, these “free-market” Republicans would also have the government spend our tax dollars to guarantee an artificially high price for various commodities produced by the giant farms. And they would make all of these subsidies permanent.
No grocery money for the needy, but free feed for millionaire farmers? That’s a moral abomination.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.