Friday, February 27, 2009

Does the GOP Hate Farmers?

Again, Cafferty

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, the question this hour is, are earmarks a necessary evil or are they just plain evil?

S. in Michigan: "It depends on what ends up being called an earmark and who labels it as such. For the state or city getting the money, it is progress money or an investment. For others, it becomes pork, or an earmark, et cetera. For example, for Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, monitoring volcanoes is an earmark, but, for Alaskans, monitoring hurricanes may be earmarks. So, should we stop doing both?

See, the people out there get it a lot better than the wingnuts and their media stooges think they do. John McCain, who like me has  apparently recently discovered Twitter, is Twittering like a madman with what he apparently thinks people will regard as "wasteful" items in the budget, such as: 

$650,000 for beaver management in North Carolina and Mississippi 


How do you manage a beaver? 

(I'd take a swing at that last straight line, but Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox beat me to it). 

Apparently, Senator Straight Talk doesn't realize that the buck-toothed little bastards did a million bucks worth of damage to NC farms, timberland, and roads last year. Guess when you have eight houses, the problems of small farmers out in the sticks don't mean that much to you. 

In fact, a lot of the projects the born again budget hawks seem to be really exercised about are farm related. Over at Faux News, Hannity rails against  things like honeybee research and catfish genetics and "thanks to Tom Harkin, almost $2 million for swine odor and manure management. Because those pigs and their manure, they do smell pretty bad. We need to do something about that." 

Yeah, Sean, we kinda do, and if you'd ever get out of your comfy chair and get your smug, bloated  ass down to Eastern North Carolina or rural Iowa, you'd know why. You live in Duplin County, there ain't a damn thing funny about pig shit. 

 And as for honey bees,  as another Cafferty commenter pointed out: 

 $1.7 million for honeybee research. This seems silly at first glance. But when you recall that there appears to be something wiping out the honeybee population, and that these bees are necessary for crops, like apples, peaches, soybeans, pears, pumpkins, cucumbers, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, then it quickly starts looking like maybe we ought to be spending more money on this research.

It's true that Obama spoke the other night about cutting some farm subsidies. But as the Chicago Tribune points out: Obama's budget plan would eliminate direct payments for producers with high sales revenues. The subsidies are paid to farmers regardless of crop prices or crop yield.

On the other hand, invest any money on research aimed at  actually increasing yield or dealing with threats to actual crops, and it's "eamark! earmark! earmark!" 

Which raises the question: what does the GOP  have against farmers? 

It's kind of odd, given the farmer fetish the right wingers and their media stooges seem to have. After all, whenever they want to get the opinion of "real Americans" they always seem to find a farmer to interview. But I guess farmers are like the troops: the Right  loves them in the abstract, but for God's sake let's not spend any money on them. 


John McFetridge said...

It seems like this is really a turning point and the question isn't so much, "Do government subsidies work?" but rather can a system without subsidies win on the open market against systems that have subsidies?

The rest of the developed world has decided that governments need to be involved in the market to a greater extent than right-wing Americans would like. (everything from direct investments to national health care and public education - which are really just subsidies)

But this is globalization and it's not really the time to "stand on principles" and lose. This is something America needs to win, even if that means government involvement.

Anonymous said...

I bet ol' Sean likes pork just fine if it comes with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.