This morning lots of blogging space is properly being given over to indignant chortling about John Boehner’s declaration that the U.S. has to make dangerous and destructive spending cuts because the country is “broke.” The punchline consists in the fact that he is at the same time insisting on retaining funds for a boondoggle defense project that will benefit his home state. I’m speaking of funding to develop a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – a project that even the Pentagon wants to abandon. A wasteful earmark by any other name … eh?
But Boehner isn’t the only GOPer playing Simple Simon – you, know – do as I say, not as I do. Among the five significant categories of wasteful spending identified by Think Progress’ Zaid Jilani where big cuts could be made without significant repercussions are agribusiness subsidies:
The federal government “paid out a quarter of a trillion dollars in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009.” “Just ten percent of America’s largest and richest farms collect almost three-fourths” of these subsidies.
Of course these five areas of expenditure, which almost all, like farm subsidies, benefit the wealthy, have been treated as if they are off-limits by the GOP. Which brings us to Vicky Hartzler (R-4), who when she is not trying to impersonate one of the people’s representatives, is a well-to-do Missouri farmer who has benefited handsomely from those very farm subsidies. Her own good fortune in retaining taxpayer support, no doubt, makes it easy for her to cheer the destruction of programs that benefit those poor and middle class deadbeats who not only benefit from, but often survive thanks to the programs she and her House cronies want to stamp out because we are, you know, “broke.”