The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Gov. Haley Barbour Touches the Other Third Rail of Politics

Posted by iusbvision on February 22, 2011

There is a a great deal of hypocrisy in politics. Too much.

For Democrats the hypocrisy is on more issues than I can list. They are “pro-choice” unless you want to pick what school your child goes to, want choice on forced union membership, want a toilet that holds more water, want to keep buying the Edison light bulb, want to have a powerful car without being punished and the list goes on. Democrats rail about Wall Street, big corporations and the super rich, but what they don’t want you to know is that these groups overwhelmingly fund an support Democrats. The simple truth is that most of the regulations and “social justice” imposed by the left creams small and medium sized domestic business while aiding large and international finance, banks and corporations [See our Corporatism and our Big Bizz Loves Big Govt categories for all the evidence you will ever need if you doubt it – Editor].

For both party’s a big one that sticks out is agricultural corporate welfare (this includes ethanol). For Republicans this type of corporate welfare runs into the face of the Republican brand. While natural disasters and other extreme shocks are a problem that government subsidies can deal with and it can be argued should, everyone knows that farm subsidies are out of control and go to those who for the most part do not need them.

The problem is that speaking this truth has always been considered political suicide in many farm states like Iowa and Indiana. Republicans are learning that the Tea Party, which enjoys support form women, Hispanics and cross pressured independents,  is here to stay and they are serious. Many believe that Americans are ready to have an adult conversation about these third rails. Democrats still consider government union over reach a third rail. Democrats are going to pay another price in ’12 by walking out to protect government unions that over reach, often get overpaid, often perform their duties poorly, are corrupt, and have gold plated benefits which they contribute little or nothing for.

Soon more Democrats are going to stand up for the taxpayers who are being fleeced by these government unions because Independents who are getting more and more informed are not going to have it any longer. The Republicans are noticing this too.

So Haley Barbour came out and told it to Iowans faces saying that the program “can’t be off limits” from reductions. This is a startling act of political courage and the fact that he isn’t already doomed to be ousted from politics is yet another indication that even farmers get it and are willing to have an adult conversation about these programs. We just cannot afford them.

We should not cut these programs off cold turkey as that would be an economic shock, but with the exception of the program to aid farmers who suffer natural disasters and other economic shocks, these programs need to be slowly but surely scaled back so that the industry can adjust.

[Editor’s Note – Tucker Carlson’s “The Daily Caller” has been on a roll lately. While the left might dismiss DC as partisan, the truth is that DC has never been afraid to point out GOP hypocrisy and dirty laundry. DC will not demean the conservative/traditional point of view like the elite media does and is willing to blatantly lie to do so. The DC is center/right but so are the American people. The journalism here is first rate and the article below is an example of it.]

The Daily Caller:

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour generally opposes government involvement in the economy, but like other potential Republican presidential candidates, he’s willing to make an exception when it comes to farm subsidies.

The federal government doled out about $20 billion to farmers last year, including some with net worth in the millions. Barbour made a trip to Iowa this week where he said he could support some kind of cut in those subsidies, but in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, the seven-year governor said he’s in favor of keeping the Depression-era welfare programs going.

“Some of them are very important,” Barbour told TheDC when asked if he supported taxpayer subsidies for farmers. “What we want to have in the United States is abundant food at a responsibly low price. To do that, we have to have an appropriately large supply of agricultural products. When sales volumes are good, prices are reasonable, there shouldn’t be any farm subsidies. But for natural reasons, nature, or what other countries are doing in terms of how they’re handling their markets, sometimes it is appropriate to have farm subsidies.”

Dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal,  farm subsidies guarantee farmers a bottom line price on their goods — a taxpayer-funded luxury many other industries lack.

The idea that the government should step into a marketplace to ensure prices are “reasonable” is anathema to the orthodox conservative view that markets work best left free from government interference. Republicans often tout a free, or lightly regulated market as the best method to distribute goods and services, but for Barbour, that principle does not apply to agriculture, which he says needs the government interference to function properly.

“What you want is to have policies that lead to ample supply and prices that yield good prices for the person at the grocery store but profits for the farmers,” Barbour said.

Barbour is not alone in straying from free market philosophy when discussing agribusiness. The Republican House budget bill passed last week that cut about $62 billion from current spending levels did not lay a finger on farm spending. Other candidates hinting at runs for the White House, including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorumformer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, also support the flow of money to the nation’s farmers.

Many Republicans not only support the subsidies, they also benefit from them.

Perhaps most famously, Congressional Tea Party Caucus founder Rep. Michele Bachmann’s family farm received more than $250,000 in government subsidies over 11 years.

Barbour, however, has gone further than others toward support for cutting farm spending, saying in Iowa this week that the program “can’t be off limits” from reductions.

The reasons Republicans have trouble prying themselves away from government welfare programs for farming are varied. For starters, farming interests have a major footprint in the world of Washington lobbying. The American Farm Bureau has spent more than $60 million on lobbyists since 2000, and the farming interest groups donate mightily to both parties in each election cycle. Many of the most conservative members of the Republican House and Senate represent agriculture states, and bring in millions of federal dollars for their state in subsidies.

The state of Iowa, which plays a starring role in the presidential primary election each cycle because of its early primary schedule and relies heavily on federal subsidies, also makes it difficult for candidates like Barbour to come out against them.

But the support for the programs doesn’t stop candidates like Barbour from railing against government involvement in the economy.

“Every American knows that the last two years the government’s growth should have been on economic growth and job creation. It hasn’t been. The Obama stimulus bill stimulated more government, not more jobs in the private sector,” Barbour told TheDC. “We gotta understand, a bigger government means a smaller economy.”

Barbour added that he’s “thinking” of running for president and will make his decision sometime in April.

MM

One Response to “Gov. Haley Barbour Touches the Other Third Rail of Politics”

  1. Don Broome said

    We can only imagine the total number of dollars given to Con-Agra, Food Giant, Kellogs, Post, etc., but would Mr. Barbour explain to me why my tax dollars should subsidize a multi-billion dollar corporation? And, is there any logical, economic reason why the agriculture industry should not operate as part of the fre market system.
    Haley Barbour is, I’m sure, a competent Govenor, but he is part and parcel of the “good old boy network” in Washington, and I think he got a pretty good taste of reality at the CPAC.

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