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Turns out that farm subsidies aren’t the only federal program Joni Ernst won’t vote to kill if she wins that Senate race. There’s one more federal program she wants to keep.

Ernst likes FEMA and wants to keep it!  So does her father.  This even though some blue states benefit from it sometimes, too!

Go figure.

She won’t even squawk about appropriations for it.  Then again, she’s a turkey, not a chicken.  So she might cluck.



APPENDED: From the Comments thread here:

EMichael / October 8, 2014 10:55 am

[T]his this cretin is in a close race despite believing that state officials should have the ability to arrest Federal workers for doing their jobs.

You can’t make this stuff up.


Me / October 8, 2014 11:40 am

I sooo would like to see a Braley ad featuring someone whose family now has healthcare insurance, thanks to Obamacare’s federal subsidies–who makes the point in the ad that Ernst wants Iowa officials to go to Washington and arrest the bureaucrats at the IRS or HHS who are processing those subsidies.

Or, better yet, someone who owns a construction company in Montgomery County, IA–and who lost out to Culver Construction in the FEMA-money bidding for those post-flooding construction projects–insist that state officials arrest the FEMA folks who approved the contract with Culver Construction.

See?  You can make this stuff up! 10/8 at 11:52 a.m.

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There’s a Palpable Fear Amongst Kansans, All Across That State, That the Farm Subsidy Levels They Love, and Cherish, and Honor, Will Be Reduced or that the Program Will Be Eliminated. (Or, in light of their senior senator’s comments earlier this week, there should be.)

Post has been cut-and-paste-typo-corrected. 9/28 at 11:43 a.m.


There’s a palpable fear amongst Kansans, all across this state, that the America that we love, and cherish, and honor, will not be the same America for our kids and grand kids. And that’s wrong. That’s very wrong.

As a result, unfortunately, people are losing faith in their government. And turn it around: Government is losing faith in our people. That is a bad situation to be in.

And I will tell you that one of the reasons—I’m not [edit: my initial transcript did not include ‘not’ because I misheard Roberts, which makes this even funnier] going to get partisan here—but one of the reasons I’m running is to change that. To change that. There’s an easy way to do it. I’ll let you figure it out. But, at any rate, we have to change course, because our country is headed for national socialism. That’s not right. Changing the culture, changing what we’re all about.

— Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, Sept. 23

Some political reporters and pundits kinda wondered whether this 78-year-old man, who unlike, say, most thirtysomethings, surely knows that “national socialism” has a very particular meaning—and knows what that particular meaning is—actually meant to invoke that particular meaning.  The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, however, figured that Roberts really meant to call Obama a socialist rather than a Nazi.  So Rucker asked him yesterday whether he actually thinks Obama is a socialist.  To which Roberts responded, um, yes.*

Or, precisely:

I believe that the direction he is heading the country is more like a European socialistic state, yes. You can’t tell me anything that he has not tried to nationalize.

Actually, you can tell him that there are a few things that Obama has not tried to nationalize.  Farming, however, is not amongst them, since that was nationalized around the same time as low-level retirement benefits were nationalized: The mid-1930s.

Get your government hands off my farm subsidies!

Yes, there probably is a palpable fear amongst Kansas, all across that state, that the America we love, cherish, and honor, will not be the same America for their kids and grandkids.

Some of them may fear a permanent return to the Dust Bowl days–although the ones now enjoying that socialized pension program and the socialized healthcare program for the post-65 crowd enacted when they were in their 20s and 30s may not cherish and honor the Dust Bowl era all that much.

Some of them may fear collapsing infrastructure, and a failure to construct needed additions to existing infrastructure.

Some of them should have feared the repeal of the Depression-era banking-regulation laws, such as the Glass-Steagall act, when it might have mattered, but now would like to see those laws reenacted as a step toward returning America to the one they love, cherish, and honor.

Which, not coincidentally, also was the America that funded its national government through far more progressive taxation than the one that Roberts claims is the America that Kansas love, cherish, and honor.

It also was the America that funded its local governments through means other than outlandishly disproportionate fines and fees, and that had not yet privatized–a comically accurate description, if ever there was one–government functions and services.

And it was the America–not at all coincidentally–whose income and wealth inequality had not yet spiraled completely out of control.

It was, in  fact, a pre-Reagan Revolution America.  An America whose political system was not yet thoroughly in the chokehold of the likes of the Koch brothers—who are Kansans who do have palpable fears, but not necessarily the ones that a majority of Kansans all across that state have. Or even across the Wichita metropolitan area, where the Kochs live.

Maybe sometime before the election, some reporter will ask Roberts whether there should be a palpable fear amongst Kansans, all across that state, that the farm-subsidy levels they love, and cherish, and honor will be reduced or that the program will be eliminated.  And then ask a similar question about Social Security and Medicare.

And then they should ask–clearly, specifically, outright–what exactly it is that Republican politicians promise a return to. And what it is that Americans who want to return to the old days really want America to return to.

There’s a palpable fear amongst progressives that no reporter will ask these questions, though.


*Paragraph cut-and-paste-typo-corrected (finally). Aaaarrrgghh. 9/28 at 11:43 a.m.

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Farm subsidies and entrenched wealth

Lynne Kiesling writes Farm subsidies and entrenched wealth at Knowledge Problem:

Veronique de Rugy has a great argument for ending farm subsidies in the April issue of Reason (and yes, do read the whole thing, well worth your time). Farm subsidies are the canonical example of the dynamics of Mancur Olson’s Logic of Collective Action — concentrated benefits and dispersed costs lead to the persistence of inefficient government policies. So canonical, in fact, that I used them just last week in my micro principles class to teach my students about public choice theory and applying economic tools and reasoning to studying decisions we make collectively through political processes.

One feature of Vero’s argument that distinguishes it from others is that it follows this process to its logical, disturbing conclusion for income distribution. Farm subsidies have existed for 80 years, and while their initial intent was to assist struggling farmers during the Depression, their success at doing so has created an entrenched group of land-owning farmers who are now wealthy, but fight against attempts to reduce their subsidies.

While the number of farms is down 70 percent since the 1930s—only 2 percent of Americans are directly engaged in farming—farmers aren’t necessarily struggling anymore. In 2010, the average farm household earned $84,400, up 9.4 percent from 2009 and about 25 percent more than the average household income nationwide.

What’s more, a handful of farmers reap most of the benefits from the subsidies: Wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton have always taken the lion’s share of the feds’ largesse. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that “since 1995, just 10 percent of subsidized farms—the largest and wealthiest operations—have raked in 74 percent of all subsidy payments. 62 percent of farms in the United States did not collect subsidy payments.”

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