The never-ending farm insanity
When it comes to picking taxpayer pockets, no one -- not the trial lawyers or even AARP -- has it over the farm lobby. How's this for clout? Though last year was one of the best ever for farm incomes -- up 44% to $87.5 billion -- farmers are about to score the most lavish subsidies in American history.
The House and Senate are now ironing out differences between their bills, and it's all but certain that farmers will get about $26 billion over the next five years in subsidies. Soybean and wheat farmers are slated to receive higher price supports, though bean prices hit a 34-year high last year and wheat prices have soared to a new record.
Corn producers will get subsidies of $10.5 billion over five years, which is on top of the deal of a lifetime these farmers were handed when Congress expanded ethanol subsidies. The handouts make growing corn so profitable that last year some 15.3 million acres were converted to new corn production, according to the USDA. That has a cascading effect on other prices, as farmers convert bean acreage to more lucrative corn fields and feed prices for meat producers climb....
Congress has also spurned the Bush Administration's sensible proposal to establish a $200,000 income ceiling in order to receive subsidies. Instead, full-time farmers will be able to earn up to $1 million per farm ($2 million for a married couple) and still be eligible for a USDA handout. That means you can be in the top 0.2% in income in the U.S. and still get a subsidy check from Uncle Sam. Yet Robert Goodlatte of Virginia, the Republican who helped craft the House bill, says with a straight face that the bill is "real reform and a real safety net for the farmer." Yes, thank heavens for that millionaire safety net.
The only good news is that President Bush is threatening to veto this budget buster over its taxes, trade distortions and subsidies for the rich. The veto threat is at least causing the Members to think twice, and may actually improve the bill. But the best outcome would be if this monster died of its own, greedy weight.
With friends like these.... I quote the ineffable Andrew Sullivan on Obama: "What does he offer? First and foremost: his face". Courage? Integrity? Wisdom? Intelligence? No. A face.
The Leftist group identity obsession has never faded: ""The pillars of American liberalism -- the Democratic Party, the universities and the mass media -- are obsessed with biological markers, most particularly race and gender. They have insisted, moreover, that pedagogy and culture and politics be just as seized with the primacy of these distinctions and with the resulting 'privileging' that allegedly haunts every aspect of our social relations. They have gotten their wish. This primary campaign represents the full flowering of identity politics. It's not a pretty picture. Geraldine Ferraro says Obama is only where he is because he's black. Professor Orlando Patterson says the 3 a.m. phone call ad is not about a foreign policy crisis but a subliminal Klan-like appeal to the fear of 'black men lurking in the bushes around white society.' Good grief."
Lone Star tax lesson: "When budgets begin to tighten, many state politicians start to talk tax hikes. So credit Texas Governor Rick Perry for cutting taxes this week as a way to keep his state as a national leader in job creation. Mr. Perry suspended the state unemployment insurance "replenishment" tax for the rest of the year on grounds that government doesn't need the money but employers do. By law, Texas must keep at least 1% of all taxable wages in the state in its unemployment trust fund, or some $920 million today. The trust fund now stands at $1.6 billion, is growing by the day and isn't in any immediate danger of being drained. Texas has a near record low unemployment rate of 4.3%, enjoys a job creation rate that is twice the national average, and in January added 28,000 net new jobs -- more than any state in the union".
Sometimes the EU gets it right: "Airlines will be forced to compensate many more passengers for delays and cancellations under a move by the European Commission to close loopholes in the law governing the industry. Passengers should find it much easier to claim up to 460 pounds for a cancelled flight and to obtain free meals, phone calls and hotel rooms during long delays. In an interview with The Times, Jacques Barrot, the European Transport Commissioner, said that many airlines were exploiting loopholes and leaving thousands of passengers stranded. Mr Barrot said he would issue new guidelines to clarify the rules. He would also prosecute national aviation regulators, such as the Civil Aviation Authority in Britain, that fail to enforce the rules. Airlines will no longer be able to dismiss claims by arguing that staff shortages or maintenance errors had prevented them from operating the flight."
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.
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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)