Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Tea Party's Farm Bill Shows Its True Colors

The Tea Party dominated House passed a very generous farm bill which provides huge subsidies over ten years to agribusiness which provides campaign contributions to Republicans in return.  Support for agribusiness is one of the reasons for the GOP's dominance in the farm belt.  The bill contains no funding for food stamps which has been one of our most effective anti-poverty programs.  The food stamp program has usually been included in the farm bill in order get needed support for the subsidies to agribusiness.  The GOP's dominance in the House permitted it to pass the farm bill without including the food stamp program.

The GOP's eagerness to subsidize agribusiness shows that it really cares little about reducing budget deficits.  What it really cares about is winning elections.  Its strategy is to throw money at large campaign contributors,  and to cut programs that provide benefits to the "wrong kind of people". Those who benefit from anti-poverty programs include minorities.  That enables the GOP to win votes from Tea Party members who feel superior to minorities.  Tea Party loyalists defend their opposition to anti-poverty programs by claiming to be against big government ( when it rewards the wrong people) and by raising concerns about budget deficits.  That has been an effective strategy, particularly in the South, and in rural America, for a long time.  Poor minorities are at the bottom of the social pyramid.  Their presence at the bottom of the pyramid enables poor whites to occupy the rung just above them. 

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