Republican family values

Rep. Steve King (R-Hunger) tells the inconvenient truth on Food Stamps.

Rep. Steve King (R-Hunger):

Some Republicans want to have much deeper cuts in food stamps, and others say, “I don’t want to go home to my constituents having voted to cut them deep enough that my political opposition can make a case out of it.”

Note that, according to King – who should know – no Republican says “I don’t want children to go hungry.” They’re sure they want to give away billions of dollars a year to family farmers rich landowners, but no more to poor people than is necessary to avoid “political opposition.” Feh.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

14 thoughts on “Republican family values”

  1. You say “R-Hunger” – but of course, he’s from Iowa. In other words, Agriculture Subsidy Ground Zero. The recent moves in the Republican-controlled House stripped all food stamps from the farm bill, while increasing the bloat of agriculture subsidies; traditionally, the farm bill has been a balance whereby the government spends money mostly on wealthy industrial farmers (not small farmers), including price supports that make food more expensive, and balances this interest by spending money on poor folks (mostly in non-farming areas) who otherwise couldn’t afford to buy the more expensive food. King is, needless to say, being not merely hypocritical but even to support the unlinking of the two, the growth in the agriculture subsidies, and the cut in food stamps.

    1. “From hunger” is a Yiddishism, often an unconscious one. I don’t know where it came from in Mark’s post. (Another common Yiddishism–almost always unconscious–is a broad use of the verb “to make.” “I made a sandwich” instead of “I fixed a sandwich” is an example you’ll often hear from native English speakers raised in Jewish households.)

      1. Not to distract from the serious point of this thread, but in Canada just about every English-speaking person would ‘make’ a sandwich, not ‘fix’ it. This is not because Yiddish has a serious influence on Canadian vocabulary. To ‘fix’ a sandwich would probably be considered an Americanism (like speaking of ‘frosting’ on a cake instead of ‘icing’) – unless one was trying to repair it, by adding more mayonnaise or mustard or gravy or ……

        1. Yes, and my California-bred daughter mocks me for saying, “Can I fix you something to eat?” instead of “Can I make you something?” (I lived in California from sixth grade through college, and from age forty to now (fifty-three), but my parents are from Tennessee and Virginia, and apparently some southernisms linger in my speech patterns.)

  2. See the discussion of “Evil” earlier.

    I noted someone said that Republicans had not controlled the executive and both houses in North Carolina in 100 years. That is superficial because even the Republicans of the Gilded Age would find today’s “Movement Conservatives” boorish embarrassments.

    The Dixiecrats in full Jim Crow hoods and robes have retaken the Southern and many Midwestern state governments.

  3. Trickle down economics. Look into it.

    Maybe Rep. King cares deeply about the hungry but just doesn’t believe that government is best suited to provide for the hungry. Ever consider that option?

    1. 1) Trickle-down economics don’t work. This has been proved about as thoroughly as anything can be. Heck, we did the experiment – with our country!

      2) Rep. King is happy when Government shovels money at rich agricultural industrialists, lining their pockets by implementing price supports that make food more expensive. Rep. King is terribly concerned when Government doles out money to poor folks so that for them food will be less expensive. Clearly, the problem isn’t Government spending money in connection with food; it’s not even Government making it easier for poor people to afford food. Rep. King is only happy when the Government spends money to make it harder for poor people to afford food.

      I take it you agree with Rep. King here?

    2. Odd that they don’t seem to doubt the value of shoveling money at rich landowners who write them campaign checks. Do you have any serious argument on behalf of the idea that making farmers richer helps farmers but feeding poor people doesn’t help poor people?

    3. See if he makes any donations outside of those to his church, and you’ll have your answer. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he probably doesn’t.

      1. Is this the same Rep. King who backed the IRA when they were blowing up Blackpool and the City? Or a different one? Because, yeah, it’d be interesting if that particular Rep. King was contemptuous of the idea of Government policy to help the poor eat, in a time of corporatized for-profit agriculture that made it harder for the poor to eat, these having been in essence the hallmarks of the Irish Famine.

  4. Along these lines…

    Gail Collins had a masterful op-ed on the House farm bill. I don’t recall ever reading a better op-ed take down of a sitting House member.
    Check it out: She absolutely rips the human mask off the libertarian chimpanzee that answers to the name “Representative Stephen Fincher” of Tennessee.
    Totally + totally destroys him.

    Here is a bit of her wind-up:

    The House bill actually spent more money on subsidies for farmers than the bipartisan Senate version the Republicans scorned. It also dropped the Senate’s limit on aid to farmers with incomes of more than $750,000 a year. And while it mimicked the Senate in dropping most of the much-derided direct payments to farmers, the House gave cotton farmers a two-year extension …. Let’s take a special look at cotton, which is a particularly good example of the tendency of agricultural benefits to flow uphill. “Some of these guys — and they’re all guys — are getting more than $1 million in support. The bottom 80 percent are getting $5,000 on average,” said Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group …. Faber’s organization, which keeps careful track of these things, says direct payments to cotton farmers since 1995 have totaled $3.8 billion. That does not count the annual $147 million the United States has been sending to Brazil in hush money …. Crop insurance gets bigger under the new plan. Here’s how: You, the taxpayer, fork over the majority of the cost of the farmers’ policy premiums. (Up to 80 percent in the case of cotton.) Also, you spend about $1.3 billion a year to compensate the insurance agents for the fact that they have to sell coverage to any eligible farmer, whatever his prospects for success. Plus, if yields actually do drop, you have to compensate the insurance companies for part of the cost of claims.
    …. Is this beginning to sound a little like Obamacare? No! No way! The House Republicans hatehatehate Obamacare! They vote to repeal it as often as they change their socks! Because Obamacare will, you know, distort the natural operation of the markets.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/13/opinion/collins-the-house-just-wants-to-snack.html?smid=pl-share

  5. Mark, I imagine, thinks I’m a reactionary.

    Still, when my kids were little — 20 years ago — I told them that a Republican is someone who wants to take food out of a poor kid’s mouth.

    The problem is, when you think it’s G-d’s will — and when you think your good fortune is also G-d’s will being gracious to you and yours — you don’t want to get in the way of that.

    That this belief might be a defense mechanism aimed at the extraordinary contingency and fragility of life — that, by definition, will never occur to these people without lots of therapy.

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