Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, February 9, 2014
ISSUE #790
A Farm Bill that feeds fifty million

The big story after the Super Bowl was not Russell Wilson or Richard Sherman. It was Joe Namath’s coat. It’s a fancy, full-length contraption made of coyote fur. Naturally, PETA was outraged.  But those coats are flying off the rack, creating a huge demand for coyote hides. Except for the store owner, nobody is happier than our nation’s sheep herders.

Finally, we have a Farm Bill. Almost three years in the making, a thousand pages, and an expected cost of $100,000,000,000 a year. That sounds like a lot of money to divide among our farmers, but you folks know the truth: almost 80% is for food stamps.

You have heard complaints that the amount for food assistance has been “cut.” Well, “cut” is a peculiar word. In Washington it means “the enormous increase in federal spending is a little less than what we wanted.” Actually, the money for food stamps next year, $80 Billion, is double what it was five years ago. Anywhere west of the Potomac, that is not a cut.

President Obama said last week, “We have not massively expanded the Welfare state.” If adding 20 million on food stamps is not enough to mean ‘massively expanded,’ then what is.

I’m in favor of feeding the poor and hungry. But the President and Congress should focus on letting people find jobs, go to work, so they don’t need food stamps.

While we need to get more people working, a new report from Washington says a lot of people will be working less as the Affordable Care Act kicks in. One spokesman said, “Instead of working 40 to 60 hours a week, they can cut back to 30 to 35 hours because they don’t have to worry about paying for their healthcare.”

Now that’s a head scratcher. If working less is such a great idea, why don’t we all do it. Why should you work sixty hours a week if others are going to spend more time on the couch, relaxing and writing poetry, because their health insurance is being paid for with your taxes. What happens if the whole country decides to cut back to 30 hours?

Do you remember what Nancy Pelosi suggested while she was Speaker of the House?  “People will be free to work less, quit their job, become an artist or a musician, whatever they love to do.” Fortunately, you can count on farmers not quitting after they put in their 30 hours, except maybe a few backyard chicken raisers in San Francisco. As Paul Harvey said in 1978, “during planting time and harvest season, [a farmer] will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then painin’ from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours. So God made a farmer.”

Farmers are going to keep at it until the work is done, regardless of Obamacare or a “Free Food” bill with a few table scraps in it for farmers.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Congress will be in session again helping the farmer, so if you have a farm don’t sell it, for there is no telling what a farm will be worth when we find the amount of relief they are to get.” WA #330, Apr. 21, 1929

“Never in the history of the world was such a gigantic piece of legislation ever passed. It gives relief to the farmer in so many complicated ways… Just trying to study it out will keep him so busy he will forget he ever wanted relief.” WA #542, May 14, 1933

 “There’s not really but one problem before the whole country at this time… At least 7,000,000 people are out of work.” Radio, Oct 18, 1931


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