The whole point of the Tea Party was to counteract all the liberty stealing bankrupting policies of those wild eyed liberals in Washington, but as it turns out like almost all politicians, saying one thing and doing another is an affliction that even affects the Tea Party. Turns out at least five “federal government is always the problem, never the solution” Tea Party affiliated lawmakers have actually been receiving federal farm subsidies. Noooo, it can’t be, can it? It can and it is. Government spending on farm subsidies totaled more than $16 billion in 2009 alone and these Representatives are making sure they get their fair share.
Rep. Stephen Fincher, a R-Tenn, calls himself a Tea Party patriot, a Tea Party patriot whose family has received more than $3 million tax payer dollars in the form of farm subsidies from 1995 to 2009. When asked about the subsidies Fincher gave a brilliant answer saying “We need a good, better, we need a better farm program and we need to streamline it,We need to look at many many options. And that’s a long way off.” A long way off? Of course, when it comes to cutting public workers salaries, cutting education, cutting assistance for the poor, defunding NPR and Planned Parenthood, it’s right now. When it comes to using tax dollars to run his farm, which you can be fairly confident in saying he can afford to run on his own, it’s a long way off. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., received $774,489 in farm subsidies over the same period while Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., got $180,000 between 1997 and 2009. Republican Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa has four farms and he’s received a little more than $1 million in taxpayer money while congresswoman, Rep. Kristi Noem’s Racota Valley Ranch got more than $3 million from 1995 to 2008.
ABC News spoke to Rep. Noem in September, when she was still just candidate Noem, about farm subsidies and if they were waste that could be cut from the budget. She said “I think there has been, in the past, and there is some potential there, I think we need to make sure the dollars are going where they are intended to go.” The representative also said “You know, the United States engages in a cheap food policy and we have got a lot of government regulations that come in and impact markets and prices, so we need to make sure we are giving our farmers an opportunity to work on a level playing field with other countries and market our products, But we need to make sure we are spending our taxpayer dollars correctly as well.” There are three problems with that logic. One is that the majority of small farmers receive no money from the federal government. Two is that a major reason why we have cheap food is because most it’s mass produced by large corporations. Three is that 90% of farm subsidies go to only 5 crops, those crops being cotton, corn, rice, wheat, and soybeans.
At least one of the new Tea Party Representatives stood by his principles. When asked about the more than $100,000 in farm subsidies he received Rep. Stutzman told ABC News that he would vote to eliminate all farm subsidies. Of all the things that are being listed as waste and needing to be cut, taxpayer backed farm subsidies is not one, so while Stutzman says he would vote to end them it’s more likely than not that there won’t be any such vote anytime soon and he’ll continue to rake in that sweet federal cash.