International President of The United Steel Workers Leo Gerard wrote this recently for Common Dreams:
The Farm Bill that is expected to pass the U.S. House this week explains income inequality in America. The Republican-sponsored proposal slashes food stamps for poor children and pads farm subsidies for wealthy agri-businessmen. This comes just a week after Senate Republicans refused to protect the poorest students from doubled college loan interest rates because that required closing tax loopholes that benefit big corporations.
Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, Tenn., is the ugly face of the feed-the-rich public policy. He is a seventh generation millionaire agri-businessman. He raked in$3.5 million in federal farm subsidies from 1999 to 2012. That averages out to $269,000 a year in farm welfare. It makes him one of the largest farm welfare recipients in Tennessee history as well as among members of Congress. This politician, who thrived on the government dole, raking in $738 a day in farm welfare over the past 13 years, is among the loudest advocates for increasing subsidies to agribusiness by about $10 billion and slashing food stamps by $20 billion.
That would take food from 2 million poor people. They get an average of $133 a month in food stamps. That's less than $5 a day for the poor -- not the $738 a day that Fincher got.
Gerard wrote this about a week after MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell featured Stephen Fincher as the poster boy of farm bill welfare:
Gerard makes this final important point:
The government subsidizes Walmart the way it does millionaire farmers like Fincher. Though low-income workers receive the food stamps, essentially that government aid is welfare for Walmart. A food stamp applicant must prove poverty to qualify for government aid. But not big business. Not agri-business.
The number of food stamp recipients increased dramatically since 2008 because of the great recession, an event caused by reckless gambling on Wall Street. House Republican policy calls for the victims of the recession to suffer and the perpetrators to continue receiving low interest federal loans.