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Michele Bachmann: Welfare Queen

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Posted on Dec 22, 2009
Michelle Bachmann
AP / Charles Dharapak

By Yasha Levine

(Page 2)

Then there’s Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., whose family has been on the government take for at least the past 11 years, pocketing some $500,000. The senator recently held a “prayercast” with Michele Bachmann to beseech God to kill health care reform as soon as possible because it would bring an evil socialist spirit into America. Like Bachmann, Brownback has a fierce belief in God, the free market and a two-year limit on all welfare benefits—unless it’s welfare to rich Republicans who don’t need it. 

Not surprisingly, Blue Dog Democrats are on board with this welfare-for-the-rich thing. Max Baucus, the fiscally conservative Democratic senator from Montana who did his best to sabotage the health care reform process before it ever began, collected $250,000 in taxpayer subsidies to his family’s farm while fighting to keep Americans at the mercy of free-market health insurance. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, another Democrat, also helped hold the line against so-called socialized medicine for Americans who need assistance, even though her family farm business follows the socialized subsidy playbook to a T. The Lincolns pocketed $715,000 in farm subsidies over a 10-year period, and the senator even admitted to using $10,000 of it as petty cash in 2007. Democratic Rep. Stephanie Sandlin of South Dakota stayed true to her conservative free-market roots by voting against the public option. Meanwhile, her daddy, Lars Herseth, a former South Dakota legislator, collected a welfare jackpot of $844,725 paid out between 1995 and 2006.

That’s just the way the game is played these days. Republicans and conservative Democrats bitch and moan about the allegedly Marxist underpinnings of universal health care and do everything they can to deny struggling Americans access to social services. Meanwhile, many of them profit off taxpayers in a massive welfare program.

Farm subsidies have become so corrupt that payments sometimes go to dead people for years. Federal farm subsidies, which were originally meant to help struggling farmers survive, are now little more than taxpayer robbery, taking taxpayer wealth from working Americans and sending it to the have-mores. According to 11 years’ worth of Environmental Working Group data that tracks $200 billion in subsidies, the wealthiest 10 percent of “farmers” have collected 75 percent of the money. That’s exactly the kind of socialism that Rep. Bachmann and her elite ilk like.

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Yasha Levine is a freelance journalist and editor of eXiled Online. You can contact him at levine@exiledonline.com.


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By Noulak, December 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The comment by the woman living next to three mega farms raking in millions from the “broke” taxpayer’s tells it all.  They will continue to send this woman to Congress as long as she tows the line and throws the money in their direction.

The woman is an out and out liar and hypocrite and the people who support her are duped ignoramuses doing the bidding of Koch and other corporation’s busing them to their “tea bag” rallies.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, December 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Our constitution is set up as a kind of affirmative-action program for people who
live in small, rural states. It give these people power that is disproportionate to
their numbers. They have a government-sponsored leg up on everybody elese.

It’s as if we all were to sit down and take the SAT, with a prior agreement that
anybody from a small rural state automatically gets 100 points added to his or her
score.

And then to add insult to injury, we have to hear these small-state idiots - who
generally don’t have the intelligence to understand how much they benefit from
this rigged system - bragging about their “heartland virtues” like “self-reliance”
and reverence for “free market principles”.

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By msgmi, December 22, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rep. Bachmann’s personna would be classified in the military as a “cluster-f$%#&”. What she brings to the table defies imagination and denies intellectual intercourse.

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By myxzptlk, December 22, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Brownback is a hypocrite among hypocrites.  One of my sisters graduated with
him in the same law school class at KU, and described how when Brownback first
ran for political office, he asked a number of his former classmates whether they
thought being “pro-life” would improve his election chances. 

His “deeply held religious convictions” are just so much political calculation, but
the rubes have been taken in by his marketed image - hook, line, and sinker.

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By FRTothus, December 22, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

As long as we are talking about socialism, why is there no mention of the National Socialism of the US military?  Not a one of the arms suppliers would survive in a free-market; they are all heavily subsidized, as are most if not all of the other large “successful” corporations.  Tax and land give-aways, bail-outs, protectionist legislation, all combine to protect the very richest among us from the “free market” with which the majority must deal.

“The military budget is simply an enormous pork barrel of special privilege, the privileges taking the form of windfall profits, of no-risk profits and, most importantly, of enormous outlays of capital supplied by the Pentagon to arms contractors.”
(Walter Karp)

“The corporations don’t have to lobby the government any more. They are the government.”
(Jim Hightower)

“[The ruling elites] know who their enemies are, and their enemies are the people, the people at home and the people abroad. Their enemies are anybody who wants more social justice, anybody who wants to use the surplus value of society for social needs rather than for individual class greed, that’s their enemy.”
(Michael Parenti)

“The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly.”
(Noam Chomsky)

“The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist - McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas ...”
(Thomas L. Friedman)

“Those in power are blind devotees to private enterprise. They accept that degree of socialism implicit in the vast subsidies to the military-industrial-complex, but not that type of socialism which maintains public projects for the disemployed and the unemployed alike.”
(William O. Douglas, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1969)

“Poor people living in third-world countries are not the only victims of the so-called new world order. At the heart of this “new” order is a troubling paradox: Poor people within the United States, and the country as a whole, are getting poorer at the same time as the rich within the United States are getting richer.”
(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer)

“The American oligarchy increasingly has less in common with the American people than it does with the equivalent oligarchies in Germany or Mexico or Japan.”
(Lewis Lapham)

“Without communism ... our state lacks a Wizard of Oz to terrify all the people all the time. So the state looks inward, at the true enemy, who turns out to be - who else? the people of the United States.”
(Gore Vidal)

“Our upside down welfare state is “socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the poor.” The great welfare scandal of the age concerns the dole we give rich people.”
(William O. Douglas, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1969)

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By Anarcissie, December 22, 2009 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Progs are supposed to get excited about Bachman so they will forget about Mr. O’s heath care deform, Mr. O’s war in Afghanistan, Mr. O’s bailouts for the rich, and so forth.

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By Karl, December 22, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

You didn’t have to “dig” too hard for this “truth.” This isn’t news at all about Bachmann. It was originally reported over two years ago. Sadly, Truthdig failed to acknowledge the original source for its material, nor did it provide a link to the original reporting:

http://tinyurl.com/6dq326

http://tinyurl.com/5t6rqf

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By felicity, December 22, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Reminds me of the woman who voluntarily took up the banner for Paula Jones (remember her?) and by way of the woman’s new found celebrity found a convenient platform from which to deliver spiels on the ‘sin’ of abortion.

Some energetic report did some investigating into the woman’s past and found, lo and behold, that during her high-school and college years she had had two abortions.

When confronted with the reporter’s findings, the woman replied -and I paraphrase - that having a baby at those times would have been really “inconvenient.”

(As a matter of fact, there seems to be an uncanny number of instances when people screaming about some great sin being committed by others are themselves guilty of the self-same behavior.  Why is that?)

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By Live, from Bachmann's District!, December 22, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I live in her district (central Minnesota) and I am an unsubsidized farmer. I sell
produce at farmers markets during the summer and lamb and veal during the
fall and winter. I am surrounded by three mega-farms, each measuring about
2,000 acres and each bringing their owners roughly $1 million income each
year. Most of what they grow (corn) goes straight to Cargill or ADM, where it is
rendered into high fructose corn syrup (main ingredient for every type of candy
known to man), which in turn is one of the main contributing factors in the
American obesity epidemic.

So if you want to play detective, here’s the point: the vast majority of all
American farm subsidies are directed at feed corn, which actually has no
nutritional value whatsoever (the corn on the cob you eat is sweet corn). The
feed corn, when not being used to make corn syrup, is used to feed pigs and
cattle. Millions of poor people around the country are going hungry while
millionaire farmers (many of whom, like Bachmann, don’t live on their farms)
remain immune to the current economic downturn.

If Congress were to direct subsidies to the cultivation of SWEET CORN and other
EDIBLE crops like wheat and oats, we would be well on our way to creating a
healthier nation with a stronger economy. If more people ate healthier food
they would require less medical care, which would lead to lower taxes, more
efficient hospital service, and, dare I say, a higher life expectancy (though I’m
not so sure that’s a good thing anymore).

Unfortunately, as a resident of Bachmann’s district, I can assure you that she
will be safe in Washington for the rest of her natural life. The people around
here absolutely adore her. Those three millionaire farmer-neighbors of mine all
happen to believe with the utmost sincerity that Barack Obama is the antichrist.
The Earth which they farm is approximately 6,000 years old. They’re already
printing “Palin/Bachmann 2012” sings. Their idea of “communism” begins with
our new state law which allows a cop to write you a ticket if you’re not wearing
a seat belt. So don’t you dare tell them that subsidized feed corn is a form of
socialism. Jesus Christ is their God and Bachmann is His prophet.

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By Sadiku, December 22, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hear a twisted mentality ringing throughout these comments, “I am not against farm subsidies,” but you are the same who smearing lament about healthcare reform when it includes a public option or a single payer alternative.  Those who are recipients of government “subsidies” for no other reason than just ‘being’ are despicable when they tirade against any other group in the populace receiving a “subsidy.”  Those receiving between $50,000 - $100,000 per year in government subsidies compared to a mother of three children receiving $500 per month subsidy including food stamp payments are nothing more than hypocrites who love government largesse as long as they are the recipients.  No matter the terminology, subsidization, in the form of some type of incoming government payments isn’t different from any other subsidized payment.  How insidiously cruel to tell others, who are more deserving and needy, that they deserve it less than you. 

Those congressional representatives mentioned in this column should hide their faces and be given the boot by their constituents for triple dipping. 1) They receive government funded healthcare, 2) They receive a government salary, 3) and they receive a government subsidy for a business that they are a part of whether it be family run or wholly or partly owned.  Whether you are receiving direct or indirect payments from the government, that you have not worked for, then it can rightly be called income subsidization. 

But in their case the sheer amounts of monies received, woefully disproportionate to those receiving Social Security, Medicare, or the God forbidding “Welfare,” puts them in a separate category, and their subsidies should rightly be called “Porkfare.“

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By ProTester, December 22, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

I do not think the article is about subsidies being good or bad. I think the article is
exposing how a large percentage of the population miss the mark on
understanding how the government distributes our tax dollars. It is a clever
ploy…the rich have never gotten so rich as when they in bed with the government.

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By Myles, December 22, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Diman: But, the author’s point isn’t that she stole, but that she claims to be AGAINST government handouts and socialism, and FOR the free market BUT she’s receiving the farming subsidy, which she doesn’t even need.

It’s a sick spirit- doing this while denying people health care. I am from a western country with socialized medical insurance (doctors and hospitals are not controlled by the gov.) and nobody would give it up.

And in terms of the evil socialist spirit that socialized medicine would bring- it actually was religious principles that led to our health care. It’s called sharing.

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By maxx, December 22, 2009 at 7:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Michelle Bachman is simply a sociopathic hypocrite, which all sociopaths exel at.  Brain scan all congresspeople and senators.  Why don’t we ask her to volunteer to be the first?

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, December 22, 2009 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The widespread social unrest that David Sirota and
Chris Hedges have been predicting - bring it on.

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By diman, December 22, 2009 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

So what? She didn’t steal the money, it was a subsidy. Sounds pretty legal to me, and I’m sure that if the question ever arises, her family will be able to prove documentally that every dollar was spent on farming and business development. Remember you americans helped to create the system you are living in right now, these people whom you are calling “public servants” were elected by you.

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By Karl Bremer, December 22, 2009 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You really didn’t dig too much for this information. I wrote about it over two years ago. The least you could do is credit the original source for this article and provide links to the original research:

http://ericblackink.minnpost.com/2007/11/08/a-guest-post-rep-michele-bachmann-opponent-of-farm-subsidies-benefits-from-them/

http://ericblackink.minnpost.com/2007/12/10/a-guest-poster-followup-michele-bachmann-did-vote-to-protect-farm-subsidies-for-wealthy-recipients/

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By Marshall K, December 22, 2009 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

Are we really so shocked at politicians being
hypocrites?  It’s part of the job description.

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By ardee, December 22, 2009 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

I am not a farmer but I see some pluses and some minuses to our subsidies. The case for subsidies to retain our dwindling family farms seems solid enough, and I am not unaware that , like most govt. programs, abuse by agribusiness giants run rampant.


The case for:
http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/000882.html

the case against:
http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/217/46133.html

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By prgill, December 22, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

I do have a problem with “farm subsidies”.

As an industrial policy, agricultural subsidies encourage industrialization and capital concentration, which is to say, monopolistic behavior. This comes at the expense of equity and respect for diversity. We know this.

In this country we have practised a “more is better” approach to “industrial production” for at least a century and half, and our success has brought us the problems we face today. 

Agricultural subsidies operate by compensating producers for insufficient capital returns, tacitly promoting the idea that “more” is “better”. This is our “public policy”. We as adults know however, that more is not necessarily better, unless of course, one is speaking of self-preservation and survival of the herd.

We may be the world’s most “powerful” nation, but we are also the most wasteful. If we were to look closely at the sources of our “power” we would find, among other things that our “power” is based on a self-renewing social and economic “elite” with a vital interest in preserving social discipline.

So, how is Michelle Bachman related to the “absentee landowner” syndrome of the American “public domain”? 

Vigilance in safeguarding the “public domain” is every citizen’s duty and I would say Michelle Bachman and conservatives like her simply perform their public duty as defined by the legislative codes of the United States. After all, who would want our U.S. farmers reduced to a subsistence standard?

On the other hand, our “agricultural policies” clearly place “productive capacity” and “industrial might” at the heart of “public policy”, ignoring the moral and ethical considerations of a prosperity acquired at the expense of less industrialized, clearly, less wealthy producers.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 22, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

Nobody cares.  We should care that those most vehemently against government aid to the neediest get it themselves.  We should care that those who rail most against “socialism” are beneficiaries of it in secret, or even not so secret.

Why do we care more about Tiger Woods’ bed-hopping than Michelle Bachman’s and Sam Brownback’s and Max Baucus’s personal subsidies while they vote against them for people who can’t dress nearly as well and certainly don’t live as well?

Why is THAT not a scandal?  Because Fox Noise says it isn’t—and the rest of the MSM is too chicken$#!t to buck Fox for fear of being attacked by Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and Beck.

Because Americans are too busy tut-tut-ing over celebs to worry about politicians robbing them, saying “Oh, I hate politics.  They’re all crooks!—Did you see the implants that girl Tiger slept with has?”

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By prgill, December 22, 2009 at 3:26 am Link to this comment

Small wonder the public domain in America has become dysfunctional; It’s teaming with parasites.

Who’s going to lead the revolution?

Hard to tell. The establishment (read “vested interests” like “armaments and defense” or “health insurance and pharamceutical lobbies”) regularly co-opts the legislative process, leaving those who “play by the rules” by the wayside.

Perhaps it is naive to think that the “rules” contemplate anything more than a national free-for-all governed by rules made by others.

Where are Nietsche and TaoWalker when you need them?

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By ardee, December 22, 2009 at 3:15 am Link to this comment

I am not opposed to farm subsidies per se. But I am, of course, not unsympathetic to socialism, and I am also a bit aware of the economics of the agriculture industry. This is not to be taken as acceptance of the many instances of misdirected farm aid rampant in the system.

I am , however, more than a bit sensitive to the blatant hypocrisy of those who rail against “socialism” unless it directly benefits themselves.

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