During the House Agriculture Committee’s debate over a new farm bill, Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher cited 2 Thessalonians 3:10 in defending relatively small cuts in food stamps after Rep. Juan Vargas’s (D-CA) cited Jesus’s call to feed the hungry:
“For also, when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.”
The federal government uses force and the threat of violence to obtain the money that is used to pay for food stamps, so I would argue that Rep. Vargas badly misunderstands what the Prince of Peace was getting at. But whereas Vargas was wrong, Rep. Fincher’s biblical counterpunch was breathtakingly hypocritical. As it turns out, Fincher has likely received millions of dollars in federal farm subsidy payments over the years.
From the New York Times:
Using Agriculture Department data, researchers at the Environmental Working Group found that Representative Stephen Fincher, a Republican and a farmer from Frog Jump, Tenn., collected nearly $3.5 million in subsidies from 1999 to 2012. The data is part of the research group’s online farm subsidy database, from which the group issues a report each year.
In 2012 alone, the data shows, Mr. Fincher received about $70,000 in direct payments, money that is given to farmers and farmland owners, even if they do not grow crops. It is unclear how much Mr. Fincher received in crop insurance subsidies because the names of people receiving the subsidies are not public. The group said most of the agriculture subsidies go to the largest, most profitable farm operations in the country. These farmers have received $265 billion in direct payments and farm insurance subsidies since 1995, federal records show.
During debate on the farm bill in the House Agriculture Committee last week, Mr. Fincher was one of the biggest proponents of $20 billion in cuts to food stamps in the legislation. At times he quoted passages from the Bible in defending the cuts.
“We have to remember there is not a big printing press in Washington that continually prints money over and over,” Mr. Fincher said during the debate. “This is other people’s money that Washington is appropriating and spending.”
Yes, Rep. Fincher – and it’s other people’s money that’s been going into your back pocket. As another recent quote from Fincher indicates, the congressman either doesn’t recognize his hypocrisy or he doesn’t care. (I can’t decide which is worse.)
From the International Business Times:
“But more than that, the role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity, is to take care of each other,” Fincher said at a Memphis event last week. “But not for Washington to steal money from those in the country and give it to others in the country. Our role is out of control.”
Rep. Fincher’s inability or unwillingness to remove the plank in his own eye is yet another example of how Republicans are generally lousy at making the case for spending cuts. They mock President Obama’s stimulus job creation claims, but turn around and argue that military spending cuts will kill jobs and hurt the economy. They complain about Solyndra and the White House’s crony capitalist schemes, but they work to secure the same handouts for companies back in the district. They rant against big government but continue to vote for it. Etc, etc.
Both food stamps and farm subsidies should be cut, and preferably, eliminated. Unfortunately, there are too few members of Congress who are willing and able to make the case.
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AND THE ‘DUMBEST PERSON OF THE WEEK AWARD’ GOES TO…
by SIMON BLACK ·
May 11, 2012
Former US Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann receives the Sovereign Man dumbest person of the week award for obtaining… then almost immediately renouncing… Swiss citizenship. I’ll explain:
Bachmann’s husband is a Swiss national; they’ve been married since 1978, and as a result, Bachmann eventually became qualified for Swiss citizenship as well.
She recently received confirmation of her citizenship from the Swiss authorities, a fact that was reported in some mainstream media outlets. Bachmann was subsequently criticized by her political opponents for engaging in such ‘un-American’ activities.
[This is a bizarre assertion, by the way, as the country was built on dual nationals...]
And so, just two days after the story broke, Bachmann renounced her Swiss citizenship yesterday, announcing that she is a “proud American citizen.”
This is, by far, one of the dumbest things that somebody could do. It’s possible to both be a proud citizen AND have a backup plan. Patriotism doesn’t mean blindly going all in.
Having a second passport provides a great deal of opportunities, from new banking and financial relationships to a having a fallback option for another place to live.
It’s like an insurance policy… something that you many never ‘need’, but you’ll be incredibly thankful you have in case you ever do.
And as citizenship is often conferred generationally, your progeny will also be able to enjoy the benefits. In this way, it’s like having an insurance policy for all of your future descendants. Not a bad deal.
A Swiss passport is definitely one of the best. You can travel almost anywhere visa-free. It’s a great place to have the option to live some day. The economy is actually functional. Oh, and there are no men in caves plotting to kill the Swiss.
Obtaining Swiss nationality, though, requires a great deal of time and patience; it takes well over a decade to qualify, apply, and receive citizenship, and slightly less time if you’re married to a Swiss national.
Only a handful of people are lucky enough to become naturalized Swiss citizens, and giving it up is like throwing away a winning lottery ticket…
Ironically, after her political tenure is over and Congress has managed to finally finish off the US economy, Bachmann may, having renounced Swiss citizenship, find herself one day trapped in the environment of financial repression, capital controls, and steep inflation that was created by the government she once served.
The rest of us don’t have to end up this way.
For millennia, governments on the slide have resorted to plundering their citizens in order to maintain the status quo and keep the party going a little while longer.
History is full of examples, from the Roman Empire (which resorted to direct confiscation of people’s agricultural stock) to the Greek government of today (which is now simply nationalizing people’s bank accounts in its sole discretion).
The folks who stick around waving the flag and bombastically proclaiming their patriotism just end up getting abused. Thinking, creative people have a plan B.
Today this means taking steps to diversify internationally, including obtaining a second passport.
Now, I put boots on the ground all over the world. Just in the last two months, for example, I’ve been to 14+ countries from Venezuela to Thailand to Canada to Peru.
In each of these places, I’m constantly looking for the best opportunities– lifestyle, investment, business, employment, banking, medical, personal, etc.
Residency and citizenship is high on my list… and what I can say is that it’s definitely getting harder by the day. Governments are starting to realize that a passport is one of the scarcest resources in the world, and as things continue to get a bit crazy, demand is growing.
Scarce supply, rising demand; we all know what this means. Bottom line, it’s getting harder:
- St. Kitts, generally considered a foolproof economic citizenship program, recently raised their already high price for obtaining nationality.
- In Uruguay, the standards are now very strict, and the government wants you to really prove your value to Uruguayan society. They’ve even hired a special team to go around the country to check on your physical residency.
- In Singapore, the flood of EmployeePass applications has made the government reconsider this residency program after having already discontinued the high net worth Financial Investor Scheme.
- For residency and citizenship in Paraguay, the government keeps modifying the procedures for application, and it’s taking much, much longer than it used to.
There are a lot more examples, but its true: obtaining foreign residency and getting naturalized is really getting harder.
Nobody else is going to tell you this. In fact, the plethora of idiots running around ‘selling’ passport services who have no earthly idea what they’re talking about is only spreading misinformation and making matters worse.
In reality, there are still some high quality options available, several of which I will review at the end of this month on our SMC members-only teleconference.
To give you an example, Brazil and Chile are both excellent, off the radar choices. But you really need to have the right support, someone who actually knows what s/he is doing.
The biggest lesson is– do not procrastinate. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be grandfathered in under the old rules. The longer you wait, the higher the likelihood that an option won’t be available any longer.
Something to think about.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri May 11, 2012 1:16 pm
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