Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has decried government "handouts" as socialism, but an Environmental Working Group analysis of farm subsidies shows that the Bachmann family farm, managed by her father-in-law until his recent death, received $251,000 in farm payments between 1995 and 2006. Bachmann's stake in the Wisconsin farm is worth as much as $250,000. Is Bachmann being hypocritical, or is she a principled conservative working in a broken system?
Bachmann is a "welfare queen": Michele Bachmann is a an anti-subsidy "tea bagger" by day, says Yasha Levine in Truthdig, and a hypocritical "welfare queen" by night. "If American farms such as hers were forced to compete in the global free market, they would collapse." Bachmann says President Obama's health-care reform and other initiatives are part of a socialist takeover, but she's the one "padding her bank account with taxpayer money."
"Michele Bachmann: Welfare queen"
Obama's the hypocrite, not Bachmann: It's stupid to call Michele Bachmann a welfare queen, says Stephen Spruiell in National Review. "Bachmann voted against reauthorizing the farm bill in 2008. Barack Obama is the one who has flip-flopped -- after originally calling subsidies a "mutlimillion-dollar giveaway" for "big agribusiness," he "supported the awful 2008 farm bill anyway for crass political reasons."
Anti-competitive farm subsidies are the real problem: Michele Bachmann isn't the only hypocrite, says Alex Knapp in Outside the Beltway. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has also warned about Obama's "trend toward socialism," yet his family has received $1 million in federal handouts over 11 years. And there are plenty of Democrats who've collected, too. It's wrong for politicians of any stripe to cash in on subsidies, especially when they discourage competition and benefit wealthy, big farmers at the expense of smaller competitors.
"Members of Congress receive useless subsidies (apart from their salaries)"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- What I learned from totally unplugging and shutting up for three days
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
- 10 burning questions you've always wanted to ask about investing
Subscribe to the Week