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Jewish World Review May 8, 2002 / 27 Iyar, 5762

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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Consumer Reports

License to spend | WHEN PRESIDENT Bush was in San Jose last week, he praised a former welfare recipient who, thanks to welfare reform, got a job and said she began to feel "like an adult again."

Too bad Bush doesn't want agribusiness to grow up as well. While Bush sees the beauty in welfare moms being weaned from the dole, he is ready to give farm-welfare queens a raise. He has said that he will sign the so-called Farm Security Act, which the House passed last week by a 280-141 vote, that would consume $180 billion in tax dollars over 10 years.

Bush is committing the Classic GOP Sin. He rightly has pushed through a tax cut, then wrongly doesn't demand fiscal discipline in the spend-happy Congress.

Even when the country is at war and can't afford to waste tax money.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the farm bill will increase federal spending over 10 years by $1,805 per average American household and will drive up family spending by $2,572, thanks to the bill's price supports.

Democrats, of course, are equally to blame. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle consistently bashes Bush for deficit spending -- while he inconsistently pushes up federal spending.

Daschle lives to bash Bush for supporting a tax cut that helps the rich. You'd think that if Daschle thought it were wrong for rich people to keep more of their own money he wouldn't support giving rich people other people's money.

And forget the family-farm rhetoric. As James Bovard, author of "The Farm Fiasco," noted, "Historically, the farm programs have been carefully designed to throw small amounts of money to small farmers and large amounts to large farmers." Two-thirds of the last $71 million in farm welfare went to 10 percent of the farms.

Still, California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein began to support the act after the joint-conference committee agreed to lift a proposed subsidy cap of $275,000 per cotton and rice farm family.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman Kevin Herglotz said the administration supports the measure because, "We have a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House and this is what the conference produced." He added that the administration used its power to bargain where it could, but "this is an election year."

An aide to a GOP member who voted against the bill was sympathetic to Dubya's plight. He noted that back in October when Bush opposed the pricey bill, the House passed an early version of the bill by a clear veto-proof majority of 291-120. Bush simply realized that there was no point in wasting political capital.

Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union does not agree. If Bush had threatened to veto a pork-heavy measure, he argued, Congress might have been more reluctant to add more pork. Said Sepp, "Once the word got out that the White House wasn't going to fight this, it was a license to spend -- on both sides of the aisle."

The bill has new subsidies for peanuts, chickpeas and lentils. It even resurrects the old subsidies for honey, wool and mohair -- boondoggles that once were the material of late-night talk-show comic monologues. Sepp noted, Congress is "funding the very programs that were once considered to be jokes."

Bush should both threaten to veto the bill -- and veto it -- if the Senate passes a porkfest. If Capitol Hill passes measures that can't even pass the Laugh Test, if members keep upping funding for corporate welfare, Bush should let them know that such bills will become law only over his loud objections.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.


05/06/02: Conservatism can survive despite liberal bias
05/03/02:A speech like air kisses
05/02/02: Bush should end bad sentences
04/29/02: Get ready America, California is gettin' into the slave reparations business
04/26/02: Saudis' money for martyrs
04/24/02: Oooh la la, Le Pen
04/15/02: Drill Alaska -- for the children
04/11/02: A good marriage with an esteemed soul mate -- well, nothing beats it
04/09/02: Tied up and Taliban
04/05/02: No justice in reparations
04/01/02: Schools, yes; fat police, no
03/25/02: The government-induced doctor shortage
03/22/02: Conservative hypocrisy on school drug testing?
03/20/02: And now, about Russell Yates . . .
03/18/02: Bush isn't worried about alienating loyalist voters
03/13/02: No exit strategy
03/11/02: Simon hits the big time
03/06/02: He got away
03/01/02: Mary, Luke, Paul, John and Noah
02/25/02: These are good days for veep
02/21/02: Dirty bill for a dirty mess
02/19/02: Score one for Greta
02/15/02: Dose of justice needed here
02/08/02: Sunshine all around
02/04/02: Does citizenship matter?
02/01/02: End the coverup
01/30/02: Try this for "troubling"
01/25/02: Camp X-ray or Club Med?
01/23/02: Let's stop the deluge of porn e-mail
01/21/02: No 'Little Boy Lost'
01/16/02: Son of Supercar
01/12/02: Beware the European view of the death penalty
01/09/02: Other people's children
01/07/02: It doesn't fly
01/03/02: Going from the Atlantic City Boardwalk to Berkeley
12/31/01: In America, punishment should fit the crime
12/28/01: What I'd like to see in 2002
12/24/01: Don't heckle ink monopolists
12/21/01: Mumia finds safety in numbers
12/19/01 The self-help PBS shopping network
12/17/01 Caught on tape
12/14/01 Know when to hold 'em
12/10/01 Old friends
12/06/01 I read the news today, oh boy
12/03/01 It's not cricket
11/28/01 Admissions and omissions
11/26/01 Guns and abayas
11/21/01 Depraved minds think alike
11/19/01 Guilty, a la carte
11/14/01 Interpreting the entrails of Election 2000
11/12/01 Life and liberty
11/09/01 Safety is as safety does
11/07/01 More hot air on global warming
11/05/01 Bumped Pakistani's molehill
11/01/01 Freedom snuffed out
10/29/01 Give war a chance
10/26/01 Airline bill needs liftoff
10/22/01 The Riordan Principle
10/19/01 Before America gets tired of the war on terrorism
10/17/01 Patriot games
10/15/01 I was a 'McCainiac,' and I have seen the light
10/12/01 University of Censorship's fall semester
10/11/01 Poor little rich boy, Osama
10/07/01 Don't feed Israel to the beast
10/05/01: bin Laden is not our Frankenstein monster
10/04/01: Where no man has gone before
09/26/01: Who's bloodthirsty?
09/26/01: What's to understand?
09/20/01: Barbara Lee's line in the sand
09/14/01: You gotta love this country
09/13/01: ENTER TERROR
09/11/01: You can't clone ethics
09/06/01: NOW's goal: equal rights for women without equal responsibility
08/30/01: What's love got to do with it?
08/24/01: A clean, well-lighted place for junkies
08/20/01: Bush should stand up for justice
08/08/01: Don't give Peace (Dept). a chance
08/03/01: Lose a kid, pass a law
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07/30/01: Why it's easy being green (in Europe)
07/26/01: If disabled means expendable
07/23/01: Condit should not resign
07/18/01: Feinstein should learn her limit
07/16/01: A drought of common sense
07/13/01: The catalog has no clothes
07/05/01: It's Bush against the planet
07/03/01: The man who would be guv
06/29/01: Wheeled, wired and free
06/27/01: O, fearful new world
06/25/01: End HMO horrors
06/21/01: Either they're dishonest or clueless
06/18/01: Freedom is a puff of smoke
06/15/01: In praise of going heavy: Yes, you can take it all
06/13/01: McVeigh: 'Unbowed' maybe, but dead for sure
06/11/01: Gumby strikes back
06/08/01: Los Angeles' last white mayor?
06/07/01: Kids will be kids, media will be media
06/04/01: Draw a line in the sand
05/30/01: Just don't call him a moderate
05/29/01: Operation: Beat up on civil rights
05/24/01: Of puppies, kittens and huge credit-card debts
05/22/01: Bush needs an energy tinkerbell
05/18/01: Divided we stand, united they fall
05/16/01: Big Bench backs might over right
05/15/01: Close SUV loophole
05/11/01: Kill the test, welcome failure
05/09/01: DA mayor's disappointing legacy
05/07/01: If it ain't broken ...
05/03/01: They shoot civilians, don't they?
04/30/01: Executions are not for prime time
04/12/01: White House and the green myth
04/10/01: The perjurer as celeb
04/04/01: Bush bashers don't know squat
04/02/01: Drugging our oldsters
03/30/01: Robert Lee Massie exercises his death wish
03/28/01: Cheney's nuclear reactor
03/26/01: Where California and Mexico meet
03/16/01: Boy's sentence was no accident
03/14/01: Soft money, hard reform
03/12/01: Banks, big credit lines and consumer bankruptcy
03/09/01: Free speech dies in Berkeley
03/02/01: When rats have rights
02/28/01: Move a frog, go to jail?
02/26/01: They knew they'd get away with it
02/20/01: How Dems define tax fairness
02/16/01: The jackpot casino Carmel tribe?
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02/12/01: Hannibal -- with guts this time
02/08/01: A family of jailbirds
02/05/01: Reality's most demeaning TV moments
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01/26/01: Hail to the chiefs of D.C. opinion
01/24/01: A day of mud and monuments
01/22/01: Diversity, division, de-lovely D.C.
01/19/01: Parties agree: Give back the money
01/17/01: Get tough with the oil companies, or forget pumping more Alaskan crude
01/15/01: Mineta better pray that no attending confirmation senator has ever driven to San Jose during rush hour
01/12/01: Europeans should look in the mirror
01/10/01: Dems' reasons for dissin' Dubya's picks
01/08/01: Jerry, curb your guru
01/03/01: A foe of Hitler and friend of Keating
12/28/00: Nice people think nice thoughts
12/26/00: The Clinton years: Epilogue
12/21/00: 'Tis the season to free nonviolent drug offenders 12/18/00: A golden opportunity is squandered
12/15/00: You can take the 24 years, good son
12/13/00: Court of law vs. court of public opinion
12/08/00: A salvo in the war on the war on drugs
12/06/00: Don't cry, Butterfly: Big trees make great decks
12/04/00: Florida: Don't do as Romans did
11/30/00: Special City's hotel parking ticket
11/27/00: No means yes, yes means more than yes
11/22/00: The bench, the ballot and fairness
11/20/00: Mendocino, how green is your ballot?

© 2000, Creators Syndicate