Friday, November 28, 2008

"We don't mean to sound churlish" 

"We're still going to have to make some tough choices," he said at a news conference Tuesday. "There are just going to be some programs that simply don't work, and we've got to eliminate them."

That's the kind of promise made on the campaign trail, where every office-seeker declares his or her determination to root out "waste, fraud and abuse." When it comes time to govern, however, elected officials find that the challenge is to spend less on services and bureaucracies that do work -- if not for everyone, at least for some entrenched constituency. And although he may save a few million here and there by pruning benefits for the wealthy, he can't make fundamental changes without overhauling or terminating entire programs. It's the difference between zeroing out farm subsidies for millionaires who shouldn't have received them in the first place and abandoning an outdated, Depression-era system that rewards agribusiness in good times and bad.
The LA Times sounds off about agricultural subsidies. And says it doesn't mean to sound churlish. Meanwhile, the keeper of the subsidies says it's no biggie.
Rep. Collin Peterson says he isn't surprised by President-elect Barack Obama's criticisms following a new report about the abuse of agriculture subsidies.

The report from the Government Accountability Office released Monday found there were 2,702 millionaire recipients of farm payments from 2003 to 2006. Obama has said if the report is true, it's a perfect example of government waste.

He's said in speeches and position papers that subsidy programs should provide more benefits to small farmers and less to large ones, especially large corporate farms.

Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, says agriculture subsidies are always a target in the debate over government waste, and he said he doesn't see Obama's comments as a threat to the overall farm safety net.

"We're always a target, and it sounds good" to criticize subsidies, Peterson said. "But Obama can't be any worse than Bush was on this, and we survived that."
You will recall how they "survived that", I hope. They "survived that" by overriding a veto.

Forgive me for being churlish, Rep. Peterson, but the Internet finds these things out.
�If the White House is stupid enough to veto this, they�re going to get overridden,� House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) told Politico. �That�s where we�re at right now.�

�I told [Agriculture Secretary Ed] Schafer, they aren�t just being unreasonable, they�re going to be totally irrelevant. This is the big thing that has happened here in these last few days.�
Good luck, President-elect Obama.

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