Thursday, January 22, 2015

I think we all saw this coming

Amid a fledgling primary campaign, rural Iowa state lawmaker Joni Ernst crafted a quirky hardscrabble persona that propelled her to both the forefront of the race and, eventually, the United States Senate....

The truth about her family’s farm roots and living within one’s means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government–with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington—again, mostly corn subsidies—between 1995 and 2001. He passed away in January 2003.
If you're doing the math that's an average of something over $30,000 per year for 14 years.  Not to begrudge farmers their subsidies, but imagine any family receiving that much in aid from AFDC or even unemployment benefits.

It would never happen, because such people need to learn not to depend on government "handouts."  But farmer's children can depend on them, get government jobs, be in the military, go to the U.S. Senate, and still rail against "government spending."

Yeah, I know:  same as it ever was.  Kinda hard to say you learned to "live within your means," though, when you had a government backstop of $30,000.00 a year that wasn't affected by how much you earned that year (at least not to the extent it would be for welfare payments).

Buh-bye, Joni.


  1. to be (slightly i hope) tedious the amount of backstop *was* affected by the current grain prices, which during a lot of those years was pretty lousy- by design, actually

    ernst is just displaying the typical farm bureau member attitude of hating subsidies, but not enough to actually try going without them. i guess not having the courage of your convictions when it comes to money is pretty human

  2. Thanks for the correction.

  3. well, it wasn't meant as a correction, really. you're pretty much right all the way through. it's just that the "freedom to farm" (yes this is what it was called) program had a lot of moving parts

    today's paper has an article about scott walker proposing drug tests for welfare recipients. your average farmer won't bat an eye at that, but ask him or her to make receiving subsidies contingent on following a government-mandated conservation plan? they blow fuses

    i'm always a bit put off by the "catch-22" bit about major major's farming relatives, probably because it's closer to home than i like to think

  4. oh, major major. so perfect.