By Marshall Cobleigh
It is complete hypocrisy for Democrat hatchet women Kathy Sullivan to question Sen. John E, Sununu's conservatism on behalf of Jeanne Shaheen's campaign because he opposed the pork ridden Farm legislation that Jeanne Shaheen supports. As soon as Sununu voted against the farm bill Shaheen started flooding the media with press releases denouncing Sununu for opposing the $290 billion bill.
With $290 billion dollars of taxpayer's money to spend obviously the legislation has some good in it including indexing food stamps to the cost of living index; supplementing The Emergency Food Assistance Program; the Northern Border Regional Commission which sets up a new federal bureaucracy but might also help anew Hampshire's north country; increases the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and boosting funding on renewable energy and school lunch programs, nutrition and land conservation.
Like most propaganda from the Shaheen campaign Sullivan's article doesn't begin to tell the whole story. If Sheehan wants to be seen as a real conservative she should let the people of New Hampshire know why she supports the following items included in the farm bill including:
- Nancy Pelosi's earmark of $170 million dollar bailout for the West Coast salmon industry.
- $93 million in special tax treatment for race horses.
- $260 million dollars in tax cuts for the timber industry.
- $15 million for new subsidies asparagus growers.
- $175 million for reclamation of 3 Nevada lakes.
- $500,000 to lawyers for the Walker River Paiute tribe for water claims.
- $75 million for crop research in El Reno, Oklahoma.
You get the idea. I could go on for pages listing the other earmarks included in the bill, but let’s look at the bigger problems in the legislation.
Farm income is expected to exceed the 10 year average by 50% this year, yet the Shaheen supported farm bill asks American taxpayers to subsidize the income of married farmers who earn $1.5 million dollars a year. With rising food prices and farm income at an all time high, Congress should not be looking to increase taxes on working Americans by forcing them to further subsidize big farmers who have record high incomes already. Shaheen wants to increase the subsidy level for crops, even though crop receipts are valued at $174 billion- a 21% increase from last year.
The Shaheen supported legislation would establish new subsidies for dry peas, lentils and chickpeas. It would also fail to reform the sugar program but actually increases government intervention to drive up sugar prices $2 billion dollars annually. As Senator Judd Gregg told us it includes funding for farm and ranch stress assistance and construction of a Chinese Garden at the National Arboreturn. The bill continues to allow millionaire farm households to receive handouts from hard working taxpayers.
Shaheen’s support of this legislation includes her support for fellow democrat Paul Kanjorski’s earmark of more than $10 million dollars directly to a company run by his family. That company Cornerstone Technologies subsequently has gone bankrupt.
The Shaheen supported farm bill doles out $5.2 billion annually in direct payments to individuals, many of whom are no longer farming, without regard to prices or income. According to the Environmental Working Group in the Shaheen supported legislation 71% of these farm subsidies go to the top beneficiaries almost all of which are large farms.
A study by the Democrat controlled General Accounting Office (GAO) shows that fully 30% of farm subsidies that they scrutinized went to people who shouldn’t be receiving them.
60% of farmers do not receive subsidies, but millionaires like David Rockefeller, David Letterman do get subsidies fro the Shaheen backed legislation. The subsidies to the rich, more landed farmer’s means that it is much harder for the type of small farmers we have in New Hampshire to compete.
Kathy Sullivan may dream that she and Jeanne Shaheen are really conservatives but they both should listen to what liberal icons of the press say about the legislation they are criticizing. The New York Times hardly a conservative outlet says “The legislation preserves an indefensible system of direct payments that flow in good times and bad.” The Washington Post called it “profoundly wasteful legislation”.
The Citizens Against Government Waste a non partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in government says ?this has to rank as one of the worst farm bills in history and a fraud that Congress is perpetuating on American taxpayers.
In November the voters of New Hampshire will have a chance to choose who the real conservative taxpayers friend is John Sununu or Jeanne Shaheen. Take a hard look at their records.
Because Kathy Sullivan went into all kinds of extraneous material in her usual attack on Senator John E. Sununu I will also briefly point a few facts about her real record. As Governor Jeanne Shaheen signed into law the first ever statewide property tax, vetoed the repeal of the death tax, and proposed and fought for a state sales tax. During her term as Governor New Hampshire lost more than 16,000 manufacturing jobs. She also vetoed bi-partisan school accountability legislation, failed to solve the education funding crisis that began on her watch and blocked efforts to improve teacher quality.
It took 79 governors two hundred years before state spending reached a billion dollars. It took Jeanne Shaheen just six years to double it. Yes, Jeanne Shaheen has made history, but it was big spending history not conservative history.