By Manifesto Joe
I remember a conversation with a peer who, after being liberal and hippieish as a teenager, was turning conservative in his early twenties. I had been a libertarian for years and was finally seeing all the problems inherent to that ideology, especially from the working-class point of view.
It was not lost on me by then that I was in the middle of attending a good private college on what's called a "full ride," a package combining loans, grants and scholarships that was paying for everything except side expenses. And because my father was a disabled veteran, I was also getting VA and Social Security stipends, as long as I stayed in college, until I turned 22.
I started seeing, at long last, what liberals were really up to, after all. I was a son of a relatively poor family. I had performed well in high school and had high test scores. An alliance of government liberals and private benefactors was making it possible for me to get the same kind of education that a son of an affluent family would be able to take for granted. (It took a while to pay off the loans, but what the hell. ...)
In a libertarian world, or in a conservative one, for that matter, most of this would not have been possible. In fact, college might not have been possible at all, because none of these people were too keen on paying taxes to support public universities, either.
When I pointed all this out to my friend, he did not exhibit any of the same dissonance I was experiencing. To him, he told me, this was just your good luck.
No, it wasn't. It was the culmination of decades of changes in public policy, aimed at mitigating the circumstances of the deserving poor. But it struck me then, and has remained with me since, that the economic ideology of libertarians and conservatives is, at its core, opportunism. They certainly wouldn't turn down a "full ride," or any of those government payments, either. They just wouldn't want to pay the taxes to keep them going for young people 30 years later. Just kick the ladder down after you've ascended it. That's their tough luck.
Now on to Michele Bachmann
With this in mind, now comes the revelation that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's family took lots of government money from a couple of sources. The far-right Republican lawmaker, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination with plenty of Tea Party and other anti-government support, has been on record as wanting to cut the corporate income tax rate to as little as 9%. And here her family is, slopping at the government trough much more lucratively than any welfare loafer ever imagined.
The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that:
An examination of her record and finances showed that a counseling clinic run by her husband received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, with part of the money coming from the federal government. And a family farm in Wisconsin, where she is listed as a partner, received some $260,000 in federal subsidies.
Here's a link to the complete story.
When one reads on down, to her denials and such, it seems clear that this "fiscal conservative" is not only a hypocrite, but a liar as well. She's denying things that are explicitly on record. But, hey -- she wouldn't be the first presidential candidate to have done that, nor will she be the last.
Thinking about it, such hypocrisy and opportunism isn't unusual among right-wingers. They'll take government money, and plenty of it, as long as it is for their benefit. They're just against it when it benefits anybody else.
Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, allegedly of this fair state (he was actually born and raised in Georgia) comes to mind.
This piece of pond scum got a Ph.D. with the help of government loans and grants, then spent most of his career on the public payroll, as an economics professor at Texas A&M and as a member of Congress. As a lawmaker, he consistently voted against anything that benefited poor people, and was a driving force behind the financial deregulation that has proved calamitous for America and the world during The Great Recession. How many people have lost jobs and homes because of this contemptible toad? And yet he had the gall to oppose the very kinds of programs that aided his toxic, verminous ascent in life.
So, Michele Bachmann's family slopping at the government trough should be no surprise. Now let's see her lie her way out of this as the campaign heats up.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.