Friday, August 27, 2010

Buying Votes in Arkansas With Our Money

Intrade contract for Blanche Lincoln to win, odds now at 5.5%, down from 70% a year ago (click to enlarge):
From today's Wall Street Journal:

"Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is down 20 points in the polls, but the Democrat is apparently going to go down swinging—with $1.5 billion of your money. She is the spending problem, in profile.

Last year heavy rain damaged cotton and rice crops across the South. The 2008 farm bill, passed by a Democratic Congress, created the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) to aid farmers hit by such weather-related disasters. The admirable intent was to stop farm-state Senators from looting the Treasury after every early frost or the like. To qualify for SURE funds, farmers are now required to buy crop insurance (federally subsidized to the tune of about $6 billion a year) and to have lost more than 30% of their crop value.

Mrs. Lincoln wants to pull an end run around this law and make Arkansas farmers eligible for retroactive taxpayer payments. The payments would be made even if the recipients didn't buy crop insurance and even if their damages were as little as 5%. Most small businesses in America suffered far more than a 5% fall in revenues during the recession, but few are getting six-figure handouts from Uncle Sam. Rice and cotton prices have recovered nicely this year in any event.

Nearly 200 Arkansas farms and 100 Louisiana farms will get a check for $100,000 or more, and the 10% richest farmers will get almost two-thirds of the money. One of the few federal programs the Obama administration has said it wants to eliminate is farm subsidies to wealthy farmers -- unless, apparently, the money goes to the state of an endangered Democratic Senator."

Thanks to Bob Wright.


At 8/27/2010 10:28 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/27/2010 10:43 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

There are some very notable exceptions to the SURE requirement to have crop insurance. Beginning Farmers or Ranchers, Limited Resource and Socially Disadvantaged are all exempt. What are Socially Disadvantaged (SDA)? SDA are:

"Socially Disadvantaged farmers and ranchers whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or other prejudiced because of his or her identity as a member of the group without regard to his or her individual qualties. SDA groups include women, African Americans, Alaskan natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders."

Sen. Lincoln won't have any trouble finding exceptions for the rules because they are abundant for the largesse!

At 8/27/2010 11:23 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Well, then, it would seem that Arkansas voters are correct in their assessment that Sen. Lincoln is part of the problem, and will make the necessary correction at election time.

At 8/27/2010 11:31 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

The votes Sen. Lincoln is attempting to buy are likely already hers.

I guess there's no such thing as overspending when it comes to votes. It's only money, after all, and not hers in any case. Why hold back?

At 8/27/2010 12:31 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

it's a classic tragedy of the commons.

her aim may be less to shore up votes than to provide a parting gift to loyal supporters and/or buy herself a job in some sort of arkansas farmer group.

i have said it before and i'll say it again:

the only way to take pork barrel influence out of government is to take influence away from government.

so long as they have the ability to distribute goodies that they don't pay for, they will be bought and paid for, but at rates far below market. if i sell my car, i care what it cost to buy, but if i sell your car, well, it's all profit, no?

At 8/27/2010 5:56 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

You gotta love our Red State farmers.

If it rains too much, they say they have losses and need to confiscate hard-working taxpayer money to help farmers.

If we have droughts, they say they need to reach into American's pockets and loot more money.

If we have perfect weather, they say they have bumper crops, low prices, and thus need to take money from productive people so farmers don;t get hurt.

Precisely what kind of weather would allow farmers to stand on their own two feet?

At 8/27/2010 6:12 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"If it rains too much, they say they have losses and need to confiscate hard-working taxpayer money to help farmers"...

What the heck is this nonsense?!?!

Farmers are now confiscating taxpayer money?!?!


At gun point?

'Crop insurance', google it pseudo benny...

At 8/27/2010 7:07 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"You gotta love our Red State farmers."

But what about our Blue State farmers, Benji? Like in Illinois, where your boyfriend was one of the biggest Big Ag whores in the Senate?

"Precisely what kind of weather would allow farmers to stand on their own two feet?"

Most farmers already are doing that, the majority of the subsidies go to farmes with an average net worth of around $2 million.


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