All that’s wrong with American conservative thought in glorious microcosm

Tom Mendelsohn

Untitled 1 300x294 All thats wrong with American conservative thought in glorious microcosmHere is a story about a man from Missouri – one of your typical red states – who doesn’t like the Democrats or their government hand-outs. 72-year-old David Jungerman likes them so little, in fact, that he decided to make a grand gesture. ‘He’s not the kind of guy who posts on Twitter or has a Facebook profile,’ runs the article. ‘So when  [he] wanted to speak out politically, he used what he had handy: a 45-foot-long, semi-truck box trailer.’ Written on this trailer are the words

Are you a Producer or Parasite Democrats – Party of the Parasites

He’s come under attack for his trailer: it’s been set alight a couple of times, alongside an empty farmhouse of his. That’s unacceptable, I hardly need add. “They don’t like free speech,” he suggested of whoever did it. He has since put out a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. And he’s making legitimate political comment, you might think. He is still farming his 6,800 acres of western Missouri into his 70s, after all. Maybe he doesn’t want the taxes he pays on the money he earns to be ‘handed out’ to people in the form of benefits or tax credits. He seems to be suggesting that these people – the ‘parasites’ – should work for their own living, rather than relying on the blood, sweat and tears of others who can be bothered to get up in the mornings. That’s all very well; it’s a good deal more right wing than we’re used to dealing with in this country, but we and our European-style socialism, have not necessarily won that particular argument. It is his money, he lives in a country where hard work and the individual are celebrated, perhaps it’s fair enough. Except it isn’t fair enough. A poster on the Democratic Underground forums has this to say:

[What] the reporter fails to mention is that Mr David G Jungerman receives farm subsidies. One can easily find a list of the monies which he has received since 1995.

Jungerman, so opposed to government hand-outs and the parasites that take them, accepted $1,095,101 in USDA farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. He’s a hypocrite, and I have a suspicion that he’s not alone. See, the American people might live under much less of a welfare state than us in Britain, but there are still credits, breaks and benefits available. They’re available, and they’re used. People over there are on food vouchers, Medicaid for low-income families and unemployment benefit just like us, and it’s not just Democrat voters who do so – Republicans do as well. The only difference is that these same Republicans, or at least those who are also members of the Tea Party movement or one of the other strands of the modern American hard right, are demanding spending be cut on welfare. Except, presumably, such welfare as they themselves consume. This is the heart of the problem: they want to cut the government’s spending on everyone but themselves. An Economist poll from a few months ago asked Americans what the best way to cut the deficit was. 62 per cent wanted spending cut, compared to five per cent who wanted taxes raised. They followed this up with a second question, asking which of the things that their government spends money on should be cut. pollquestion400 All thats wrong with American conservative thought in glorious microcosm As you can see from the table, only one of the 16 categories – Foreign Aid – got more than 50 per cent of the vote. Foreign Aid represents less than one per cent of total federal spending. No-one would even consider cutting any of the other categories. the cognitive dissonance is migraine-inducing.

  • HairyScot

    Great report. Shame that the USA average citizen does not see this as their media stopped reporting news and moved to the opinion of the commentator. OK another generalism, but, having worked for 23 years for an USA company, it is the norm.

  • Matt Wurtele

    What is the point of this? I don’t think anyone (here) in America thinks this is news.

  • Debmcd

    We could cut spending on defense in half and still spend more than most of Europe and China. But our bought and paid for by big business congress would rather our infrastructure decay, our environment and wildlifte die and our children become so weak from hunger that it won’t matter to them that the only job they qualify for is a burger flipper, than give up one dollar of money from the corporate cititzen. It makes me sick.

  • Kate Orman

    A small correction to this otherwise edifying post. You wrote “No-one would even consider cutting any of the other categories”. What the table shows, and what Mojo wrote was: “there wasn’t one single area that even a third of the country wanted to cut back on”.

  • Neil McGowan

    No, you think that Billo Reilly and Glen Beck are “news”, right?? Seems to me this David Jungermann is the PARASITE in chief – with subsidies totalling ONE MILLION BUCKS in his fat hypocritical pocket!

  • Jimbo

    Amazing how many people who complain about ‘handouts’ are themselves receiving handouts: “redistribution is bad, unless its in my direction”.

    How insular and selfish some of my fellow human beings can be!!

  • Matt Wurtele

    I don’t follow your logic. If I thought O’Reilly and Beck reported news I’d probably have a reaction similar to yours: misguided anger, expressed in ALL CAPS, for emphasis.

    Farm subsidies got as bloated as they are because of corporate farming. For instance, corn is highly subsidized in the U.S., but most of the corn grown here ends up as livestock feed in industrial-sized farms. These livestock farms are owned by large corporations, who lobby the federal government for the subsidies for their suppliers. Through the course of this our livestock, who were originally bred to eat things like range grasses, become less healthy. This means our meat is less-healthy to eat.

    What I’m trying to get at is that I think this is horribly misdirected. There are so many legitimate flaws to point out with our subsidy system, why are you talking about some guy in the middle of nowhere with a trailer parked in his yard?

  • SmokeyWest

    It isn’t the fact that Mr. Jungerman received a subsidy that is the issue, it is the fact that he failed to disclose as he was critizing others for exactl what he was himself was guilty. It is why people find it so offensive that right-wing politicians claim to be promoters of family values and opposed to gay relationship, only to found out to have been soliciting gay sex in a public restroom. It is the hypocrisy that is what is so objectionable.

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