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