One of the questions the curious voter from time to time wonders, is how a person can distinguish good government handouts from bad government handouts. The answer to that question is not as obvious as it would seem to be to the uninitiated. The question was most recently posed (and answered) by U.S. Representative, Stephen Fincher, a member of the House of Representatives from the 8th Congressional District in Tennessee.
Mr. Fincher has distinguished himself by standing up for the right of the poor to prove their self-sufficiency by not partaking of the food stamp program. Because the poor are not always as motivated as they should be and in the case of parents with children but without funds to care for them, unable to keep their lives together, Mr. Fincher believes they should work harder to earn what they require to live as he, and others like him, do. The problem he is helping them address is their dependence on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as the food stamp program.
~ from Subsidies for Me, But Not For You by Christopher Brauchli ~
Stephen Fincher is one of those fiscally conservative Republicans who support a Farm Bill that would cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP (Food Stamps) AND increase subsidies for crop insurance. Because he serves in the US House of Representatives and receives a salary of $174,000, he is not eligible for SNAP. Interestingly enough, he IS a farmer and as a farmer he routinely accepts farm subsidies.
As Brauchli notes,
Between 1995 and 2012 Fincher Farms in Tennessee received payments totaling $4,180,287, almost all of that from commodity subsidies. In collecting those subsidies his farm was one of the ten percent in Tennessee that collected 87 percent of all subsidies paid in that state. Seventy eight percent of Tennessee farms received no subsidies.
During that 16 year period, Fincher received, on average, $261,000 per year. Compare this to the monthly average household amount of SNAP -- $275.42 (FY 2013) -- received by people not named Rep. Stephen Fincher. If we take that average monthly amount and multiply it by 12 months, the total outlay is $3,305.04.
So, Mr. Fincher contends that those who receive around $3300 per year should "prove their self-sufficiency by not partaking of the food stamp program." But he has no qualms about people like himself accepting a handout from taxpayers to the tune of more than one-quarter million dollars per year. Not only that, but he wants even more taxpayer dollars set aside for farm subsidies for farmers like himself who, somehow, don't need to show that they are self-sufficient at all.
I think we need a new word for this type of loathsome attitude. How about hyfocrisy?