I received an amusing email from the Heritage Foundation the other day. (Yes, I'm on their list. I'm keeping an eye on them.)
The email was about President Obama's recent call for $100 million in administrative cuts to federal programs. The Heritage Foundation pointed out that it is a bit disingenuous to call for massive stimulus spending to get the economy back on track and to simultaneously call for cuts somewhere else. The email says,
The Department of Veterans Affairs canceled or delayed 26 conferences (lost jobs for the airline, rental car, food service, and hotel industries). The Education Department is no longer allowing employees to have both laptop and desktop computers (lost jobs for retail and technology manufacturing companies. The Agriculture Department is terminating leases and doing more to verify the income of recipients of farm subsidies (lost jobs for agriculture). And the Department of Homeland Security is going to start buying its office supplies in bulk(lost jobs for Office Depot).I must grudgingly admit they have a small point about the conferences and computers and office supplies. If the goal is to get that rampant consumerism going again, you'd think the cuts could wait a bit.
But that's not what I want to talk about here. What I want to bring your attention to is that blurb about the agriculture department "doing more to verify the income of recipients of farm subsidies." That isn't just a random cut to spending. It is asking the ag department to enforce the law.
A little background - We taxpayers spend tens of billions of dollars each year in farm subsidies. These subsidies aren't going to help small family farmers. The top ten percent of recipients receive the vast majority of that money. Aside from the general atrociousness of redistributing wealth from your average taxpayer to agribusiness, the subsidy programs are prone to all sorts of abuse.
According to a report by Cato, the GAO estimated that up to half a billion dollars of our money is received by people who shouldn't be getting it. So now Obama wants to enforce the law. You would think that enforcing the law would be something we could all agree on.
You would think.