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Class War For Idiots / December 22, 2009

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This article was first published by TruthDig (truthdig.com)

Michele Bachmann has become known as the Queen of the anti-government Tea Baggers, protesting health care reform and slamming every other government handout as “socialism.” But what her followers don’t know is that Rep. Bachmann is also a queen of another kind—a welfare queen. That’s right, the anti-government insurrectionist has taken more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts thanks to corrupt farming subsidies she has been collecting for at least a decade.

And she’s not the only one who has been padding her bank account with taxpayer money.

Bachmann, of Minnesota, has spent much of this year agitating against health care reform, whipping up the tea-baggers with stories of death panels and rationed health care. She has called for a revolution against what she sees as Barack Obama’s attempted socialist takeover of America, saying his presidential policy is “reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom.”

But data compiled from federal records by Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog that tracks the recipients of agricultural subsidies in the United States, shows that Bachmann has an inner Marxist that is perfectly at ease with living on the government dole. According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system. If American farms such as hers were forced to compete in the global free market, they would collapse.

However, Bachmann doesn’t think other Americans should benefit from such protection and assistance. She voted against every foreclosure relief bill aimed at helping average homeowners (despite the fact that her district had the highest foreclosure rate in Minnesota), saying that bailing out homeowners would be “rewarding the irresponsible while punishing those who have been playing by the rules.” That’s right, the subsidy queen wants the rest of us to be responsible.

Bachmann’s financial disclosure forms indicate that her personal stake in the family farm is worth up to $250,000. They also show that she has been earning income from the farm business, and that the income grew in just a few years from $2,000 to as much as $50,000 for 2008. This has provided her with a second government-subsidized income to go with her job as a government-paid congresswoman who makes $174,000 per year (in addition to having top-notch government medical benefits). “If she has an interest in a farm getting federal subsidy payments, she is benefiting from them,” Sandra Schubert, director of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, told Gannett News Service in 2007, when the subsidies to Bachmann were first publicly disclosed.

But Bachmann isn’t the only welfare recipient on Capitol Hill. As it turns out, there is a filthy-rich class of absentee farmers—both in and out of Congress—who demand free-market rules by day and collect their government welfare checks in the mail at night, payments that subsidize businesses that otherwise would fail. Over the past couple of decades, welfare for the super-wealthy seems to be the only kind of welfare our society tolerates.

In the 11 years for which the Environmental Working Group has compiled data, the federal government paid out a total of $178 billion to American farmers. We’re not talking about the Joads here. The bulk of subsidies go to the wealthy, not small farmers, as Ken Cook, the group’s president, explained to the Central Valley (Calif.) Business Times:

American taxpayers have been writing farm subsidy checks to wealthy absentee land owners, state prison systems, universities, public corporations, and very large, well-heeled farm business operations without the government so much as asking the beneficiaries if they need our money. … Even if you live smack in the middle of a big city, type in a ZIP code and you’ll find farm subsidy recipients.

Chuck Grassley, the longtime Republican senator from Iowa who warns his constituents of Obama’s “trend toward socialism,” has seen his family collect $1 million in federal handouts over an 11-year period, with Grassley’s son receiving $699,248 and the senator himself pocketing $238,974. Even Grassley’s grandson is learning to ride through life on training wheels, snagging $5,964 in 2005 and $2,363 in 2006. In the Grassley family they learn early how to enjoy other people’s money.

Sen. Grassley railed against government intervention in the health care market, telling The Washington Times, “Whenever the government does more … that’s a movement toward socialism.” As the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, he ought to know, especially because the government has done more for him and his kin than for Americans struggling with high medical bills and mortgages. Even the free-market think tank the Heritage Foundation criticized Grassley on his deep connections to farming interests and his stubborn lack of transparency.

Then there’s Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., whose family has been on the government take for at least the past 11 years, pocketing some $500,000. The senator recently held a “prayercast” with Michele Bachmann to beseech God to kill health care reform as soon as possible because it would bring an evil socialist spirit into America. Like Bachmann, Brownback has a fierce belief in God, the free market and a two-year limit on all welfare benefits—unless it’s welfare to rich Republicans who don’t need it.

Not surprisingly, Blue Dog Democrats are on board with this welfare-for-the-rich thing. Max Baucus, the fiscally conservative Democratic senator from Montana who did his best to sabotage the health care reform process before it ever began, collected $250,000 in taxpayer subsidies to his family’s farm while fighting to keep Americans at the mercy of free-market health insurance. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, another Democrat, also helped hold the line against so-called socialized medicine for Americans who need assistance, even though her family farm business follows the socialized subsidy playbook to a T. The Lincolns pocketed $715,000 in farm subsidies over a 10-year period, and the senator even admitted to using $10,000 of it as petty cash in 2007. Democratic Rep. Stephanie Sandlin of South Dakota stayed true to her conservative free-market roots by voting against the public option. Meanwhile, her daddy, Lars Herseth, a former South Dakota legislator, collected a welfare jackpot of $844,725 paid out between 1995 and 2006.

That’s just the way the game is played these days. Republicans and conservative Democrats bitch and moan about the allegedly Marxist underpinnings of universal health care and do everything they can to deny struggling Americans access to social services. Meanwhile, many of them profit off taxpayers in a massive welfare program.

Farm subsidies have become so corrupt that payments sometimes go to dead people for years. Federal farm subsidies, which were originally meant to help struggling farmers survive, are now little more than taxpayer robbery, taking taxpayer wealth from working Americans and sending it to the have-mores. According to 11 years’ worth of Environmental Working Group data that tracks $200 billion in subsidies, the wealthiest 10 percent of “farmers” have collected 75 percent of the money. That’s exactly the kind of socialism that Rep. Bachmann and her elite ilk like.

Yasha Levine is a mobile home inhabitin’ editor of The eXiled. He is currently stationed in Victorville, CA. Levine and co-editor Mark Ames first broke the connection between the Tea Party and the billionaire Koch brothers in Playboy.com in February 2009, sparking lawsuit threats, and causing CNBC’s Rick Santelli to publicly distance himself from the Tea Party movement and cancel his Daily Show appearance. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.

Want to know more?

* Read about other Tea Party Republicans who get farm subsidies…

* Find out how billionaires have turned farms into personal cash machines, allowing them to give less while taking more…

* And check out the new The eXiled Vs. The Koch Brothers page. And watch Dylan Ratigan giving Yasha Levine props for breaking the Koch/Tea Party story first:

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128 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Maura  |  April 11th, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Please please don’t even use “welfare queen” ironically or in jest.

  • 2. Allah Moohammed  |  April 11th, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Who orignally started the teabagger movement?

    Liberal cigar-stuffer Bill Clinton. I wonder if Junk Trunk Michelle teabags Barry? That’s not possible as he has no balls. Yasha, you’re the one on crack, crackbagger.

  • 3. Linda  |  April 11th, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Hey, What’s she lighting up in this photo?

  • 4. mathetos  |  April 11th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Hi, I’m a corrupt scumbag whose shit little salary is paid for by the Bachmann For Generalissimo Liberty Foundation. Unlike you, I work in the dark and carry her water. Actually, working for this PR agency I carry Bachmann’s chamber pot. That’s the kind of shit-bag I am. I really hope you don’t publish my comments, or anyone like me. We’re not worthy of your eXiled greatness.

  • 5. Sam  |  April 11th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    What’s she smoking in that picture?

  • 6. Terry  |  April 11th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I’m Michele Bachmann’s PR agent from New Media Strategies and I approve this Message:

    I’m with Daniel Y on this one. No need for fake, derogatory pictures. That’s FoxPac style.

  • 7. Ellie Hampton  |  April 11th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Jesus christ, I’m sorry to have to do this. But my boss is breathing down my neck here. He’s making me use this sock puppet software that that use to keep posting the same lame retort about the Photoshopped picture, which I personally think is funny because I have a sense of humor. But hey I need this job, I got five kids to feed. So here I go again: Interesting article – no surprises, except the obvious and poorly manipulated Bachmann Photoshopped head on a different body. It wasn’t necessary to make the point: money from the government is good if you are rich, bad if you are poor.

  • 8. Romeo  |  April 11th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I agree that these farm subsidies are outrageous. Both parties are to blame. But I’m just another paid PR troll, so don’t pay attention to me.

  • 9. voiceofreason  |  April 11th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Come on people, look at this for what it is… It is a ‘blind as a bat’ Obama supporter, knowing that our president is on his way out for his collosal mess ups… As far as I can see, this woman didn’t recieve ‘welfare’ as it is stated in the headlines; her father-in-law was asked to reduce production on his farm to push up agriculture prices, and was paid his portion of a government run program, to subsidise his lack of income… Wake up people! you are being led down the wrong thorn lined path here…

  • 10. Romeo  |  April 11th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I applaud for the way you corrected my comments. Bravo! (Just don’t tell my boss at New Media Strategies, ok? I’m due for a comment sock puppet of the week award, which gets me 5 hours of overtime work for no extra pay! Yippeee!)

  • 11. sarah  |  April 12th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    hate hate hate hate….um….more hate Have you ever farmed?

    Crappy photoshopped picture. Not even her body. Made her look older than she really is. Winning!

  • 12. Mike La Torres  |  April 13th, 2011 at 1:23 am

    If Ms Bachmann is a hard-working farmer, it’s news to me. The farm is rented out to another farmer, who, I believe, has hired others to do the actual work of bringing in feed and hauling out cow shit. The term for this is not “farmer”, but “landlord”. Just sayin’.

  • 13. Mike La Torres  |  April 13th, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Or “landlady”, I guess.

  • 14. Rita  |  April 14th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I just vomited up my dinner. Could I get some welfare from Minnesota. I USED TO LIVE THERE and raised several children and we never had money, so I guess I am due about 100 thousand too in welfare.

  • 15. phil  |  April 17th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Michele is awesome. Hopefully she and the other conservatives can put an end to the union pukes and other entitlement minded lazy farts liberals in trying to wreck America and make it like East Germany.

    Keep up the great work Michele – you are a great American!!

  • 16. JW  |  April 18th, 2011 at 6:30 am

    There are few thinking people on here. For the most part most of the HATE filled comments are just that HATE without much thought. Her “FAMILY FARM” gets subsidy. WOW what a journalist this so SMART. Every Farmer gets Subsidies…Democrat and Republican. You can write this article about any farmer in America. Think before you write. Farm Subsidy is in reality a small part of the budget…but none the less it is yet another entitlement program…I just in the kindest manner ask that all American start thinking rather that blindly follow. If the blind lead the blind will they both not fall in a pit?

    Yes, by the way, I am a paid PR maggot who trolls comments sections on behalf of Ms Bachmann. It sucks to be a squid like me.

  • 17. GK  |  May 3rd, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Obama health care……….
    43% of Americans pay federal income tax.
    129 million Americans pay federal income tax.

    57% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax.
    171 million Amercans don’t pay federal income tax.

    The numbers don’t work, not enough people paying taxes to pay for those that don’t.

    Obama care will futher strain and already strained economy. It will not work.

  • 18. A Swaim  |  May 6th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    How convenient to “blow-up” such theories as “welfare farmers subsidies” when the gov’t
    has long controlled the farms and farmers as far back as the 30s. This is the way you will have to deal with the farmer whether you want to or not. The gov’t strictly controls the agricultural business and have done so long before Michele Bachman was born. She and her family are not responsible for the way the DOA has so tightly regulated how much and how little farmers can produce. The DOA pays farmers to do it THEIR way and if you inherited a farm such as Bachmann, youre a victim of the system, not an initiator, the same as you and I inherited the tax system. We not agree with it, but we pay or else…Get the basic facts straight !

  • 19. Michael  |  May 16th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I think it should also be noted in this article all the government checks Michelle received from the government to raise the 18 foster children she temporarily parented. Don’t forget about the college scholarships and grants to get that law degree where shortly after graduation she went to work for the IRS as a tax lawyer…….has she ever made a dollar the old fashioned way or does she only know how to cash government checks?

  • 20. Sheilah B.  |  June 11th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I KNEW IT! Every time I see that MORON MICHELLE BACHMAN I think: “She’s got the glazed eyes and euphoric look of a stoned out, BRAINWASHED HIPPIE CHICK who hasn’t seen a clean or sober day since she joined the CULT”. And this piece of work wants to give Corporations PROFITING BILLIONS A YEAR a REDUCED income tax of 9%!

    What gets me most, is I’ll spend the time to research the things I put down and PROVE my statements grounded in fact, and these radical NEOCONS have the audacity to: Call me a liar & insane, Accuse me of being a leech on society when I’ve not paid less than 15%-27% in gross wages in well over 20 yrs. and have yet to ask for my return. I’ve worked my whole life (+25hrs a week to 78hrs a week) since I was 14, PT at least since I was 8. I PAY my taxes! I PAY my taxes! Abide by the laws, give to charity, and have actually worked my self crippled! Own my own home and Pay taxes on that too, these NEOCONS don’t know me from Adam and all they can do when someone tries to educate them is sling INSULTS! I don’t want to pay for unnecessary wars, I don’t want to instigate wars and rumors of wars! OR FAMINES OR Plagues!!! I DO NOT want to carry the tax load of MEGA RICH who pay NOTHING! I don’t want my Social Security over to a bunch of shits who just might wipe the whole nation out. I DO want at least a NATIONAL HMO FOR PETES SAKE! And I DON’T WANT TO BE CALLED A COMMIE OR SOCIALIST because I WANT SOMETHING FOR the contributions I had and have to slave for! DAGNABIT!

  • 21. David DuVal  |  June 13th, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    You know, the term “tea-bagger” is very doragatory. Surely the author is aware of it’s original meaning(?). If your article’s opening line just throws an insult, the only remaining readers is the choir. I’m offended by it and I’m a drunken guitar player. Wonder how others feel about it. It reminds me of how justified revolutions in history turned into blood bathes afterwards (Paris, Saigon, etc.).

  • 22. iamwinstonsmith  |  June 13th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    So you’re upset that her FATHER IN LAW received government farm subsidies?

    Rrrrrrrright you are sir, I love to suck on oligarch servants’ toes…to get right in there and get to lickin’! M’mmmmmmmmmmmm! Woof woof.

  • 23. Patrick  |  June 15th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Howdy Ho children! I’m an assistent to Mr. Marcus Bachmann, a Christian psychiatrist who cures gay people of their gay lifestyle with the lord’s light and truth! Here is my opinion: I like specifics. When you say they pocketed “Welfare” you are out and out lying. The pocketed other government subsidies. WHICH IS STILL awful. Do some real reporting. You are providing a service. Make sure the details are right ok? Thanks and don’t piss off Mr. Marcus or one day you may find yourself gunned down by a deranged non-gay lifestyle lone assassin. Beware.

  • 24. dick  |  June 16th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    well i havnt read anything that scares me like the fact our current president was basically under anti American sermon for decades. liberals need to stop trying to “liberate” and give away everything and make all equal. capitalism is what built this country and what has allowed us “Americans” this life style we live in today. if opportunity came to me in the “future” i would like the chance to capitalize and make a better life for myself. I am not to peachy keen about taking that away and making myself equal to a drug user in the ghetto on welfare. thats my interpretation on socialism.

    give me libertardy or give me defecation!

  • 25. Bill Chase  |  June 17th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    You are a sad and pathetic group. Any one who disagrees with you is stupid, racist, a homophobe or worse! When I read your comments, all I can think of is how petty and mean spirited you all seem to be! It is a great country, enjoy your freedom. Stop condemning your fellow citizens and celebrate the diversity of belief in our country. Apathy and indifference should be our only enemies.

    Notice: This message has been paid for by the Billioanires’ Chamber Maids Association of America, which is fighting for freedom and our right to carry our dear masters’ chamber pots for minimum wage.

  • 26. gmcbride  |  June 20th, 2011 at 9:17 am

    The comment i am posting here has been sockpuppetshopped. my face does not go with mr koch’s body.

  • 27. markuus  |  June 20th, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I will definitely keep an eye on this sight going forward. Wow what an amazing hate infested group of leftists. Even the right does not go as far as having NESOCS using crack pipes. Amazing, truly look in a mirror if trying to find the hate in this country. Remember all social crimes have always started from the left side of Marcus Bachmann’s buttocks…that’s his best side, if you ask me. Jus trying to help people.

  • 28. bill  |  May 29th, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Yasha Levine: I, too, hate the Bachmann hypocrisies. I wonder to myself, if my comment is so important, why can’t I get a job commenting?


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