That image is from All In. It shows yet another way that the government provides huge amounts of welfare to the rich. The normal price of private land grazing rights for one cow for one month is $16.80. The government basically gives it away for $1.35. That’s a subsidy of $15.45 per cow per month. Bundy reportedly had 908 head of cattle on federal land. So even if he paid his fees, he would have been getting a subsidy of $14,028.60 per month, or $168,343.20 per year.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to me. On 15 April, I wrote, Be a Patriot, Pay Your Taxes! It was a general article, but I included Cliven Bundy in the discussion. I said, “I’m sure that I can find more things in the federal budget that I don’t like than Bundy can. One of the things I don’t like is how the BLM allows ranchers to graze their cattle at below market prices. Of course, in Bundy’s case, even that is too much. So it just steals it.”
The truth is that I have no problem with the government subsidizing ranchers in this way. There are good reasons for a country to prop up the farm industry. A country always wants to be able to feed its own people by itself if it ever comes to that. But the problem comes in when people assume that farmers and ranchers are rugged individualists who get by just based upon the sweat of their brows. And that just ain’t the case.
The average SNAP (food stamp) benefit in Nevada is $123.57 per month or $1,482.84 per year. That’s over a hundred children who could have been fed for the year. And that’s the subsidy that wasn’t good enough for Bundy! He thought the federal government giving him almost $170,000 was an outrage. He wanted over $180,00 so he threatened federal officials with hundreds of guns. What a patriot!
But I run into this kind of thinking all the time. Someone will mention some outrage like Jason Greenslate, the Fox News surfer. And they ask me, “Don’t you think this is terrible?!” Well, yes, to some extent I do. But why is anyone focused on such a small issue? Banks get billions of dollars and you are concerned that a surfer is getting a hundred bucks a month in free food? That is outrageous.
When poor people throughout the nation got their SNAP benefits cut, gun toting militia men didn’t show up to defend them. Instead, they showed up when a millionaire cattle rancher didn’t want to pay pennies on the dollar for his grazing rights. And this is because hate radio and Fox News are not interested in the really big welfare takers. They want to keep everyone focused on the little guy. Remember: the Tea Party started not when big banks got bailed out but when the government was talking about helping out struggling home owners. It’s like a magic trick: look at the poor person getting a little help so you don’t noticed boats loaded with cash being sent to the rich. Or, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
Some revolutionaries these people are! Like we need militia groups to protect the oligarchs. What a pathetic group of people.
And the la-hand of the Freeeeee!
And the hoooome, of thhhhhe, braaaave!
Update (24 April 2014 10:00 pm)
Now that I think about it, this is how the conservative base is made to vote against there best interests. They get focused on something like the surfer dude and vote on that, even though it doesn’t matter at all what the surfer dude does. This allows them to vote for people who funnel billions to the already wealthy. A lot of people don’t seem to believe it, but when I talk to conservatives alone, they are surprisingly sensible and there is much common ground. But as a group, I find them surprisingly gullible. It is so frustrating to talk to a conservative in depth about a particular thing and find that I totally agree with them. Then, after a month of Fox News propaganda, I will talk to them and they will have flipped their position. But that isn’t too bad; changing one’s mind isn’t a problem. But in general, they have no memory of having had any other opinion. It is like Fox News washes their brains of the ability to even think about the issue.