A generalization can be made about Republicans -- they believe that if you take a human being who is able to take care of himself and coddle him with handouts it makes him helpless and dependent. That's why they pressed so hard for welfare reform during the Clinton administration and why they object so strenuously now to the expansion of welfare without the work requirement.
But when it comes to corporate welfare Republicans either look the other way or cheer it on. The farm bill is an example. The farm bill is a government giveaway to agribusiness, and West Texas' own District 11 Representative Mike Conaway is one of its biggest cheerleaders.
Mr. Conaway draws in about a million dollars each election cycle even if his opponent is a broke unknown. The money comes from individuals and PACs that want what he can give. And this cycle Agribusiness PACs and individuals have thrown $213,000 his way.
The morning paper contained an article about him and his pet project which quotes my favorite farm bill canard: The House version of the farm bill will "save taxpayers more than $35 billion." By this they mean the House bill spends $35 billion less than the Senate bill. So saving taxpayer money means spending less than the maximum amount someone else wants to spend. Maybe the Senate will rethink and set a higher target. Think of the money we would save!
The government has been propping up American agribusiness so long the big farm companies can't operate without it and can't compete with foreign producers without trade restrictions. What we need is a welfare-to-work program for agribusiness. They've got too many friends in Congress to do it all at once. But just maybe someday we'll have a Congress that will wean them off the government dole so they can figure out how to make it on their own the way our ancestral farmers did and in the process become proud of themselves again.
Meanwhile, agribusiness is like General Motors. And the difference between Republicans and Democrats is the entities they reward with government largess.