Red State Farmers to Reap the Whirlwind

“They Sow the Wind, and Reap the Whirlwind” – Hosea 8:1-14

Last year, Bush, Cheney, DeLay & company used “cultural values” – ie., fear of gay marriage – to convince millions of folks in rural America to vote for them, even though it should have been obvious that voting for these tools of corporate excess was contrary to their own self-interests. Now thousands of these voters are waking up to realize they face financial ruin as a result.

[Owen] Olson [of North Dakota], who farms 1,400 acres near [Medina], is among the men and women who sow the seeds, harvest the crops and oppose this year’s attempt by President Bush and Congress to cut federal farm assistance. They speak of hardship and fairness while questioning the votes cast for a president who scored big in the Midwest, in part by promising to do well by farmers.

“If it wasn’t for the federal government here,” said Olson, 39, “nobody would be farming.”

No one is talking about eliminating federal subsidies, just reducing them. But in North Dakota, where more than three in four farmers receive payments — the highest percentage of any state — the proposals working their way through the hearing rooms on Capitol Hill are big news.

Bush proposed cuts of $5.7 billion from agricultural programs over the next 10 years as part of a deficit reduction package. The House Budget Committee set the figure at $5.3 billion, while its Senate counterpart said $2.8 billion should be trimmed…

“Across-the-board cuts always hurt the person at the bottom more than anybody else,” said [farmer Ellen] Linderman, who expects the cuts to come. “I think it’s going to happen. This president has put us so deeply in debt. We’re not his powerful friends, out here in the countryside.

There is one glimmer of good news for rural Red Staters who voted for Bush and the GOP: There won’t be gay marriages in their states anytime soon. That ought to provide a modicum of comfort while they file for bankruptcy.


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