Tea Bagger Socialists: Comrades Rep. Michele Bachmann, Sens. Grassley, Brownback Have Syphoned $100ks in Government Welfare

Comrade Michele Bachmann
Comrade Michele Bachmann
Hypocrisy red alert: If you listen to her rhetoric, it sounds like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., believes socialism is antithetical to democracy. She has repeatedly equated health-care reform with socialism — even though the public-option is dead, and the “reform” bill passed by the Senate delivers 30 million new customers, by force of law, to the health-insurance industry.

It’s still socialism to Bachmann, however. “Right now, we are looking at reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom,” she said in remarks to a right-wing club in Minnesota this month. “And we may never be able to restore it if we don’t man up and take this one on.”

This is nothing new. Here’s what she said in March, for example:

“If you look at FDR, LBJ, and Barack Obama, this is really the final leap to socialism,” she said. “But we all know that we could turn this around and we can turn this around fairly quickly. We’re still a free country.”

This gem is from October:

Michele Bachmann: I think people have no idea what’s coming down the pike. This is the crown jewel of socialism… This is socialized medicine and like I said … this is the crown jewel of socialism… It’s unconstitutional.

And here she is holding forth earlier this month:

“It isn’t within our lifetime that we’ve gone to socialism,” Bachmann said. “It’s within 18 months!”

But that’s what Bachmann says. But look past the rhetoric at what Bachmann does, and it’s quite a different story.

Bachmann — the most prominent Tea Bagger in the House — is among the top recipients of socialist government handouts in Congress, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog that tracks the recipients of agricultural subsidies in the United States.

In 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices.

Yasha Levine at Truthdig.com broke the story.

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…

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).

Comrade Bachmman is not the only right-winger in Congress who has gobbled up freedom-killing gubmint money. Take, for example, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa:

[Grassley], 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. (Emphasis added.)

Grassley even admitted that he’s a closet socialist on C-SPAN earlier in December:

GRASSLEY: For the first 16 years I made $3,000 every other year as a state legislator. Now do you expect me to live on $3,000 every other year? No I was a factory worker for 10 years and I was a farmer for that period of time and I farm with my son now. So if you’re trying to make a case that I’ve lived off the public tit all these years, I think you’re saying correctly in the years I’ve been in the Congress but not the years before I came to Congress.

And then, via Truthdig again, there’s Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas:

[His] 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.

The Truthdig report also cites Blue Dogs Dems who have lived on the socialist tit, so to speak:

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who was instrumental in killing the public option in the health-insurance reform, has received $250,000.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who threatened to join the filibuster to kill reforms if they included provisions to help poor people, has recevied $750,000 over 10 years.

Truthdig’s Yasha Levin sums it up this way:

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… 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.

Much made over the back room deals made to “buy” the votes of Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Ind., Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and others. It will be interesting to see if the revelation that these conservatives politicians are on the public dole will get any play in the corporate media.

Don’t hold your breath.