Successful … politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies.
-Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), American Journalist and Author
In a democracy, a politician must favorably influence the majority of their voting constituents. In all their political decisions, a politician calculates how many votes are gained by voting money spent on an interest group versus how many votes are lost.
Farm Bill versus “The Honest and Small Government” Coalition
Every five years, Congress considers a “Farm Bill.” Over the past 40 years, big-city Democrats and rural Republicans have increased food stamps for their city constituents and subsidies for their farmers. This is political log-rolling; I’ll vote for your food stamps, if you vote for my farm subsidies. [Read – Farm Bill: Good for Politicians and Lobbyists – Bad for America]
And..everyone is happy! Except…the millions of taxpayers who pay for this political connivance.
Finally, the taxpayers are angry and demanding honest and transparent governance. The recent Farm Bill is a study in changing political realities. What had been schemed privately – log-rolling – has become public.
How and why? The Internet and action groups, like FreedomWorks, are exposing the nefarious political games. With better informed voters, new politicians are being elected to Congress, and are pledging to enact“honest and small government.” Our new members of Congress – coined the radical right by the mainstream media – demanded to have food stamps and farm subsidies considered separately. No more log-rolling. So far, the “honest and small government” members of Congress have prevailed in separating food stamps and farm subsidies. More importantly, this separation happened because more and more Americans have demanded “honest and small government.” Without the “honest and small government” citizen coalition, the 2013 Farm Bill would have increased food stamps and enlarged farm subsidies.
Naturally, political elites loath their loss of power. Nancy Pelosi, the poster politician of the political elite, has responded to the end of the log-rolling with her usual hyperbole. As reported by the Wall Street Journal:
Nancy Pelosi was visibly irate as she accused Republicans of taking “food out of the mouths of babies and you prevent a bill from going forward that addresses our food banks and our nutrition needs and the rest for our country, what are you thinking?”
Which raises the next imperative for the “honest and small government” citizen coalition, educating themselves, their neighbors and emerging politicians that a better and more human means of governing exists. Pelosi’s rant assumes that federal government spending money on food stamps is the only way to help people in need. According to Pelosi and the political elites, there is no alternative. Just log-roll as usual, expand bureaucracies, add more and more people to food stamps, and subsidize rich, corporate farmers. That sounds like a great idea.
Interestingly, the “honest and small government” members of Congress have a solution: give States more power in administrating and directing the use of food stamps. Brilliant! Rather than abiding by the rules and edicts of a federal bureaucracy, allow States and local governments to meet the needs and wants of their fellow citizens, which is similar to welfare reform in 1996.
Politicians loath to relinquish power. The 2013 Farm Bill is far from being resolved. Keep in mind the bigger issue; this is just the beginning of a long struggle to reduce the power and destructiveness of the the federal government. “Honest and small government” will only be achieved by the coordinated efforts of We the People, action groups like FreedomWorks, and honest members of Congress. There is no alternative. This is our mission.