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Congressman Tim Huelskamp:

“I’m from a district that pretty much ignores Washington. If you say government is going to shut down, they say, ‘OK, which part can we shut down?’”

--Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, to Associated Press

Farm subsidies! Shut down farm subsidies! Move farm subsidies from the "mandatory entitlements" to the "discretionary appropriations" side of the budget, and Congressman Huelskamp would switch his attachment to government shutdowns with the force of twenty mules!

In an average year, Congressman Huelskamp's First District collects roughly $1.5 billion in farm commodity and crop instance subsidies. There are about 20,000 farmers in the First District.

You do the math: That's $75,000/year per farmer in the district. That's $9,000/year for every family of four living in the district--a district where mean household income is $50,000/year.

I tell you, the Californias and the New Yorks and the Massachusettses... the Bostons and the San Franciscos and the Los Angeleses and the New York Cities... Those Americans who live in such places know that we work hard, and are smart. But we also know that we have been very lucky. And we know that we are Americans. And so we don't really mind having our net tax dollars flow out of our communities to pay for a Medicaid beneficiary in Salinas, KS, or a Social Security recipient in Emporia, KS. We even don't mind that much paying to keep the farms going--we can envision futures in which global warming disrupts crop production in other places and the world is very glad to have Kansas agriculture on-line and tuned-up.[1]

But we do mind Congressman Huelskamp's and his constituents pretending that it does not happen: that the First is a self-reliant rugged-individualist district, rather than one that feeds much more greedily than most via redistribution of what the rest of us produce.

As the Duke of Wellington said of the generals of the British army, I say of the Kansas congressional delegation: they may or may not scare our adversaries, but they certainly frighten me...

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[1] We do, however, wish to speak very strong words to Congressman Huelskamp's constituents about their ongoing depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, and for us to locate an entire infantry division at Fort Riley--a useless location since the decline of the national security threat from the Comanche--is a piece of legislative pork of which even Congressman Huelskamp should be ashamed.

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