Saturday, April 19, 2008

Welfare for the Wealthy

While visiting the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store yesterday looking for a space heater (yes, I confess, I’m a shameless skinflint) I ended up in their book section and there was a copy of Michael Moore’s “Downsize This!” that I thumbed through briefly. In it was a section on corporate welfare where Mike quite naturally wondered why it was that whenever the term “welfare” is mentioned, we automatically conjure images of shiftless layabouts, when in fact, the largest beneficiaries of government “welfare” are actually massive corporations and industrial agri-food conglomerates. Good question.

Following that train of thought, here’s Bill Moyers talking the other week to David Beckman, president of Bread for the World about agricultural subsidies that currently flow primarily to wealthy landholders, without regard to need or profitability while relatively modest changes to the distribution of funds these programs afford could result in millions of dollars being diverted to feed the working poor and those most in need, the majority of whom are rural families.

Oh, but remember that according to the likes of Kathy Shaidle and Mark Steyn poverty simply doesn’t exist in America. I guess they’ve never seen this.