Norm Coleman's vote to pass the Senate's budget proposal last week summed up the kind of cheaply bought, inconsistent naif that Minnesota has for a junior Senator. In exchange for retaining $30 million in subsidies to Minnesota sugar beet producers, and retention of milk price supports, Coleman voted for a budget that made deeper cuts in Medicaid and other welfare programs than he had previously deemed acceptable.
In some ways this is just normal budgetary politics; senators have to vote on the whole package with its inevitable compromises and trade-offs. But when you've said that you won't support certain cuts in welfare (low income heating assistance and Medicaid), and then support greater cuts in exchange for farming subsidies, you have to wonder what exactly Coleman stands for beyond his own political advancement. Farm subsidies are among the most wasteful elements of the U.S. federal budget, yet even Republican Senators line up to get their little snouts in the trough. Farmers are producing an absolute necessity—the worlds oldest industry and all that—it's not like the market for food will dry up without federal support. And sugar! Can anyone seriously defend subsidizing sugar producers in a country with obesity problems?Posted by robe0419 at December 29, 2005 4:03 PM | TrackBack