Montana Politics

Conrad Burns and Fiscal Responsibility

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The Heritage Foundation–not exactly a hotbed of liberalism–seems concerned that Conrad Burns might be a little out of touch when it comes to farm spending. That’s our boy, delivering the bacon, no matter what the cost to the financial future. In fact, Conrad’s work on behalf of big agriculture is listed by the Heritage Foundation as the worst of the Senate’s Seven Deadly Sins:

Yet even as net farm income in 2005 topped $72 billion for only the second time ever, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Conrad Burns (R-MT) secured an amendment to provide $4 billion in nationwide agriculture disaster assistance. These funds were not requested by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and many of them would be spent in areas not affected by Hurricane Katrina.

And make no mistake, this assistance isn’t for the family farmer, struggling to make a living. It’s for the wealthiest farmers:

It is also noteworthy that Washington is subsidizing farmers who enjoy average an income that is 17 percent above the national average and an average net worth double the national average. And two-thirds of all farm subsidies are distributed to the wealthiest 10 percent of farmers, most of whom report household income of above $135,000.

I’m sure that the deficit hawks over at What’s Right Wing in Montana will be all over this story.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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