Politics Gives Some U.S. Subsidy Programs Staying Power

Even in the hardest times, programs subsidizing tiny airports or storage of excess farm products survive.

Comments: 81

  1. Cancel all subsidies; pronto!

    Washington, DC

  2. The biggest subsidies in the U.S. government are for large corporate interests in fossil fuels and nuclear power. Those should immediately be eliminated - and this includes everything from billions in taxpayer dollars farmed out to international oil corporations by the Export-Import Bank, to multi-billion dollar loan guarantees for nuclear power plants and tar sand pipelines - and yes, even support for the military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan for the purpose of controlling regional fossil fuel production and export, with the latter being the biggest subsidy of all.

    Stop ignoring this factor, please.

  3. For yet another reason, politics trumps reason. The corporate farm corporation joins the "energy" industry in securing themselves the status of special interest monster. Not just subsidies do they demand but insist on being the beneficiaries of the tax code and enemy of rational energy policy.

    Connect these "no-no's" to the red state domination by the very word "agriculture" or "farm" and subsidy withdrawal is toxic i.e. impossible.

  4. County Air Ports, NASCAR tracks, farm storage, are just a few such political favorites, but there are far more rural so called exemptions enjoyed by power, water, telephone / cable TV, DSL and other providers of utilities. That double and triple dip. For example in 100% of subdivisions, local power companies through others such as sewer and water charge $3.50 per home monthly street lights and then the same power company double bill the HOA. Local water Boards have new schemes of charging home and business owners rain water run off into local sewer systems. In the South billions of the stimulus money that these conservative republicans belly ached about , ended up in the private projects of these politicians and the local good old boys. Small towns populations with 20 police force for the turf of the locals build new city halls , inside firing ranges , private roads where about 20 or 30 car travel daily at the respective cost of $20 million, $12 million, $35 million etc. Then there these high school stadiums decked out with night time flood and stadium lights when, local teachers are being laid off.

  5. How about the War on Drugs? Can we cut that? That's a Bridge to Nowhere too. We've spent billions and billions of dollars and the drugs are still here. That sounds like a Bridge to Nowhere to me.

    The Drug Czar's office exists mainly to market the War on Drugs to the American people. Why are the taxpayers paying for an agency that exists mainly to market government policy to the taxpayers? Do we need a Czar and a marketing agency for every human foible being expressed in this country?

    Why don't we have an Alcohol Czar? Or a Junk Food or a Gambling or a Sex Czar? We know all these things are potentially bad for us. Why do we need a whole government agency employed to tell us just about one small aspect of substance abuse and addiction?

  6. I would think the big one is letting businesses deduct their costs. Why can't I do that?

  7. Subsidies like the "Essential Air Program" are really part of our entitlement culture. What entitles someone in a rural area to have access to an airport? I pay higher rent, higher living expenses, and deal with urban congestion so I can live in an area with two major airports giving me a direct flight to just about any reasonably sized city in the US and many international destinations.

    Urban dwellers don't scream out saying "Hey, having farmland to roam on is essential!" Yes, give all of us city dwellers acres of open space.

    We're entitled to an education, to basic healthcare (including preventive care and vaccinations), to a safe place we can live and raise our families, to clean water and air, and to an environment with minimal contaminants. Beyond that, you get what you pay for.

  8. Congress needs to address our largest expenditures first. We would have a budget SURPLUS if we ended the wars and “significantly” reduced our bloated military budget (it has tripled since 1997), established Medicare for All to bring our costs in line with other countries, negotiated drug prices, and eliminated tax expenditures for corporations and the wealthy so that they pay a FAIR tax rate.

    Are we a democracy or an oligarchy? What principle of economics or ethics says that:
    - a bloated Pentagon budget and welfare for military contractors are more important than using tax dollars to make necessary investments in infrastructure, health care, and education?
    - insurance and drug companies can make obscene profits on the backs of sick people, leaving millions of people uninsured and resulting in 45,000 deaths each year?
    - speculators pay a much lower tax rate than people who work for a living?
    - major corporations that make billions in profit pay little or no tax and, in some cases, receive refunds?
    - companies that ship jobs overseas receive billions in tax breaks?
    - oil and gas companies that make billions in profit receive subsides?
    - lawmakers turn a blind eye to the wealthy and corporations that avoid paying their taxes by using offshore tax shelters?

    During a severe recession the focus should be on JOBS. We can increase revenue by putting America back to work on our crumbling infrastructure, high-speed rail, broadband, energy efficiency and clean energy, R&D, and education.

  9. Shame on these politicians for using our money to enrich their friends directly, and themselves indirectly. Each of these programs provides more opportunity for the expression of human frailty, weakness, avarice, corruption, fraud and dishonesty. A plague on all their houses.

  10. These types of things are ancient, they go back to "Big Men" bringing home benefits for the locals gained at tribal meetings, our representatives in DC have always gotten elected for bringing stuff home.

    Now they get rewarded for created laws to protect the elite, this is an old custom also, the traditional end involves people losing patience and violence. It appears that is what the Politicians are backing on here, that they can tell us the money we sent to DC for retirements and health care has been mismanaged and now we are the bad ones.

  11. The country as a whole is about to go down the toilet, yet we hear of record profits by JP Morgan and continued subsidies, and most likely we will still be sending foreign aid out, however Barack Obama announced this week that they may cut off Social Security benefits to millions of Americans - just like that, without any time to prepare for anything else, if a deal can't be reached with Congress. I believe that this is the most idiotic government anyone could possible imagine - worse because we are supposed to be intelligent people and as Americans we think we are so smart. Look at us now. Everything is completely out of whack. J.P. Morgan and others like them are filthy rich and getting richer by the minute and all the rest of us are hanging on for dear life. Now, this scenario cannot last without something extremely bad and dramatic happening. And sooner or later, this WILL adversely affect those at the top too.

  12. Yet the sitting president yesterday threatened to stop Social Security payments and payroll to the US military if the debt ceiling isn't raised.

    Where is the outrage?
    At what point does America see the twisted evil that sits in the Oval Office?

  13. Proof positive that every last penny of public spending is somebody else's income.

    So let's cut to the chase and figure out how to make public spending pay our taxes for us, and we'll earn the rest ourselves.

  14. There are plenty of idiotic places that the Federal Government spends money, but transportation infrastructure is actually a good place to invest in our country. There's something about airports and aviation that makes for good rabble rousing, but these are beneficial to the country as a whole. We are losing an airport a week in this country, and when they go away they don't come back. Aviation is our number one export, literally our number one manufacturing export, and our record in aviation is the finest in the world, but where do pilots come from? You think they can learn to fly at JFK? We are on the brink of a new generation of aircraft. If it doesn't happen here, it will happen in China.

  15. It's not surprising that red states get more than their share of federal spending. In federal employment, the state of Virginia has around 300,000 fed. employees (not including military) who work in the state. That's one for every 26 citizens in the state. My state, Ohio, has one fed. employee for every 127 citizens. Michigan fares the worst in fed. employment, one employee for every 152 citizens. (numbers are provided by the Federal Employees union who, on their website, lists employees by state.) Well, that's good for those southern states that lap up all the pork. What I object to is their habit of looking north when they speak of cutbacks in federal spending. I know, lets put all federal employees on 4 days until this crisis is over. Afterall, that's what private employers have done over the years, especially in manuafacturing states like Ohio and Michigan. Can we ever imagine that congressman Cantor of Virginia ever being in favor of a 20% reduction in wages for 300,000 fellow Virginians? Can you spell "bottled-up-in-committee"? Or Texas cotton farmers, you know where they have the Cotton Bowl, having cotton subsidies cut? Let's have a constitutional amendment that all states share equally and proportionately in federal dollars spent accross the board. In Ohio, we could accomodate a few more military bases or government beauracracies. In this global economy, if we can send manufacturing to China, we ought to be able to send some Washington area beauracrats to Ohio. I'm just saying.

  16. The people which this phony government is suppose to protect will suffer as those with power and wealth will survive intact.

  17. Hard to make an argument for increasing taxes when so much of our taxes are funding so many buried items. This should open people's eyes to the resistance to giving more money to such a convoluted tax system. Streamline it, then ask for more money. Until then it will be very difficult for taxpayers to trust the feds with more of their money.

    Simply demanding more money from taxpayers is short-sighted and simplistic. Sure, noble arguments can be made but they do little to convince taxpayers who see a govt. out of control. And democrats over these past 2 years have only
    made perceptions of fiscal irresponsibility worse.

  18. We will never get rid of these subsidies because Congressmen and Senators are doing what some or many of what their constituents want. Or at least those that have the most influence. We have essentially become a country of individuals who want things for themselves and not for others. Until we address this and begin to care more for all of the individuals who make up the population of the USA things will not change.

  19. Just goes to show that there is nothing as permanent as a "temporary" federal program or a "temporary" tax credit/loophole. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of "temporary" or short-term programs and fixes, some dating back to the 1930s, add up to serious money. What's more interesting and sad is that there is no public learning to capture the reality that short-term federal programs inevitably become eternal entitlements because they build up loud and determined constituencies of rent seekers. I got this in Civics 101 and American History back in HS, but I doubt it is taught in school today.

  20. Sickening. Eliminate all subsidies. Farm, childbirth, oil, housing, etc. There is no such thing as a "free" market economy with them.

  21. This makes me nauseous. How can this possibly be going on ? and more importantly, what can we do about it?

  22. Just more evidence that Congress, which is totally controlled by lobbyists, and special interests, continue to put political $$$ contributions ahead of the welfare of the Country. Nothing has, or is changing . . . Congress is determined to make pauper's of us all.

  23. Cancel all subsidies and start over to create fair and balanced government.

  24. While people love to blame the special interest groups, that just isn't logical. The special interest groups can only get away with bribing your representatives, and your representatives can get away with accepting the bribes, because "the people" allow their power to be usurped this way.

    I cringe each time I see complaints about the special interest groups. I cringe each time I see someone refer to their elected representatives as their "leaders." I cringe each time I see someone suggest we should have term limits. It just illustrates the lack of understanding of the system established by The Constitution and the acceptance that serfdom is appropriated.

    They are your elected "representatives." They should be representing you. If they are selling your vote to lobbyists (really, it is just bribery with a "legal" name), you are the one to blame for letting them get away with it.

    They are not your leaders. You do not do what they say. They should do what you say! They are your representatives. You are responsible for making sure they represent you.

    The Constitution provides for term limits for every elected position. And it puts the power for deciding the limit with "the people." They are not nobility. They are not born with the "right" to rule. ("All men are created equal" ring a bell?) Yet we see the same family names in career politics all the time - Kennedy, Bush, Pelosi (her father). Quit voting for the same corrupt, selfish, career politicians over and over and over!

    And quit blaming the lobbyists, special interest groups, and the politicians. The Constitution gives you (the people) the right to rule and the responsibility for your own government. It is your own fault if you don't accept your responsibility. When you shirk your responsibility, you lose your right.

  25. This is all well and good. I've no doubt there are thousands of programs like this that can and should be eliminated. But why is there never any real talk about cutting our overly-bloated 'defense' budget...you know, the same defense budget that spends more than all other countries in the world combined?!

  26. That;s exactly the Tea Party point. Obama wants to continue and even increase such slush funds (what do you think health care "reform" was all about).

  27. A million here, a million there, and soon you are talking about real money. End these subsidies and outright bribes, and before you know it we will be well on our way to a balanced federal budget.

  28. We cannot afford these shameful wastes of taxpayer money. Most of these served to buy votes for sitting Senators or Congressmen.

    No special allocations should be tacked onto any Bills.

  29. If the debt ceiling gets blocked by the GOP, then shut down each of these subsidies that occur in GOP congressional districts.

  30. Of course these subsidies go on and on and on: They are what get politicians re-elected, and that is the only thing they ever care about. Have you not ever wondered why politicians want to keep going back to Washington? There they are the new ruling class, with all the pay, perks and privileges which were once reserved for royalty.

  31. The first place to cut is the subsidies that go directly to members of Congress, like the farm subsidies to Michele Bachmann.

  32. What can one expect from a government that gives disproportionate representation to small rural states?

  33. It's ALWAYS the other guy who is abusing the system and who's program needs to be cut.

    Even the newly elected Tea drinkers are playing the game, it's almost always political suicide not to do so.

    And the band played on...

  34. Will no member of Congress have the moral courage to propose ending these disgraceful subsidies that we can no longer afford? What about Senators Casey and Toomey of PA?

  35. This is just barely scratching the surface. We need to end the regional fiefdoms of Congressional power in Medicare and Medicaid services, much too much waste and overlap. Remember one man's waste is another man's reward.

  36. Republicans are such hypocrites. If they are so enamored with the free market, then let it really be free. We should eliminate ALL subsidies, especially farm subsidies, automobile subsidies, and certainly noisy airport subsidies. Let the market decide if we should keep letting industrial agri-business get away with murder (literally) and let the market show people just how much it really costs to drive a car to the 'burbs. Why won't they? Because big business rules and common sense is dead.

  37. I'm quite tired of hearing people who live in rural areas complain that they don't have convenient access to the same services as people in urban areas. That's why it's a rural area! There just aren't as many people around, so there isn't the same demand for services. I'm also really tired of people from rural areas expecting and getting far more of our resources than people in urban areas. This is most obvious in Congress, where representation is inversely proportional to population. California, with over 36 million people, has two seats in the Senate; so does Wyoming, with fewer than 600,000! That means 18 million people in California get one senator, while less than 300,000 get one senator in Wyoming. Same goes for electoral votes.

  38. “Subsidies for little-used airports and roads, special interests like peanut and cotton farmers and a plethora of other programs have survived thanks to powerful interest groups and strong bipartisan support in Congress.”

    I do not doubt it but I wonder how many people who benefit directly or indirectly from these programs, think that there is too much Government? Or how many appear at Tea Party rallies wearing T-shirts proclaiming that they don’t want the Government interfering in their lives?

  39. What about QE3?

    Billions to subsidize Wall Street but kick the stool out from under everybody else.

    "Job creators" is sounding more to me like "the master race" every day.

  40. If I might make another point. This is inevitable when we have a very large body - the USA - paying for local needs - Murtha International Airport. The money looks like it's free to the nice folks in Johnstown. It's certainly not coming out of their pockets. And if it were coming out of their pockets, they wouldn't be spending it like this.

    This further confirms the founders' design for a central government of limited powers, a scheme that the spenders in Congress have been fighting to destroy for decades now. And they've done a fine job.

    The result of all this: the Tea Party. Finally, people are getting fed up.

  41. When our country does away with PAC's and has publicly funded elections, the money and influence of these special interests will be reduced and these types of pork barrel spending will hopefully go away. Till that time, Congressman will continue to lobby for small minded bills that do little for the country but a lot for their friends and supporters back home in their district....

  42. All subsidies need to be cut, spending needs to be cut.

  43. Why didn't the Democrats end all of this 2 years ago when they had complete power? Why did they do nothing to reduce defense spending in 2009? And when are the 16 months over so ALL troops are out of Iraq and we stop spending money there? I cannot blame Republicans for this when Democrats will not act when needed changes can't be blocked by Republicans.

  44. I guess I find it hard to understand why taxpayers are spending money to subsidize flights to this airport when there is Amtrak service to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (and New York) on a daily basis.

  45. From reading the comments, I guess Fox News and other right wing media blow hards are claiming the president is going to cut off Social Security if we don't raise the debt ceiling. Of course, these pundits know they are twisting the president's words in order to shield the fact that it's the right-wing of this country who are protecting their rich buddies.

    All the president is asking for is to close loopholes and subsidies for mature industries (like the oil industry) and to go back to the tax rates that were in place before the Bush tax cuts in exchange for severe cuts in the federal budget that the Republicans want.

    He and the Democrats have made a great offer to Republicans, but Republicans do not want to negotiate. It's all or nothing in their minds. They are the ones holding the country hostage. They will not compromise. They want this president to fail. In the process they want American people to suffer so they can in turn blame our current president and vote him out of office. It is all a game to them. We are just pawns. They do not care if you suffer in the process. They just want to win.

    All the president was saying was that if we don't raise the debt ceiling there may not be enough money to pay for important things like Social Security. He was not threatening the American people. He was trying to get lawmakers to see how their unwillingness to compromise will effect average citizens.

  46. This explains why we are in such a deep financial crisis.
    If the peanut and cotton farmers want to wait to sell their crops until they can make more, why should the taxpayer have to pay for it? We see no benefit from this. In fact, just the opposite. We are paying for the farmer to make more which affects our prices at the store. Let them build and run their own warehouses and wait till they deem the margins high enough for them to sell.
    As far as the air service goes, truly how many people fly to these little towns? I would drive to save money.
    Obviously, it isn't helping growth because the area isn't growing. Please don't say, it will stifle growth. You can't stifle something that isn't happening.

  47. No news here. We've known about agriculture subsidies and the Essential Air program for years. It is still remarkable, though, and commendable that Bush vetoed a farm bill -- not that that makes up for Iraq.

    I hate me for thinking this, but maybe it's time to give the balanced budget amendment a try. Congress has proven itself irresponsible on any number of occasions.

    And this current batch doesn't even appear to be the sharpest set of knives we've ever sent to DC.

  48. This has got to stop. We are broke. We need to start voting the people who support this stuff out of office at EVERY level. There is no money. We cannot keep supporting things we don't have the money to pay or need. Read Greece, Portugal, Spain. We are next. What will it take? A complete and total meltdown of our economy? Then what? Who will pay for this stuff?

  49. If these programs are really essential, then why can't the beneficiaries find ways to finance them privately? The reality is that it is easier to successfully lobby politicians than it is to profitably conduct business and the return on lobbying investment is greater than anything that could be produced through careful and sound planning.

    This is exactly how my children try to behave until they are informed that their behavior is unacceptable and need new ideas. Hmmm...

  50. Runaway subsidies and entitlements are the reason that taxes must not be increased. Obama and the do-gooders say that taxes are to support the poor but in reality the money will be siphoned away. Too much taxation is the road to ruin and corruption.

  51. Subsidies aren't protected by politics, they're insured through bribery and corruption of our elected "representatives" by lobbyists and special interests.

  52. This article illustrates that the hallmarks of all government spending are waste, fraud, and corruption. New leadership is needed to address this critical aspect of our economy.

  53. I am amazed when I read posts like 11 & 12 which give the impression that President Obama threatened to cut off Social Security if the Debt Ceiling is not raise. Actually he was responding to a question asking if the money would be there to pay IF the Ceiling was not raised and he said he could not guaranty that the funds would be available to send the SS checks and VA checks and Disability checks. That is NOT a threat its a REALITY. And the debt ceiling is about money Congress already approved to be spent AND SPENT so they are walking away from the check, like the irresponsible liars they are. Republicans know one thing very well and that is how to cause a Depression.

  54. "I'm quite tired of hearing people who live in rural areas complain that they don't have convenient access to the same services as people in urban areas. '

    I live on an island off the coast of Washington State. Some residents of our state complain about the cost of ferries that are the only way to reach our town.

    However, we do pay for many state-funded services we do not use. And we send more money to state government than we get back, by far. When our ferry service is cut back, our appeal to tourists diminishes, and we send less sales tax to the state. It's a case of killing the goose.

  55. I will take the "fiscal crisis" seriously when the Government stops wasting billions on pork. Allegedly can't pay on the national debt or send out the Social Security checks to folks who worked forty years to earn them but lots to spend on bridges to nowhere and $1,000 toilet seats.

  56. As a resident of Johnstown, I, too, am baffled by the ongoing funding for the Murtha Airport. It sits atop one of the highest hills in the area, frequently experiences considerable wind sheer, and is difficult to drive to in the winter. I would rather see the same amount of money put into our beautiful-but-run-down train station downtown. We have daily Amtrak service but really need daily, roundtrip trains to Pittsburgh, which is about 70 miles West. As for the late Congressman Murtha, he kept this burg alive after the steel mills kicked us to the curb in the '70's, and most folks around here appreciate his efforts.

  57. Forget about small airports. What I don't understand is why, when we are facing healthy cuts in Medicare and Social Security, no one in Washington seems to be able to consider cutting the enormous subsidies that go to healthy veterans via pensions payable in their 40s and "Tricare" family private health insurance for only $500 a year, a very tiny fraction of what those benefits cost in the private sector (if one could even get them).

    Social Security recipients are going to see their already small or nonexistent COL increases cut back even more. What are they supposed to do if they live as long as 80, go back to work? Yet COL and almost free health care will continue to healthy veterans who ARE capable of working and can find work.

  58. Cotton prices have never been higher - is that warehouse empty? It should be.

    Seems to me the government is conspiring with farmers to fix prices.

  59. This is an excellent article because it shows,in a small way, why our government is disfunctional in all ways. They can't shut down unnecessary military bases, end farm subsidies or force those on welfare to perform some meaningful labor in exchange for free food, shelter and healthcare, but many of these same beneficiaries of such programs will criticize others for waste. It is always "someone else" who must have their ox gored, not me. We are a "me, myself and I" society. These are the only three persons anyone cares or thinks about anymore.
    Every dollar counts. The selfish members of Congress have provided themselves favored retirement and health programs, different from other citizens as if they were royalty. Citizens should be permitted to have a national referendum and override them on any issues.
    Here is the motto which applies to our elected officials today: "I promise to do my best to help myself and cheat the rest". This is their boy or girl scout motto. Me, myself and I, are their three idols when they look in the mirror.
    Americans are tired of smoke and mirrors lies. We demand real verifiable cuts in spending which any high school student could do and see. Cut $ 1 trillion from the budget now today and continue doing so as long as it takes to pay down our debt to zero. Raise interest rates to market levels today. Abolish the secret, corrupt Federal Reserve Bank. End the corrupt war on drugs. End the failed war on cancer. Abolish all foreign aid. Abolish most foreign bases. End all wars today. End the outrageous subsidies in this article which exist here in Athens, Georgia also. By the way, these selfish Georgia non representatives hate the Federal Government and criticize it all the time.
    Georgia has the most failed banks in the nation, about 75, and most of them were shut down by federal regulators. If it had been up to Georgia lawmakers, everyone would have lost all their life savings from these corrupt failed banks.

  60. I completely agree with anyone who wants to cut subsidies. The USA is a country that is used to luxury and we as a nation do spend money on the unimportant things. For example Macon, a fews years ago, decided they wanted to build an unneccisary airport to compete with the airport in Atlanta and let it be known that Macon and Atlanta are an hour away in a car. It bothers me how the gov can still waste money on things like this but can't give the school systems a larger budget.

  61. Ah, John Murtha, how we miss you - NOT.

    I spent years and years supposing that earmarks worked for small depressed areas and I have no reason to suppose that such is not the case.

    But there are those, on both the right and the left, who have left their mark and their bills to the US Government with their participation in the system.

    I often hear that some of these types of programs, small as they are, cannot answer the great question of how to get our demands on taxpayer money down without causing greater tax burdens to the taxpayer.

    Well, here it is. We don't have to worry about the minimal amount of millions of dollars anymore, because we have Trillions of dollars of debt. We could cut out 1000 Million dollar programs such as the one described in this article, and gain a Billion dollars in cuts.

    But as much as those of both the right and left suggest that such cuts can't fix the problem, the point is that fixing the problem actually requires doing something to fix the problem.

    We have this mindset that programs already in existence are actually doing something positive for Americans when we have evidence that they are not. The $250 Million bridge to nowhere that Alaska Senator Ted Stevens supported is a good example.

    Whilst I have no doubts that such programs have benefits of a small amount of advantage to a limited number of people, these are the fat that needs to be trimmed. And yes, it will cause undo harm to these people, but they benefited from a failed policy in the first place. We can only hope they saved their money.

    Roger W. Norman

  62. While at it, why don't we cut subsidies to other spec interest groups? Subsidies to 'minorities' (who have already gained a majority status in some states), to welfarers, to inmates (we don't have to provide high standard care to those who decided to screw our society over, e.g. we don't have to look into creating good condition for Mr. Madoff's retirement on my taxpayer money).

    When, if ever, will we live by the rule of equality: you get what you earn?

  63. Why do people continue to move to where there is no infrastructure or services then complain and lobby for services?

    Coincidentally, a lot of the GOP and tea-party contingency live in these places.

  64. We could start by cancelling all subsidies for the rich. Then maybe if we're smart, we could cancel the Republican party!

  65. Has any reporter asked why we are discussing cutting so much during a deep recession? Does anyone really think that removing $2.4 Trillion dollars from the economy during a weak recovery will create jobs?

  66. What a charade this whole budget thing is! Congress is in the pocket of all the monied interests and their only concern is that the government will default on the national debt and cost people a lot of money. We who have nothing and having nothing can lose nothing are the least of their concerns. The president is not much better, being nothing but a fall guy for the above noted "monied Interests". If he had any guts he'd let them take us down so that the people could see what they really are. All he's concerned about is being reelected, what a disappointment he is. We are mired in a system that is "control by the few, for the few" and there is nothing we can do about it. China reigns supreme and we have become a third world nation. Everything we have worked for and spilt our blood for is gone. Who would have thought that a nation that saved the world in World War Two could sink to such depths? I'm glad I am near my termination date as it is almost too much to bear.

  67. It seems common sense to me. Start with eliminating all of these airports within three hours of bigger airport, then make the rest justify cost vs. passenger count. Of course common sense won't prevail when the word 'subsidy' is involved. The word itself encourages bad investment for the benefit of a few.

  68. #66 you really hit the nail on the head. Our nation has just fallen to its lowest depths. Our leaders don't care about anything but getting re-elected and over half of our citizens are funded by the the US Treasury. What is going to happen to them when the money runs out? I live on a farm that will soon be paid for. I can grow my own food. Use solar power to generate heat and electricity. What will happen to us when the Treasury is broke?

  69. In other words, we're paying $200 million a year so rural Congressmen and Senators can fly home whenever they want.

  70. Thank you Ron Nixon for provoking this long needed national conversation. It's something we have needed in our country ever since Strom Thurmon rolled his first log. Or is it logged his first roll? Ever since Leon Stennis scratched his first back. Call it what you want but its outlived any usefullness, if there ever was any. I say reform the senate and stop the graft. A little more transparency in congress and an aggressive press would stop most of it.

  71. I'm happy to do away with rural subsidies when all of you "city slickers" give up your rent controlled housing (sorry Charlie Rangel), subsidized mass transit, federal tax deductions for local income taxes, funding for the arts (so elites can get a change to dress up and go to the opera or symphony on someone else's nicket) while paying "essential city workers" to tell you what to eat, police your garbage cans and ticket Santa when he stops to drop off toys for tots.

  72. Subsidies sound a lot like socialism at work..... Let's just go all way. This "democracy" is failing.

  73. The Republican party, the errand boys of the ruling class, would rather see the country default than do what's best for the nation. Once the economic system completely collapses everything will be up for grabs, as in a fire sale. Everything can then be "privatized" and go to the highest bidder. This would be theft on a grand scale. It's serfdom for the rest of us. It's revealing that when President Obama says that there will be no way to pay out Social Security and military pay if the nation defaults the Republicans call it a threat. Stating a simple truth is far from being a threat. It's simply a fact. The only thing that surprises me is that the Republicans haven't yet issued posthumous articles of impeachment against FDR.

  74. the real concern and shame is that these stories only come out in times like these when budget discussions are heated. We taxpayers have absolutely no power over our own money and just saying we can vote the bums out is false. We need reform starting from term limits so that the bums are out regardless. I can't think of a single politician in the history of this country whose resignation spelled or could spell doom.

  75. Just goes to show one man's "infrastructure" expenditure is another man's "subsidy". And democrats are asking for another tax increase to fund more spending on...infrastructure? Please, just don't make any more promises about "shovel ready", okay? That just insults Americans' intelligence even more.

  76. Since the start of the Great Depression II, how many farmers have become unemployed? How many are worth less today than they were before it started? Likely very few (if any) since the Federal money machine has continued to support farmers' prices, thereby supporting revenue and boosting profits to all-time record highs.

    Where does the line start for us non-farmers to get some of that crooked stimulus and bail-out money that farmers have continued to rake in? American farmers ought to be ashamed. It's been going on for decades, and now just about every land-owning American farmer is a multi-millionaire, on the backs of those who don't benefit for their own cash-printing machine. If not, he's hiding his real income with accounting tricks and like-kind transfers among friends and family.

    No wonder fly-over country continually votes for more income, estate and inheritance tax cuts for the wealthy! And, they're laughing at the rest of us over how easy it is for them to milk the system.

  77. Doesn't Bachmann receive some of these farm subsidies?

  78. We apparently have too much tax money. That is the exact reason why we will not raise the debt ceiling.

  79. #24 - You must be fairly young. While you are no doubt totally correct about the "people allowing" this corruption to happen, you seem not to really grasp just how loaded the "system" is against the rebellion of the ordinary electorate. There's simply too much money on the other side, and I don't believe that is an excuse but the plain truth.

  80. Oh # 40 - you really had me there until mention of the Tea Party. Sorry, it may have started out with the right goal in mind, but I am stunned that people cannot see how that group has been co-opted by the Right to keep the wealthy firmly entrenched, while using the many shrill, hypocritical scare tactics they use to make people believe their position really is for the benefit of "ordinary Americans". And like #34 so elequently and succintly pointed out, it's only abuse when it's the OTHER guys spending.....

  81. The system is 100% rotten - period.