Rep. Steven Fincher Gorges on Farm Subsidies While Telling Poor Families They Can't Eat Because of the Government

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 5 2013 9:04 AM

Rep. Steven Fincher Gorges on Farm Subsidies While Telling Poor Families They Can't Eat Because of the Government

Rep. Stephen Fincher, Republican of Tennessee, explains why the government needs to reduce spending on the Supplemental Nutrional Assistance Program that provides food to poor families:

Here in Tennessee, Mr. Fincher embraces that view. “We have to remember there is not a big printing press in Washington that continually prints money over and over,” he said in May.

There in fact is a printing press—several of them—right here in Washington, D.C. that does exactly that. It is located at the corner of C Street and 14th Street Southwest and tours are available to the public. It's about a 30 minute walk from Fincher's office in the Longworth House Office Building or you can take Metro's Blue or Orange lines from the Capitol South station to the Smithsonian station for a faster ride. I've actually never been, but I did tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's Western Currency Center in Fort Worth, Texas one time and it was quite interesting. If Fincher prefers a more outside the beltway experience, he might want to check that out.

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Meanwhile, in addition to being ignorant, Fincher is a bit of a moral obscenity:

Surrounded by corn and soybean farms—including one owned by the local Republican congressman, Representative Stephen Fincher—Dyersburg, about 75 miles north of Memphis, provides an eye-opening view into Washington’s food stamp debate. Mr. Fincher, who was elected in 2010 on a Tea Party wave and collected nearly $3.5 million in farm subsidies from the government from 1999 to 2012, recently voted for a farm bill that omitted food stamps.
“The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country,” Mr. Fincher, whose office did not respond to interview requests, said after his vote in May. In response to a Democrat who invoked the Bible during the food stamp debate in Congress, Mr. Fincher cited his own biblical phrase. “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,” he said.

The fact that Fincher personally received farm subsidies is interesting, but only semi-telling. I personally benefit from the home mortgage interest tax deduction and plan on continuing to do so as long as it stays law, but I still think it should be eliminated or drastically curtailed. The problem with Fincher isn't that he's scooped up farm subsidies, it's that the appropriations bill he's votes for continues to direct huge subsidies to rich farmers like himself even even while he preaches the evils of government spending to support the poor.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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