Here Is What Your Iowa Farmer Bribe Money Buys You, America
Driving through Iowa yesterday, I asked out loud where the fuck they get all their money from (after the car came to a full stop and the vehicle was in park, of course). The rest stops are the best I've seen along 80 (WiFi, people. In Iowa. I know) and those things can't be cheap. Their fantastic Wi-Fi enabled potties actually don't cost the people of Iowa anything through an advertising agreement with Internet provider I Spot so maybe they aren't really as costly as they appear. No, I'm pretty sure those are expensive toilets.
Anyway, while cruising along (more pics of my trip from one coast to the other are up here) I was doing my own expenditure calculations in my head ... superior rest areas, massive clean energy wind farms, perfect roads ... WTF? Where's the money coming from?
I've been assured that Iowa can boast a 6% unemployment rate as well as 6% sales tax (coming from San Francisco that is a bargain) thanks to subsidies and lots of them. Turns out Iowa is #2 for federal farm handouts but why? Neighbor Nebraska is broke down (I swear I used the same rest area five times in a row and each time it got scarier like advancing through levels in Silent Hill) and they surely have just as many if not more farms than Iowa, no? Nebraska comes in 5th in the nation for farm subsidies but Lord knows where their money goes, they certainly aren't flaunting it on brand new road signs and fancy rest areas.
A word on the roadsigns: if the font looks strange (it did to me), it should, it's not the Highway Gothic most of us are used to. Check out the background on "Clearview" roadsigns via NYT. Strangely it seemed like the ones Wyoming has planted along the highway read clearer and less "foreign" and bizarre than the ones Iowa has plastered all over. Again, those things aren't cheap.
Anyway, we were talking about subsidies. Subsidies are tempting to politicians, so much so that they'd even compromise their core values if given the chance just to get a cut. Everyone wants a piece of those pretty rest areas, right?
Iowa senator Chuck Grassley (who I like simply because he had the balls to tell AIG execs they should do the honorable thing and kill themselves) knows all about hooking up deals for his people. Come on, it's politics, people.
‘Pay attention to what your constituents’ problems are at home. If a little old lady asks you to clip her toenails, then clip them.’” Grassley said in an interview. “That’s basically saying that your constituents have a problem and you should do what you can to help them get their problems solved. You may not always be able to help, but at least you’ve given it the good ol’ college try.”And what do we get for all that cornfield protection money we pay out to Iowa each year? Fat asses and health problems. Way to go, America, you fucked this one up too.
See Obesity in America linked to 'liquid Satan' from Iowa corn fields via the Times (UK):
The link has not been proven, but the theory is compelling. It suggests that America is doomed to lead the world’s obesity rankings as long as the process by which it elects its presidents starts in Iowa — a state known for its cornfields and corn subsidies.I'm not against Iowa getting a piece, I think as long as the federal government is handing it out states would be stupid not to. However I would still like to know where the fuck Nebraska's cut went because they could really use some spare cash to at least put in a 3G toilet or something.
With a minimum price of $1.90 per bushel of corn guaranteed by the 2007 Farm Bill, activists say that the crop is a guaranteed winner for the farmers of the Midwest — and one of the results is something called super-abundant high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Known to its detractors as “liquid Satan”, HFCS is the sweetener of choice in the vast bulk of fizzy drinks and packaged cakes and biscuits consumed in the US. Its producers have long enjoyed the solid support of the US Senate and most presidential candidates, who gravitate every four years to Iowa to pledge their allegiance to its voters. “Farm subsidies are a third rail of Iowa politics,” a former staffer on Senator John Edwards’s presidential campaign said yesterday. “You don’t touch them.”