The Real Welfare Queens

By Bill Maher

Tea Party Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee voted to cut $40 billion out of the food stamp program because, according to the Bible, "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."

According to The New York Times, over the last 13 years, Fincher personally collected $3.5 million in government handouts for his farm. If he really wants to be a good Christian loyal to his Bible, shouldn't he go on a hunger strike? This fucker got $70,000 from taxpayers for his farm last year alone, plus his $174,000 salary, which he gets for doing nothing -- so he's on the dole for $244,000 a year. The most you can get on food stamps is a few hundred bucks a month.

On Facebook, North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer wrote the same: "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." So, apparently, this is a thing in the food stamp debate -- reciting asshole Bible quotes. Just because a guy wrote it two thousand years ago, does that make him any less of a prick?

Cramer is the at-large delegate for North Dakota, which got $10.4 billion in farm subsidy handouts from the federal government from 1995 to 2012, the most of any congressional district in the country. The audacity of this man: he is the panhandler for the biggest welfare queens in the country, and he casts himself as a welfare hardliner. 

North Dakota? It's got the lowest unemployment rate in the country. It's the Saudi Arabia of shale, in the midst of an economic boom that's not ending any time soon. Why are they on the government gravy train for hundreds of millions of dollars a year?

It's obvious what's going on here, isn't it? Conservatives don't count welfare that goes to white people as welfare. Cramer's district is 89.8% white. So they're not lazy, shiftless welfare queens; they're hardworking Americans.

Fincher's district is 76.4% white. And he's white. So he can't be a welfare queen.

There's not a single good argument for cutting food stamps. The vast majority of recipients are children, elderly, disabled, or working poor. Food stamps are not only a moral necessity, they're good for the economy: they're #1 on the list of what economists call "automatic stabilizers," so more than every cent the government puts into them comes back in stimulus.

No, what's really underpinning this "debate" being pushed by conservatives is a huge lie: that black people are taking all your money. Which is ridiculous, because if they were, they wouldn't be disproportionately poor and hungry. And also, of course, a lot more of the 16.6 million households on food stamps are white (48%) than black (26%) or Hispanic (21%).

Does anyone honestly believe that, if Republicans got a more accurate picture in their head of a welfare recipient, and it was a businessman, like Stephen Fincher, or a rural white child, or a struggling World War II vet, there's any chance we would be talking about this?