July 24, 1997


Image of today's outrage

The following is a multiple-choice question:

The fact that the United States government continues to subsidize tobacco farmers while simultaneously launching an all-out attack on tobacco companies for injuring the health of the American public demonstrates that:

A) A lobotomy is apparently a secret requirement for election to public office.

B) The drug-warriors are snorting the stuff they confiscate.

C) Your tax-payments are regarded as a more-than-acceptable substitute for toilet paper on Capitol Hill.

Yesterday, the US Senate, that august body of wise men and women, voted to continue to provide crop insurance — i.e. subsidies — for tobacco growers.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill, state and federal negotiators continued to try to extort $368 billion dollars from the tobacco industry to settle health-related lawsuits.

“It is almost impossible to explain why the federal government is subsidizing the growth of a product that the government tells people it is dangerous to consume,” said Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.

On the other hand, using the hyperbole that has made politicians an infamous breed, Senator Wendell Ford, Kentucky Democrat, said the result of ending the subsidy would be that “American farmers go out of business and whole communities in the South die.”

We can only assume that Senator Ford means that American farmers aren’t competent enough to survive without subsidies, or that tobacco farmers just couldn’t bring themselves to switch to some other subsidized crop. Or perhaps he’s talking about the people who die from lung cancer. Hard to tell.

Incidentally, the answer to the multiple-choice question is “all of the above.”

© Copyright 1996-98, The Outrage is produced by Athens New Media. All rights reserved.

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