S-CHIP or Potato Chips?
As today’s Politico suggests, there appears to be a very bizarre sense of logic on Capitol Hill these days, even more so than usual:
Mindful of the inequities, the White House is proposing to cut off subsidies to anyone with an adjusted gross income — after deductions — of $500,000 or more. House-Senate negotiators have moved toward this goal in the case of non-farmers, but a plan outlined Wednesday doesn’t begin to phase out direct payments to active farmers until their adjusted gross incomes exceed $950,000.
Even then, the phaseout is so slow that a producer could have an income of almost $1.95 million before all direct payments would be cut off. In comparison, last year’s debate over health care for the children of working-class families revolved around much stricter income caps.
When Bush first vetoed an attempt to expand SCHIP in October, he charged Congress with extending coverage to families with incomes as high as $83,000. That claim was hotly disputed by many lawmakers. But the president then proceeded to veto a second bill that set a general cap of 300 percent of poverty.
A 300 percent cap would translate into about $51,510 for a family of three — a single mother and two children, for example. In comparison, the $950,000 threshold lawmakers envision for the farm bill would be the equivalent of about 5,500 percent of poverty.
The irony weighs most heavily on Republicans who backed Bush on his vetoes but are now under pressure from commodity interests, especially in the South, to resist income caps on farmers.
I mean, seriously, what is Congress thinking? Yeah, we can’t let someone making $50,000 a year (barely the median wage) get affordable healthcare, but damn it all to hell if farmers making millions of dollars a year can’t get direct subsidies on top of that from the federal government!
The issue is almost asking to be written up into an attack ad for the fall campaign against opponents of S-CHIP.