Today in Grandstanding Senators

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The Economist’s Jon Fasman reports on the latest political pandering from a member of the Greatest Deliberative Body On Earth:

On Wednesday David Vitter (pictured), a Republican senator from Louisiana, proposed—and the Senate agriculture committee accepted—an amendment to the farm bill that would, in Mr Vitter’s words, “prohibit convicted murderers, rapists and pedophiles from receiving food stamps.” It’s not hard to see why this amendment passed. All Mr Vitter needed to do was propose it []. Then the tacit question arises: Does anyone in this chamber want to stand up and say that taxpayers should feed murderers, rapists and pedophiles? No? Of course not.

This is revolting. It obviously has no fiscal impact worth mentioning, and just as clearly does nothing to reduce the future rate of murder, rape, or pedophilia. It’s just pure political grandstanding from a guy who knows an amendment like this will play well with the rubes back home. It’s a mindless glorification of barbarism for the sake of a few votes.

If you think the current sentencing standards for murder, rape, and pedophilia are too lenient, then lobby to change them. Until then, though, anyone who’s released from prison is someone who’s done their time and paid their debt. Their punishment at the hands of the justice system is sufficient. They don’t deserve more at the hands of every showboating senator with his next election on his mind.


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