Lyons: Tom Cotton willfully forgets his history | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lyons: Tom Cotton willfully forgets his history

Posted By on Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 2:34 PM

click to enlarge Len Cotton - KTHV CHANNEL 11
  • KTHV Channel 11
  • Len Cotton

Gene Lyons' latest column is a must-read. It's a masterful takedown of Tom Cotton's ahistorical notions of gumption, hard work and the free market — never the government — as the only forces for improving prosperity. Lyons, who lives and raises cattle in Perry County — next door to Yell County, where Cotton grew up and and where his family raises cattle — writes knowingly of how those and other rural counties have survived and how farming actually works. 

Contrary to Tea Party fantasies, it wasn't plucky private entrepreneurs who paved the roads, strung the wire, saved grandpa from penury and made organized commerce across the rural South possible. It was federal and state investment.

Even today, such prosperity as Yell County now enjoys — it's the 64th wealthiest of Arkansas's 75 counties — derives from timber cutting in the forest and the proximity of three scenic lakes built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Not to mention, of course, agricultural price supports from the 2014 Farm Bill that Cotton voted against.

In TV commercials and public statements, Cotton depicts himself as the dutiful son of a "cattle rancher" who taught him farmers can't spend money they don't have.

It's true that Cotton's father ran cattle on his place near Dardanelle. However, it's also a fact that Len Cotton retired as district supervisor of the Arkansas Health Department after a 37-year career. A public-spirited citizen, the senior Cotton also served on the Arkansas Veterans Commission, the Tri-County Regional Water Board, etc.

The candidate's mother Avis taught in Dardanelle public schools for 40 years, retiring in 2012 as principal of the district's middle school. Career government bureaucrats, both. And more power to them.

So I'm guessing Len Cotton raises cattle for the same reasons I do: because it's an absorbing hobby with considerable tax advantages.

Meanwhile, the thing about the Farm Bill that urban liberals like Jonathan Chait don't get, and that a poser like Cotton's being disingenuous about, is this that it's damn near impossible to farm without risking money you don't have.

Farmers who have to pay for seeds, fertilizer, diesel fuel to pump water, to buy and maintain tractors and combines often more costly than the land. Farmers who borrow every spring in the hope of turning a profit in the fall. They also risk losing the entire crop to pests, floods, drought, tornadoes, cheap soybeans from Brazil, etc. If there's fraud and waste, cut it out. But it's in the national interest to keep agriculture strong.

Lyons also notes that Len Cotton has received almost $20,000 in farm subsidies from 1995 until 2012. Nothing wrong with that of course — just another example (just like taking student loans and voting against them) of the younger Cotton ignoring his and his family's history in his voting and politics. 

Tags: , , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • New "Rock the Culture" podcast: How you gonna fight that?

    In this week’s episode of our new podcast, host Antwan Phillips and guest host state Rep. Charles Blake offer perspective and conversation on the “Freaky Friday” incident at UA Little Rock, ongoing campaign finance issues at city hall and diversity and de-escalation training for police officers. They also discuss the state teachers union and the looming battle for the preservation of state teachers’ retirement fund with guest Tracy Ann Nelson, the executive director of the Arkansas Education Association.
    • Apr 24, 2018
  • Chelsea Clinton to come to Little Rock for Clinton School talk

    Chelsea Clinton will come to Little Rock Sunday, May 20, to talk about her new children's book, "She Persisted Around the World." It's a companion to her bestselling "She Persisted." The location is still to be determined. She'll be interviewed onstage and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre will do a reading of the book.
    • Apr 23, 2018
  • The Wendell Griffen News Cycle Edition

    Embattled Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, a group of UA Little Rock students repeatedly shouting the n-word while singing along to a popular song, the federal corruption trial of former Sen. Jon Woods and more — covered on this week's podcast.
    • Apr 20, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation