LaMalfa the extremist

How our congressman happily joined the political extortionists in Washington

The Oct. 17 Los Angeles Times headline reads, “Rep. Doug LaMalfa stands up for principle!” The exclamation point suggests the author is being facetious, and indeed he is. That’s because Michael Hiltzik, a veteran business reporter and columnist for the Times, believes LaMalfa is the epitome of hypocrisy in Washington.

In a July column, he noted, as the CN&R has done repeatedly, that LaMalfa and his family—wealthy rice farmers from Richvale—had received $5.1 million in federal farm handouts over the years. But when it comes to assistance to the poor, LaMalfa declaimed on the House floor, “We should be doing this as individuals, helping the poor, helping these individuals. Or through the church, if we can’t do it ourselves.”

Hiltzik then pointed out, “The number of recipients of food stamps in Butte County, where LaMalfa resides, is 27,457. That’s 11 percent of his neighbors who would go without, thanks to LaMalfa’s vote to eliminate benefits. Hope he eats well at dinnertime.”

More recently, as Hiltzik describes in his Oct. 17 column, LaMalfa was one of 144 House Republicans who voted against the compromise bill to end the government shutdown—an act of political extortion that LaMalfa also supported—and temporarily lift the debt ceiling.

By voting to continue the shutdown, LaMalfa was again standing on “principle,” Hiltzik states—the principle that government shouldn’t help the poor, that charity should be left to churches and individuals. Except when it comes to wealthy rice farmers, apparently.

Even more concerning is his willingness to allow the U.S. government to default on its debts, ignoring the fact that this country is the cornerstone of the world economy, and other nations rely on its financial stability. It’s frightening to imagine what might have happened had LaMalfa and his fellow House extremists succeeded.