AN ODD SENSE OF SACRIFICE…. Two paragraphs that do a great job summarizing the Republican approach to policymaking:

There has long been rare leftright agreement in Washington that multi-billion dollar federal farm subsidies are generally wasteful, mostly benefit agribusinesses, and should be slashed or eliminated. You’d think this would represent low-hanging fruit for Republican budget hawks looking to make quick cuts in federal spending. But the farm lobby and members of Congress representing rural states wield mighty power in Washington. So it’s little surprise to see Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee urging Budget Chairman Paul Ryan not to make substantial cuts to federal farm programs.

But this time there’s a twist: Lest those Republicans appear profligate, they have proposed one area for cuts — food stamps.

Wasteful farm subsidies can’t get cut, Republicans say, because “red”-state lawmakers won’t tolerate it.

But food stamps that help struggling families put food on the table — and happen to be the single most effective government stimulus available — can be cut because they don’t fit into the GOP agenda and don’t have any champions in the Republican caucus.

For all the GOP talk about deficit reduction, the party’s bottom line is always the same: “If it doesn’t hurt working families, we’re not interested.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.