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Rich Lifestyles of the GOP's Starve-the-Poor Presidential Candidates

With housing foreclosures at an all-time high, the top tier of Republican presidential candidates is living high on the hog.

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3) Ron Paul

Some laud Rep. Ron Paul of Texas for his vehemently anti-war stance, a position most Democrats refuse to take. He is one of the only members of Congress willing to admit that our worldwide military apparatus is both sucking our treasury dry and creating more enemies for America in the long run.

That being said, Paul has some scary plans for fixing the economy. Here are his views on " entitlements," including Social Security and Medicare, as posted on his official House of Representatives Web site:

"Fiscal conservatives should not be afraid to attack entitlements philosophically. We should reject the phony narrative that entitlement programs are inherently noble or required by "progressive" western values. Why exactly should Americans be required, by force of taxation, to fund retirement or medical care for senior citizens, especially senior citizens who are comfortable financially?"

Paul, born in 1935, is 76 years old, meaning he is eligible for Medicare and Social Security, which he refuses to access because he believes it would be morally hypocritical. While his intellectual integrity on entitlements may be commendable, the congressman's path is eased by his net worth of between $2.25 to $5 million , according to the Center for Responsive Politics .

Public education fares no better in Paul's plan for America; he hopes to one day abolish the Department of Education. In a recent meeting with a group of parents who homeschool their children, Paul displayed his distaste for public schooling (via the Huffington Post ):

"The public school system now is a propaganda machine," Paul said, prompting applause from the crowd of hundreds of home schooling families. "They start with our kids even in kindergarten, teaching them about family values, sexual education, gun rights, environmentalism -- and they condition them to believe in so much which is totally un-American."

Ironically, Paul is a product of public schooling, and he's done pretty well for himself. 

Paul's approach to public education pretty much sums up his approach to all things public: abolish government involvement, let the so-called "free" market fix it.

4) Michele Bachmann

Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minn., may not be the richest of the GOP presidential contenders, but she still remains several hundreds of thousands of dollars wealthier than the average American. Of course, that wealth was earned through her hard work and sweat without any help from the government, right? Well, not exactly….

Not only has Bachmann collected upward of a quarter million dollars in government subsidies to prop up her family farm, an investigative report by NBC News revealed that her husband's Christian counseling clinic -- which appears to offer discredited therapies designed to turn gay and lesbian people into heterosexuals -- has collected $24,000 in federal and state funds in addition to $137,000 in Medicaid payments.

As the Bachmanns accept government money to boost their profit margins and improve their quality of life, Michele Bachmann is famous for decrying public assistance programs, even for the poor, as promoters of a culture of dependence. She has even gone so far as suggesting we "wean" people off of Social Security and Medicare, two programs that guarantee Americans won't die of hunger in their old age.

Kimberly Kimby reported last month in the Washington Post that Bachmann has benefited from one of the government-backed home loan programs offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well. "Just a few weeks before Bachmann called for dismantling the programs during a House Financial Services Committee hearing, she and her husband signed for a $417,000 home loan to help finance their move to a 5,200-square-foot golf-course home," Kimby wrote.

 
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