Don't chew with your mouth open

Every budget proposal and new legislation of the GOP seems to be yet another opportunity to show their lack of compassion for the American people.

In the farm bill they proposed to cut billions of dollars from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) or informally, food stamps, while increasing farm subsidies to the corporate agriculture industry.

One GOPer in congress has even gone so far as to condemn those who rely on the government for assistance even as he receives millions in farm subsidies for his family’s California rice farm.

The GOP (even if people chose to ignore the fact, or throw out an irrelevant "Yeah, but what about") created the sluggish economy that has put people out of work and created a vast number of the working poor, which has resulted in 46 million Americans (one half are children) becoming dependent on food stamps in order to avoid dire poverty and daily hunger, and now believe that it is fiscally responsible that several million poor Americans should lose their eligibility to qualify for assistance.

Part of their plan eliminates “categorical eligibility”. One of the things this means is that if a family lives at or below the poverty line and owns a dependable car it could be cut off of food assistance. The car will be figured in to the family’s income and if they are near the eligibility cut-off point, they will be cut off.

I know a few people who have bought one of those “dependable” cars with no frills that are sold on street corner lots for cash in some cities that they use to get to their low paying jobs.

Under this plan, several hundred thousand low-income children will lose access to free or reduced-priced school meals based on the elimination of categorical eligibility. Kids’ being hungry during the school day is not conducive to learning, but, then again, if you look at the assaults of the GOP on education, this fits. These kids will lose food assistance at home and at school.

Their parents may have to choose between the car that gets them to their job, and feeding their kids. I know from experience the school lunch is the major meal of some student’s day.

All of this is justified by the GOP’s favorite false premise that any social safety net spending is wasteful even though the SNAP program was only .52% of GDP at its peak, and it kept 5 million Americans from sinking into abject poverty, and cut the number of children living in extreme poverty by 50%.

Sadly, to get allies in their fantasy, the GOP likes to perpetuate the myth that African Americans and Latinos make up the lion’s share of SNAP recipients. The truth is that out of 46-million Americans living in poverty, 31 million are White, ten million are African American, with the remainder being Hispanic and Asian. But statements like Republicans did not “want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money” misleads people by appealing to any overt or latent racism.

Perhaps that will explain why only 40% of Republicans agree that “it is the responsibility of the government to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves” , while 75% of Democrats say the government should help those who need it.

But priorities are priorities, so it is important to cut food stamps while giving so much of taxpayer dollars to corporations at the expense of the working-poor, elderly, and children.

There are many Republicans and local conservative radio hosts who claim there is widespread fraud among SNAP recipients, but the errors in administration only fall into the about 1% range and they are not fraud, but mistakes within the program’s administration. If there is fraud, it is on the part of vendors who double-bill and cheat the government with unsubstantiated receipts. The eligibility requirements for SNAP are so stringent that it is all but impossible for program participants to qualify much less cheat.

Yes, there are people who will say that they know without a doubt someone who cheats. There are always those who will play any system, but that does not apply to the vast majority. Some claim to have seen it happen, but, not being aware of all the circumstances, this might be a mere impression. I know someone who complained that he had been in line behind someone wearing fancy, expensive shoes, who paid for what she bought with an EBT card. I know people who shop at thrift stores and have found quite a few of what were once expensive items they needed for a social event. I am one of them. So unless he actually asked if that person paid full price, there is no guarantee this person didn't have a lucky find at Good Will.

The Republicans’ drastic cuts to SNAP are not for fiscal responsibility, to eliminate fraudulent claims, or to teach low-income children the value of work. Instead, the cuts make room for more subsidies for corporate agriculture and to create higher poverty numbers. The United States is heading for position number one in industrial nations with the most children living in poverty.

They seem to believe that people are proud to be on public assistance, but in my retail experience, the majority of people I encountered who used an EBT card were often embarrassed enough to offer an explanation each time they used it. they didn't have to because they followed the requirements. This has to create some degree of psychological stress.

Most people would love to have a living wage job that does not make owning a car a threat to their families, and we know family values are important to republicans. they keep saying so. And most people on assistance would love to have one of those jobs the 1% has yet to create.

Don't chew with your mouth open, kid, the closest republican politician might reach in and pull the food out.

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