Do Republicans HATE The Poor ?
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has announced a major assault on the food stamp program that feeds 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, including 439,245 in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare announced that on May 1, people under 60 with more than $2,000 in savings or other assets will be barred from receiving food stamps. People over 60 would have a $3,250 cap.
Conservatives frequently bristle at the idea that poor people might have nice things while receiving public assistance ("they have a television on welfare!"). But Pennsylvania will now create the most bizarre of disincentives: dissuading poor people from saving.
“We all know that families need to save money to get off government assistance and achieve self-sufficiency,” according to a press release from Carey Morgan, Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. “So it’s not only inhumane, but counterproductive to force people to drain their savings before they can get any help. Someone with less than $2,000 in the bank would easily be wiped out by one visit to the emergency room.”
How quickly things change — for the uglier and more racist. Newt Gingrich frequently calls Obama the “food stamp president” and Rick Santorum has declared, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” In April, House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) proposed cutting $127 billion from the food stamp program. This is all motivated by a powerful idea: it is poor people's fault that they are poor, and they should be punished for it. And though the program is stigmatized as a handout to urban blacks, whites make up a far greater share of recipients.
“Food stamps are really the only functioning part of the safety net,” the New York Coalition Against Hunger's Joel Berg told The Nation. “It’s the only thing left.”
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