GOP Cuts to Food Stamps are Counter-Productive and Cruel By: Manny JalonschiApril 11, 2012

The Thinking Woman 2012/04/12 21:06:02

In the vortex of bunk that serves as the politics of the Right, the
refrain of “austerity” rings often, hollow and cruel. We all know the
talking points by now. “We’re broke. Poverty relief and entitlement
programs are bloated and need reform. You can’t spend your way out of a
recession but you can do it with tax-breaks. Pay up, little people–the
rich need more comforts.”

“Austerity,” seems to be defined by sacrifices from those who can
least afford to make them and wealth for those who were already plenty
wealthy. To help this austerity along, a permanent panic over the state
of public finances is encouraged by the Right, the political servants of
the 1%.

This state of panic featured prominently in the Paul Ryan’s recent
budget plan approved by a Republican-dominated House of Representatives
at the end of March. Sometimes, though, in a panic (or an induced
panic), we become so fixated on relieving the one attention-demanding
emergency that we can easily forget what else we might be losing.

While tax breaks are sheltered and military spending continues to
rise in his latest budget proposal, Paul Ryan’s budget mandates cuts
directly to the most vital and important of our safety net features:
poverty relief programs. In terms of flexibility to grow and shrink as
the economy gets better or worse, SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp
program) is designed to offer a highly responsive public mechanism for
avoiding mass misery in times of economic crisis. An efficient and
humane program, SNAP is antithetical to everything on the Right so it is
with little surprise we note that, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

“Paul Ryan’s budget plan includes cuts in SNAP (formerly
known as the Food Stamp Program) of $133.5 billion — more than 17
percent — over the next ten years (2013-2022),[1]
which would necessitate ending assistance for millions of low-income
families, cutting benefits for millions of such households, or some
combination of the two.”

This sort of hustle ends up serving the 1% two times. For one, the 1%
is already severely undertaxed and is more likely to escape that
financial responsibility when there’s less of a demand for safety net
funding. Secondly, by starving out poverty relief programs like SNAP,
the 1% creates a flooded low-income labor-market, where workers are
desperate and often unwilling to sacrifice their subsistence paycheck to
resist the workplace encroachments of their employers.

Beyond the hypocrisy of gutting social services while giving
billionaires and weapons dealers more money, by attacking poverty
programs in a time of economic hardship the American Right-Wing has
proven how little human suffering accounts in their political equations.

In comparison to the right wing propaganda about deficits and budget
austerity there is the misery of reality in what the economic downturn
has meant for those Americans who were hardest hit. For all the glimmers
of an economic recovery, the lives of America’s working classes are a
tightrope balancing act between higher bills and lower wages. For those
who don’t have jobs, it’s currently an average of a 40-month search before you’ll find one. When you do find one, it’ll probably pay less than you expect it to. That sort of entrenched economic blight can change many lives from barely afloat to mired in extreme poverty.

Oftentimes, SNAP is what makes the difference. According to a recent study by the Center for American Progress

“In 2009 the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
was responsible for lifting the income of 3.6 million Americans over the
poverty line, providing an average of less than $300 in monthly food
stamps to families in need. In 2010 this program lifted 3.9 million
Americans above poverty, including 1.7 million children.“

And in fact, America’s dependence on the SNAP program
has been all the more important because of the tight job market and
slow economy. From the economic collapse of 2007 until the start of the
recovery in 2011, food stamp rolls grew from 26.3 million to almost 45 million.

The millionaires in our nation’s capital may never have to make eye
contact with the reality of our ongoing recession. The rest of us are not so lucky. Half of the rest of us are poor or low-income. Fifty-seven percent of American children live in a poor or low-income family. Out of all SNAP food stamp funding, approximately 75% goes precisely to these poor or low-income families with kids.

As further explained in the Center for American Progress study listed
above, for every 1 billion spent on the SNAP program each year,
approximately 14,000 Americans are able to find or keep their jobs.
Another way of thinking about this is that approximately 1 million
Americans were able to keep or find work in 2011 because of SNAP

According to the Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, in 2009 alone SNAP reduced the poverty rate by 8%. In 2011, food stamps lessened the number of children living in extreme poverty by nearly half.

The GOP, in order to maintain its wars and tax-cuts, is perfectly
fine with that half going back under the poverty line. But even the
meanness of cutting food stamps is only outdone by the stupidity of
doing so. Beyond cruel, it is economically counter-productive to cut
food stamps in a recovering economy.

And for a change it’s not just leftists who have noticed. Besides
saving or creating 14,000 jobs for every $1 billion spent on food stamps
annually, the food stamp program pumps money back into local economies
to many other beneficial effects. According to CBPP, SNAP benefits

“are one of the fastest, most effective forms of economic
stimulus because they get money into the economy quickly. Moody’s
Analytics estimates that in a weak economy, every $1 increase in SNAP
benefits generates $1.72 in economic activity. Similarly, the
Congressional Budget Office rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy.”

It turns out that feeding the nation’s neediest families is more than
the right thing to do. As healthy as it is for them it might be even
healthier for the economy.

It takes a real jerk to smack the food away from a hungry kid’s mouth. That jerk, it turns out, is also a fool.

GOP Cuts to Food Stamps are Counter-Productive and Cruel

By: Manny JalonschiApril 11, 2012
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Top Opinion

  • Joe Shwingding BN-ZERO 2012/04/12 21:57:54
    Joe Shwingding BN-ZERO
    leave it to the right to introduce austerity.
    Cut food stamps, unemployment and then bitch about the high rate of crime and locking EVEN MORE people up.
    What a bunch of douche bags.

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  • Chris - The Rowdy One! #187 2012/04/30 19:24:36
  • Freedom4 2012/04/26 00:04:03
    Look, it is clearly time too expect able bodied people to at a minimum take care of themselves. Stop with this whining. Nobody will starve. Can you even point to someone starving here that is not by choice? AGAIN democrats are just crying for hand outs and resorting to stealing to avoid personal responsibility.
  • Jrogers 2012/04/19 21:50:47
    This is no surprise to me - I have always been a democrat because I cannot relate to the type of person that does not care if the family down the road has had anything to eat today - There some good ole Christian Family values for ya
  • sjalan 2012/04/16 19:58:00
    The plan sounds just like the ones North Korea is using. Starve them, Keep them unemployed, Keep them in the Dark and the list goes on.

    What ever happened to simple compassion.
  • JoLost 2012/04/13 04:31:02 (edited)
    I am finding these types of GOP legislative actions bordering treason and failing the purpose of their autority as established by the US Constitution.

    That purpose in authority being and is.

    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    And diminishing the purpose is not one of them.
  • ehrhornp 2012/04/13 00:02:43
    Republicans just hate Americans who are not like them. White and rich. Most important item is being rich. Republicans will accept some non white people but only if they are rich.
  • The Thi... ehrhornp 2012/04/13 03:27:53
    The Thinking Woman
    You got that right
  • ehrhornp The Thi... 2012/04/13 03:57:08
    Got to love those republicans. They have no idea what suckers they are.
  • Joe Shwingding BN-ZERO 2012/04/12 21:57:54
    Joe Shwingding BN-ZERO
    leave it to the right to introduce austerity.
    Cut food stamps, unemployment and then bitch about the high rate of crime and locking EVEN MORE people up.
    What a bunch of douche bags.
  • The Thi... Joe Shw... 2012/04/12 23:36:40
    The Thinking Woman
    Exactly. If they would have their way, they would just shoot all the poor starving unemployed and their families. That way, they could use their GUNS and then pray to their GOD over the graves, and then rape thier women who have no contraceptives. And that is the good side of the conservatives.
  • RJ~PWCM~JLA 2012/04/12 21:46:40
  • The Thi... RJ~PWCM... 2012/04/12 23:38:50
  • RJ~PWCM... The Thi... 2012/04/13 14:12:23
  • ehrhornp RJ~PWCM... 2012/04/13 00:06:12
    Like deficits don't matter was the republican philosophy before they flipped? Such hypocrites.
  • The Thi... ehrhornp 2012/04/13 03:28:28
  • RJ~PWCM... ehrhornp 2012/04/13 14:12:48
  • ehrhornp RJ~PWCM... 2012/04/13 15:37:16
    How so? Do you deny that a republican, a top one at that, said deficits don't matter? Or are you just ignorant of where your party stands on various issues?
  • RJ~PWCM... ehrhornp 2012/04/13 15:44:33
    "How so"???

    How many times do you need to be told?

    There are no "cuts", just reductions in increases.

    This game has been played for the last 30 years.
  • ehrhornp RJ~PWCM... 2012/04/13 17:26:56
    lol, the point is that you republicans will say one day that deficits matter, then the next you say deficits don't matter and then today you say they matter again. Wish you would be consistent for a change. But that is too much to expect for you flip floppers.
  • RJ~PWCM... ehrhornp 2012/04/13 17:33:40
    blah blah all you want.

    You can't dispute the fact that there ARE NO CUTS.
  • ehrhornp RJ~PWCM... 2012/04/13 17:37:58
    lol, avoid the issue. So typically republican.
  • RJ~PWCM... ehrhornp 2012/04/13 17:40:18 (edited)
  • ehrhornp RJ~PWCM... 2012/04/13 17:44:25
    lol, Keep this in mind when the military budget is discussed. This is typical federal government terminology. Shame you don't know this simple basic fact.
  • RJ~PWCM... ehrhornp 2012/04/13 17:58:52
    You just like to hear yourself blither-blather, don't you?

    Re-read the headline:

    "GOP Cuts to Food Stamps"

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