Sunday, June 23, 2013

The War on Food Stamps: The Continuation

A little over two years ago, I wrote a post entitled The War on Food Stamps.  It quickly became and still is my most read and commented on post.  Two years have passed and yet the war on food stamps sadly continues unabated.

This past week, a small battle was one in this continuing war on the poor and working poor: The “bipartisan” Farm Bill was defeated in the House of Representatives.  This was an amazing event as farm bills are never defeated because they are loaded with subsidies that primarily favor big agri-businesses such as Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM).  The bill was defeated because a majority of Democrats (24 voted for it) couldn’t stomach the $2 billion a year in cuts to the food stamps program (along with other provisions that would make it tough for people to quality for food stamps).  It was also defeated because 62 Republicans didn’t think the cuts and restrictions were draconian enough.

But why is this war still being fought?  I mean, we have no problem writing checks directly to farmers and major corporations in the form of price supports and other subsidies.  Why should we begrudge the poor and working poor from eating, which actually helps those very farmers and major agri-businesses?  I honestly cannot fathom why Republicans and 24 Democrats in the House of Representatives (the Senate version of the Farm Bill includes $400 million a year in cuts to food stamps, so they aren’t saints either) feel the need to keep stomping on the necks of those who have so little or nothing at all.

The economy hasn’t changed that much in the two years since I wrote that original post.  Unemployment is still extremely high.  Many of those who do have jobs are either underemployed (barely working part-time) or are working multiple jobs.  Many are still struggling to pay their bills and to put food on the table, if they are able to at all.  And yet, we have members of Congress (and our President) who think that we should be cutting food stamps and making it tougher for people to qualify.

The war on food stamps and the greater war on the poor and working poor in the United States needs to end.  How can we be the greatest nation if we refuse to take care of the least of us?

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