Won’t someone think of the bombers? Nevermind. Someone did.
When the deficit cutting committee failed to reach agreement last year, it set in motion a series of automatic budget cuts which included some military cuts. This, of course, is an anathema to the Republicans so they have been scrambling like crazy to find a way to trim the budget to avoid cuts to military spending.
They have prevailed. They will be cutting benefits to food stamp recipients.
This is based on the belief, recently spelled out by Paul Ryan, that things like food stamps “transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency.”
[C]onservatives are alarmed that the level of income-related government benefits continues to rise.
Nothing better illustrates this perhaps than the renewed focus on food stamps — now titled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). And the estimated $33.2 billion in 10-year savings there could have an immediate impact on the farm bill debate and come November, the 2012 elections.
An average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, who would be forced off the rolls until they have spent down their savings to less than $2,000 in many cases.
This move, of course, has the added benefit of hitting one of the most powerless and politically unrepresented groups in the country.
I have told my story of being a poor blah child, the son of a single mother of two on food stamps and going to college full time. “Complacent” is definitely NOT the word that I would ever have used to describe her.
My mother was 16 when she got pregnant with me. Taking calculus and German in high school she dropped out, ignored her priest’s suggestion that she give me up for adoption and become a nun, and went on to raise me and my brother. By the time I was eight, she had gotten her GED and was attending Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A single mom with two young boys, we struggled. She worked a few hours a week at the local K-Mart but there wasn’t a hell of a lot of time for her to work. She had college classes to attend, studying, and, of course, two sons to raise.
So, yeah, we were Blah People. We got food stamps. My mom got welfare checks. We even got those charity Christmas gifts delivered to our door because we got on someone’s list somewhere. My mom was young, gifted, and blah.
My mom didn’t need a job at that moment. What she needed was some help so that she could finish her education and move up in the world. Welfare and food stamps were what allowed that to happen.
By the time she passed away at the tragically young age of 55, she had become a well-paid executive at Chrysler and retired early with a handsome pension. In her life, she easily repaid in taxes every cent (and then some) of the welfare she had received.
Republicans: making an already tough situation that much tougher for struggling Americans.
This war on the poor will join the war on women, often they are the same war, to create an interesting position for the Republicans to have to defend in November. I’m sure the Democrats will figure out how to use it to their best advantage.