While Ken Cuccinelli is plotting to have Virginia state employees subject to firing at will - possibly for embracing the wrong political and religious views - at the Congressional level the GOP wants to eliminate food stamps, showing the rank hypocrisy of the political party that claims to worship Christian values, while seeking to kick the poor and unfortunate into the gutter. The ugliness of the GOP agenda simply seems to be getting worse and worse with each passing day. A column in the Washington Post looks at this latest GOP example of hypocrisy and mean spiritedness. Here are excerpts:
Democrats look at the food-stamp program and see an essential piece of a fraying safety net. Republicans see entitlement spending gone wild. This fierce debate is to be joined soon in the House, where Republicans plan to take up a mean-spirited measure that would cut spending on the program by a whopping $40 billion over the next decade — twice the original House proposal and 10 times the trims envisioned by the Senate.
The raw numbers offer some explanation for conservative concern. Spending on food stamps (technically, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) has mushroomed from $35 billion in 2007 to $83 billion. In an average month, nearly 48 million people — one in seven U.S. residents — receive benefits.
But those figures demonstrate a program working as intended in an economic downturn. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the weak economy was responsible for 65 percent of the cost growth between 2007 and 2011; 20 percent was because of a stimulus-funded boost in benefits that is set to expire in November. The remainder reflected factors such as higher food prices and lower income among beneficiaries.
Indeed, the CBO projects that, as the economy recovers and the labor market slowly follows, enrollment and costs will drop to 34 million recipients and $73 billion by 2023.
A few other tidbits: Benefits are modest, averaging $1.40 per meal. Three-fourths of households receiving benefits include a child, a person age 60 or older or someone who is disabled. The average household receiving benefits in 2010 had annual income of $8,800. . . . More than 80 percent of food-stamp households with an able-bodied adult worked in the year before or after receiving benefits.
The proposal being floated by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor(R-Va.) would eliminate the waivers, except for a sliver of the population. No work, no food stamps — even if there are no jobs. This cruel change is aimed at the most desperate of populations, childless adults ineligible for most other federal income-assistance programs. Their average income is a paltry 22 percent of the poverty level, about $2,500.
[A]nother piece of the Republican proposal would make it harder for working families to qualify for food stamps if their gross income or assets are slightly above the cutoff but they have additional expenses — such as child care — or assets, such as a car they need to get to work. Aren’t these people we want to encourage to hold jobs — and to help feed their families?
[I]t offers a disturbing glimpse of the stingy, punitive mind-set of a radical majority, more intent on finding phantom slackers than serving the known needy.
In the GOP's sick alternate universe, the elderly, children and poor are simply disposable garbage. Eric Cantor is a despicable excuse for a human being.