Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The GOP's War on the Poorest Americans


It's Christmas Day and once again I am struck by the rank hypocrisy of conservatives and their flunkies in the Republican Party who blather about honoring Christian principles and repeat the myth that America was founded as a "Christian nation" even as they espouse policies that are the antithesis of the Gospel message.  Indeed, they make the Pharisees of the Bible look like upstanding, kindly folks in comparison.  It is little wonder that 1/3 of the generations under age 30 - the so-called "Nones" - have walked away from institutional religion.  Simply put, these "godly Christians" are horrible, heartless, selfish people.  Why would anyone decent want to subscribe to their claimed beliefs which they disregard daily.  An editorial in the New York Times looks at the GOP's war on the poor - a war that the Christofascists support.  Here are excerpts:

This is a harsh season for Americans struggling to afford food. Last month, the long lines at food pantries across the country grew longer with the expiration of the boost to food stamp benefit levels included in the 2009 economic stimulus plan. Those lines are apt to grow even longer thanks to the refusal of House Republicans to renew extended unemployment benefits as part of the recent budget deal. 

And if that isn’t sufficient pain for the neediest, Congress is getting ready to make another big cut to nutrition aid when it returns in early January. 

Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat of Michigan and the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Representative Frank Lucas, a Republican of Oklahoma who leads the House Agriculture Committee, are close to a deal on a farm bill that is said to include an increase in crop insurance subsidies for farmers and a more than $8 billion cut in food stamp benefits for the poor over the next 10 years. 

That cut, about double the one contained in the Senate version of the farm bill, is more modest than the devastating $40 billion reduction in the farm bill passed by House Republicans that would have denied benefits to about 3.8 million people in 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Still, the compromise deal, driven by the Republican obsession with cutting the food stamps program, will leave many Americans worse off than before. 

The deal being finalized would not kick people off the rolls, but it would end a practice used in some 16 states to boost food stamp benefits. That change would reduce benefits for 850,000 of the nation’s poorest households, according the Congressional Budget Office, with the cut falling particularly hard on seniors, disabled people and working-poor families with children. 

The households affected currently receive higher food stamp benefits (on average around $90 a month) under a practice known as “heat-and-eat,” which is intended to prevent poor families from having to choose between heating fuel and food.

Some Democratic lawmakers and antihunger advocates say the $8 billion cut being contemplated in the compromise deal is necessary to get the food stamps program reauthorized by both the Senate and House and that keeping the cuts to that level would be a political defeat for right-wing Republicans, who sought to do much more damage. That may be true, but it’s not much consolation for people lining up at food pantries because their inadequate monthly food stamps allotment has run out. 

2 comments:

Cara H said...

I make $18 an hour and sometimes I'm still food insecure. Because my credit was not up to par, the only kind of home I could purchase was a mobile home. I admit that I was naive and had no idea what the impact of a 15% mortgage would really be. I pay $650 a month in mortgage and $500 a month in lot rent. My pay, after taxes and insurance come out, is generally around $1800 a month. I am also trying to pay off student loans, the loan that I had to take out to cover the payday loans I had to take out when doing my unpaid nursing internship, utilities (which in winter sometimes come to around $200 a month) communications (which I got behind on, so I'm trying to catch up) auto insurance, and fuel costs. Then there's food, and the idea of savings is a joke.
I have a broken furnace that I can't afford to have fixed. I heat my home by running space heaters. This probably drives up my electricity costs and makes Xcel Energy very happy.
My point being that I make well over minimum wage, and I'm far from making it. The people in minimum wage jobs are really in a bad spot.
The Rethuglicans like to promote the idea that poor people are all lazy and if they weren't lazy, they wouldn't be poor. They don't take into account the fact that the majority of poor people are working poor. Others are people who used to work but no longer can due to injuries or illness.
I'm not sure how much of an aberration I am, but I happen to be a person with major mental illness who has been able to work because my condition is fairly well controlled. Many people with mental illness can't work.
These individuals make pre-haunting Scrooge look like a bastion of warm-heartedness and generosity.
Happy holidays to you and those you love.

EdA said...

As every Republican in Congress should know, especially those who claim to believe that the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God, in Matthew 25, 41 ff, Jesus explicitly states that people who are indifferent to the poor, the sick in body or in spirit, the homeless, the hungry, will burn in hell until the end of time and beyond. I doubt he'd feel much more positively about sociopaths and psychopaths who go out of their way to make life worse for people who are already troubled.