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Monday, October 24, 2016

As you’ve certainly heard, House Republicans voted Thursday night to cut SNAP (better known as food stamps) benefits by approximately $40 billion over 10 years, about $4 billion a year. I know you’re saying: Republicans used to spend $4 billion in less than a week on the Iraq War. Why cut less than $5 a day in food assistance to some of the neediest Americans while millions are still out of work? How dare they consider such a thing when congressmembers — as Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) explains in the video above — get over $100 a day to eat when they’re traveling?

Republicans say the program is littered with fraud, that spending of food stamps will still be double pre-recession levels, even after the cuts.

Studies show that SNAP benefits have some of the “most extensive and rigorous quality control systems” of any government program. There’s a net loss to the government of about 2 percent, compared to the 15 percent in income taxes that go unpaid. So, we could save a lot more by hiring extra IRS agents to track down the money the government is owed. But that’s not fun!

A Moody’s study done at the beginning of the financial crisis found that SNAP benefits are the best money that government can spend to improve the economy, simply because they go to the people who need them most.

Republicans are attacking food stamp recipients for one simple reason: They’re an easy target.

Reviled by the conservative base and disengaged from the political process, the poorer Americans who receive these benefits generally exist on the margins of society — even though some are veterans. The reason the food stamp rolls aren’t shrinking is because for poor Americans, there has basically been no recovery.

Targeting of the vulnerable betrays the GOP’s willingness to afflict the afflicted in the quest to “shrink” government. Or, perhaps, they aren’t aware that there is other bloat in our budget that can be cut without potentially starving our fellow citizens.

Here are five things the House GOP could cut before food stamps, if they actually cared about balancing the budget.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Sand_Cat

    The Republicans are NOT going after SNAP because it’s an easy target.
    They are going after it because they are probably the most dishonest, ignorant, mean-spirited, and anti-life group in the US today. They think they’re avenging themselves against all the freeloaders.

  • Lynda Groom

    That list is a good start, but hardly complete. However, it does not matter how many redundant problems exist, unless they directly affect the lower economic folks the GOP will let it pass.

  • tax payer

    No taxes except for the Defense of this Country would mean everyone take care of their own. The President since most of them are Rich could Volunteer as President and, so could everyone in Congress. This won’t ever happen, but it a great idea. They would still have to be elected by the people.

    • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

      How would you pay for Public Schools, Public Libraries, Roads, Maintenance on Roads, Airports, Mass Transits, Bridges, Tunnels? How would you pay for medical research? Would you sit and watch the homeless go hungry and die? Would you watch children, elderly, disabled and veterans go homeless and hungry, get sick and die? The Churches and Charitable Organizations can not handle it.

      • charleo1

        An excellent question! And one, the hard core Right, that’s leading the GOP around by the nose, never answer. They never really say what their solution would be to build, and maintain roads, and bridges, airports, and the rest. Completely ideological about taxes. They are always bad, bad, bad. Well, except when they are spend
        on the military, and to subsidize big oil, and corporate farming operations. Or spent doing such things as helping companies offset the many expenses involved in moving a complete factory to South East Asia. Evidently, money well spent in their eyes. But they never talk about that much, if ever. It’s the money spent down the economic ladder that turns them into raving lunatics. I ask a fellow one time that had written several comments that left no doubt as his political persuasion. If the government shouldn’t do infrastructure, who then? Who would take responsibility of hiring construction
        crews to fix the roads? Who decides if the roads even need repair?
        Or, if bridges have become too dangerous to cross? Before they collapse, and kill people. He said, “Yes, but the government is so wasteful.” Ah yes, perhaps in that magical land, where thriving businesses are built singlehandedly, and even stoplights repair themselves. The ever wasteful government, of the People, by the
        People, and for the People, will, according to, “The Dream,”be reduced to fit in a bathtub, where it’s promptly, and unceremoniously, drowned. So the freedom, and liberty, as envisioned by corporations like Walmart, will spread throughout the land, from sea, to shinning sea! But, the question remains. Who the hell is going to fix the damn roads?

        • rothgar

          Remember that all that waste is someones job.

          Whether in the Public or Private sectors all those efficiencies that eliminate work are making people redundant. How much of this can we sustain before the system crashes under the weigh of the misery these efficiencies create.

          The theory was always that new opportunities would appear to replace the jobs lost to efficiency. This took 40 years (2 generations) to happen for the Needle makers that Adam Smith studied in Wealth of Nations. That’s a LOT of misery for some gain in efficiency.

          The crash seems frightfully close.

          • Allan Richardson

            Eventually, a social compact may have to be developed in which a citizens “moral productivity” is not necessarily equated with “economic productivity.” Civilization has recognized this for thousand of years in the case of the “aristocratic” classes, but the mass of people were not considered “morally productive” regardless of how much wealth they produced (indeed, they were forced to produce that wealth without ANY reward, in the case of slaves).

            Adam Smith’s idea of capitalism was sufficient for a time in which human living standards could be improved by (1) inventing new and improved technology and (2) finding ways to distribute the fruits of that technology to more and more people. In other words, GROWTH. Since we are approaching the physical limits of growth, until new planets are discovered, we need to find ways of allowing the citizens who are not needed to MAKE what we can actually USE, to make their moral contribution to society by raising and teaching the next generation (i.e. full-time parenting child care for others, or teaching in school), recycling waste materials, entertaining, or for those with disabilities, just being human.

            The individual cases may offend the moral sensibilities of those of us who still think in terms of the eons in which labor to do necessary and desirable productive work exceeded the labor supply to do that work, thus making the intentional avoidance of work an immoral act, to be punished by beatings in the case of slaves, or to be encouraged by payment in the case of free laborers. But when all of us are no longer needed to make what we need, some of us are redundant, no matter how willing they are to work. Some kind of creative solution has to be found, since we cannot continue to “want” more stuff just so that someone can be paid to make it.

        • Allan Richardson

          Back in George Washington’s day there were no free public schools, very few roads (many of them turnpikes, or toll roads, financed by private investors for profit), no public (non-church) hospitals, very few public libraries (the only well-known one being the one in Philadelphia started by Ben Franklin). Most economic activity was done by people who did not need to be literate, so schools were not (believed to be) needed, and were mostly a mission outreach of the progressive churches. How many Western movies have the well meaning “schoolmarm” trying to get a smart kid into school, while the father, a farm or ranch laborer, chases her away with “I do OK without no book learnin’ and my son will too!” at some point in the story? As for roads, dirt roads were fine for horse drawn carriages, and no road at all for a horse and rider.

          The federal government’s responsibilities were small enough in the antebellum period to be financed by import tariffs and alcohol taxes. State and local taxes were voted in gradually as the voters realized that universal literacy, accessible emergency services, fire departments, police, etc. were worth paying for. Our society went from agricultural to manufacturing and later to technology development, requiring more intelligent and better educated citizens for even the least intellectual jobs.

          The Tea Party has a picture of American history that is about as accurate as the Gilbert and Sullivan picture of Japan in “The Mikado.”

          • nirodha

            To your point, Allan, I think that many TPottyers come from rural areas (or wish they did) and remember the “good old days” before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Life was a lot simpler then, sharecropping still existed in the south, WWII was only 15 years or so in the past, the Spanish language was not heard in the daily marketplace, the economy was pretty strong, homelessness on any large scale did not exist. Perhaps this is what they strive for in their intransigent stands against today’s realities. Add to this their revulsion at the thought of a black president and their yearning for the days of yesteryear are amplified. They need to realize that as Thomas Wolfe said, “you can’t go home again”. Those days are incontrovertibly over, even though a minority of mostly ignorant white people cannot accept this.

          • Allan Richardson

            White racists tolerated those “crazy ideas” from national Democratic HQ about equal rights during the Depression because they needed that federal help (such as TVA, WPA and the like) worse than the non-Dixie states did. After WW2, the Dixiecrats tried to take back the Democratic party, and gradually the South became prosperous enough not to need the help anymore (at least for the ruling elite), and after being forced to allow black people to vote, use white restaurants and schools, etc. they began to move over to the Republican party to fight back (which they are doing now, starting with the vote). These mostly ignorant angry white people, unfortunately, are the PAWNS of definitely NOT ignorant plutocrats who want to go back to the 1880’s in economic and labor policy. The imaginary threats are used to get the votes of these people, and of “moderate” GOP voters who automatically assume that Republicans are frugal with their tax money and strong about defending the nation, paying no attention to other issues. Then, after obtaining power, however it is obtained, they use that raw power to change voting laws, labor regulations, etc. with no concern for anyone else’s opinion but their own.

          • nirodha

            When Lyndon Johnson was trying to get the Civil Rights Act passed in 1963-64, Strom Thurmond (among others) switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. George Wallace was thinking about changing from D to R so that he could run as Barry Goldwater’s vice presidential candidate. LBJ remarked to Hubert Humphrey after the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 that as a result, the South was lost to to the Democrats for the next several generations.

          • charleo1

            I’m absolutely a huge fan of the Founding Fathers.
            Many of them had had this idea for some time of setting up
            a Constitutional Government, with checks, and balances, with power granted by some form of collective consensus.
            With details to be determined later. And so they were, later determined to be inspired, brilliant, pragmatic, and masters
            of compromise. About as Un-T-Party like as can be imagined. Ironic then, that this bunch of contrived corporatist, and purveyors of crisis, and chaos, would attempt to impose policies developed more for a 3 mile an hour world. Than a fast paced, complex, and technology driven, modern society. One of the frequent commenters Lynda Groom, I think put it very well. She says, “You can’t create a future, by clinging to the past. Real or imagined.” And we shouldn’t be giving a crazy amount of deference to men, who after all, lived 250 years ago. When muzzle loaders were cutting edge technology. Just saying. These guys have more political axes to grind, than, Miley Cyrus has middle aged men secretly in love with her. It is schools, they want them private, and unaccountable. It is science. They’re afraid of it. As they are the entire intelligentsia class. It has always been just this type who burned the books. Scapegoated the underclass, and minorities, and empowered a small, cloistered coterie at the top. And the worst thing today, is their timing. While Asian economies are growing at double digit rates. China, now
            the second largest economy, is plowing 10% per annum back into their economy. Modernizing, expanding, positioning, and preparing itself to surpass The United States. Meanwhile, The T-Party has Congress hog tied, insisting on extreme austerity. With a pitched battle every few months, just to keep the Government open, and the bills paid. Yes, they like to claim A real affinity with the Founders. Who I think just might have already strung them up for treason.

          • ralphkr

            Then again, that ‘agin book larnin’ laborer might have been someone like my Prussian grandfather who owned a prosperous farm. He came to the US because he was not the first son and would always subject to his eldest brother’s orders. At least he was allowed an education in Prussia.

            In the US he retained the Prussian values and cancelled my father’s education after the fourth grade (No, I do not know when my father learned trigonometry and calculus) because his ten year older brother (high school education) would do all his thinking. It did not work out according to grandfather’s plans because my father grew up to be a muscular 6’2″ and towered over both his father and brother (under 5’6″). Grandfather also did not all my father to wear long pants until he was 14 which explains my facebook avatar showing me at about 3 wearing long pants, blue blazer, and grey fedora.

          • Allan Richardson

            I suspect your father went back to night school to get a GED, which would include trig, and was both smart enough and hard working enough to hit the library and self-teach calculus. As an engineering graduate myself, I can say it’s hard work even IN a college classroom. But his countryman Karl Gauss was recorded as having discovered the formula for the sum of an arithmetic series (e.g. 1+2+3+…+99+100) on his own in the equivalent of our first grade, so there is the possibly that he was also a prodigy like Gauss.

            I have great admiration for your father, from what you have posted. And for you too, as you seem to have lived a successful life.

          • ralphkr

            I doubt very much that my father ever went back to school (did they have GED in the early 1900s?). Before WW1 he broke horses to harness (that is how he lost his eyebrows. He would be riding a horse bareback while jumping fences and often the horse would change its mind at the last second and let dad jump the fence by himself to land on his forehead in the dirt. Please do not ask why my dad was jumping fences with plow horses.)

            Then after WW1 where he was a machine gunner he acquired a thresh machine and tractor to do custom threshing. He had such a reputation of doing such a thorough job of cleaning the grain that the granaries would pay a premium and use his grain for seed.

            In the 30s he acquired a small farm (620 acres) with some good bottom land (usually 4 alfalfa crops a year) and had a small herd of Herefords (about 250 head after calving). I do not know when he learned trig but it does come in handy for a farmer. He was also a skilled mechanic and did all maintenance work on the machinery including rebuilding tractor engines.

            The only reason I knew that he had good knowledge of Trig & Calc was that he used to help mom’s brothers with their university studies. Of course, I never question how he could know so much because he was Dad and we always knew back then that Dads knew everything. My guess that is he learned from being an avid reader and a quick mind.

            Thank you very much for your compliment but let us just say that I have led a checkered life that, somehow, ended up being reasonably financially secure.

      • plc97477

        To a large extent the wealthy would move into gated communities so they would never have to see another poor person again. They would also need the communities to keep the poor from throwing rocks into their windows.

    • Lynda Groom

      You can’t create a future by clinging to the past. Real or imagined.

    • dtgraham

      ”The President since most of them are (R)ich could (V)olunteer as President and, so could everyone in Congress.” “This won’t ever happen, but it a great idea.” “They would still have to be elected by the people.”

      What in the hell does any of that even mean? I’d ask for your ideas on how roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports get built, but I’m afraid of the answer.

  • RSDrake

    They missed a big one. Bases overseas. Rumsfeld ( a Republican) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were implementing such a program. Rumsfeld resigned (under a cloud) and the Joint Chief retired, The remain generals convinced Bush that it would be too costly to close them.

    The question I would have asked (although I am not as astute or well-informed as Bush) was “When will it get cheaper?” The answer is “never.”

  • Lovefacts

    I wonder what would happen if the SNAP cuts actually became law. Would the American public finally wake up? So many of those who vote Republican–especially T-party–are poor whites who use Snap and other safety net programs. I suspect if they were cut from SNAP they would be shocked. After all, they don’t see themselves as part of the great unwashed 47%. Yet since the collapse economy, a large part of the middle class–what there was left of it–has ceased to exist. This great unwashed now includes seniors who lost everything from foreclosure, to the market crash and the bank failures. They now exist on SS, Medicare, SNAP, and housing assistance.

    To do the following, the Democratic National Party will have to grow a spine. Fund ads starting now about the Republicans, we could get a 60+ in the Senate and take back the House. I’d have the ads show that the Republican Party and/or a legislator voted to maintain oil and gas and large farm subsidies versus supporting hungry and sick Americans. I’d use seniors and former middle class families who are now forced to exist, not live, against the entitlements of the rich and big business. Include images of gas prices, oil platforms, polluted air and water, leaking oil pipelines, etc.

    • RobertCHastings

      I met a young man the other day who, because of his morbid obesity, is on Disability. Paradoxically, he hates any type of public funds being spent on those who need it.

      • Lovefacts

        Of course he does. He doesn’t see himself as the Republicans do. But, mark my words, if they get away with gutting SNAP, SS disability will be next. And they believe morbid obesity is the result of weakness and those with it shouldn’t be coddled and given disability. Hope he enjoys living on the street and starving, b/c that’s what will happen.

        • RobertCHastings

          I could not agree with you more. And the big issue is that he is a Republican and apparently has no understanding of what he is saying and doing. Like sheep to the slaughter.

          • Mikey7a

            Exactly, and here is why. I live in District1, the Panhandle of Florida. ALL the elected officials here, and in neighboring Ga, and Al., are Republicans, voted in by the people who disagree with anything President Obama stands for. Why you ask, well I’m sure you know the answer. Anyway, this is the opening statement from our Representative(R) Jeff Miller, and these idiots eat this crap up, hook, line, and sinker!

            “House Passes Continuing Appropriations Resolution

            The House passed a Continuing Resolution that funds the government through December 15, 2013 at current levels. By doing this, the CR would keep the government open and allow the House to continue its work to pass the various annual appropriations bills in line with the House Republican budget. The CR would also require the U.S. Treasury to prioritize debt payments in the event of a debt ceiling breach to avoid a default by including language from H.R.807, the Full Faith and Credit Act of 2013, of which I am a cosponsor and voted for its passage in the House earlier this year. House Republicans also built on its continued efforts to shield the American people from the onslaught of Obamacare and the President’s failed promise, by fully and permanently defunding Obamacare and rescinding all unobligated Obamacare funds.

            The CR passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 230-189, and I voted AYE. The Senate must now seize the opportunity to act, listen to the American people, and follow the House’s lead to rein in government spending, keep our government open, and fully and permanently defund Obamacare. The House has been fighting to do its part to help put this law to rest once and for all, and now the Senate must join us to prevent further damage to our economy and help put an end to forcing hard-working Americans to continue footing the bill for something it doesn’t even want.”

          • Mikey7a

            Bipartisan? 3 freaking traitorous REDNECK Dem. by name only cretins voted for defunding!

          • RobertCHastings

            It’s simply amazing how THEY can come up with polls that CLAIM to show the majority of Americans want to do away with the ACA, while the Democrats (and pretty much everyone else) can show polls demonstrating 3 to 1 in favor of Obamacare. Since their fallback mode seems to blame the “liberal” media, this “liberal” media must be looked at for its culpability in disseminating such inappropriate data – except the “liberal” media is a myth. Rep. Miller’s statements indicate that the only majority driving the actions of House Republicans is – House Republicans.

    • ralphkr

      Naw, Love, the uber-conservatives shall easily snooker all those destitute Republican takers that it is all the Democrats fault that they have no food stamps or health care.

  • thedirtydemocrat

    I am going to twitter this article to my reps and I suggest you all do it too. They can be replaced and should be.

  • Dominick Vila

    The GOP is not going after SNAP, or Obamacare for that matter, because they are expensive programs that would not benefit the middle class and the poor, but because of ideological convictions that start and end with the belief that government does not have a role in helping our society, that ALL government programs are examples of evil socialism, and that they (all tax payers) are paying for benefits designed to reward those who don’t want to work and depend on government handouts. In effect, SNAP, like Obamacare, Affirmative Action, Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID and every single Federal Government program are examples of what is wrong with America. We have to go no further than Romney’s 47% comment to understand what drives the Tea Party and the reason for their obstructionism and obstinacy.
    Interestingly, they have no problem redistributing taxpayers money to private enterprise, as was the case in Iraq, or making loopholes available to millionaires to ensure their tax burden is reduced, giving subsidies to companies that don’t need them to profit, and wasting billions in foreign aid and military aid to countries that can pay for their own defense. Redistribution is evil only when it benefits the middle class and the poor.

    • ralphkr

      That is the beauty of the GOP. The claim that they ARE the Christian party but they are against anything that aids the need or does not reward the rich. Obviously, they have never read what Jesus Christ had to say about rich men, money lenders, and the poor.

      • Independent1

        You’ve certainly got that right!! I doubt seriously that the vast majority of supposed GOP loving Christians ever even cracked open a bible – much less ever tried to understand what it says.

  • RobertCHastings

    For those of us with sense and responsibility, this list is a no-brainer. No wonder it is in such favor with the Republicans.