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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

They’re calling it the #SNAPChallenge.

A total of 26 Democratic House members will be living on $4.50 a day, the food budget of an average beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — food stamps — in order to call attention to the $20 billion in cuts House Republicans would like to make to the program.

“We can’t let these cuts go through,” writes Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). “This isn’t who we are as Americans. We need to protect our vulnerable, not cut them out of a budget.”

The Senate has already voted to cut $4.1 billion from the “Heat and Eat” program that supplements the food budgets of the elderly and disabled. The Center for American Progress estimates that every billion dollars cut from SNAP costs the economy 13,781 jobs. Using that math, Republican SNAP cuts would kill 275,620 jobs, not to mention the pain it would cause to the most vulnerable Americans.

Republicans often point to the fact that a record number of Americans, some 46 million, are receiving SNAP benefits. But they do not mention that the need for SNAP benefits is growing most quickly in areas that vote Republican.

Most SNAP beneficiaries also have at least one working adult in the household, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Former congressman and current candidate for mayor of New York City, Anthony Weiner, is also doing his own #SNAPchallenge, living on about $1.50 a meal.

“In New York City, there is an enormous amount of need right under our nose,” Weiner said.

Newark mayor Cory Booker and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter did their own versions of the challenge last year.

“When I was a young, single mother, I was on public assistance,” Rep. Lee writes, explaining her passion for this issue. “It was a bridge over troubled water, and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I spent hours debating what to buy and what to skip, all the while keeping my sons in my mind. I could go without breakfast; my sons couldn’t.”

The ultimate irony in this fight is that food stamp usage is growing the fastest in areas that vote Republican.

Photo: Rachel Zack via Flickr.com

  • Budjob

    Perhaps they should ask each other why Wal-Mart employees have to resort Medicaid and food stamps to sustain their pathetic miserable existence by virtue of working for THE WEALTHIEST CORPORATION IN THE FUCKING WORLD!!!!

    • Independent1

      Bud, what I think frustrates me the most is that Wal-Mart could afford to increase the minimum wage of their employees by around $3/hour (from around $7/hr to over $10/hr) by only adding pennies to the price of a number of the products they sell. Elizabeth Warren demonstrated in some hearings that McDonald’s could afford to do just that by adding only 4 cents to the price of one of their combo meals – She proved that if McDonalds simply raised the price of one of their combo meals from $7.19 to $7.23 it would cover their cost of raising the minimum wage of their employees by about $3/hr. So if McDonald’s could cover their costs by raising the price of one combo meal, why then couldn’t Wal-Mart cover the cost of paying their employees around $10/hr by simply adding a penny to a number of the thousands of products they sell???? Kind of frustrating is it?? that a family that has more wealth among them than over 120 million Americans at the lower end of the economic scale can actually sleep at night knowing that they’re running a business that is forcing about 80% of its workforce to live below the poverty level.

      • ralphkr

        What both you and Warren are missing is that the prices shall be raised by a penny or so and that additional money shall go straight to the pockets of the brass. After all, the wheels certainly consider an average $3 raise for the worker bees as $3 less for themselves to divvy up. To be more exact, EVERY penny paid to the front line workers is one more penny out of the owner’s pocket.

        • Independent1

          Yes, and when the owners/CEOs/boardmembers are already far richer than any humans should have the right to ever have expected to be in their lifetime!!! Proving that they are all totally worthless human beings.

      • Mikey7a

        Right, and the Corporate Creeps want it to stay just like that too! Heaven forbid they raise minimum wage, now these servants might have enough to go back to school, educate their children, get some health care. OH NO, they will certainly try to find better jobs now…We just cannot have ANY of this, now can we?

        Don’t all of you realize, the rich do not want any of the rank and file bettering themselves?

  • Budjob

    None of the lousy cocksuckers in congress are giving up one motherfucking thing.This is the wealthiest in the world.What the fuck is wrong with hooray for me fuck you attitude!!
    I volunteered my services to this country VIA the U.S. Army and got this shit from my country.You people are sick Son of a BITCHES!!

  • charleo1

    Just wait, my dear friends. Because their time’s a comin’! There is something
    we learn when we’re down, we can’t learn any other place. And, that’s who
    our friends are. We never forget the person who went out their way, to give
    us a hand up. And we never forget the person that kicked us, when we were
    down either!

    • Independent1

      Charle, with the majority of Food Stamp recipients being in Red States, we’ve got to really hope that at least enough of these Red State voters will wake up to just who it is that is making their lives more miserable – their own GOP legislators. And hopefully, come 2014 and 2016, these Red State voters will go to the polls and vote these good-for-nothings out office. We really have to hope this is going to happen. American simply can’t take too much more of how these nitwits want to run the country.

      • charleo1

        We can hope. One of the curious things about the poor, is they
        tend to not vote. Of all the good works preformed by AACORN,
        in the poorest most dangerous, and blighted neighborhoods. It
        was their registering, and helping the poor get to the polls on
        election day, that painted the target on their back with the GOP.
        It was this decision Barack Obama made as a recent Harvard
        Law graduate, to come to Chicago’s South side and use his
        knowledge, to help these poorest of our poor. It really is God’s
        work. And, says more about Barack Obama, the person. Than
        any of the garbage the so called, aligned with the Christian Right,
        GOP, could ever hope to stack up aganist him. Yet, the majority
        of impoverished Whites, do not support him. So, just as many
        poor do not vote. They also do not tend to always vote in their
        own economic interests. So, another thing we can hope, is that
        the Left has been sufficiently chastened in 2010, to get their butts
        to the polls in 2014, so we don’t wind up losing the Senate.

      • Robert P. Robertson

        You’re correct, Independent1. The thing that Republicunt/neo-Confederate Tea bags miss is that political office on a national scale means “service’, not just for a particular constituency or agenda. It means servicing “all” of the people all of the time. They have miscalculated that many, many of the people they have instilled their poison of hate/fear into are people who are just as deprived, disadvantaged, disparaged, and discriminated against as those who they aim their obstructionism/persecution toward. The sequester has touched “all” of our lives, and the cuts they are proposing to make will lay low many people who are already on the brink and are unable by frailty, age, and disability to pull themselves up by their boot-straps such as the elderly, children, the mentally ill, the physically challenged. Much like you, I hope people will open their eyes by 2014 and 2016 and remove every obstructionist Republicunt, neo-Confederate Tea Bag, and Yellow Dog Democrat from the House and Senate.

  • Robert P. Robertson

    Would you take the wings from a bird, knowing he can’t fly? Would you take the cane from a blind man, knowing he don;t have eyes? Would you take candy from a baby, knowing the little fella gonna cry? . . Would you take a fish out of the water, knowing he will drown? Would you take the sails from a ship, knowing it would slow it down? Would you pull the rug from under a man, knowing he will hit the ground?

    • Independent1

      Certainly no decent-minded human being would do any of the things that you’ve noted, but then, Republicans are not decent-minded human beings – many of them are more akin to barbarians!!!

      • Robert P. Robertson

        Exactly my point, good friend.

      • Allan Richardson

        No, they are worse than that. Barbarians (exemplified in fiction by the Klingons, and in real life Anglo-Saxons, Goths, Vikings, Native American tribes) have a tradition of honor and justice. These are just schemers who treat the public commons like their own private latrine (Cardassians (in Star Trek, not in People), Romans, the Sanhedrin, Napoleon, Mussolini, Stalin, etc) and will lie, cheat, steal, frame others for their crimes, or anything else so they can live in luxury (and ironically, “pray” in luxury). Or is that “prey”?

        Barbarians everywhere are offended by the comparison to Republicans.

        • Independent1

          You’re right Allan – my apologies to any Babarians who may be reading this blog thread for my comparing them to the likes of a totally heartless GOP lover.

  • Dominick Vila

    Considering that most of the folks I know that receive food stamps, who have benefitted from MEDICAID, WIC and other such programs are Republicans, this is likely to backfire on those who instead of trying to find constructive solutions to lower the poverty in the richest country in the world, are determined to deny food to the poorest members of our society.

    • Independent1

      Dominick, “the poorest members of our society”; are Americans which I’m fairly sure many conservatives believe are Democrats – since many conservative posters in this blog thread and several others I frequent, constantly accuse ‘liberals’ of being the welfare suckers of America. However, in reality, the poorer members of our society (and hence the biggest welfare suckers) are actually conservatives – or at least – they live in conservative-run states (aka GOP run states). I say that because statistics show that 21 of the 23 states that have more than 15% of its residence living below the poverty level are RED STATES; and 11 of the 15 states that get back the most federal money for the taxes they pay ($1.50 or more in federal help for each $1 in taxes they pay) are again RED STATES. So as you say – Republicans voting to cut monies from the food-stamp program when more than 70% of food stamp monies go to RED STATES, may backfire on them in 2014 and 2016 – I CERTAINLY HOPE SO!!!!

      • Dominick Vila

        You are right. One of the greatest ironies of this issue is that the main beneficiaries of social programs such as MEDICAID, WIC, food stamps, etc live in Red States.

        • Independent1

          I guess that shows that Republican congressional reps show no mercy on anyone – they’re obviously not against increasing the hardships the economy places on people even if they’re their own constituents.

      • ralphkr

        What you are forgetting, Independent1, is that the Republicans shall convince the poor that it is all the Democrat’s fault that programs were cut. When I was working I came in contact with many poor people and, invariably, they were almost all staunch Republicans.

        • Independent1

          It’s always been amazing to me that typical Republicans can be so blinded by their failed ideological princlples that they can’t see that it’s their own congressional representatives that are keeping them subservient.

  • sigrid28

    Pictured is the low-cost alternative for not one meal but two! And that’s not all! You get a bowl of instant oatmeal flavored with sugar/lo-cal sweetener and pinch of salt ($.20) and 6 oz. yogurt ($.50) with luxury instant coffee (you make) and milk ($1.50) for breakfast. For lunch, two slices of the least expensive bread you can find toasted, with peanut butter ($.35) and a banana ($.20), with home-made, sweetened iced tea for lunch ($.20 covers dinner as well). With only $1.55 left for supper, you could indulge in breakfast served all day, by toasting two more slices of least expensive bread and using least expensive spread ($.35) on it as well as in pan to fry two eggs ($.30). Assuming you drink iced tea left over from lunch or water with this repast, you have $.90 to splurge, maybe on a carrot and half an onion cooked in the pan after eggs with a small amount of lettuce including the luxury of salad dressing (from the local food pantry)–for the healthy minded; or ice cream and cookies for the rest of us. With less variety, another luxury dinner is the least expensive soup available with saltine crackers from the food pantry (also about $1.55); or if you are cooking for four, pasta from food pantry and sauce ($1) and half a pound of beef ($2.50) with veggies added ($.50) and parmesan cheese on top ($1) plus small salad with food pantry salad dressing ($1)–everybody enjoying tap water. Maybe while our elected officials are having Prince spaghetti pasta night together, they could talk together to find a way to keep other Americans alive eating as well as they are. Bon appetit!

    • elw

      I understand what you are trying to say, but the truth is most people on food stamps are not limited to that $4.50 a day for food. Foods Stamps have never and are not currently expected to be the only money spent on food. Most are working people who will use the food stamps to supplement their inadequate budgets for food. That does not mean they do not need food stamps they do, because without the food stamps the recipients would be walking around hungry all the time and have diets that do not sustain good health. The $4.50 cents a day is not a lot of money but for people with a skimpy food budgets it makes the difference in having enough food to eat and helps provide a much healthier diet. It is important to note that not everyone on food stamps gets the full $4.50 a day. I know one 82 years old senior who was living on beans the week before her Social Security check came until she applied for food stamps. She only receives 30 dollars a month, but for her it means the difference between being able to eat that last week of the month and spending it mostly hungry. It also does not illustrate that most recipients will only be getting the food stamps for a short period time, but that short time has been for millions, over the decades, just enough to move them closer to the American dream. Most of us have all heard stories from famous people who at one time received Food Stamps, but we seldom hear those stories from the many non-famous people around us who, in part, owe their success in life to the one period of time food stamps gave them enough money to eat while they moved towards their goals and to become solid taxpaying citizens. Believe me they exist. In my opinion the Food Stamp Programs have made American a stronger Country by keep her citizen healthier.

      • sigrid28

        My accounting includes the outside sources you mention, benefits that even working families must also depend on, such as local food pantries that can go a long way toward supplementing the food assistance assistance provided by programs like SNAP, WIC, and Meals-on-Wheels. To show how one can survive on $4.50 a day is not to imply that it is sufficient or that it is undeserved or that it is unnecessary. Few of us understand exactly what it means to live on $4.50 or so a day, which is why I offered my accounting. It IS possible to survive this way, but it is not ideal, and it certainly is not a recipe for long-term health benefits, especially for children, as you say. I presented my accounting to counter those who look down on participants in the SNAP program as nutritional incompetents or as lay-abouts who squander these dollars on pop and potato chips. Most participants in the SNAP and WIC programs are resourceful, hard working family members trying to stretch these precious funds as far as they will go–which I point out is really rather far. A good food supplement program should provide enough to accomplish a worthwhile goal–not just prevent mass starvation. I point to the famously successful school lunch program as an example of the happy medium.

        • elw

          Sigrid, I was not disputing your accounting or you intention. We are both on the same side. I wanted to point out that the money is not meant for survival but to supplement and improve the diet and therefore the health of the recipients of the program. Please do not take this personally, but to prove that a person could survive on the $4.50 a day or for a millionaire Congress person to pretends to eat on $4.50 a day for a week or two only proves points that do not exist. Hunger is not a two week problem and should never be treated that way and person living on only food stamps would indeed be slowly starving to death; in addition, virtually no one exists on food stamps alone, they use a combination of resources which include their own income, other snap programs, local food banks to keep themselves and their children fed and healthy. It is stop-gap program and for most recipients that is exactly how it is used. You are right these programs are highly successful and should never be cut.

          • sigrid28

            Now I see. You find it hard to believe that some families are actually surviving primarily on SNAP, WIC. and Meals-on-Wheels with only a little help from local food banks (because that’s all they can give)–but the fact is that they ARE, in large numbers, throughout the United States. Families may not be meant to live on these funds alone, but for many THERE IS NO CHOICE. Government food assistance is by no means a “stop-gap program,” as you rather naively propose, no matter how much you might like to think otherwise. Perhaps if working class families could count on a living wage instead of being paid minimum wage in part-time positions, such help would no longer be necessary. Perhaps if the Affordable Jobs Act could be passed to create 2,000,000 more jobs or if families strapped with medical costs could devote less to bills and more to their food budgets, your idea would seem less far-fetched. Finally, to qualify for food assistance requires such low income and such overwhelming financial need that Food Stamps stand between starvation and survival–they meet a critical need.

          • elw

            You are missing my point and debating someone who, for the most part, supports your point-of-view. What I said to you is anyone who is surviving on food stamps alone is in fact slowly starving to death and that the purpose of food stamps, WIC and meals-on wheels has always been to supplement and not be the primary source of a food budgets. I never said that there are not some who live on it alone; I said the majority do not. I have many decades of professional experience working with recipients of these programs, I know their struggles and personally I would like to see more money flow into those programs. I am very aware of what the requirement for food assistance, I was a frontline worker.

            Where we disagree is on how you characterize the recipients of the program, yes they are people in need but I have met very few who were not working hard and did not have hopes and plans to improve their life’s – even those who were physically disabled. Although it is not intentional, your characterization of them is belittling since most of them consider food assistance as something temporary to be used to help them while they work toward a better life. And for the majority that is just how food assistance is used, as a temporary measure. Most are worthy people in need not a permanent group of people that will need charity all their lives which is exactly how the Republicans would like to characterize them.

          • sigrid28

            This reminds me of how hard it was to advocate for our child who has special needs, when teachers and administrators in elementary schools used the ploy of implying we were belittling our child by insisting on his need for greater or more comprehensive services than they were willing (or perhaps able) to give. It reminds me of the way health insurers deny services to children and adults with autism, a lifelong disability, by calling it mental illness instead–who would want to admit their child was disabled? It seems as though you have spent many years playing this casuistic euphemism game as a way of tactfully–and a little too smoothly–denying services to those who need them by suggesting they should be embarrassed to ask for them. In this economy, brought on by the policies of the mean-spirited Republicans to whom you refer, the hungry without job prospects–no less than autistic individuals and the mentally ill–know that they are worthy even though their needs may be greater and more long-term than anyone, especially providers looking to deny services, would like to admit.

          • elw

            How you have jumped to the conclusion you have from what I wrote is beyond me. I suggest you go back and read what I said again.

          • tax payer

            I took a cousin ( her husband left her ) to try to get benefits for her children and the lady there treated her like trash, so I leaned over, and reminded her; you have a job because these people need benefits. I will help those that I know aren’t siphoning the system. There are some in another Blog that hate me, but they can hate me all they want because it won’t make me be like them.

  • Bill Thompson

    Food is not a luxury nor should it be used as a tool. Time and time again we hear people should help themselves but what we don’t hear is that there are kids that will go Hungry. My first job 40 years ago was in a school I worked as a fireman ( I shoveled coal in to a boiler to heat the school ). 80 % of the kids I met,had it not been for the breakfast and lunch provided by the NYC food assistance program would be missing one or more meals a day. The school opened at 8 am and the kids were showing up at 6 am because their guardian or parent was off to work. I took a lot of BS for letting the kids in to the school before 8 am but the lunch lady’s said that would look after them. To withhold food is cruel and inhuman.

    • sigrid28

      I saw the same thing in impoverished neighborhood schools in Chicago, where I had one of my first jobs 40 years ago, as a substitute teacher. There was one inexpensive but luxurious lunch available to these children for free and to staff for a pittance, thanks to government food subsidies that made American cheese and butter two of the least costly food staples: the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world. Kudos to lunch ladies who made them taste delicious.

    • Allan Richardson

      Shouldn’t those kids be at the factory door looking for work? At least the kids in Bangladesh aren’t that lazy! Neither were our ancestors: Oliver Twist managed to look after himself, didn’t he?

      Naturally, the above is sarcasm, but the private opinions of conservatives of the CEO/politician/pundit class are not too far from it. Remember Newt’s idea for elementary school kids to clean up the school in order to get “work experience?”

      • Independent1

        Yeah, and I remember quite clearly New’s suggestion on how to deal with our enemies during one of the pre-election debates last spring – “Here’s how we’ll deal with our enemies – We’ll Kill them!!!” And the Republican crowd stood in North Carolian just and cheered; proving even more just how anti-Christian/anti-Human HE and the typical Republican can be. Any resemblence that a conservative has to being Christian is purely a figment of their own imagination. The term “Conservative Christian” is an oxymoron.

    • tax payer

      In Mexico the students have to pay for their breakfast and their noon meal, so most of them go hungry or take their tacos to school. The point being ( not every country ) feeds the children of their citizens like in this country. I am not suggesting to stop it, but to be grateful they don’t suffer as their Neighbors.

  • elw

    It is pretty sad when our law makers vote to cut a food source for the needy and elderly but try and raise the budget for the military and even buy them expensive toys they do not even want. Most people on food stamps work and most are trying hard to improve their lives. To take food out of the mouth of children and the elderly is unconscionable and shows that there is no “compassion” in the Conservative mind.

    • Independent1

      As you pointed out, on one side, the GOP will cut the budget for programs that do not donate to their election campaigns while providing money to programs that feed the companies of their rich campagin donors. Just yesterday (6/14) the Republican led House of Reps passed a bill that provided billions more in defense spending than our military even asked for – the bill PREVENTS the Pentagon from cutting hardware expenditures that it doesn’t even want (to ensure that Republican House members repay donor companies for helping get them elected), and PREVENTS President Obama from closing down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay (I guess because Republicans are adamant about not having the detainees brought to America); again, perpetuating expenses that are unwanted and unnecessary.

      • elw

        Sometimes when I watch what the GOP is doing, I wonder if when President Eisenhower warned about the military complex if he had ever pictured elected congressional representative posing as Congressional Members. I also wonder what he would think of that. I find it hard to believe he would approve, he was afterall the last Republican who acted like a President rather than a GOP opperative.

        • DurdyDawg

          And he was only that because he knew and existed among the common man.. knew their needs and chose to better their plight. Back then even the majority of democrats applauded this republican’s humanity.

          • elw

            Yes he was respected and loved by everyone.

  • 4sanity4all

    This madness is the result of conservative radio and television blowhards who rant daily about ‘leeches’ who ‘freeload’ off of the long suffering working man. Tell you what, I have been a hard working person all my life, and by the grace of God, was always able to feed myself. But I know that others were not as lucky, and they need help. I do not begrudge them that help. With the economy the way it is, I know that not all people who want a job can find one. And many who are working cannot afford housing, food, and medical care. I suppose there are some freeloaders, scamming the system. I expect that the government can find the cheaters and drop them from the public dole. Meanwhile, in the interest of not letting any innocent children go to bed hungry, I am in favor of keeping the safety net in place. This is not a third world country, and no one should be going to sleep hungry in the U.S.A.!

  • JDavidS

    I certainly hope this is a failure. If it’s not then there will be the usual suspects clamouring for a reduction in benefits.

  • Pamby50

    The republicans make me sick. They must ask themselves, How many elderly can we kick off meals on wheels? How many people can we kick off food stamps? Is WIC included in this debacle? If so, they need to see the documentary Babyland.