Thursday, January 30, 2014

Congress Doesn't Care About Poor & Hurting Americans

(The cartoon image above is by Tom Toles in The Washington Post.)

It's only been a few days since CBS News revealed that 20% of all United States households are in the SNAP program (getting food stamps). That's the largest percentage of households to ever be in the food stamp program. And we know there are many others who qualify for the program but haven't signed up to get the food stamps (either out of misplaced pride, or because they don't know they qualify).

These are not lazy people wanting to lay around and let the government support them. Most of them are either unemployed and would love to find work (but can't because of the poor economy), or they are working hard for a wage so low they can't provide for their family. And both groups are in this predicament not through their own efforts, but because of the misguided economic policies pursued by our government for the last few decades. Policies that resulted in a severe recession, the loss of millions of jobs, the outsourcing of more millions of jobs, a falling median wage and a disappearing middle class, and a minimum wage that has lost 1/3 of its buying power.

Now a reasonable person would expect those politicians who created this economic mess to realize the error of their ways, and change those policies to create jobs, raise wages, and more fairly distribute incomes in the country. But that hasn't happened, and it looks like it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.

In fact, just in the last few days, Congress has made it very clear that it doesn't care about those hurting Americans. They have just agreed to a new farm bill -- a bill that will reduce funding for food stamps by $9 billion. These congressional fat cats have evidently decided that those Americans needing food stamps are living too large, and that money is needed to protect tax cuts for the rich and subsidies for the corporations.

I think we're supposed to be grateful that the Republicans didn't get their wish to cut food stamps by $20-$40 billion, and have agreed to only cut the program by $9 billion. But I find it hard to be grateful for this vicious cut to food for the needy (by the same people who caused that need). And the Democrats are not blameless in this mess. They were perfectly willing to cut $4 billion from the food stamp program without any prodding from Republicans, and wound up agreeing to the $9 billion cut.

Frankly, this latest congressional action is disgusting. They need to be fixing our broken economy. Instead, they seem determined to make it worse. A pox on anyone who votes for this odious bill!

1 comment:

  1. "Instead, they seem determined to make it worse." But Ted, if they don't make it worse, how will they ever get President Obama out of office? After all, according to so many of them, The President is about to change the rules of the game and run for a third term.

    You're right though, the democrats aren't exactly innocent on this front either. The people on both sides of the aisles in both the house and senate need to wake up the reality that if they don't do something substantial concerning our homeless and working poor, we will become as the third world nations where poverty and hunger has eventually driven people toward armed rebellion.


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