Few will even notice major cuts in our nation’s food stamp program, according to Rep. Steve King (R-IA).
Speaking on the floor Tuesday, King argued that a $20 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program “spread out over ten years is not something that is going to be noticeable.”
KING: We do calculate our budget and spending in a 10-year window, so that means $800 billion is the universe of money we’re talking about. … Over the time period of 10 years, there would be $20 billion trimmed off of $800 billion. What comes to about a 2.5 percent decrease in the overall projected expenditures of the food stamp program known as SNAP. After all of that technical gibberish, the bottom line is a $20 billion cut is a $2.5 billion cut in the increase. $20 billion spread out over ten years is not something that is going to be noticeable.
In a disgusting display, even by TEApublican standards, Stephen Fincher (R-TN) quoted the “Book of Thessalonians” from the New Testament to justify letting the poor starve. Fincher smugly stated on the House floor:
The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.
Of course, it’s a well-known attribute of conservatives to see things in black and white while often missing more nuanced aspects of real life. In Fincher’s warped mind, people that need help are just lazy moochers who should simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps, even though, as most liberals know, many of these people don’t even have boots–or functioning feet in the context of this analogy–for that matter.
We have three points to make to Mr. Fincher and anyone else who buys into this absurd and disturbing way of thinking.
1. Most people on SNAP are not “unwilling” to work. Food insecurity is a real problem in America, but indolence is not to blame. From a Center on Policy and Budget Priorities (cbpp.org) piece titled, Contrary to “Entitlement Society” Rhetoric, Over Nine-Tenths of Entitlement Benefits Go to Elderly, Disabled, or Working Household:
Some conservative critics of federal social programs, including leading presidential candidates, are sounding an alarm that the United States is rapidly becoming an “entitlement society” in which social programs are undermining the work ethic and creating a large class of Americans who prefer to depend on government benefits rather than work. A new CBPP analysis of budget and Census data, however, shows that more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that entitlement and other mandatory programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled, or members of working households — not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work. This figure has changed little in the past few years.Share of entitlements benefits
Conservatives have also proven to be shameless lying hypocrites in many cases. Take Mark Sanford, who just won a congressional seat in South Carolina, for example. After much finger-wagging, Mr. Sanford voted to impeach President Clinton over the Lewinsky sex scandal, yet asked for forgiveness–without any sense of irony–after being caught romping with his mistress in South America on the tax payer’s dime. It would seem Rep. Fincher also fits this mold.
House Republicans on Friday unanimously voted down a bill that would have raised the minimum wage. Six Democrats joined them in defeating the effort.
The vote came after a surprise move by Democrats, who tacked onto a jobs training program bill an amendment that would have brought the national $7.25 minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015. But Republicans managed to defeat the effort while approving the bill overall.
A few weeks back, House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came out in support raising minimum wage, responding President Obama’s State of the Union call for a wage increase. Pelosi’s effort, and the effort proposed Friday, would actually bring the minimum wage up higher than Obama’s suggestion of $9.
If the minimum wage were brought up to $10.10 an hour, it would not be a revolutionary hike; rather, it would be indexed to inflation and consistent with historical borrowing power. Had the minimum wage been indexed to inflation in 1968, it would be $10.40.
MAKE THEM WORK FOR RICE AND GRUEL!!!111111
Food stamps will buy any type of food, including powdered donuts, Snickers bars, Diet Coke, and organic cucumbers. I get $526—the max—deposited into my food stamp account each month to spend on anything but prepackaged and ready-to-eat meals, the kind of stuff you’d get at Target’s in-store deli or café. Alcohol and cigarettes are verboten too. I’m surprised to learn that seed packets are on the approved food stamp list, but I’ve never bought any. The planting, watering and waiting would take up too much time—an equally precious commodity.
Poverty can’t be recognized in any outward sign, though it has its stereotypical markers: ratty clothes, ratty purse, ratty wallet, ratty kids with food-stained faces running wild at the end of the checkout line.
And obesity. It’s another sign of poverty that initially confounded me. If you’re poor, how can you be fat? Wouldn’t you be skinny because you can’t afford enough to eat?
But shopping proved my logic faulty. I can buy a lot more Mrs. Baird’s powdered donuts at $2 a bag than organic cucumbers at $2.25 apiece. I’ve got a family of three to feed. Organic cucumbers aren’t going to cut it.
Buying “junk food” with food stamps is a paradox that Congress weighed in 2008. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, “Several times in the history of SNAP, Congress had considered placing limits on the types of food that could be purchased with program benefits. However, they concluded that designating foods as luxury or non-nutritious would be administratively costly and burdensome.”
Unless junk food is taken off the list of eligible food items or the cost of healthy fare decreases dramatically, poor people are likely to continue leading heavier, unhealthier lives.
In 2012, Texas was identified as the 10th-fattest state in the country in a study from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Sixty-six percent of Texans are carrying around too many pounds: A whopping 30.4 percent are classified as obese, and another 35 percent are overweight.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s office, lack of education and income are directly related to obesity; without education you make less money, which makes you more likely to be poor, which makes you more likely to be fat. Just 22 percent of college graduates are obese, while 37 percent of Texans without a high school diploma fall into the category.
Today, nearly 6 million Texans live in poverty. For a family of four that means an annual household income of less than $22,050 a year. And 23 percent of Texans are impoverished, exceeding the national average of 20 percent. From 2009 to 2010, Texas added another 373,000 poor residents—a population the size of Arlington.
And 38 percent of Texans who earn between $15,000 and $24,000 a year are—you guessed it— obese.
House Republicans today, in addition to voting on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) so-called “Plan B” — which extends the Bush tax cuts on income up to $1 million — will also vote on a bill to replace the spending cuts scheduled for the end of the year.
As The Hill reported, the bill closely mirrors a measure passed by House Republicans in May known as the “The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012.” (Here is the underlying legislation, which will include these minor tweaks.) That bill voids both the military spending cuts and domestic spending cuts set to take place in 2013 and replaces them with a host of cuts to domestic spending, including:
- Cuts to food stamps that could knock millions of low-income Americans out of the program;
- Cuts to Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers meals to seniors or other individuals who are unable to prepare their own food;
- Cuts funding to health exchanges that will be created under Obamacare and funding for Medicaid included in the same law;
- Cuts to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that will yield no cost savings, but will make bailouts of big banks more likely;
- Denying the Child Tax Credit to the parents of American children, if the parents are undocumented immigrants.
For wingnuts the Gingrich label must now become legislation, even though cutting food stamps hurts red states the most.
When asked if food stamps should be on the table in fiscal negotiations, Sessions said “absolutely” and pulled a Romney, saying that Congress needs to “identify how we can move people from dependency to independence.” He added that there were a lot of people getting benefits who didn’t qualify for them.
“Let me stop you there,” O’Brien said. She pointed to the fact that Sessions had voted to expand the food-stamp program in 2002 and 2008. And she cited a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report that found the food-stamp program to have “one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program in recent years [and] has received its lowest error rates on record.” (“That’s not accurate,” Sessions riposted, attacking CBPP’s methodology.)
Then, O’Brien went for the jugular. “I mean, it’s 61 percent of households in your state have children who are recipients of the food program they are on,” she said. At a loss, Sessions attempted to shift the conversation. “Do you think there’s no problem with the program?” he asked O’Brien. “Do you think it’s perfectly well-run?”
“I guess my question would be, when are you thinking of things to cut… Why not cut something else? There are other things that could be on the table before you pick a program that is feeding the nation’s poor children.”
On the eve of Thanksgiving, Fox News pundit Andrea Tantaros mockingly dismissed the plight of hungry Americans, claiming that she would “look fabulous” if she were forced to live on a food stamp diet.
Tantaros’ vapid commentary came in response to Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker’s pledge to accept the food-stamp challenge and try to subsist on $133 for food per month for an extended period of time, just as food stamp recipients in New Jersey do.
After Fox Business panelists speculated whether Booker’s pledge is an effort at “positioning himself for a run for the presidency as a man of the people,” Tantaros quipped: “I should try it because, do you know how fabulous I’d look. I’d be so skinny. I mean, the camera adds ten pounds.”
Tantaros’ comments are appalling and uninformed. While most of us feast on turkey and yams, stuffing and cranberries, on Thursday, millions of Americans will go hungry, just as they do every day. The food stamp challenge exists to demonstrate the struggles that food insecure families face trying to live on their monthly allotment of food.
Despite the difficulty in subsisting on food stamps, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which was formerly known as food stamps, helped keep millions of families out of poverty in 2011.
Tantaros’ commentary continues a long and extensive Fox campaign to dismiss hunger-related issues and to demonize SNAP recipients.
Walmart, one of the richest corporations in the world, refuses to pay its employees a livable wage or provide any form of decent healthcare, increasing reliance on government assistance, and the need for a social safety net.
At over $446 billion per year, Walmart is the third highest revenue grossing corporation in the world. Walmart earns over $15 billion per year in pure profit and pays its executives handsomely. In 2011, Walmart CEO Mike Duke – already a millionaire a dozen times over – received an $18.1 million compensation package. The Walton family controlling over 48 percent of the corporation through stock ownership does even better. Together, members of the Walton family are worth in excess of $102 billion – which makes them one of the richest families in the world.
What is shameful is that CEO Mike Duke makes more money in one hour, than his employees earn in an entire year. Yet, Walmart – which employs millions of people in its stores, distribution centers, and warehouses – continues to abuse its employees and refuses to pay them a livable wage. The company has frequently been charged with wage theft claims by workers who point to the most common forms of wage theft: the refusal to pay proper overtime, the refusal to honor the minimum wage, and illegal paycheck deductions.
Meanwhile, Walmart routinely blocks any attempt by workers to organize, using anti-union propaganda and scare tactics, firing employees without just cause, failing to provide any form of decent healthcare coverage or a livable wage.
To make matters worse, these abusive Walmart policies have increased employee reliance on government assistance and the need for a government funded social safety net. In fact, Walmart has become the number one driver behind the growing use of food stamps in the United States with “as many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores using food stamps.”
There is a lot of misinformation circulating on social networks regarding the response and recovery effort for Hurricane Sandy. Rumors spread fast: please tell a friend, share this page and help us provide accurate information about the types of assistance available.
Check here often for an on-going list of rumors and their true or false status.
Cash Cards / Food Stamps
There are message boards and traffic on social media sites related to FEMA distributing cash cards to individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy. This is FALSE. (November 5)
Individuals in declared counties affected by Sandy should register for assistance by visiting disasterassistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA.
Food stamps being given out to residents of New York and New Jersey as a part of FEMA assistance. This is FALSE. (November 3)
If you are a survivor in a declared county, you should apply for assistance online, on a mobile device, or over the phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
There are reports that FEMA is paying $1,000 to go to New York and New Jersey to clean up debris. This is FALSE. (November 5)
For information on how to volunteer and assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, visit Serve.gov/sandy
There is a spike of traffic related to FEMA hiring cleanup crews in both New York and New Jersey. This is FALSE. (November 2)
For information on how to volunteer and assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, visit Serve.gov/sandy
There was an inaccurate report on a radio station discussing a tent city for sheltering at Monmouth Park race track in New Jersey. This is FALSE. (November 5)
There are tents set up at Monmouth Park for first responders and utility and construction workers as a place to rest, take a break and receive food and water. If you are in need of shelter, visit the American Red Cross FIND OPEN SHELTERS by visiting, redcross.org
There have been recent blog posts and social media traffic expressing that FEMA is out of bottled water. This is FALSE. (November 3)
We are providing water to our state partners for distribution. For New York locations and times of food and water distribution centers and daytime warming centers, visit nyc.gov.
There have been calls and posts from citizens related to the failure of the Old Bridge Township water system in Old Bridge, New Jersey. This is FALSE. (November 3)
The Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority (OBMUA) has reported that the water system is stable and safe and that there are no usage restrictions currently in place.
A non-violent protest over working conditions at the warehouse of a Walmart supplier resulted in more than a dozen arrests Monday.
Riot police arrested 17 peaceful Walmart protesters in Elwood, Ill., the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The protesters were some of the 600 people taking part in the rally, which was organized by Warehouse Workers for Justice. The protesters were supporting the employees of a warehouse in Elwood, Illinois, which is operated by an outside contractor that supplies Walmart stores, according to Reuters.
The workers have been on strike since September protesting their working conditions. The 17 protesters who were arrested were blocking the warehouse’s entrance by sitting in the middle of the road, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Walmart outsources much of its warehouse work to save money, but this has come at a cost to workers, according to a recent report by the National Employment Law Project. These contractors pay low wages and often violate labor laws, according to the report.
Walmart has been criticized for other labor practices as well. Walmart workers aren’t unionized and many Walmart workers are paid very low wages. Meanwhile, Walmart’s profits are booming.