One of the more difficult tasks for the military is teaching soldiers to disassociate their feelings of humanity in combat situations to prevent them from hesitating to fire their weapon if they are ever confronted by an armed adversary. There are many professions that require leaders to have a certain amount of pure objectivity in order to make decisions that benefit the greater good whether it is a construction company, hospital, or a government. However, government leaders must take into account the human toll of their decisions whether it is going to war or dealing with a budget, and as Americans have witnessed for the past year, Republicans have lost any sense of concern for Americans as human beings; if they ever had any.
With all the talk this week about the deficit and budget cuts, it appears Republicans have no interest in considering what effect their Draconian budgets have on their fellow Americans. Of course, men like Paul Ryan, John Boehner, and Willard Romney are pushing the “reduce the national debt” meme, but their arguments fall flat when they continue advocating for harsher cuts to social safety nets while giving more entitlements to the wealthy and big oil. Earlier this week, Boehner promised Republicans would extend the Bush-era tax cuts that are projected to cost $8.1 trillion, and then had the audacity to promise to hold a debt ceiling increase hostage for even more cuts to safety nets to more than offset the amount the debt limit is increased. It makes absolutely no sense on a fiscal level, but on a human level, it is downright evil.
Willard Romney and Paul Ryan’s budgets make vicious cuts to safety net spending such as SNAP (food stamps), and transform Medicare to a voucher system to save money, but any savings will not even cover a fraction of the huge tax cuts for the rich. This is not a political or budget issue any more; it is a human tragedy at the hands of one political party who completely disregards the human toll they seem perfectly fine imposing on American citizens. Early in the Republican primary, Willard Romney made a flippant comment that he does not worry about the very poor, and qualified his contemptible remark by claiming there are safety nets to take care of the most vulnerable Americans. However, his grand economic scam decimates the safety nets more severely than the Ryan budget informing that Romney’s first remark that he doesn’t worry about the very poor means he doesn’t care about the poor.
Republicans are wont to claim America is a Christian nation, and Romney particularly promotes himself and his Mormonism as being Christian, but he is as far afield from Christ’s admonition to care for the poor as his faith is from Christianity. It is well-known that Romney has no idea what it is like to be hungry, or wonder where his family’s next meal will come from, but where is his sense of compassion? The recent Ryan budget that passed the Republican-controlled House was endorsed by Romney, and besides cuts to education and privatizing Medicare, there are massive cuts to food stamps that assist 46 million Americans put food on the table.
Whether Romney or Ryan know it or not, food stamps are not a luxury for elderly Americans or children, they are a lifeline that keeps them alive. The requirements to be eligible for the SNAP program are robust enough that only the neediest Americans are able to qualify for assistance and a fair share of those who do qualify are the working poor who fall below the federal poverty line. Over the past week, this author interviewed several families who use food stamps, and every family had at least one adult in the workforce and still desperately needed help to feed their families. The trend toward paying minimum wage for part-time work to avoid giving lunch breaks and benefits is a model more large companies like Wal Mart are using to increase their profits, but it is slowly sending more Americans into poverty. The overriding message the people who were willing to share their stories was that they want a good, living-wage job instead of depending on government assistance, and the shame these good Americans feel at having to accept handouts is crushing.
The stories were all the same and most of the families were not making it from paycheck to paycheck, and half had moved in with family members to make ends meet. Every one of the families were mortified that when school is on recess in two weeks, their children will miss a meal a day throughout the summer, and all the parents shared that they went without food so their children had something to eat. These are human beings, Americans, who are barely surviving, and Republicans are pushing hard to put them on the street without any assistance. To be honest, it was extremely heart-rending to sit and watch grown men break down and weep out of sheer despair and hear them wonder aloud what kind of politicians would cut necessities while giving the rich bigger tax cuts. These families did not have computers, cable television, or money to put gas in their cars and half of them resorted to walking to work because they could not even afford to use public transit and still afford food.
There is something wrong with Republicans and their supporters who have become cold and heartless to advocate for more entitlements for the wealthy while the poorest of the poor are going to bed hungry. Do Republicans know that 17 million children go to bed hungry every night of their lives? One hopes they do not, but the figures are reported in mainstream news outlets so they have to know what their policies are doing to our most vulnerable citizens. According to the Agriculture Department, 50 million Americans were unable to afford to buy sufficient food in the past year. Tom Vilsack, the Agriculture Secretary said, “These numbers are a wake-up call … for us to get very serious about food security and hunger, about nutrition and food safety in this country.” Vilsack also said the numbers would get worse, and that 96% of the 50 million reported the food they did buy did not last till their next paycheck. This is happening in the richest country in the history of the world, and Republicans are cutting back to save money to fund more tax cuts for the wealthy.
There are, frankly, no words to describe the heartlessness of any American who takes food away from the poor to give the rich bigger tax cuts. It is beyond evil and should cause abject shame among those pushing for more cuts. But that is the problem with heartless human beings. They have no shame, no morals, and forget about ethics. However, this is the America Republicans desire. Romney likes to claim this election is about what kind of America the voters want and he has laid out in detail the America he envisions where $19,000 is a good middle-class income, and the wealthy get a $10.7 trillion tax cut while millions of children, elderly, and working poor Americans starve to death or perish from lack of adequate healthcare. Maybe that is the Republican’s plan though; kill off the poorest Americans and save more money for the ultra-rich, and the saddest aspect is that they have garnered support from many of their intended victims who cannot get past their bible’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, contraception, or their racist objection to the one man who has the best chance to save them.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.
34 Replies to “As 50 Million Americans Starve, Republicans Seek to Cut Off Their Food Stamps”
Republicans have neither a heart nor a brain.
One of the markers of the authoritarian personality is hatred of weakness. That is why they hurt the poor, even when the means they choose to do so is likely to send them to join their ranks.
Like Romney said, “That’s just how business works, my friend.” These people lose, but someone else is making a lot of money from what they should have had.
If the damned Republicans win in November, a lot of people will die in this country (and many more will suffer deprivation) while the rich sit there making fun of the rest of us.
If they win, we’d move to another country… flee actually, if we could. Just where? Hard to say, because if they win they’re going to be doing everything they can to export their monstrous ways to every country on this planet. Someplace in Europe most likely, because at least many of the Europeans still show some common sense (and I think would resist theocracy).
If the Republicans win, I think WWIII will soon follow, as other countries resist the “Good Christians” who already have been trying to export their evil ideology and who would gain the support of the American military.
Bush and his ilk have already destroyed American influence in the world.
Remember, most of the world has rejected their brand of Christianity.
You refer to the tax breaks given big oil, big business, and the 1% as entitlements. The Republicans need to be called out on their reckless use of the word “entitlements” because the programs that are truly “entitlements” are those programs that the taxpayers prepaid for through our payroll taxes. The only true “entitlements” are Medicare and Social Security. The oil depletion allowances, farm subsidies, the low capital gains tax breaks, tax breaks for “carried interest” and benefits for the 1% are not entitlements. It is clear to me that the Republican Party is no longer a party that represents the interests of the voters, it has become the party that represents the the 1% and the corporations. It should be renamed to fit it’s corporatist beliefs to what it has become a Fascist Party (it’s beliefs are the same as those first put forward by Mussolini and later Hitler!). The Republican Party currently is the biggest threat to our Republic that it has ever faced. Remember, you only get to vote for dictator once when you vote this December!
I am convinced, as you, that if Rott and his PNAC crowd take power, they will implement their program of pure and perpetual war around the globe and pure and perpetual stratification at home. In that case, the remaining powers of the world may have no choice but to unite against theUnited States, and we would, indeed, be embroiled in a potentially thermonuclear WWIII.
It’s criminal. What kind of people wage war on their own citizens? There was a time when the citizenry were valued as workers to fill their factories. Now they build factories in foreign countries to sell goods in markets that are vastly larger than our own. Money has gone global and the haves could care less what happens to the have-nots.
Not so, these RWNJ’s have influence around the world, especially those who have adopted the Lausanne Movement. Not just pentacostal denominations either. It includes those of other faiths who have accepted the Lausanne Doctrine. They stirred up the pot in Uganda and now gay people are hunted down like dogs. They moved into Somalia and people poured over the borders into Ethiopia to live in refuge camps. Through the CNP they have insinuated themselves into other nations in a bid to fund guerillas etc. They have a far deeper connection that goes beyond the leaders of any nation they decide to mess with.
Anybody can point to the stereotype of the moocher out the street that is always asking for hand outs ( as the repugs are fond of doing ). However, the truth of the matter is that most of these people are hard working folks that are, as you state, ashamed to take government hand outs. This whole “leave the government out of it” crap is absurd. Charities help, but can not handle the millions of people that need day to day assistance just to survive.
It’s the same with health care, no church or charity is going to foot the bill for a person that needs a life saving operation, or ongoing cancer treatment. Letting people die from hunger or illness is monstrous, and I’m tired of getting the “WTF is wrong with you people” reaction from my friends and relatives that live in Europe.
Medicare and Social Security are not entitlements for those who paid into them their entire working lives. They are, as you note, retirement and old-age savings accounts. The gifts to big oil, corporations, and the wealthy are, in my view, entitlements from the American taxpayers. When men like Willard Romney pays a third in taxes as I do, he is getting entitlements that the poor and middle class do not. The GOP’s contention is that the rich are “entitled” to their lower tax rates. I do agree adamantly that all politicians must stop referring to Social Security and Medicare as entitlements unless they label the wealthy’s inheritances and investment returns as entitlements as well.
You are probably right and it will all be done in the name of their God. One most of us would barely recognize. But there is one glimmer of hope. If the RRight cannot work with the Mormon church hierarchy there will be authoritarian issues here which could mire them in inaction.
It is then, based on your comments that much more difficult to see how the common man can continue to support Republicans. I just shake my head.
This is a very touching piece. I found myself near tears through most of it. I am 59 years old and I feel such sorrow at seeing how our country has been decimated. I still have hope that people will open their eyes but knowing what I do about the New Apostalic Reformation I still worry. When you have false prophets like these people it is hard to fight back. They are the “GOD” people and unfortunately so many have followed their doctrine without even realizing what they are doing. They were able to package their religion in such a way as to make it a community experience. McDonalds, coffee shops, learning centers all at your local megachurch. It is like Disneyland for families so of course they are intrigued. By the time they start to get a clue, they have already been brainwashed with the “savior” aspect of it that they are afraid for their souls should they drop it. Religion is a powerful tool to use with many people as we saw with backers of George Bush. The man broke every rule of humanity and they still forgave him because he was a born again Christian supposedly. Hell they even made a case for Ted Bundy because he found God in prison.
These people and republicans are not sane they let religion rule their world and religion has been responsible for more deaths in this world than all wars combined.
they have money tho.
What is really horrible is if people DO go to them for help, they get hit with “It’s all your fault!!!”. When people seek help from those types they also often find “If you’d just turn your heart over to Jesus, your needs would be met!” and then the speaker would turn their back on them.
The churches… even the best, are unwilling to do anything more than a quick fix and while I’d argue that the dominionist ones could do far more if they’d focus on helping people instead of preaching “Deh WOOORRRRD”, for the most part cannot afford to really help – that is if they would want to in the first place. My experience was that they expect the quick “slap on the forehead” to fix everything and if it doesn’t, they get mad at you. That also goes true for when they do help… a can of beans and your dietary needs are supposed to be permanently fixed – even if you’re unemployed and have no way to put more on your table. Then there are those who want people who get help to eat a cheap, bad diet. They actually tried to pass a law in Florida forbidding people to use food stamps to buy anything “sweet” or treat-like.
What gets me is that the non-profits try to help, but as I learned, the person at the top made such good money (~$150,000 a year and more for running a homeless shelter? COME ON!) that there wasn’t much left for anyone else. That too is a common story.
I hear ya! It translates into little or no help. When my wife and I took a huge hit because of the economy, all we needed was a hand up for about a month or so until my regular paychecks from my new job started kicking in. We literally had to jump through hoops to locate any substantial help. The scam was, that “charities” like the Salavation Army were advertising heavily that they provide temporary household and apartment living for families in need. When I checked it out, I found out there was nothing of the sort! The most that they could provide was a cot in an overcrowded old building….and there was a waiting list and screening process! It was all a false advertising scam to get donations. W
I hear ya! It translates into little or no help. So many “charities” are for profit money making scams. The bigger ones make a mint from those thrift stores like Savers, with a very small percentage going to any charity work at all. Plus, their advertisements are carefully constructed to make it seem like they do great work so people will donate to them.
the problem with money going to the poor is that it takes from the growning beast that is the tax cuts for the uber wealthy.
the poor are our most vunerable and after raiding the money for education, health care and other programs that are currently on life support, the gop needs to find other avenues of feeding the beast.
Looking at the amount of money required to pay those tax cuts and cutting off more and more revenue sources, the lack of jobs drying up even small sources of revenue, the gop is hunting for places for money. Going through the couch cushions and coming up empty they are now going after children and babies food. Children’s bread in return for corporate dough.
How long before the gop has raided everything and all the coffers are empty and the need to pay off the rich and their demands for more bring nothing. A few years?
The austertity con game was a great way to cyphon off so much more money and faster these last few years while the rubes believed thier fairytales of job creators, ect.
But, now that austerity is being exposed for the con it was, and the usual sources for robbing from the poor is shutting down, its not surprising the republicans are now going for the most cruel and cold hearted cuts to feed Norquist and his cronies.
the question should be, when are the american people going to say enough and open their eyes. Finally take the blinders off and accept that for decades they have been conned by the gop and suffered, like a co-dependent-to keep believing the right was righteous.
When are they finally going to face the reality and stop excusing the right and gop and say enough.
When we went without power for three months (couldn’t afford the bills), they (Sallie) offered us space in their shelter.
Of course, we had to abide by all the rules which pretty much meant abandoning our home and everything we had. We also couldn’t stay together… had to be separated. We would have had to follow the standard “homeless” path and rules which are restrictive to put it mildly.
We refused their “aid”, to which the response was rather dismissive of our situation.
We learned to do without… we’d go to family on a weekly basis (sometimes twice a week) to shower, and I rigged up an old generator to run our well twice a day to flush the toilets and get enough water to cook breakfast and dinner (and wash dishes). We used a Coleman stove and didn’t buy anything that needed refrigeration. It wasn’t fun but it was do-able. Of course, no computers, only one hour of TV a week (on a portable back when such could be had), and using small oil lamps to read by.
During the whole time, I was terrified that they (the Salvation Army) would report us to the county, which since we didn’t have regular running water and were essentially camping in our mobile home… would probably meant they would have condemned the place (the county IS known for doing things like that).
Oh, and that’s when I started learning just how worthless most of the “safety net” actually was, and eventually came to understand it was the Republicans who made it so. If you don’t fit one of their favorite stereotypes, you fall right through.
Wow, Great piece Rmuse!
In my humble opinion…we will eventually need to take it to the streets. Where we should have been in 2000…when we were told us to ‘Stop Counting the Votes’!
The Republicans have ‘Morality’ absolutely upside down, as Robert Reich says.
Please pass this on…many people are visual and this video/short could actually help people see/understand what has gone horribly wrong with the American GOP.
I am hoping you are wrong. Thermonuclear warfare would destroy their wealth too, and possibly their lives. I’m hoping that’s enough. I do see a time when the armed forces of the US are forced between orders to shoot civilians and protecting them.
As the Middle Class gets squeezed harder, there will be less money for the charitable work of feeding, clothing, housing, providing transportation (bus passes), utilities of those who have even less.
People say that if the GOP wins they will flee the country. Where? Come join me in Argentina. I moved here in August ’11. Other than having to learn Spanish,,there were a few more things to learn. How to enjoy affordable food. The farmers market is ridiculously cheap here. How to accept a kiss on the cheek from strangers as they greet you. How to sit back and enjoy the free medical system they have down here. Yes,, even as a tourist I enjoy the same rights that the citizens have here, free health care. I can walk into an ER and not pay a penny. My kids and I have primary care physicians and do not pay anything at all. How to enjoy a fresh drink of water out of pristine glacial lakes. How to kick back at 9:30 at nght in the main park here in the city and watch the kids play while drinking tea (it is called mate’ here mah-tay,, and is an ancient beverage) while snacking on cookies or sandwiches. Not to bad for a thrid world country. Now,, the only kicker is,, the government is just the same as back home but the people do not suffer. We have a better condition of life here hands down.
Be careful which lies you believe. If there is no reference to actual events, acts, bills or checkable resources then you are just buying into the ideology of the person spouting off whether it be liberal or concertive. Please don’t be just a blind follower just because it sounds good. Check it out and make your own decisions! Many times what sounds good is actually bad for the people you are trying to help. Example, a person is a drug addict so you make drugs legal so they won’t have to steal anymore to pay illeagle prices.
Are there lies here you would like to expose?
Been there done that, it’s not fun but certainly doable. While this was going on I was working 12 – 14 hours a day doing whatever was available and looking for permanent employment. I found that all the safety nets, Food Stamps, etc were controled by the Democrats and when I broke down and decided to apply for food stamps I waiten in line for several hours and when I finally got to the front of the line the woman looked up and laughingly said “You want food stamps?” You see I was dressed in old but good clothes including a tie because I was out looking for a job all day. My heart sank, my pride was gone but stood up and we both said NO THANK YOU and walked away. I eventually got a decent job and later started my own business and now am in the so called upper middle class. Do I know what I am talking about when I say that people need incentives to improve themselves and not rely on the Gov to take care of them – darn tooten!!!
Even though they are still part of the US, the territories like the VI and Puerto Rico still have more freedoms than those who reside in the states do. I’m willing to take on the hurricanes for some of that action.
You say the RePUBIC-clown party no longer represents the interests of the voters. I wholeheartedly agree; however, it also begs the question of how low are those who do still cast their votes in favor of these moronic specimens.
Controlled by the Democrats? BULLSHIT!
If they’d been controlled by the Democrats, it wouldn’t have been so hard to get on. They wouldn’t have found excuses to deny people. They would have cared. They wouldn’t force people into situations where they had to beg for food. Been there, after all. Gotta keep those lazy bums from sponging off of the government, dont’cha know? (Sarcasm off.)
As far as I’m concerned, you’re part of the problem. What about those who never get the opportunities you did? What about those who cannot work or hold down a “regular job” because of health? What about those who lost in the lottery of life (which by your own words you won!)? You didn’t make it on your own, you know!!!
You might be interested in some research I did (which I’d eventually like to publish, but haven’t had the time to re-write the paper). I did primary research doing content analysis of the reporting on the Jena 6 situation by the news services.
One interesting thing came out… the more conservative, the more inaccurate – no, the more they LIED.
It’s been written that reality has a liberal bias, and that has proved true so many times that I consider it a given. If something is more liberal in tone/content, the more accurate it will prove to be. If something is conservative, the more inaccurate (or I should say likely to be a lie).
As far as I’m concerned, our government has become a criminal organization WORSE than any other.
Surplus to depression.
Remember the days when Republicans would call you a traitor if you didn’t support one of Bush’s request for 500 million which they had no way to pay for. For the support of the troops that they got into a war for lies and destroyed a country and killed a bunch of innocent people.
The days when Bush was blowing through the money they say we don’t have.
And now when it comes time to spend a dollar on their own country after 8 years of neglect from the guy they voted for.
The answer is hell no.
Republicans have a strange way of showing they love their own country.
I remember when you were unAmerican for not supporting the “war to get bin laden turned war to kill Iraqis turned war to kill anyone President Cheney didnt like”
Now they all say they didnt support Bush and that its Obama’s war. In fact many Bush supporters now deny he existed
Well its Obama’s war to fight, but its not Obama’s war. Its the Cheney/Bush wars
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