As 26 House Democrats take the Food Stamp Challenge, prominent millionaire Republican congressmen are poised to pass a bill that would cut $20 billion from the food stamp program.
Twenty six House Democrats are trying feed themselves on $31.50 for an entire week. Most of them realized very quickly that $1.50 per meal doesn’t go very far.
Rep. Hank Johnson
(R-GA) (D-GA) appeared on MSNBC’s Politics Nation to discuss his experience so far.
Rep. Johnson explained how little $31.50 actually bought. He detailed his diet for the week. Johnson said that he would only be eating two meals a day. His meat for the day will be bacon. He got lucky, and found a buy one get one free sale. He also will subsist on oatmeal, Ramen noodles, hot dogs, waffles, syrup, bananas, and he “splurged” on some tea.
Rep. Johnson said that Republicans would never pass these cuts if they had to live on $31.50 a week, but, “The problem is that we have so many millionaires on the other side of the aisle that they will never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, or trying to stretch dollars so that they can eat for the period of time that they have the finances to pay for.”
According to the Fiscal Times, congressional Republicans are arguing that the food stamp program is corrupt, “But many congressional Republicans and conservative groups believe that food stamp spending is out of control and ripe with corruption – and that it needs to be reined in to reduce the deficit. These critics say a once relatively modest social safety net has grown into a costly grab bag for down-on-their-luck middle-class Americans, college students looking for free pizza and junk food and countless others who game the system.”
This isn’t even close to the truth.
Look at who is really on food stamps:
It not college students, but children who make up the largest group of food stamp recipients.
When Republicans want to talk about social safety net programs they always fall back on some version of Ronald Reagan’s rich, black, Chicago welfare queen, but the truth is white people are the largest racial group of food stamp recipients.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that two of the House Republicans who are pushing the hardest for these cuts are millionaires Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor. Over the course of the past year, both of these men have referred to cutting food for the poor as common sense.
Republicans like Cantor and Ryan claim to be opposed to these programs because they create a “culture of dependency,” but what they don’t tell you is that they support a different culture of dependency. The difference is that Republicans want the poor to be dependent on Wal-Mart for a job. They want to make sure that there is no safety net for anyone, so that the non-rich are serfs and servants who serve at the whim of the wealthy and corporations. Republicans aren’t opposed to dependency. Their problem is that programs like unemployment insurance and SNAP offer people help, so that they aren’t working for pennies a day while hoping a billionaire is generous and pays them enough to feed themselves.
There is a war on the poor happening right now, and the bad news is that the poor are losing.
(Note: All graphics from Politics Nation)
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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