Koch-Congress Preparing To Starve the Poor With Drastic Food Stamp Cuts

One of the reasons the Koch brothers invested so heavily in the midterm elections was to put a stop to domestic spending that a Democratic controlled Senate held in abeyance and never allowed to reach President Obama’s desk.  Now that Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, it was just a short matter of time before they could do the real the damage they have intended since Barack Obama was elected. It is likely they would have cut government down to size by drastically slashing social programs when Obama took office just out of spite, but their devastating Great Recession has proven to be the ideal vehicle to slash domestic spending under the guise of debt and deficit reduction. That is except where spending on tax cuts for the rich and the military, particularly Israel’s military, are concerned; then there are never enough spending increases. It is just how Republicans operate.

Two areas that are particularly offensive to, and primary targets of, the Koch brothers are any kind of spending to help Americans in poverty or  barely subsisting eat and have access to healthcare. Throughout his tenure as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan proposed Heritage Foundation austerity budgets that all but eliminated spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, food stamps), and changed Medicare into a coupon.

Ryan’s plan for Medicare privatization entails retired Americans producing their GOP-issued “coupon” for an alleged discount when purchasing pathetically underserving and overpriced private health insurance plans instead of using traditional Medicare; the Medicare they paid for their entire working lives. That money they paid into Medicare, according to conservative ideology, belongs to the rich in the form of tax cuts. The good news is that Ryan is no longer in charge of the Republicans’ budget process. But the bad news is the Koch brothers own both the House and Senate, and austerity-mad Republicans are emboldened to do more Heritage budget damage than even Ryan could imagine and targeting food stamps and Medicare is just the first in a long line of austerity cuts to make room for more defense spending and tax cuts for the rich.

The big plan the new Koch Senate is due to propose this week is cutting food stamps substantially and giving the reduced amounts directly to states in the form of “block grants.” Republicans say it makes more sense to let states parse out the reduced amounts in food stamps to the working poor, children, Veterans, the disabled, and elderly because state organizations are “there on the ground” and know what the people really need. What Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham say the states do not need, particularly Republican-controlled states, is federal bureaucracy telling them how to spend federal money. As is always the case, Republicans claim the federal government has no place telling states how to issue food assistance any more than they have any business regulating toxins poured into the air and water.

Republicans have been pushing ‘block grants’ since 2009 as part of  their storied, and failed, austerity measures that not only drastically cut the amount allotted for food assistance, it allows Republican-controlled states to use and abuse the federal funds without any federal oversight whatsoever. The block grants are also “set in stone” amounts that make no provision now, or in the future, for adjustments for inflation or another GOP recession borne of financial deregulation, unfunded tax cuts for the rich, or the next Middle East regime change war put on the nation’s credit card. All the things the Koch Congress intends to enact are precisely what Bush Republicans did to increase the number of Americans in need of nutrition assistance in the first place. However, since the Obama economy has grown and millions more Americans have found jobs, the number of food stamp recipients has been on nearly a yearlong decline; but that is not the reason Republicans are proposing major cuts to SNAP. Thy just hate the idea of spending one red cent to help  poor children, Veterans, low-wage workers, disabled people, or senior citizens have access to adequate food when that money could go to enrich the elite one-percent and the military industrial complex.

There are some statistics that Republicans are certainly aware of, but just could not care less because they and their funding machine the Koch brothers take great delight in depriving poor children, low-wage workers, Veterans, many active-duty military families, disabled Americans, and the elderly of adequate nutrition when the money can go to those least in need; the wealthiest Americans and military industrial complex. For one thing, the people who use food stamps today bear absolutely no responsibility for crashing the economy in 2008. In fact, a great number of Americans of all ages and demographics still have not recovered from that GOP-created catastrophe that cost them their jobs, homes, or middle class incomes that keep them struggling just to make ends meet.

Republicans are wont to claim food stamps are some kind of luxury giveaway for the lazy, and yet the average income of recipients, including families is only $788 per month; an amount far below the federal poverty line. There is also a myth that food stamps go primarily to people of color, and yet white people make up over 43% of recipients to 25% of African Americans. There is also a Fox News conservative myth that food stamp fraud is rampant and yet the most recent report from the Agriculture Department is that SNAP recorded historically-low levels of fraud and error. One reason to prevent any kind of block grants, much less drastic cuts to SNAP is a recent tactic in Republican states to force recipients to show personal photo ID when they use government-issued SNAP debit cards even though the benefits are issued and distributed to households, not individuals; anything to keep poor Americans hungry.

The number of applications for food stamps has recently fallen drastically due to economic growth and an increase in jobs, and the reason many recipients still qualify is their wages are too low. In an action that makes little sense, Republicans in some states are beginning to demand that recipients “work to receive welfare food” even if they are children, disabled, active duty military families, or senior citizens barely surviving on meager Social Security retirement benefits. A great deal of recipients already work, but Republicans will use any means, and fabricate any excuse, to deny the neediest Americans adequate nourishment. It informs Republicans’ loathing of Americans in need and not about budget savings or debt reduction; particularly when they can spend on the rich.

There is also an economic upside to preventing food stamp cuts that even some, although very few, Republicans are prone to admit. For every dollar spent on providing nutrition assistance from SNAP, $1.70 is returned to local economies that benefit local businesses, state revenue, and most importantly creating and sustaining jobs. However, Republicans have not only shown no predilection to support any measure to grow the economy and create jobs, they have used austerity measures to kill jobs as a matter of course and say “so be it.”

Coupled with their devotion to failed austerity, cutting economically beneficial and job creating food stamps is just par for the course and part of their continued assault on poor and hungry Americans; including children (47%), one million Veterans, disabled people, 25% of active-duty military personnel, and elderly Americans (20%). Republican austerity measures were bad enough when they did not have control of Congress, and based on their proposals due out this week, the Koch-controlled congressional Republicans are going to show Americans a level of damage the nation has not seen since before the New Deal. Americans will finally see precisely what the Koch brothers’ vision for America looks like in real terms, and it begins by denying hungry Americans access to adequate food by using block grants and SNAP cuts; anything to fund more tax cuts for the rich and increased spending for war. It is, after all, exactly what Americans voted, or failed to vote, for just five months ago.

View Comments

  • Already people in the streets, cops getting reprisals from the few loonies wanting to kill em'. Keep kicking the less fortunate lower than your level of living. I wonder if they'll soon have to place prison fences around their gated communities when the streets empty and your gated communes become targets for desperate people? The undisputable anti Christ devils are in congress.[wink]

    • You are absolutely correct, pass them laws and watch the hungry and poor go after those "rich" people. The devil is in our government and cutting these benefits could start a civil war because people are already close to becoming homeless, people are looking for jobs that are not there and it is insulting what they are doing to the poor and middle class not to mention poisoning our food, air and water.

  • Sunday Long Read: Down And Out in Beattyville
    When most people think of "poverty in America" images of boarded up inner city schools and black families on welfare immediately come to mind. The reality of poverty is that one of the poorest counties in America is just 2 hours from my apartment, in Lee County, southeast of Lexington. Lee County is 97% white, and the county's per capita income is under $14,000 a year. But the idea here is that everything is the federal government's fault, and more specifically President Obama's problem, for structural issues that have been around for decades.

    Bob Smith, editor of the local Three Forks Tradition newspaper

    “The reason this town is struggling,” he said, “rests squarely on the current administration in Washington.
    Read More

    Yet poor whites keep voting for them. I bet that racism fills that empty belly

    • Yeah, racism for sure, but with two added sauces:

      1) "Poor" people are always other people, not you. Other people who aren't as virtuous as you are, otherwise they wouldn't be poor. There's always someone, somewhere, to look down upon.

      2)To admit that rich people are often not upstanding citizens dripping jobs from their manicured hands but are thieves, criminals, psychopaths, or, at the very least, people who loathe low-class rubes like you, is to admit that you've been suckered, that your gods have dirty stinky clay feet, that you were a fool to look up to them.

      So they'll vote Republican and suck up to their rich masters until they're dead, because the alternative would be to have to admit to being poor and foolish.

      If a spurious sense of self-respect is all you've got going for you, you'll stay deluded until death.

      Hence the Republican party's now being welded at the hip to certain religious groups? Oxy for morons is the new opiate of the masses?

      • Worse yet, that uppity Other in the White House isn't just from Kenya. He's also from across the river in the state of Elanoy.

        • I apologize for the 'no way' votes. There are ignorant among us who don't understand satire. They are as big an embarrassment to us as the Congress must be to run of the mill Republicans.

      • #1 reminds me of a quote from The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon's mother is up to visit from Texas and wants to see the sights. Penny mentions Rodeo Drive and Mrs. Cooper responds " Well, I can't afford to spend $1,200 on a purse but it's free to look down upon those who do with righteous condemnation."

      • One more sauce. The belief that they'd all be millionaires if only the democrats would stop taxing them.
        They would all be rich if only the democrats would stop making regulations that prevent employers from paying better wages.
        They'd all be rich if it weren't for democrats, I guess.

    • I wonder what Bob Smith's income is. I bet it's FAR above the median $14K of the Lee County residents. And Bob is the problem.

      Instead of being the watchdog for the people, Bobby-boy is just another corporate lackey spreading propaganda and outright lies against Democrats and "Big Gubmint".

      The problems in those impoverished States are Republicans - and RepubliDems. Had liberal policies were touted as the alternative, you can BET that the majority of those poor people will set their racism aside and vote in the interest of their own.

      Unfortunately, these people are being conned by the very "press" that's supposed to look out for them - by people like Bob Smith.

      He who holds the bullhorn, gets heard.

  • Now that we all know what R's (I'm talking to you Justin Harris) do with the poor unwashed children when they adopt (save) them from their terrible parents, can we stop pretending that would be better than feeding the poor unwashed children at home?

    • And adding hygeine stamps to the food stamps, so the children can not only be washed, but shampooed and toothbrushed, and put to bed under clean sheets.

  • These hypocrites want to force you to have a baby you cant feed, then take away the ability to feed your child. Their agenda is so screwed up and backwoods backward. They vote to take food from the poor all while voting themselves farm subsidies. Crooks!

    • And our Congress votes regularly to provide more taxpayer dollars to socialist Israel where there is a national health care system and abortions are free upon demand.

  • hey, the largest group that will be hurt, are poor white families, and children. the majority of wic and other help are southern white. next from our pals the koch heads, revoke child labor laws....


  • Me and my aunt are two of the many people who get food stamps in this nation. The idea that these monsters want to cut more from the fund for food stamps is beyond appalling.

    They don't care about government. They don't care about people. All they care about is making sure their rich masters get coddled and given every benefit known to man while someone like me suffers because I don't have a million dollar home and a yacht.

    Give me a good, and very damn good reason, why we don't freaking riot and turn this entire damn nation blue?

  • They take the children from the parents and place them into the "system". And they sell or give them to their GOP freaks and "friends as pets. And to all the "Religious" child molester, pervert organizations. They could also sell their body parts for profit. They are the "RICH" they can do what they want with us. THE GOP HAS ALREADY SOLD US TO THEM!!! SHUT UP PEASANTS!!!

  • If I understand correctly, Republicans who control Congress and Red States want federal dollars, but don't want the federal government to have any say it how those dollars are spent. I happen to live in a blue state. My federal tax dollars don't just go to my state and other blue states. My tax dollars go to red states as well. Will I be able to tell Congress that I don't want my tax dollars going to red states? If my Congressional representative has NO say in how the money is spent, then why should they get my money?

  • If they make this a separate bill, I would hope that The President will wield his mighty veto pen.

    If it is part of the budget the Republicans are working on, they tried the same thing with Bill Clinton in 1995 and 1996. Newt Gingrich propose slashing Medicare, Medicaid, and other non-defense spending and Clinton refused to accept the cuts as severely hurting the people that needed the most help. Without a budget the government was shut down... twice ... until Gingrich gave in.


    The Republicans are assuming that there will be lots of people to back them up. They'll try it and then get surprised when the American people get angry and vilify them for doing it.

    I very much doubt that President Obama will accept ANYTHING that would cause that much harm to his people.

  • The GOP will starve the children. Take them away from their parents and turn them over to their "SYSTEM". They will sale or give them as "gifts" and "pets" to their "Elite" Masters, friends and spawn. Or have them sold for body parts. It is not beyond them. They are now becoming our "New-Masters". Thanks to the GOP! In my opinion. GOP "GOD" BLESS THE U.S.A..

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