I Acknowledge Class Warfare Exists
November 3, 2013
47 million people in the United States just lost some or all of their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits today.
Congress allowed the SNAP allocations built into the stimulus bill President Obama signed into law in 2009 to expire and therefore by inaction allowed $5 billion in cuts to take effect on November 1st.
Here is some of the impact to families across the country:
Benefits to the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) will be lowered by $36 a month for a family of four, officials say.
Some 47 million low income Americans will be affected by the cuts.
Food aid in the US has grown to $80bn a year due to higher unemployment and rising food costs.
About one in seven Americans relies on Snap, also known as food stamps. [source]
That part about “due to higher unemployment and rising food costs” seems to have not registered with Republican lawmakers who have been eager to paint people on assistance as “takers.” In reality, the data shows that it’s the sluggish economic recovery (which disproportionately harms lower income families) and the disastrous mix of stagnating or declining wages and rising food costs. That desperation by our nation’s neediest has done little to dissuade republicans who are on a warpath to cut social programs regardless of any logic or compassion.
Even scarier, there may be worse cuts to come. Republicans have been working towards that end during debates over the Farm bill (for which, food stamps typically account for about 75%)currently being hammered out in Congress:
More food stamp cuts – likely focused on reducing the number of beneficiaries – are expected to be included in the new U.S. farm bill, now in its final stage of preparation.
Conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill in September that aimed to tighten SNAP eligibility standards and end benefits for nearly 5 percent of recipients, cutting some $39 billion over 10 years. [source]
Republican supporters of cutting SNAP benefits argue that they want less people in the program but more of the “truly needy.” It’s a disingenuous claim because getting more needy (mostly children and seniors) into the program was exactly why we saw such an increase in food stamp beneficiaries.
More than one in four Americans eligible for food stamps do not participate, according to USDA records.
That under-enrollment has led to concerted marketing pushes to get people suffering from poverty and under-nutrition on to food stamps. It has helped a bit, but now these cuts may erase all the progress that has been made.
Lawmakers would like the public to believe that, while that is a tragic situation for many families to be in, the country simply doesn’t have the money to pay for people’s food. We need to cut spending, they say at every opportunity.
But let’s have an example of something the United States did find worth spending its tax dollars on: ludicrous sums of money in aid to Israel.
While watching as Congress attempts to cut nearly $40 billion in aid to it’s poorest citizens, the Obama administration has been quietly promising greater and greater sums of money to the Israeli government.
Obama proposed an even greater defense aid package to Israel than Bush: $40 Billion after Bush’s $30 Billion expires thereby continuing this package till 2027 thus locking his successors to the commitment.
Plus, Obama plans to increase the annual aid package from $3.1 Billion to $4 Billion annually beginning 2017; the year after he leaves office, again locking his successor to such a commitment.
In addition to Bush and Obama’s $70 Billion , Israel continues to receive its usual aid of between $4 – $5 Billion annually since 2007, plus the U.S. totally funds Israel’s Iron Dome Anti-Missile Defense system which cost the U.S. tax payer an additional $1.5 Billion.
Such enormous aid packages to a foreign nation at a time Obama and Congress cut $83 Billion from health care, education, food stamps, meals on wheels for the elderly, housing subsidies, heating assistance program for the elderly, and so many other life saving programs for American families who are struggling with home foreclosures, high unemployment, debts and bills, and much more. [source]
This from the president republicans say “hates Israel.” Notice the money is specifically intended as defense aid, meaning it’s meant for weapons and ammunition. $5 billion cut in food for hungry Americans, $40 billion in weapons for Israel.
There is no happy ending to this story. Not until America shifts the perspective on what is worthy of spending our money on. We hear vague platitudes about the importance of Israel, our ” biggest ally in the Middle East”, but don’t demand any scrutiny as to how much money we spend on keeping them “friendly”, nor on where that money should go.
At the same time, we live in a culture that treats any person who needs help as inherently suspect. We squint our eyes and wonder what the poor person’s angle is. Eager to know what the scam is. The scam is the system itself. It makes victims into abusers and abusers into victims that we must defend regardless of cost or scrutiny.
– See more at: http://www.classwarfareexists.com/today-u-s-government-cuts-food-stamps-by-5-billion-giving-israel-40-billion/#sthash.cLY5x12P.dpuf