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Politico: Evil GOP Will ‘Slash Food Stamps’

From an outraged Politico:

Republicans to slash food stamps

By: David Rogers
April 16, 2012

From food stamps to child tax credits and Social Service block grants, House Republicans began rolling out a new wave of domestic budget cuts Monday but less for debt reduction — and more to sustain future Pentagon spending without relying on new taxes.

Going into November’s election, President Barack Obama’s signature health care and financial market reforms are again favorite targets. And with as many as six House committees involved, the whole budget drill can resemble “Casablanca” with Claude Rains’s Captain Renault ordering his men: “Round up the usual suspects!”

But what’s more explicit in this round is the real shift of resources from the domestic side of the ledger to military spending. Caught in the middle are not just Obama’s ideas but the working poor and long-term unemployed forced for the first time to rely on programs like food stamps in the current recession

At one level, the pro-Pentagon, anti-tax stance fits traditional Republican doctrine. And the whole goal is to come up with enough savings to forestall automatic spending cuts that will fall most heavily on the Defense Department in January.

By the way, the military has already had its spending slashed by a half trillion dollars. and it is facing another half trillion dollar cut if spending can’t be cut elsewhere, thanks to last summer’s ‘debt ceiling’ deal/trap.

But what’s also driving the latest cuts is a newer narrative, voiced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), that the social safety net is at risk of becoming a “hammock.” And even as the unemployment rate has begun to fall, conservatives are alarmed that the level of income-related government benefits continues to rise.

Gosh, those Republicans are alarmists.

Nothing better illustrates this perhaps than the renewed focus on food stamps — now titled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). And the estimated $33.2 billion in 10-year savings there could have an immediate impact on the farm bill debate and come November, the 2012 elections.

An average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, who would be forced off the rolls until they have spent down their savings to less than $2,000 in many cases

The White House deliberately increased monthly benefits in 2009 by about $20 per person as a way to pump stimulus dollars into the economy

This is what Obama and the Democrats counted on. They used the ‘crisis’ of the recession to ‘temporarily’ ratchet up the benefits of the ‘safety net’ and to ‘temporarily’ lower the eligibility requirements. Knowing that they could scream bloody murder if anybody ever dared to try to return them to their normal, pre-crisis levels.

And here is the Politico doing just that. Right on cue.

The Recovery Act boost in benefits is already phasing out and will be gone entirely by November 2013. But the GOP package now would cut them off this summer, hitting families Sept. 1, and saving about $5.9 billion in 2012 and 2013.

Wow, the Republicans want to cut these emergency ‘recession benefits’ only three and a quarter years after the recession officially ended. (In June 2009.) That is vicious.

In addition, $26 billion in longer-term savings are attributed to tougher eligibility rules affecting what assets a family can retain and the standard deduction allowed for utility costs. … [A]nd would require even genuinely qualified families to go through more paperwork to keep their benefits.

That is clearly heartless. But it would also save $26 billion over the next ten years. Which makes you wonder why the requirements are currently so lax.

In fact, the severity of the proposed House cuts could be an overreach for two reasons.

Again, this is supposed to be a news article. Not an editorial.

First, they are all coming from the House Agriculture Committee in the context of rich farm subsidies that are themselves a “hammock” amid record income for producers

In other words, farmers are doing well this year, and they are being subsidized. So why shouldn’t Democrats be able to give ‘free food’ to their constituents in exchange for their votes?

The second reason seems to be that some level-headed moderate Republicans don’t want these draconian cuts. And the Politico is trying to provide a service by pointing that how damaging this will be for the Republicans, politically. Which is very considerate of them.

(BTW, the Politico just won its first Pulitzer Prize. Fittingly, for its cartoons. Which is what this article actually is, at best.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Politico: Evil GOP Will ‘Slash Food Stamps’”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Gummint Money don’t know nuttin about no evil

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