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Letters to the Editor

Wrong cuts

May 22, 2012

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To the editor:

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted on a package that guts social programs supporting low-income Americans. Specifically, they cut $36 billion from the SNAP program, or food stamps.

I realize we need to balance the budget, but is this the best way to do it? Cutting programs that put food on the table for people in our community that are going hungry every day is not just shortsighted, but it is also just plain morally wrong.

We talk a lot about values in this country, but our elected officials’ votes don’t always seem to back up their words. We need to strengthen our nation’s hunger safety net, not cut the strings to it. If that cut is made law:

l Every SNAP recipient will see a reduction in monthly benefits.

l 2 million people currently on SNAP will lose SNAP benefits entirely.

l 280,000 children will lose free school breakfast and lunch.

And this while military spending and oil production subsidies in the billions (billions!) continue unabated.

Let your representatives know that this is unacceptable.

Comments

xclusive85 2 years, 7 months ago

David, I am curious where the numbers in your letter come from. I would like to read what you did for myself. I hope that it was some unbiased organization.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

How about we cut the military and all business subsidies as well? As it is the case that for the first time, SNAP has risen to account for more than 10% of all grocery sales, it's obvious that it is just another government giveaway program that has grown out of control. http://www.trcommons.org/2012/05/snap-benefits-surpass-10-of-all-grocery-spending/

ljwhirled 2 years, 7 months ago

Either -

  1. The program is out of control and is a free give away for the masses.

-or-

  1. Their are more poor people due to the largest economic recession in modern history and the longest period of massive unemployment since the great depression.

Hmmmm. Wonder which it is?

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

Given that the program increased by 50% in the 4 years before the recession, I'm going to go with #1.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Real wages, adjusted for inflation, for the lower 80% have been dropping steadily for more than thirty years.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes, they have. Expect that to continue. Now that the rest of the world has a) recovered from the unimaginable destruction that was WWII, or b) grasped a 20th century technology where anyone can run a machine with 2 weeks of training, there remains no reason to pay an American $20 an hour to do what someone else will do for $10/hr.

Competition is a cast iron biatch. She's also the queen of the 21st century.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

" there remains no reason to pay an American $20 an hour to do what someone else will do for $10/hr."

And yet the .1%, who aren't doing anything better or differently than they did 30 years ago, are seeing their income and wealth increase dramatically. Is that because that's how god intended it?

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

It's because that's how technology intended it. Don't bother with the god games - reality isn't simple and neither am I.

Income and wealth are increasing dramatically where they are because that's where value (or perceived value) is being added. Where are the Mark Zuckerbergs of 30 years ago? They do not exist. Whether or not Facebook adds real value to the world (and I don't doubt it though I discount the market's perception immensely) there is little doubt his squillions of dollars are of such a nature that a) their equivalent did not exist 30 years ago, and b) no amount of marxist labor-theory-of-value can account for them. He created them from nothing. Information Age, FTW.

How has the work of the average GM line rat changed? It hasn't, except that any Chinaman can now do the same work, produce the same output, and is willing to for a small percentage of the Union rate.

One is irreplaceable, one is being replaced. Care to guess which witch is which ?

Ken Lassman 2 years, 7 months ago

Fossick, Your explanations have an element of truth to them, however it is as we like to say, more complex than that. For instance, while Germany has struggled with its own economic displacements, the workforce there has managed to retain high wages, high benefits, high productivity and stayed very competitive with emerging markets. I don't believe that pensioners have been robbed there as well.

At the same time, the high collateral environmental damages, low wages and cultural sacrifices in China have not gone unnoticed, and further adjustments are having to be made there in their command and control economy in order to avoid the worst of the fruits of these policies.

Many countries are facing large scale unrest not only because of governmental austerity programs, but also because of the destructiveness of globalist policies and their impacts upon traditional social structures. You might even say that this is one of the main driving forces behind fundamentalism movements in Islamic and other countries.

And yes, the information age has provided a wealth concentrator that does not correlate with wigit production and is much more in line with the service sector dynamics. The lessons of agriculture commodities markets impacts on the farmer producers are rippling out across the world through the complexities of the financial markets as well, distorting wealth distributions in ways that are pretty unrecognizable to classical Keynsian or Marxist economic models.

And when it comes right down to it, nobody is really in charge of all of this. Technology has outstripped our ability to plan and control its consequences,

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"It's because that's how technology intended it. "

Technology has no intent whatsoever. But those who control the increased profits and capital flow from increased efficiency indeed do have intentions, and that intention doesn't include the health and well-being of the vast majority of the human race.

That may be satisfying to them, and those who are ideologically motived towards laissez faire capitalism, but for the vast majority, it's a pretty ugly picture, and getting uglier. And raw capitalism has no answer for that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"except that any Chinaman can now do the same work, produce the same output, and is willing to for a small percentage of the Union rate."

Willing? Hardly. If "free trade" applied to union-organizing the same way that it applies to capital, the wage and benefit differential would be dramatically different.

Liberty275 2 years, 7 months ago

"And yet the .1%, who aren't doing anything better or differently than they did 30 years ago"

Yes they are. They are shipping jobs overseas because they were paying 10, you wouldn't work less than 20 and now the Chinese will do it for 3. Add another 3 for the ride over on a container ship.

China makes 3, shipper makes 3, .1% pockets the extra 4.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 7 months ago

The $310 billion cut over the next ten years, does this represent a 10% cut? 1% cut? 0.1% cut? I've seen slowing of growth represented as "cuts". Without additional information, I'll withhold judgement.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

"The number of people receiving SNAP benefits increased by almost 50 percent between fiscal years 2001 and 2005 and even more rapidly (by 70 percent) between fiscal years 2007 and 2011. During that latter period, spending on SNAP benefits grew by about 135 percent." (from a source) http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/04-19-SNAP.pdf

SNAP cost the feds $78b in FY11, doubled and more in 4 years. With 0% growth going forward, a $310b cut ($31b/yr) would not even reduce SNAP to what it spent in 2007. But one can expect far more than 0% growth going forward.

Fortunately, SNAP cannot maintain its current growth for much longer. As one in 7 Americans is now on SNAP, that number can only double two or three more times until we are all on food stamps.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

Actually, it's even less than that, by an order of magnitude. This is $36b over 10 years, not per year, so it's $3.6b per year in a program that spent $78b last year. It's a 5% cut in a program that has grown 135% in the past 5 years.

Catastrophic.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Interesting that your focus on the increase in the number of beneficiaries, not on whether these new beneficiaries were added because they needed the aid.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

Because there is no objective measurement for whether they need the aid. Since house value (among other things, including certain savings accounts) is excluded from asset requirements and pensions mostly excluded from income requirements, a debt-free person living on a fat pension in a million dollar home qualifies for SNAP.

The idea that we have 47 million people in America who 'need' SNAP is preposterous. We have the richest poor people the world has ever seen.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

So, asserting that there are no objective measures means that the rest of your bald assertions are somehow validated?

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

All my assertions are provided with a full head of hair, I assure you. While pattern baldness may be a concern for average middle-aged corporate executives,*it has never been a problem for my maths.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

Regardless of you follicle tendencies, you can just cover your head with that white flag.

verity 2 years, 7 months ago

But who would pay for the stools for the little children to stand on so they can reach the sink?

deec 2 years, 7 months ago

Restaurants don't let people who aren't on the payroll work for food. It would be a violation of wage laws, immigration laws, and worker's compensation laws. Also, letting non-employees into the kitchen area opens up the business to a potential claim should the free worker be injured. Cute story, though.

verity 2 years, 7 months ago

deec, I thought it was apparent that I was being sarcastic.

ljwhirled 2 years, 7 months ago

That is what happens when the divide between the haves and the have-nots widens.

skinny 2 years, 7 months ago

I am a republican! I do not believe in handouts’!

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 7 months ago

Unless it's a handout to a corporation. (fixed that for you)

Alyosha 2 years, 7 months ago

Your comment might be worth adult consideration except for the fact that the majority of food stamps go to rural families in overwhelmingly Republican districts in the US.

So that means it's mostly Republicans, not Democrats, whose constituents are making use of the program.

Do try to let the light of God's truth (also known as facts) wash over you before typing a comment, and then perhaps you'll not embarrass yourself by being so meanly wrong.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

"The majority of food stamps go to rural families in overwhelmingly Republican districts in the US. "

While as the New York Times has recently pointed out, food stamp usage is equal among urban and rural populations (about 15% of families), rural areas make up barely 20% of the US population. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/census_issues/archives/metropolitan_planning/cps2k.cfm

The likelihood that the majority of food stamps goes to this 1/5 of the population - a group that uses them as the same rate as others - is statistically unlikely, to say the least.

esteshawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe so, but cutting such programs punishes kids for ther parents shortcomings. Get it?

Shane Garrett 2 years, 7 months ago

Your fat children on government handouts should eat less. Just look at the latest studies of childhood diabetes. However, perhaps we could hand out some soylent green snack cakes.
Instead of just handing out food stamps, vision cards, these cards could be programmed with specific meal plans prepared by a dietitian could they not? More fruits and veggies instead of little Debbie? And instead of lobster and albacore tuna, hamburger and frozen swia fish.

Katara 2 years, 7 months ago

A great way to combat childhood obesity is to encourage exercise (of course, in combination with a healthy diet).

I'm sure since you know that you would be supportive of funding schools more so that classes such as gym are not reduced or cut out completely.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm supportive of turning off the TV/XBox and playing outside. Schools are wholly beside the point.

Katara 2 years, 7 months ago

That's great... if you have a place to play outside safely.

Alyosha 2 years, 7 months ago

To impartial adults, as opposed to partisans with the minds of children, food stamp usage is like the canary in a cold mine of old: a signal that the economy is failing to provide jobs with wages that can support a family.

Meanwhile, the already rich use their profits to muscle legislatures to cut programs that benefit those who, as Jesus put it, are the least among us.

dr_salt 2 years, 7 months ago

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (NIV)

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. "

dr_salt 2 years, 7 months ago

"unwilling" to work would be a key term in this passage.

Alyosha 2 years, 7 months ago

Regardless of whether you believe those on foodstamps are unwilling to work, without data proving this indeed the case, your belief warrants zero consideration from adults interested in sound and humane public policy.

Sound public policy must be based on knowledge, not fantasies.

dr_salt 2 years, 7 months ago

My friend, I only quoted a verse from the Word of God. If you have any quarrels it is not with me, it is with the author.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

Dude! Do you have to ruin it for everyone? What's a snape?

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

So long as it's not a false positive that results in eBay orders for unnecessary onesies, I'm cool with that.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 7 months ago

When you think about it, probably every cop could write a book about all of the things he sees during the course of his job. The bird I could see owning, but the zebra? Where do you buy one? Was it potty trained or did it have one of those diapers they make for dogs?

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 7 months ago

OMG!!! Totally wrong conversation. Okay, a guy walks into a bar with a zebra and a parrot.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 7 months ago

But, Dumbledore was asking for it. So, Snape was the good guy all along. I did not see that coming. By the way, Ms. Rawling worked as a waitress while she was writing the first Harry Potter book and was on food stamps or what the Brits call the dole. She was a single mother with a son.

uncleandyt 2 years, 7 months ago

My stupider friends have been convinced that the poor people are taking all the money. I've got to wonder if maybe some of the rich people are also getting in on this scheme.

George Lippencott 2 years, 7 months ago

And my inevitable comment. Who pays.

The increases here and in many other programs were funded with debt. If we do not reduce them (however valid they may be) we must increase taxes. To maintain the current level of expenditures we would almost have to double income taxes paid by the half that pay them.

I would like to believe that all those on here calling for more pay a hefty federal income tax. Unfortunately, I suspect they do not. Once more we see a bunch of people demanding more goodies paid for by others (not the rich).

Just how much is enough? When we are all getting what we feel we need paid for by "the fellow behind the tree"??

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