Monday, September 16, 2013

GOP SNAP Cuts: Little Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

House of Representatives Republicans are working on a draft proposal to cut $40 billion from the federal food stamp program (SNAP) over the next 10 years, resulting in some 4-6 million recipients being dropped from the program. 

The "cuts," which are really cuts in the growth of SNAP spending, would be implemented through tougher eligibility requirements, such as one that would toughen work and job training requirements. 

Considering that SNAP has ballooned to some $80 billion per year, covering some 47.8 million Americans, one would hardly expect the cuts to generate much of a political ripple.

In the overheated world of politics, one would be wrong.

Blasting the Republicans for daring to suggest cutting the food stamp program, the NJ Star-Ledger said that the GOP plans on "forcing an estimated 4 million to 6 million people off food assistance."

The Ledger also blames the massive growth in SNAP on the economy:

During a recession, with so many people losing work and real wages dropping, it should hardly be surprising to see the number of food stamp applicants shoot up. Yet the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, faults the hungry for their predicament.

I left these comments:

Let's bring some clarity to the discussion.

1. The welfare statists are now posing as champions of their own victims. Having precipitated and aggravated the financial crisis and Great Recession through federal policies, regulations, and controls (Clinton/Bush), and crippled the recovery and job growth through massive new spending, regulations, and controls (Obama), the statists are now championing, as the solution, a much bigger welfare state. This is disingenuousness taken to a new level.

2. The editors claim that the GOP is proposing  "forcing an estimated 4 million to 6 million people off food assistance." Force is involved, but not in the way the editors suggest. Food stamp recipients are not victims of force. They are profiteers on force—the force initiated against the taxpayers who have no choice but to fork over the money to fund the program. The editors' wording is Orwellianism taken to a new level.

3. Finally, the GOP plans to "gut" $40 billion from a $750 billion program, and reduce the number of recipients from 48 million to 42-44 million. The editors are all aflutter over trivia. The editors and the GOP are on the same side, for God's sake. They both support the program. The quibble is merely between two allies over how much to gut taxpayers to pay for it, not whether it is just to do so. Much ado about very little.

I don't see much difference between the SLEB and the Republicans. If the GOP were to take the moral high road, defend the productive Americans who pay the bill, and call for the abolition of SNAP, we would have something to debate.  

There is one silver lining, albeit a dim one. Both Democrats and Republicans are talking "cuts" to the program. No one's talking increases. The Senate wants $4 billion, which will have to be reconciled with the GOP's $40 billion. This is on top of an automatic yearly cut of $5 billion in SNAP payouts scheduled for November 2013, as the 2009 "stimulus" bill winds down. As Huff Post reports, "there is little support for legislation to avert the upcoming drop."

But quibbling over the level of funding is not the debate we should be having. The debate is: Are these programs moral?

Related Reading:

End Farm Subsidies, Then End Food Stamps

SNAP Ends Don't Justify Immoral Means

Senator Menendez Dishonestly Equate Private Food Bank with SNAP

Is WalMart to Blame for the Growing Use of Food Stamps?

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