‘Let ’em Starve!’
Despite a falling deficit, a resurgent stock market, and GDP ticking back up, the US poverty rate has actually increased according to the latest census data.
This disturbing statistic no doubt passed across the coffee tables and desks of the Tea Party rabble in Congress, as well as their cringing Republican sympathisers. The GOP leadership has seen it has yet another opportunity to give the destitute, unemployed, and most vulnerable what Republicans and the Tea Party do best: a shot in the arm of self-help! How? Why, by cutting food stamps by a cool Thirty-nine billion of course!
According to USA Today: The House voted 217-210 for the bill that cuts nearly twice as much from food stamps as a bill the House rejected in June. It is also far more than a Senate measure passed earlier this year that would trim about $4.5 billion in spending. The bill failed to draw the support of a single Democrat, many of whom have said the steep cuts would erode a key safety net depended upon by families with children, seniors, veterans and people looking for work. The bill would cause 3 million people to lose benefits while another 850,000 would see their benefits cut, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The White House threatened Wednesday to veto the bill, calling food stamps one of the “nation’s strongest defenses against hunger and poverty.”
According to Feeding America:
SNAP is targeted at the most vulnerable, who are the TARGETS of the Tea Party and the GOP.
76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits.
SNAP eligibility is limited to households with gross income of no more than 130% of the federal poverty guideline, but the majority of households have income well below the maximum: 83% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 100% of the poverty guideline ($19,530 for a family of 3 in 2013), and these households receive about 91% of all benefits. 61% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 75% of the poverty guideline ($14,648 for a family of 3 in 2013).
The average SNAP household has a gross monthly income of $744; net monthly income of $338 after the standard deduction and, for certain households, deductions for child care, medical expenses, and shelter costs; and countable resources of $331, such as a bank account.
SNAP error rates declined by 57% since FY2000, from 8.91% in FY2000 to a record low of 3.80% in FY2011. The accuracy rate of 96.2%
I’d rather see a 3.8% fraud rate than see one person go without who shouldn’t.
Ignoring the obvious problems there are with having an official poverty rate (currently a family of four with an income below $23,492; does that mean that a family of four making $24,000 a year is middle-class?) this vote is yet another example of the hateful ideology permeating the hard-right of the GOP.
Currently 48 million Americans rely on these programs, and will presumably, remember in November.