TEApublicans take great pleasure in presenting themselves as the embodiment of all things Christian. So what better way to celebrate All Saints Day on Friday than by cutting SNAP benefits for the poorest in the nation? This is, after all the ‘Christian’ thing to do, giving these people the incentive to get up and fend for themselves rather than sucking at the government teat.
The recent cuts to funding for the SNAP program go into effect on November 1st and will take, on average 16 meals per month off of the table of a family of three. This reduction is partly due to the refusal by the House to renew the Recovery act and its boost in SNAP benefits and partly by the insistence on further cuts to the program.
The Recovery act was passed to increase assistance because of the added needs created by the recession from which we are recovering at a much slower than usual pace. There are also many areas of the country where there has been even less improvement in the job market. There is still an increased need, and TEApublicans have continued to block any attempt to stimulate the economy insisting that the private sector will do a better job of growing it than anything the government might do.
What the right refuses to acknowledge is the fact that the vast majority of those receiving SNAP are working families who do not earn enough to keep food on the table. These are people who want to provide for themselves but cannot find a job which pays well enough to do it. Many are single parent families where there is no second adult to bring in another paycheck which might eliminate the need for aid.
Another fallacy is the belief that all of these single parent homes are single mothers, there are many single fathers who find themselves in the same situation and they are much more likely to be deemed ineligible than the single mother.
A large number of the people the right refers to as “takers” are also veterans — who they claim to revere — and seniors living entirely or mostly on Social Security Retirement benefits.
The average SSR payment is $1,294 per month, that is not a lot if it is your sole income, especially since these are people who are likely to have greater health expenditures than younger people. Basic Medicare does not cover all of these costs, so most are paying a premium for Medicare supplemental policies, further reducing that small income. Often they already have to choose between food and the medications they need.
The new cuts will reduce or eliminate benefits to 48 million people, 21 million of them being children. Overall the rate of households which experience food insecurity has remained about the same since 2008 at 14.5%.
Those who favor these cuts do not acknowledge that for every dollar in SNAP benefits there is $1.70 fed into the economy, meaning that the benefit actually helps to create jobs. But like their corporate benefactors TEApublicans do not believe that it is the buying public which creates jobs, they are convinced that the monied interests alone are capable of doing that.
The TEApublicans can enjoy their holy day on Friday knowing that they are doing the Lord’s work by encouraging all of the layabouts to get up and go to work — just as Jesus would want.