Republicans do love to wrap themselves in the flag all the while demonizing Democrats as being ‘unpatriotic’ and uncaring about our military and veterans. To hear them talk it is they alone who are concerned for the plight of the veteran. This is especially true of the TEA party variety of Republican.
Remember Tail Gunner Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin raging at the WWII Memorial during the shutdown about how the President was so disrespectful of them that he had ordered that they not be allowed into their own Memorial. The same ‘Dynamic Duo’ appeared at the Million Vet March only days later where Cruz declared, “Our veterans should be above political games.” Palin, not to be out-demagogued screeched, “Veterans have proven they are not timid. And we will not be timid in calling out anybody that uses the military as pawns. We can only be America, home of the free, if we are America, home of the brave.”
Well the TEApublicans in the House and to a lesser extent in the Senate have found a new way to show their appreciation for the sacrifices that our veterans have made for the country, they’re going to kick 170,000 of the ‘lazy leeches’ off of SNAP.
At least 900,000 veterans rely on SNAP benefits to put food on the table for their families, those most recently returning from combat zones have a higher rate of unemployment than the rest of the workforce, by nearly 3%, a rate of 10% as opposed to just over 7% nationwide.
One reason for the higher unemployment rate among returning veterans is that many have service related disabilities, disabilities which are often not obvious. Many return home with emotional damage that is not easily seen, it is a hidden disability which can make it hard for them to find and hold a job. Should we allow them and their families to go hungry because they are unable to find or hold a job?
Under the House bill which slashes nearly $40 billion over the next decade, 2.8 million people would be kicked off the rolls of SNAP next year alone and 170,000 are veterans. Those who do not lose their benefit altogether will be reduced to about $1.40 per person, per meal.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) says that, “in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] to provide food for their families in 2011, a previous analysis of Census data estimated.”
The CBPP also said, “Veterans who participate in SNAP tend to be young, but their ages range widely: 57 percent of the veterans in our analysis are under age 30, while 9 percent are aged 60 or older.”
These numbers only apply to the immediate cuts which took effect at the beginning of this month, with even deeper cuts to come in the future still more veterans are sure to be affected. While Congress insists on the cuts for programs such as SNAP they also insist on very expensive projects for the military which the Pentagon does not want but which will benefit the contractors who contribute to their campaign coffers.
One wonders if the TEApublicans who constantly characterize all SNAP recipients as lazy and undeserving, sometimes as crooks perpetrating a fraud on the government to obtain something that they neither qualify for nor deserve, would be brave enough to look one of the veterans they are denying assistance to in the eye and say those despicable things.
The next time a TEA party Republican tells you that he is a patriot look him squarely in the eye and ask him, “Then why do you support Congressmen who are kicking our veterans off of SNAP?”
Here is a video from The Young Turks covering the devastating cuts to SNAP benefits at the hands of Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives
h/t: Mother Jones