The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted on Thursday to cut $40 billion from food stamps. In doing so, they decided to rewrite Marie Antoinette.
"Let them eat nothing."
It's been amusing to read House Republicans try to flim-flam the public that this is all a Good Thing for the poor and destitute. The twisted logic is that people on food stamps mostly want jobs, so this $40 billion savings is all about getting them those jobs! Cool, no?
"This bill is designed to give people a hand when they need it most," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) "Most people want a job/ Most people want to go out and be productive so that they can earn a living, so that they can support a family, so that they can have hope for a more prosperous future."
Mind you, left out of his heart-rending hosannah is how this $40 billion cut in food stamps is actually going to get those destitute people jobs. There's no jobs plan on the table from Republicans. There's not even much discussion of one from Republicans that I've heard. In fact, Republicans have seemingly preferred to cut jobs, like teachers, and police and fireman, and nurses, and road construction workers. After all, when GOP politicians vote to cut programs, it's jobs that they're cutting.
"They want what we want," said Rep. Cantor. Well, yeah, that would be true, but only if "they" also wanted to screw themselves, but I tend to doubt it.
Why do I think this? Why do I doubt that cutting $40 billion from food stamps is merely about something Noble like getting jobs for the poor? (I mean other than Republicans wanting to cut food stamps for the past half century. And other than if you really want to help poor people, you don't start by cutting their access to food.)
Well, one big reason I think this is because of words directly out of the mouths of Republicans themselves. And hey, if you can't trust words out of the mouths of Republicans, who can you really trust, y'know?"
"If you're a healthy adult and don't have someone relying on you to care for them, you ought to earn the benefits you receive," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.). "Look for work. Start job training to improve your skills or do community service. But you can no longer sit on your couch or ride a surfboard like Jason in California and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you."
Right. Because all that people in Kansas or Birmingham or Denver or Tennessee like to do is surf.
The Congressman is disingenuously referring to a story aired by Fox News about a fellow on food stamps named Jason Greenslate who does like to surf, rather than work. Well...y'know, I'm sick of garbage like this. I think it's time that we find the handful of most utterly reprehensible and excessive rich people on Wall Street, CEOS and bankers throughout the nation -- and I have a sneaking suspicion that three or four exist, don't you? -- and point to them as representing ALL of corporate America, and why no business needs or deserves tax credits or tax cuts.
By the way, I actually love the idea of government programs that create work for the poor. Everyone benefits -- people get jobs, and society gets improvements. It's just that when FDR came up with such programs during the Depression, the Republican Party cried bloody murder and called him a Socialist.
Well, thank goodness the GOP has learned since then. They not only, apparently, love the idea today. But even better, they no longer think of calling a Democratic President a Socialist...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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