“Pope Francis on Thursday urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a “new colonialism” by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the “sacred rights” of labor, lodging and land.”
Here is a short documentary made by a professor at the University of California-Berkley about welfare and poverty. The idea for it came after the professor heard her students discussing welfare and government’s role in society. She was shocked to learn that these college-educated students, some of whom were on welfare themselves, harbored deep-seated, negative stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about welfare recipients. It was then that she realized that today’s young people have inherited the harsh Reagan-era ideology of how society should deal with the poor- mainly that welfare programs, like food stamps (now called SNAP), actually reinforce poverty by creating dependence on government assistance. After all, these programs are supposed to be temporary aid, so why should the poor get to live off them, right? Why can’t they just get up and work, right?
Republicans want us to believe that higher wages will lead to higher prices and lower employment. Studies have proven, however, that this is a myth based on faulty logic and misinformation.
An interesting opinion piece by Paul Krugman of “The New York Times:”
John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, …let loose on his political allies, declaring, “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”
I found some good infographics about the federal food stamp program (SNAP) from CSMonitor.com. Click on the graphs to see them larger. Click on the link to see the rest of the graphs.
Believe me, the statistics will surprise you and will show you how vital food stamps are for millions of people and what will happen if its funding is cut by the Republicans and the Tea Party. As we speak, both groups are working to reduce the amount of people who are eligible to receive this aid, as well as reduce how much aid people who are currently on the program can get. Some reductions will be starting in November of this year.
The graph below about food stamp fraud will be particularly enlightening to those who think there is rampant misuse of the program. The graph shows that not only has fraud gone down, but that there are more people who are underpaid what they are eligible for compared to those who get too much:
I’ve found a wealth of information from people I know, online news sites, and activism/charity organizations about the federal food stamps program (also known as SNAP), and depending on where you get your news, the facts I’ve found may be surprising.
First off, Congress has been in a tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats over what will happen to food stamp funding. As of now, Republicans in the House have voted to cut it so that millions less people will be eligible for it by November. The amount of time you can get it, as well as the amount will both decrease (that is, if you haven’t at that point been completely bumped off the program), potentially leaving many millions more people hungry than there are already are in a country that is the most powerful on the world.
The process isn’t complete yet, so the cuts aren’t going to happen until Congress finishes voting on it in the Senate. I think what happens at this point is that the Senate has to vote the same way as the House in order for the cuts to be final. I’ve read that it is unlikely that the Senate will vote the same way since no Democrats voted to reduce food stamp funding in the House, just the Repubs (figures!!). Since, as far I know (correct me if I’m wrong, please) the Dems have the majority in the Senate, the cuts won’t happen, or at least they won’t be as extreme. I’m hoping, though, that NO cuts are made.
Here is some more info I’ve found. If you disagree with what I’m saying, all you have to do is check my sources. As a journalism student, I’ve been trained to always provide sources for my articles. Commentors who are ideologically opposed to what I write cannot claim that I’m just making stuff up!
From Slate.com, which has been covering the food stamp funding issue admirably:
[On Sept. 19, 2013], Republicans in the House of Representatives finally got their ducks in a row and voted to cut $40 billion from SNAP, the program that gives food assistance to poor people.
But what’s particularly egregious about this bill is that the poor-kicking aspect of it isn’t just part of a general austerity regime. SNAP benefits are normally funded alongside farm subsidies as part of a consolidated “farm bill.” And, low and behold, Republicans managed to find plenty of room in the budget to funnel money at farm owners. Spending is being cut only on the poor.
Despite SNAP’s efficiency and effectiveness, SNAP benefits are already set to be cut in November 2013, when the temporary benefit boost passed in 2009 ends.
For a family of three, the cut likely will be $240 to $300 per year, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates (see the graphic for details). This cuts comes at a time when, for millions of Americans, the Great Recession is far from over.
A chart about who gets food stamps (sparkaction.org):
In a modern, industrialized nation such as the U.S., the problems of hunger and mass incarceration shouldn’t exist to the extent that they do. But they do. The American government should be ashamed of itself for allowing both problems to reach epidemic proportions, and should be even more ashamed of the “solutions” offered by its politicians.
One such “solution” is the Vitter Amendment, part of the Farm Bill. Salon.com describes it:
Certain classes of ex-convicts would be denied food stamp benefits for life, under the amendment offered by Sen. David Vitter (cannily, the crime of soliciting prostitutes is exempted from this ban). While the amendment may sound like common sense, it’s actually a harshly punitive, counterproductive policy that will only increase crime and trap people in the criminal justice system.
Of course, if you are a criminal, you should go to prison. But why continue to punish someone after they’ve been released? What good does that do anyone? And why punish their families, too? The families of criminals would also see a reduction in food aid.
The petition that addresses this issue also raises the important point that minorities will be harmed the most by this bill. It is minorities that unfortunately make up a large percentage of the prison population. Could this be yet another way to keep certain groups down? Sounds like it to me.
No matter how much we may disagree with the behavior of people who commit serious crimes, it’s wrong to force them and their families to starve. Please add your signature to this petition and ask your senator to vote to remove the Vitter Amendment from the Farm Bill. It’s wrong for farmers, it’s wrong for families, and it’s wrong for our country.
To sign this petition, go to CredoMobilize.com.
“As Walmart associates, we have been standing up across the country for respect and fair wages and hours — and Walmart has tried to silence us along the way.
Walmart is among the most profitable companies in the U.S. and is owned by the Walton family, the richest family in America, yet many associates at Walmart must rely on food stamps and even go hungry because of low wages and a lack of full-time hours. So now some of us are speaking out and taking our message to Bentonville by going on strike, and standing up to Walmart’s retaliation against us when we speak out. “
To sign the petition, go to org.CREDOAction.com