The Curse of the Starving Class

ABC’s “The Note” describes itself as “Washington’s Original and Most Influential Tipsheet”. Let’s find out why!

Congress Mulls Cuts to Food Stamps Program Amid Record Number of Recipients

This, strictly speaking, is true. But half of Congress is controlled by Democrats, the other half by Republicans. Guess which half is Mulling Cuts?

Congress is under pressure to cut the rapidly rising costs of the federal government’s food stamps program at a time when a record number of Americans are relying on it.

Under pressure? By whom? Are a record number of Americans gathering at the Mall to demand that Our Glorious Nation starve them to death?

The House Appropriations Committee today will review the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture that includes $71 billion for the agency’s “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” That’s $2 billion less than what President Obama requested but a 9 percent increase from 2011, which, critics say, is too large given the sizeable budget deficit.

Ah. The House Appropriations Committee. The one run by, y’know, Republicans.

But who are the critics? It’s a mystery!

A record number of Americans — about 14 percent — now rely on the federal government’s food stamps program and its rapid expansion in recent years has become a politically explosive topic.

We’ve been blogging for three years, monitoring Memeorandum, WorldNetDaily, and other sources for story tips. We may have missed something, but we don’t recall food stamps being politically explosive, although it’s entirely possible we missed the memo. (Unemployment benefits are another matter.)

More than 44.5 million Americans received SNAP benefits in March, an 11 percent increase from one year ago and nearly 61 percent higher than the same time four years ago.

A 61 percent increase since March 2007? What could possibly have happened since March 2007 that would cause such an outrageous overrun?

Meanwhile, we’ve found a Critic!

Even “at a time of prosperity, we have increased the amount of money we are spending for people to buy food,” said Harold Brown, an agriculture scientist and adjunct scholar at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. “The appropriation of money by Congress has never solved poverty or the resulting problems of poverty. When President Johnson declared war on poverty a half century ago nearly, we thought we saw the end of it as far as food and nutrition goes. For the Department of Agriculture, we only saw the beginning.”

You might like to know that “The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is an independent think tank that proposes practical, market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians.” Unless you’re writing The Note, in which case you can ignore any background that puts the GPPF in political context.

Finally, one paragraph from the bottom, let’s cut to the chase:

The Republicans’ 2012 budget plan proposes changing SNAP from an entitlement to a block-grant program that would be tailored for each individual state, much like their proposal for Medicaid. States would no longer receive open-ended subsidies and the aid would be contingent on work or job training. It would also limit funding for the program.

This is not only much like their proposal for Medicaid, it’s like their proposal for Medicare, would would effectively block-grant individuals.

And thus, the real story: Republicans want to gut food stamps during the most painful American recession since the Great Depression.

But you won’t hear it from The Note. Because that would be, like, taking sides.

Congress Mulls Cuts to Food Stamps Program Amid Record Number of Recipients [The Note]

This is misguided from the Repub perspective. They need to keep workers above the starvation level in order to suck out their energy for profit. Instead, they need to find a way to kill off only the weak and infirm, e.g. by cutting Medicaid. Oh, wait . . .

Apparently the only thing this “reporter” learned in J-school is “How to Copy and Paste from Press Releases.”

@Mistress Cynica: Find a Generic Expert is another common hack trick — my old magazine editor called them Rolodex Rangers.

Of course, here the Generic Expert appears to provide a non-disclosed political slant.

As a further “market-oriented reform”, I think Georgia should stop interfering in the right of hungry people to catch + eat RW think tank bloviators.

@Dodgerblue: One does wonder about that – historically, even world-class assholes figured out that a *certain* level of support was needed to keep workers able to work. Perhaps the PTB have figured out that the music’s about to stop, and are trying to squeeze the last few drops from the stone before the party’s over…

Our republican’t congressman here on rocky top, John Duncan has been on food stamps, gas stamps, house stamps, clothing stamps, cash stamps, retirement stamps, car stamps, and insurance stamps his whole lifetime. His father held the seat before him and his son will hold it after the public retires from servicing the present elder Duncan. His son now sponges county dollars instead of federal dollars as some sort of county clerk. Other Duncans hold various municipal offices throughout Knoxville and Knox County Tennessee. As with most republican’ts it’s perfectly fine for them graze at the government trough allowing them to live well beyond their free market abilities, but no so good for others. If you don’t work, you don’t eat by God, unless your last name is Duncan. I’ll wager most republican’ts voting for hunger are in the same boat as the Duncans.

@jwmcsame: Thanks for the earworm! (I was married in Millington. No, he wasn’t my brother.)

@al2o3cr: No, no, see, you don’t understand. Republicans want to make receipt of food aid dependent on the recipient doing unpaid work, without the slave owner business person having to lay out any cash.

Journalism as practiced in a corporatocracy.



Leinenkugel time!

Got your Dextron II can?

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: They already do that with relation to the “Welfare to Work” program (brought to you by Bubba Clinton) and prisoner works projects.

@Dodgerblue: See, you are taking the theory of Fox-Piven and Cloward, presented in “Regulating the Poor,that welfare serves the purpose of capitalism by keeping a pool of workers on hand willing two work for peanuts. But thats a Marxist theory, and of course the hard-line free marketers would reject it, even if in the end it proves a much better model for describing reality than their ludicrous pure free-market faith.

@FlyingChainSaw: I have discovered the 50-50 mix of Summer Shandy and Berry Weise, join me in Nirvana!

Stinqueros, I have been gone a while, because of a personal crisis that was the result of so many facets of my life hitting a wall all at once. Personal and professional situations equally impossible, both too good to walk away from, too bad to provide happiness and satisfaction in life. I clutched at an imaginary emotional life ring, I clung to the false security of a career providing money but also misery. I had an amazingly sad bizarre and funny personal crisis. I have rediscovered the good in what I had, in my emotional life. Living alone I discovered an independance and responsibility I never had before. I am returning to earth now, and I am only just realizing how crazy I have been, how profound this crisis was. How insane I was, for almost a year.

I haven’t had a vacation in 2 years, and I hate my job, day to day, each day I awake in horror, for what I will have to endure that day. Day after day, being greeted with the very same joke, every day, for 8 years. Hearing the receptionist tell a caller at 10 AM “I don’t know if he is in yet, he is still marked “out” on the board,” even though I have had 3 conversations with her that morning, and she sits only 20 feet from me and can hear my every fart. She tells callers that because I have not moved the magnet on the board to “in.” She tells this to members of the Board of Directors of the entity I work for. She tells them she doesn’t know if I am in “YET” even though I have talked to her three times. And she is close enough to me that I can hear her telling them this. My shrink has been telling me my problem is I need a vacation, and I finally realize he is right, I have actually gone completely insane from an unending rain of petty shit.

I have seized on anything and everything that would allow me an hour of forgetting how much I abhor my job. Long distance, internet emotional dalliances, love affairs, a real life assignation. Martinis. Legitimate prescriptions from my shrink. Other things. Obsessive posting on the internet (HI!).

@Promnight: Hey, that’s taking it way the fuck out. Really, once I found the Berry Weiss and cracked ice BEERGASM, I was sort of done as I dunno if I could actually endure a more massive moment of absolute pleasure as that. Really, a sturdy cask ale is about the outer limits for me. Then, wow, suddenly, I am in a parking lot pouring a fucking ice cold Berry Weiss into a Dextron II can filled with crushed ice while police cruisers surround me and bark at me on their bullhorns and ask me if I am Kowalksi.

@FlyingChainSaw: Why, you have dropped your personna and turned into one of the the most normal, nice, kind, funny people I could imagine. Thank you. I am gonna be OK.

@Promnight: Dropped what? The cops know it. You know it. Yeah, I am Kowalski.

@FlyingChainSaw: Pretending that I have taken it out beyond your legendary FCS limits, that you admire my act of audacity, you have no idea how much I appreciate this as an act of emotional support, but we know, that nothing surpasses the Flying Chain Saw. I am humbled by your friendship. You should know, I am beyond sarcasm and conceit, after the last 6 months, please take me literally, sincerely.

@Promnight: Why are we on this thread? In any event, welcome back to earth. Have you booked a vacation yet? Preferably one that is two or three weeks long? I highly recommend it as a way to restore sanity.

@SanFranLefty: No reason, except there were people here. Can’t get more than a week. Staycation, won’t help, my voyage on indefinite hold till the boat gets fixed.

@Promnight: Then pull up an inner tube and float along with us here for a while, dear, that’s kind of what this is for.

@Promnight: Go directly to Barcelona. A week’s worth of the food, the beach, the beautiful people and the late night, socially adept revelry will do you a world of bueno. Trust me.

@Promnight: Your office tales amuse me – but only because some years ago, it was a young Promnight Dumpster Baby telling us about a co-worker bringing his lamb to work. I may have the species wrong, but the point remains.

I couldn’t stand my job when I joined this merry band of web pranksters, and it took me three years before I could walk away. That saved my life.

@FlyingChainSaw: I suggest a Labor Day assembly featuring Berry Weiss, cracked ice, a Dextron II and Prom’s boat. Any takers?

@Promnight: I’m with Nabisco – run, don’t walk, to Barcelona. Follow it up with a few days in Mallorca and maybe a decadent lunch with RomeGirl and the DrunkenExpatWriter in the south of France and that would heal what ails you.

And then come back and start looking for a new job. Best and scariest thing I did in the past couple years was to stop treading water and start job hunting and leave dysfunctional comfort for something new.

When y’all are done here, throw the sheets back on the furniture.

@nojo: I think Prom swiped a table lamp.

@Nabisco: I have no idea what my schedule will be like at that time but I will be in Barcelona later this month. Those meetings are already booked. You working there now?

Hmm, Barcelona sounds interesting.

@Promnight: It is a great city. Walkable within its villages. A civilized pace. Really, can’t wait.

@FlyingChainSaw: I have already developed an elaborate fantasy. I am short on change, but I could buy a ticket; my fantasy, I go backpacking europe, at 50, 30 years too late. I pack my backpack, still got it. I can camp, I can hostel, I can always put a hotel, cheap or expensive, on the cards. Awesome experiment, can I become part of the younguns backpacking group, will my story, I was too dumb to do it when I was your age, I am grabbing this fleeting chance to do it now, work? Viable plan? Wild dream?

@FlyingChainSaw: Sadly, no. We’d move there in a heartbeat, given the chance. I’m still working nukular issues in east Asia, but returning home in a few weeks, before OA arrives on his junket.

@Promnight: Just do it, man. I was telling my kids a tale about my backpacking trip through Central America when I was 30, when I spent a pair of days with an “old dude” named Jack. He was probably our age, and totally cool.

Nothing is cheap in Europe now, except for the laughter when you produce a greenback, but go for it anyway. Raising the debt ceiling is all the rage now!

Researching airfares is always fun, exciting, it makes hope grow, dreams form . . .

@Promnight: Remember, fly mid-week (and avoid August, if you can) and you’ll save boatloads.

If you don’t go through with this, SFL, MellBell and I will bombard you with pictures of the tapas and red wine that await you upon arrival.

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