And the award goes to…
Posted September 24, 2013on:
Jason Greenslate. You might not know the name, but he’s in no small part responsible for $40 Billion in proposed cuts to the food stamp program. Greenslate is the star of two Fox profiles on the “abuses” of the SNAP program. A member of the band Ratt Life, he is the 28-year-old unemployed surfer dude who is the new avatar of the fictitious face of food stamp abuse.
He represents just the kind of blood-boiling story to get the Fox audience looking for their pitchforks and torches. There is little wonder Fox News, you know them — the fair and balanced ones — conveniently provided clips of Greenslate to Republican House offices the day before the vote.
These clips arrived just in time for the House Republican caucus to double the proposed SNAP cuts from $20 Billion to $40 Billion. This $40 Billion in cuts is on top of the already scheduled reductions when stimulus funding runs out and the sequestration cuts are fully realized.
With a fraud rate of around One Percent (1%) in the program, Greenslate’s transgressions center around his choosing to live his life in abject poverty and dare to collect about $1.42 a meal. While spending in excess of 40-hours a week on his band, Greenslate says, “I’m working, but just not getting paid.”
It is against this backdrop that 3.8 million people will be lopped from the program under the Republican proposal. Of course, this is only the appetizer. Under the proposal, 2.8 million more poor people a year would be cut from the princely largesse of perpetually eating from the dollar menu at Mickey D’s.
The figure of 3.8 million has a certain antiseptic, sterile ring. Let’s put some faces on it. How about the faces of 170,000 veterans who will be cut from getting help with food? How about the 210,000 children who will lose free school meals and who are not counted in the total? How about the 2.1 Million in working poor and low-income seniors? These people don’t have the star power of Mr. Greenslate in the 217 congressional districts where these cuts were sanctioned by their representatives.
Congressional districts like Hal Rogers’s Fifth District in Kentucky — the same Hal Rogers who is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Kentucky’s Fifth District is the second poorest congressional district in the country where one-in-three people are beneficiaries of the SNAP program.
Or another Kentucky legislator who is a first-term Tea Partier. His name is Andy Barr. Rep. Barr had the unmitigated audacity to put out a press release with these words, “This legislation is the most compassionate policy because it encourages people who are capable of work to move from dependence to self-sufficiency.”
This bald-face hypocrisy is stunning. Given there are three job applicants for every job, this legislation cuts funding for job training and provides no waiver provisions to residents of high-jobless areas.
Of course the outrage these cuts should engender were masked from public view by last Friday’s 42nd vote to defund and/or kill Obamacare by threatening a shutdown of the government. Rest assured the government shutdown will get the lion’s share of press coverage between now and October 1st.
This is convenient for the 217 Representatives who voted to literally take the food from the mouths of the poor, children, senior citizens, and the disabled. It also conveniently moves the goal post for cuts from “sequestration cuts plus $20 Billion” to “sequestration cuts plus $40 Billion.”
Such grand synchronic convenience doesn’t usually occur without a little planning. I expect that is the case here. I imagine honorable mention for this feat is in order for the regular rogues’ gallery of Faux News, Reince Priebus, Ted Cruz, Jim DeMint, Kochs, and any number of others who collaborated in the orchestration of this piece of heartless, mean-spiritedness.
This is an open thread.
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