The Widdershins

Not so TGIF…

Posted on: October 29, 2013

And they say Congress can’t get anything done!Congress on Vacay

This Halloween week is full of treats for those who have gone all biblical on whether or not to put food in the bellies of the poor and it is one big trick for those who might be so unfortunate as to be hungry and poor.

Friday, November 1st, is the date upon which $5 Billion is pulled from the food stamp program.  Not the $400 million reduction passed by the Senate or even the $4 Billion passed by the House, but the full Monty of $5 Billion being wrested from the poor in the remaining eleven months of this fiscal year.

Five billion dollars is a number too large for most people to grasp, so this is what this cut does to an average family of four on food stamps — the LOSS of 21 meals a month.  This represents a 15 percent across the board reduction in the food stamp program and will affect about 48 million Americans.

Even Congress had to have some luck to produce this perverse result.  With the economy shedding 750,000 jobs a month in 2009, as a stimulus the food stamp benefit was increased between $20 to $25 a month.  The idea was that this increase would be eaten away by inflation by the end of 2015.

Not so fast — Congress got involved.  With this monthly largess of taking a “Jackson” to the grocery being too much, Congress accelerated the sunset of the legislation.  In 2010, Congress moved up the expiration date to April 2014 to help pay for the Education Jobs Act, in order to keep teachers on the job.  Then four months later, Congress moved up the expiration further, to October 31st, to pay for the reauthorization of child nutrition programs.  This would be the point where thinking, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” would be appropriate.

So in about 60-hours the food stamp slashers will have their way.  Not from their clever legislative maneuvering costing the economy $24 Billion through their government shutdown.  No, not from anything other than utter malfeasance and convenient neglect.  Remarkably, it seems food stamp recipients have very few lobbyists to remind these Congressional cretins of their plight.

This $5 Billion cut is due to the total inaction of Congress.  Congress has nothing on the burner to address this problem, nothing in the hopper, nothing in the pipeline — pure unadulterated, unabashed inaction.  They didn’t return from their latest impromptu vacay until today since running to the World War II Memorial to mug for the cameras took too much out of them during the government shutdown.

Artist's Rendering of Rep. Stephen Fincher...

Artist’s Rendering of Rep. Stephen Fincher…

Just to put this in perspective about those who have gone all biblical about this lavish benefit of $1.40 per meal per day, we have exhibit number one — Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-TN.  Rep. Fincher said he turned to Thessalonians for his guidance on the food stamp issue, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Of course Rep. Fincher didn’t say where he found the spiritual guidance to be the second largest recipient in Congress of millions in agricultural subsidies.  The golden trough doesn’t stop there for Fincher since he could possibly be the largest recipient ever of subsidies in Tennessee.  I’m sure Fincher will get back with us on where he finds his spiritual guidance since being a present day money changer is quite taxing.

Fincher is joined by many others in the Tea Party who are constantly hogging the nearest microphone about their worries over Medicare or Social Security funding.  Medicare that is financially sound through 2024 or Social Security that might face a potential cut — in 2033.  This food stamp reduction happens Friday.

These Tea Party cutters are thinking ahead.  They must want to begin the process of cutting benefits right away so that seniors can get used to living on less.  Why wait until 2033 when you can start Friday?

They can take solace though, of the 48 million affected by this $5 Billion cut, eighty-seven percent (87%) are households containing children, seniors, or people living with disabilities.  For the Tea Party you can’t start too young or too old in explaining the rules of their zero-sum-game — no matter what the need, it’s always someone else adding up the zeroes.

As Fredster reminded us yesterday, remember your local food bank — they will need help come Friday.

This is an open thread.


21 Responses to "Not so TGIF…"

Perhaps we should all recall the biblical command to cast the money changers from the temple.

@1, I’m with you on that one Chat.

Here’s an article from this morning. The staggering part — the $5 Billion cut might just be the beginning of more cuts to come if the House Tea Partiers get their way.

Another great post, Prolix. Thank you for continuing to address this important issue.

Once upon a time, I was a student of theology. I am familar with the misuse of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 by conservatives. They love to use it to push their Social Darwinist world vision while pretending to be Christians. But Rep. Fincher and his ilk are guilty of both bad policy and bad theology by quoting this verse. The Letter to the Thessalonians was written ( attributed to the Apostle Paul ) to the early Christian community in Thessalonica. Many in the community had stopped working because they believed the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. Paul told them it was wrong to do this and they should continue to work while waiting for Christ’s return. The verse thus addressed a particular situation among a particular group of people in a specific place and time. Context matters to thinking people. 2 Thess. 3:10 is not a universal Christian call to let poor people starve because they are considered “unproductive”.

@3, Thank you Beata for that insight. I love it when smart people share their wisdom. Your sentence, “Context matters to thinking people,” should be embroidered on couch pillows for the imbecilic “Fox and Fiends,” err “Friends.”

Thanks for the info Beata. A biblical scholar I am not.

Instead of cruelly starving people to death why don’t they just come out and execute the sick, lame, poor and the rest? I mean, just get it over with since that’s really what they want to do.

from Prolix’s link at 2:

(“The cut is equivalent to about 16 meals a month for a family of three based on the cost of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s ‘Thrifty Food Plan,’ notes CBPP)

Oooh I love the phrasing…the “Thrifty” Food Plan”. I wonder if it includes instructions for dumpster diving?

Well here is a handy-dandy graph to check on the cuts.

@5 Fredster wrote:

“Instead of cruelly starving people to death why don’t they just come out and execute the sick, lame, poor and the rest? I mean, just get it over with since that’s really what they want to do.”

Because executing these dead weights would not be “Christian”. Cruelly starving them to death is obviously what Jesus would do ( see “The Letter to the Thessalonians According to Rep. Stephen Fincher” for proof ) .

That graphic @7 is an eye-opener. And each number represents a person who may go hungry in the United States.

Beata@8: Good (??) point.

This was interesting, take the test to see if you’re a part of the American Center in politics.

(sorry Prolix)

I took it and I’m a full blown bleeding heart liberal. Quell suprise on that! LOL!

I am a minivan moderate, although I do not now nor have I ever driven such a contraption,

Crass, self-serving commercial break here. My grandchildren play in their HS marching band. Almost all county funding has been withdrawn, and we live from fund-raiser to fundraiser. At the moment, they are wearing 25 year old uniforms and they desperately need new ones to the tune of $25K. The $5000 prize money would be a huge help, so if you wouldn’t mind, please follow the link and vote for the McArthur High School Mustangs.

@10: I love a quiz! I’m a 100% Bleeding Heart Liberal. Shocking!

@12: Glad to do it, Chat. Good luck to the Mustangs.

I’m a 100% Bleeding Heart Liberal

My buddy!!! 🙂

Chat – happy to vote for the Mustangs.

Please pass it on to anyone that you can think of who might help us out. Thank you kindly.f

For several years now, I’ve been saying that our liberties and benefits are being taken away without our protest because the government has been smart enough to keep most of us overfed, and they let us vent on the internet. I believe these two factors are why we have not yet seen the massive civil unrest of the Vietnam era.

Well now more people are really going to be hungry. Keep this up, and those responsible might just have hastened the day when we see large scale demonstrations again.

Mary Luke@18: Ahhh…not used to many late nite visitors.

Let us hope that you are right about demonstrations!

To the barricades!

Chat, another precinct heard from for McArthur High Mustangs! Let us know when they win.

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