Skip to comments.SNAP and Our Moral Compass (Just what you might expect)
Posted on 11/16/2013 3:20:58 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
THE VIEW FROM HERE-Let me begin with a brief civics lesson (albeit, of course, I am simplifying our political history to a large degree). From the time we start school, if not earlier, and commencing with the Pledge of Allegiance (and to the Republic), we have encountered a variety of political terminology: republic, federalism, and democracy.
Our Republic is a representative form of government by which citizens democratically (by the people) vote for officials at every level (citycountystatenational) to represent their best interests.
Federalism refers to the concept of support for a strong central government. The Federalist Party was the first American political party which was in place from 1789 to 1801. It supported the theory that a strong national government would not only better handle issues that crossed state lines but would also protect social justice issues. Furthermore, when left to their own devices, Americans in a democracy (small d) would not always vote in a way that would be most beneficial to themthus the need for oversight from a strong central government. (Would we still have legalized segregation if the decision were left entirely up to the public vote?)
The Federalists were opposed by the Anti-Federalists, a group which became the Democratic-Republican Party, which did not trust that individuals elected to the highest levels of government would necessarily have the wisdom to advance and support appropriate regulations for the little peopleconsider todays Tea Party (Taxed Enough Already).
The Federalist Party lost its appeal, among other reasons, because of its elitist image (remind you of something?). The D-Rs split into what essentially became the modern Democratic Party and the Whigs which soon became the Republican Party.
Ironically, the philosophy of the Republic Party of Lincoln evolved into a very conservative party, and the conservative Democrats became the progressive party of today. Freed post-Civil War Blacks joined the party of Emancipation, and many Southerners became Democrats out of reaction to results of The War Between the States. More recently, those Southern Democrats (often called Dixiecrats at the time) joined the Republican Party and Blacks, by and large, became Democrats.
Whoo! That is a lot to take in, but I preface this article with that information to give some perspective to decisions that are being made now. There are numerous bills being considered (and held upparticularly by House Speaker Boehner and his cohorts) in Washington, but one that affects all of us to a greater or lesser extent is the nutrition program that was created as a safety net to feed the hungry among us.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of 2009 (usually referred to asSNAP) is and must be one of our top priorities! Because there was no vote to extend it, millions of people (beginning November 1, 2013) will find that they will receive significantly less assistance for feeding themselves and their families (one in five householdsthat is 20%--depend on the food supplement program to meet their nutritional needs).
The cut amounts to about $5-6 billion for next year alone (and this is on top of the major cuts from the Sequester), a change which equals a loss of 21 meals per month for a family of four! More than 22 million children and 9 million elderly and disabled will be affected, let alone the other adults in between. To quote findings from recent research, . . . we can reasonably assume that a reduction in SNAP benefit levels of this size will significantly increase the number of poor households that have difficulty affording adequate food this fall.
The CBOs projection of food inflation over the coming years will only add to the impending tragic circumstances we are all likely to face. We have a history of being myopic. People cannot work if they are hungry. People get sick if they are hungry. People get angry and sometimes commit crimes (think of Jean Valjean) if they are hungry. The rest of us ultimately pay the tab if these problems are not addressedsooner than laterbefore they become insurmountable.
People often forget that when the poor receive this safety-net assistance, they can use their remaining money to purchase heating fuel (so they will not freeze in the shuddering winter cold), clothing and other merchandise, gasoline (the current decline in gasoline prices can help offset other costs as well), medicine, and so forthpurchases which create a boost to the general economythe result of which creates more jobs, greater stability and security for the entrepreneur and for society as a whole (see discussion on Californias AB 191 below).
SNAP is part of the current Farm Bill debate. Passage of this bill does not only affect food stamps (in California the Cal Fresh Program) but food inspections (think of e. coli outbreaks), American agricultural programs which affect AgriBusiness but also small family-owned farms, crop insurance, and trade policy [we do get much of our fruit, vegetables, and other edible products from other countries (we must stay on top of what is coming in from countries like China which do not have the inspection oversight that we do)].
By the way, California is in the forefront with regard to its nutritional programs. Governor Brown recently signed AB 191 [introduced by our own Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (AD 39)]. This law will streamline CalFresh eligibility for Medi-Cal recipients and their families. It will also increase the likelihood that low-income households have access to a package of benefits that support their overall health and well-being. It will prove to be a welcome expansion to our states economy.
All this takes us back to my rather lengthy introduction. . . . If you look at todays Republican Party (with its radical right-wing and power-yielding Tea Party), we witness the emergence of an insensitive, heartless, selfish, ego-centric group of un-democratic heretics. Is my language too strong? I think notit could be stronger!
On this issue of alleviating hunger, Vermonts Sen. Bernie Sanders would certainly agree with me as would Floridas Congressmember Alan Grayson who in 2009 had the cojones to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives, assisted by the visual aids he had brought, to slam the Republican Party for its indifference to the pressing needs of the millions in this country who depend on a strong central government for their survival.
He called out the right wing when he stated, unequivocally, that the Republican plan for national healthcare was dont get sick but if you do, die quickly. He and Sanders both support a single-payer health package (as do numerous electeds on both sides of the aisle)and certainly satisfactory nutrition is part of any healthcare consideration.
In one of my previous articles I alluded to the pyramid, at the top of which is the 1% of the powerful and wealthy who stand on the shoulders of the 99% who serve them, to help maintain them in their oligarchical and plutocratic positions. It is all about Survival of the Fittest, not, as Darwin actually stated, Survival of the Fit. If you are poor, out of work, disabled, unemployed, Take care of your own problems!
As Romney said during the recent campaign, if you want to go to college and cant afford it, borrow from your parents (who, by the way, probably dont have the financial means to provide their children a higher education in the first placeotherwise their children would not be seeking financial aid). This philosophy can easily be extended to the hungry.
As Bernie Sanders stated, We live in a hypercapitalist society, which means the function of every institution is not to perform a public service but to make as much money as possible.
Theres an effort to privatize water, for Gods sake. Similarly, we are expected to be on our own to take care of our own healthcare and nutritional needs. The Republicans cajole and yell and scream about the evil effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (The problems we face today are largely caused by their own intransigence on this subject.) Had they supported this reform or a viable alternative (as they claimed they had), we might have been able to address some of its flaws and shortcomings earlier (remember, way back decades ago, Republicans also vehemently opposed Social Security and Medicare).
The roll-out would have been smoother had the Republicans voted initially for adequate funding to make the program work. Had the many states led by Republican governors not opposed expanding Medicaid into their states, had they developed state-wide versions of the Federal program, the ACA would already be praised for its competence and effectiveness. To see how the program can work, just look at California (Covered California, our health insurance exchangean arm of ACA), or Kentucky, or several other states where the roll-out has been very successful.
We must contact our Congressional representatives in the U.S. Senate and the House (particularly the Republicans) to reconsider their earlier decisions if they had opposed extending the program. SNAP is essential to our survival as a civilized nation. Extending SNAP, with the funding which is necessary, is essential for maintaining our moral compass.
(Rosemary Jenkins is a Democratic activist and chair of the Northeast Valley Green Coalition. She also writes for CityWatch.)
... The Whigs were replaced by the upstart Republican, they didn't become them.
How did the republic survive before SNAP, food stamps et. al?
She would have some sort of point about the need for a SNAP type aid if she was at the very least being willing to differentiate between those who need it because they cannot afford food for reasons beyond their control, i.e. disability or condition or a complete inability to find any kind of job, at all, anywhere, for a temporary period of time and between those who would be using SNAP because they flat out do not want to get a job at all. But since she never does that, she does not have much of a point at all, whatsoever.
This person has no anchor in Reality Bay
How will people eat if there is not a government worker to chew it for them?
This is how adult day care was invented.
She does not speak nearly strong enough. Her politics demand that she call for the eradication of all who oppose her call for an absolute commitment to federalist authority. To be true to her beliefs she must demand the imprisonment of all TEA party sympathizers and the abolition of the entire Republican party. Of course this must also include the nationalization of all industry, the confiscation of all guns, and required abortion for all women with one child.
She is obviously pulling her punches so as not to be found out as a fascist demagogue.
What the hell does"power-yielding" mean? For that matter what does any of this crap mean. What are the limits of subsidy for "the poor" and why are they still poor after all these years? I've been working since 1966 and few of the jobs were "fun"; I went to those jobs anyway. Why am I different?
Since she didn’t mention Unicorns she is deliberately lying and not just confused.
It isn’t always so easy to tell.
California is dead last in every economic/educational metric, is in debt some $85 billion, and is building a train to nowhere.
‘People often forget that when the poor receive this safety-net assistance, they can use their remaining money to purchase ‘ ...things advertised on TV.
Can’t let this opportunity pass to remind people why the media loves Democrats- they give them money!
How does this crap ever get any attention at all?
The third paragraph is a twisted revision of what things mean and it just continues to spiral further down the toilet.
I’m sorry but this nonsense makes me so angry I could just snap the head off my Barbie!
“...we witness the emergence of an insensitive, heartless, selfish, ego-centric group of un-democratic heretics. “
Another reminder why we should not hesitate to use against these people terms such as:
Communist, Utopian, Infantile, pie-in-the-sky, Radical Socialist, immoral looters of the national treasury stealing from future generations etc etc.
OK, I added that to the comments section. lol
Horror of horrors.
Should have a “triple barf alert”.
Big government is corrosive to personal charity.
I’m an example, the taxes I pay limit what I can donate.
This is a premise that is never mentioned in the MSM.
No, that is statism!
And just why would ANYONE being needing SNAP anyhow? Isn't everything just peachy under the Won?
Good paying full time jobs everywhere.
If MORE people "need" SNAP than before Obama, wouldn't that mean Obama has created more poverty?
A stunning admission from a liberal columnist.
Maybe they had a brain freeze.
"No, that is statism!"
Exactly. "Federalism" refers to enumerated powers, and limited central government. Shows her stupidity.
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