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Hit us when we're down.

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There are headlines that I just hate to see because what follows is just formulaic. "Investigations" into public employee benefits, pay, or retirement funds are a sure fire bet that big pressure to cut all of the above are coming. Instead, they should be asking, "How to we improve all worker's wages and benefits?" Likewise, I cringed when I saw the headline "Ballooning food stamps likely to face deep cuts" - part of a larger article Big jump in food-stamp enrollment drives farm bill debate (Oregonian, 7/22/2012).

I remember, as likely do many of you, when the Gingrich Congress "Contract on (sorry, with) America", decided that we needed a war on the poor. Bill Clinton negotiated in and we ended up with Welfare "Reform." Or back to the (supposedly) great Ronald Regan, who came up with the distinction between the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor. Regan changed the way the Consumer Price Index was calculated (mainly through adjusting both housing and fuel costs if I recall correctly). (He also started the "Drug War," but that's another (though related) story). The aim of both Regan's, and then Gingrich's efforts were to reduce the number of people receiving "Welfare." However, they did nothing to reduce poverty nor the need for the programs.What did happen was that those receiving aid today are in much worse straits than those receiving assistance before the changes in policy and program.

Now we are still struggling in the mire of the great bank escapade, where the big investment houses bet all our houses (and everything in them) on long odds that ultimately had to collapse. The depression/recession is not over for most of the population (here or in Europe). This has left many depending on Food Stamps and Food Banks to get them and their families through the week.

Of course, one might have guessed that we were heading in a stingier direction when Food Stamps were renamed "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" (SNAP) in the 2008 Farm Bill (wikipedia). In other words, food stamps were not supposed to feed you anymore. They were just there to "supplement" ....what, water? The names of things are so very important. So now we have an ongoing (and I think likely permanent) high unemployment and lack of living wages. More people are qualifying for even the highly restrictive poverty level guidelines.

So once again, instead of asking "How do we support our population and get them opportunity for a better quality of life?", the issue becomes decreasing the amount of funds available for assissance. That means either cutting the amount of assistance being received across the board; or chaning eligibility guidelines to require people to be in even more dire situations before they are eligible. As stated by Akiba Solomon (The Indypendent, July 27,2012):

The Senate version of this year's Farm Bill cuts about $4.5 billion from SNAP. In real life, this means 500,000 households would lose $90 a month in benefits, according to the Food and Research Action Center. Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee's version, passed early this month, includes a staggering $16.5 billion in SNAP cuts. Per Feeding America, this would result in 3 million people losing all of their benefits, 300,000 children going without school lunch, and 500,000 households losing $90 in monthly grocery money.

More "compassionate conservatism" - which I believe is a fancy way of saying "F**k you," or "Go away and quietly die". In other words, "compassionate conservatism" is about as 1984 double-speak as you can get.
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The reality is that we (and the rest of the world) are in an economic muck that is not going to just clear up. This boondoggle has left millions of people struggling. Instead of addressing the issue and strengthening the safety net, our corporate sponsors say "get rid of the damn safety net - and all those social programs ( like schools) as well. The whole thing is not just wrong headed, it is cruel. Of course they may rename food stamps again to ease their consciences. Perhaps they can call it SNAK (Small Nosh And Kibble), or NAP (No Assistance Program). It would then be clear to everyone how little people actually need food stamps, or more specifically, our need makes no difference. 

Thanks to Kelly Mitchell for acronym ideas
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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.

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the program does need to be re-evaluated.  A ... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 8:09:32 PM
Really? Do you want to politicize this even more t... by Rowan Wolf on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 10:34:10 PM
people can buy lobster, T-Bone steaks, salmon, rib... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 3:10:01 AM
Well Codger, I think we can agree to disagree on t... by Rowan Wolf on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 10:49:34 AM
that there is as much fraud in the food stamp prog... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 11:20:01 AM
I like how you just glance over Clinton's involvem... by dumpthedlc on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 8:46:22 PM
I didn't exactly "glance over" Clinton's involveme... by Rowan Wolf on Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 10:44:15 PM
Is that Republican newspeak for someone who is pus... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 7:26:35 AM
John, I have no idea what you are referencing with... by Rowan Wolf on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 10:51:09 AM
pertaining to his bio which, in part, has him clai... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 5:37:58 PM
as a subsidy program for farmers. That is why the ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 7:38:24 AM
I agree whole heartedly with you on this.... by Rowan Wolf on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 10:52:46 AM
When  I was a refugee in Austria we were give... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Jul 30, 2012 at 1:32:55 PM
The Republicans have no heart or conscience. They ... by Howard Schneider on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 11:09:23 AM
Yes.  The bush tax cuts need to expire. ... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 11:30:09 AM
Doc,"Everyone" did not get us into this mess. The ... by Rowan Wolf on Wednesday, Aug 1, 2012 at 12:08:52 PM
Thanks Howard -for the comment and the support.... by Rowan Wolf on Wednesday, Aug 1, 2012 at 12:04:01 PM