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.
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.
Thanks to Kelly Mitchell for acronym ideas