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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/14/15

The GOP's Food Stamp Hypocrisy

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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

GOP bill blocks food stamp users from buying junk food
GOP bill blocks food stamp users from buying junk food
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We have a serious corporate welfare problem in this country, but Republicans would apparently rather spend their time trying to stop poor people from eating spaghetti sauce than do anything about it.

Seriously, I'm not kidding.

Right now, the Wisconsin Legislature is considering a bill that would ban food stamp recipients in the Badger State from buying any kind of shellfish.

Introduced by Republican State Representative Robert Brooks, this bill would also make it harder for poor families on food stamps to buy everyday household items like spices, nuts, and -- you guessed it -- spaghetti sauce.

Brooks' proposal is actually less extreme than some of the other food stamp clampdown bills floating around red state legislatures these days -- it doesn't, for example, ban the purchase of all seafood, just shellfish -- but it's still terrible public policy.

Although they were unable to get an exact number, analysts with the Wisconsin Department of Administration estimate that it could cost the state upwards of "several million dollars" to so aggressively micromanage the food buying habits of the working poor.

This comes, of course, as Wisconsin faces $2 billion budget shortfall thanks, in large part, to Gov. Scott Walker's tax cuts for the rich.

In other words, Wisconsin Republicans are willing to bankrupt their state even more just so they can stop poor people from making shrimp scampi with red sauce.

And that's not even the worst of it.

At the same time as Wisconsin Republicans are clamping down on the apparent plague of lobster-eating poor people that's ravaging their state, they're also happily promoting a failed Scott Walker corporate welfare scheme that's already wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and is set to waste even more.

Back in 2011, after he was first elected governor, Walker started something called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or WEDC, which funnels public funds to companies that claim they will create jobs for Badger State residents.

While that certainly sounds good in theory, a new report from Wisconsin's nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau has found that the WEDC hasn't done a good job of even bothering to check up on the corporations to which it was passing out millions of dollars.

In fact, according to that report, the WEDC has basically no idea which of the companies it has given taxpayer dollars to have actually created jobs, and has also forgiven millions of dollars of loans that were supposed to be paid back to the state.

So much for fiscal responsibility, right?

The hypocrisy here would be hilarious if it weren't so depressing and so utterly unsurprising.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)
 

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