November 18, 2005
Money for Napalm but not for Food Stamps
By Mike Whitney
The new Republican bill passed late Thursday night hacks away at the programs that keep us safe and our people fed. Another 220,000 needy Americans will be tossed of food stamps while zillions are sluiced into the war department.
::::::::The Republican dominated House passed a five year budget-plan in the early hours of Friday morning which savages programs for the poor, college students and disease control.
The bill tosses 220,000 people off food stamps, allow states to jack up the cost of co-payments for poor Medicaid beneficiaries, squeeze students with loans, and cut aid to child-support programs.
Republicans felt they were being magnanimous when they dumped a provision that would have denied free school lunches to about 40,000 children whose parents would lose their food stamps.
The milk of human kindness flows from the Republican Congress like blood from a turnip.
Lets be clear, the Food stamps program only provides for an estimated 300,000 people. The new bill knocks 220,000 people off the program, leaving a paltry 80,000 still qualifying for assistance.
Is 80,000 the maximum number of people we can feed in the richest country on earth?!? Meanwhile, we are spending $6 billion a month to kill Iraqis in their homes and cities.
The bill is an outrage and the men who signed it should be chained to a back-hoe and dragged down Pennsylvania Ave.
It took a second vote to pass the bill, but that had nothing to do with moral qualms about leaving their fellow man without enough food to eat. No, it failed to pass because it didnt contain the pork-nuggets that congressman require in an election year. After those tidbits were reentered into the bill, it sailed through without a hitch.
All the same, this proves an important point. The conservative strategy to plunge the nation into debt to reduce the size of government to where it can be drowned in a bathtub has fallen on hard times. If last night is any indication, the last tax dollar ever collected will go for some useless project (like the Alaska bridge to nowhere) that will perpetuate the career of a waffle-bottom Washington politico.
Grover Norquist take note!
The bill does nothing to reduce spending or deficits as Republicans claim. As the Washington Post states, Congressional Budget Office estimated last night that all the changes shaved just 2 percent off the cuts initially targeted at anti-poverty programs.
Still, the congress would rather take the food out of the mouths of children to pay for the white phosphorus theyre dropping on Iraqis.
Do we need to remind ourselves that 50% of every tax dollar goes to a gluttonous Defense Dept that is currently conducting the largest terrorist training camp in the world? (Iraq)
Oh, yeah, and the bill also cuts $976 million out of health care programs, including $249 million reduction to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In other words, critical resources for the bird-flu epidemic are being stripped to compensate for the lavish tax cuts that are provided to friends of George Bush.
Funding for college would be cut as well, with Pell grants frozen for the fourth year in a row. (NY Times)
Is this what Republicans call debt reduction; a ruthless raping of the social safety net? The House bill is an example of a nation that has turned inward and is devouring itself. It does nothing to mop up the red ink. It is a complete sham, designed to hurt the people in our society who most need our help.
Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.