On Wednesday afternoon Rep.Matt Cartwright had a $.57 box of macaroni and cheese for dinner, with some iceberge lettuce topped with oil and vinegar and 2 slices of wheat bread. This was part of his 1 day protest designed to highight cuts in the proposed House Farm Bill. The plan is to eliminate $20 billion out of the $80 billion Food Stamp budget over the next decade.
Cartwright also ate 2 other small meals that kept his food intake under $4.50 for the day. That is the daily average for food under the SNAP Program per person. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok) said that it is the most reform minded bill in decades. He said it would make needed SNAP cuts as well as eliminate $5 billion a year in subsidies paid to farmers, whether they grow crops or not. Why would a farm not growing crops get money from the Food Stamp Program?
The legislation would achieve some cuts by partially eliminating categorical eligibility. That automatically gives you food stamps if you sign up for other programs. People would still be eligible, but would have to apply. That is a good change. The House is debating 103 Amendments to the bill, including a Democrat proposal to eliminate the SNAP cuts. About three quarters of the 47 million recipients are families with children. There are 1.77 million recipients or 14% of the population in Pennsylvania
The Republican led House proposal would kick 2 million families off of the SNAP Program. That would have long term affects on the health of the family, but most importantly the children. Thr fact that Republicans do not understand that austerity doesn’t work is very perplexing. Europe was falling to pieces because of austerity measures. Cutting spending without increasing revenue doesn’t work. But in Republican fantsy land it doesn’t matter because they are making things harder on President Obama.
Republicans said they wanted dollar for dollar spending cuts and tax increases. They have gotten $4.00 in spending cuts for every $1.00 in tax increases. Lets also talk about $200 billion in corporate welfare in 2012 alone. That is 2 and 1/2 times the Food Stamp benefits and still about $40 billion more when you add in heat assistance. So corporations that don’t need money get it, but people struggling because of corporations like this crashing the economy get hit with cuts. I guess it only makes sense when you look at their campaign donations. But campaign finance reform is a battle for another day.