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The Food Stamp Cut And American Priorities

Food stamp benefits cut and Congress considers even deeper cuts. We’ll hear the debate over national priorities, hunger and character.

In this Sept. 11, 2010 file photo, Temeka Williams, right, of Detroit, uses her EBT/Bridge Card tokens for a purchase from Elizabeth and Gary Lauber from Sweet Delights at the Farmer's Market in Detroit. The temporary increase in food stamps also know as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program expires Oct. 31, meaning for millions of Americans, the benefits that help them put food on the table every month won’t stretch as far as they have for the past four years. (AP)

In this Sept. 11, 2010 file photo, Temeka Williams, right, of Detroit, uses her EBT/Bridge Card tokens for a purchase from Elizabeth and Gary Lauber from Sweet Delights at the Farmer’s Market in Detroit. The temporary increase in food stamps also know as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program expires Oct. 31, meaning for millions of Americans, the benefits that help them put food on the table every month won’t stretch as far as they have for the past four years. (AP)

Food Stamps, the SNAP program, is the largest US anti-hunger program.  It’s designed to help the poor buy food.  It’s hardly luxurious.  The average household receiving SNAP benefits had an annual income of $8,800 in 2010.  SNAP benefits have covered $1.80 per meal.  Now, after cuts on Friday, that’s headed down to less than $1.40 a meal.  SNAP is controversial because it has grown.  Enrollment has doubled since 2004.  The cost has tripled.  Of course, we had an epic recession.  But the heat is on.  Up next On Point:  Food stamps – SNAP – American hunger and American priorities.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Eli Saslow, staff writer at the Washington Post; author of a four-part series of stories on food stamps. (@EliSaslow)

Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democratic Congressman from Oregon’s Fourth District. (@RepPeterDeFazio)

Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute. (@MTannerCato)

Eldar Shafir, professor of pyschology and public affairs at Princeton University, co-author of “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Hard Work – “The congressman had been called a “starvation expert” by analysts on TV and a “monster” by colleagues in the House of Representatives. Protesters had visited his offices carrying petitions demanding he resign. And now, six months into his crusade to overhaul the food stamp program, Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) departed the Capitol to address his most wary audience yet: the people whose government benefits he hoped to curtail.”

The Daily Beast: The Republicans’ Food Stamp Fraud: It’s Not About Austerity — “ Its size fluctuates with the economy—when more people are working, the number of those on food stamps goes down. This, of course, isn’t one of those times. So right now the SNAP program, as it’s called, is serving nearly 48 million people in 23 million households. The average monthly individual benefit is $133, or about $4.50 a day. In 2011, 45 percent of recipients were children. Forty-one percent live in households where at least one person works. More than 900,000 are veterans. Large numbers are elderly or disabled or both.”

Northwest Watchdog: Oregon’s DeFazio protests food stamp cuts — “DeFazio, a Democrat who represents Oregon’s fourth congressional district, is protesting proposed cuts in the U.S. House to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low income families buy food, according to KVAL. A huge farm bill passed by the Senate on Monday includes $760.5 billion for SNAP, nearly 80 percent of the entire bill. The House is proposing steeper cuts to SNAP.”

Read An Excerpt Of “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” By Eldar Shafir And Sendhil Mullainathan

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  • Harry

    The excerpt from the Northwest Watchdog article states that the Farm bill contains $760.5 billion for SNAP. I think they meant $76.5 billion.

    • Don_B1

      Both numbers are accurate; the first represents the amount for the period the bill covers, 10 years, and the second represents the average amount for each year of that period.

  • Libris Fidelis

    “People keep using immature-child’s talk when they refer to Department of Agriculture food benefits, and when they do, they get it all wrong mentally, which also shows how they do not understand the propaganda problem here. THERE IS NO RE-DEFINITION of the non-existent program term of “food stamps” into “SNAP”, they are not the same programs. You must read what I write, and not gloss-over my explanation.

    “The term “food stamps” is no different from calling a Cadillac a “Model T”. It is immature terminology that reflects peoples’ negative regard for the subject, as if we are taking about something flippant like S&H Green Stamps or Blue Chip Stamps. We have ONLY used the food benefit card since 2004, and that is how it should be termed. Unlike the food coupon which we used until 2004, in which if a person qualified for that benefit, THE FOOD COUPON WAS REQUIRED TO BE GIVEN IN FULL TO THE RECIPIENT… the electronic food benefit card on the other hand is just like the problem with debit cards and credit cards, which use CAN BE DENIED TO THE RECIPIENT OR REDUCED even if the recipient qualifies for the full amount… that has happened to me back in 2004 and 2005 using the food benefit card.

    “The SNAPS program is NOT a federal program… originally it was only a New York State program, but now several other states’ programs use it, and like H.U.D. Section-8, the federal food benefit card can be the basis of State programs like SNAP even though SNAP is NOT a federal program. People MUST be sophisticated enough to keep these points clearly in their minds, because it affects how they can and cannot claim their benefits. It can be a VERY complicated system that effectively confuses people out of receiving their benefits if they are not diligently careful! And that is the way our US system is set up, including with Social Security retirement! IF you do not have the intellectuality, you WILL loose or forfeit or suffer a reduction in your benefits! GUARANTEED! — Libris Fidelis June 8, 2012″

    “Let us quit using that irrelevant term which even the government agency U.S. Department of Agriculture does not use any more… because “food stamps” have not been used in our country for over 60 years… and our country stopped using the food coupon in 2004…. it is an irrelevant term that has not been true for sixty years… it’s incorrect saying “food stamps” just like saying the alpha “o” for the number or numeral “zero” is incorrect… the alpha “o” is on the six key of your cellular telephone and will not compute as a number on your computer. The same mis-use of terminology applies with “food stamps” … it is children’s talk since 2004 – when the food benefit coupons were discontinued – ONLY the food benefit debit card has been used… and the term “SNAPS” is a New York State acronym for THEIR program that government agencies in OTHER states are now using in THEIR terminology… but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does NOT have a SNAPS program itself. — Libris Fidelis, Councilman, Iowa Council on Homelessness July 2011″

    “But they are still not “food stamps”, since 2004 when the food benefit coupons were discontinued – ONLY the food benefit debit card is used… and the term “SNAPS” is a New York State acronym for THEIR program that government agencies in OTHER states are now using in THEIR terminology… but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does NOT have a SNAPS program itself. — Libris Fidelis June 17, 2013″

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    “Pattie Maes + Pranav Mistry: Meet the SixthSense interaction”

    http://www.ted.com/talks/pattie_maes_demos_the_sixth_sense.html

    In many areas of this country, grocery stores, get most of their sales volume from food stamp purchases. No food stamps, no grocery stores! This needs to be talked about.

    The fundamental problem here is lack of jobs. Jobs that pay enough to sustain. There are just too many people in relation to the number of workers needed for a modern economy. An 8 hour workday is too long. We need to move to a 6 hour workday. We need to change the formula for overtime, also. Double time for the hours between 6 and 8, and “time and ¼”, thereafter. We need to lower the corporate tax rate, close all loopholes, force companies to pay dividends and tax those dividends as ordinary income. FACT: automation will continue to eliminate jobs, ALL JOBS. New methods must be developed that force money into the hands of the citizenry. Even physical money is soon to be “challenged” , look at the recent introduction of a physical “Bit Coin’. This act is challenging our Federal Reserve System, and therefore our countries ability to remain a sovereign country. You think you have problems now, wait until these forces collapse your currency ! We need a form of physical money that actually provides some meaningful service to people instead of just ’sitting there and being metal and paper’. I personally think we need a Hundred Dollar ’Bill” that doubles as a energy producing solar cell, and an electronic device that provides useful data for any and all to use ( a dictionary, encyclopedia, almanac, etc…) This TedTalk from the Media lab will give you an idea of what I am referring to.

    “Pattie Maes + Pranav Mistry: Meet the SixthSense interaction”
    http://www.ted.com/talks/pattie_maes_demos_the_sixth_sense.html

  • Yar

    We must first understand that we don’t speak the same language.
    The excerpt is interesting but a liberal and conservative will get totally different understanding from the words and their meaning.
    The crux of our economic system is we have two different universes of understanding.
    The link to a TED talk explains the differences.
    Our understanding of Harm/care, Fairness/reciprocity in-group/loyalty, purity/sanctity and authority/respect, are valued very differently from a conservative and liberal perspective.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

    Definitions start at 5:40
    The graph at 8:30 shows the differences for liberal and conservative.
    How can we discuss possible solutions when we experience the world so differently?
    I think the whole 18 minute video is worth watching regardless of your political point of view. Of course, I am limited by my perspective.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Yar,

      We live in a time where the media has tried to divide people into conservative and liberal “teams”, as if these were the only two Universal choices that could be made. The TedTalk video link that you gave seems to suggest that same mindset.

      Looking back at history, I ask, ‘Would you have called Genghis Kahn a liberal or a conservative ? Here is a man that took on the “establishment”, that is the establishment of independent War Lords‘, each of which was out for their own wellbeing and trying to preserve their own way of life and power. By forcibly and somewhat systematically eradicating them he was able to unite a territory into one single entity. It’s is ironic that Genghis was the very thing he sought to destroy. The destruction he brought positively effected an underclass that would have had zero “chance” otherwise !

      • John Cedar

        Kahn was definitively an illiberal or a librul as we affectionately know them these days.

      • Yar

        Genghis Kahn would have been a conservative by the in-group loyalty measure. Many conservatives have no problem with slavery, as long as they are not the slaves. Harm and fairness concern is limited to their in-group morality. The liberal extends prevention of harm and concept of fairness to other groups. We (liberal and conservatives) are in different moral universes, occupying the same physical space.
        When God tells me to take your land, resources, and exploit the blood sweat and tears of your people: as we the people of our democracy have done, we can’t even discuss what is fair.
        Do you want to talk about religion and faith?

        • Wm_James_from_Missouri

          Yar, It’s a stretch to say that conservatives support slavery ! Slavery is pervasive today, throughout the world in non-white areas, also ( I include the race comment, because in this country, conservative is often associated with white people.). The poor need our help. They need someone to speak for them and to bargain for their interest. Categorizing conservatives as potential slave holders, will not solve any problems. Please keep this in mind.

          • Yar

            Including economic slavery? Support for a living wage? Liberal or conservative? Healthcare a right or a privilege.
            Slavery is pervasive in America today. Actual bondage type slavery is in the thousands. Threat of deportation and wage theft are an even more common form of slavery. We exploit slave labor in every aspect of our society. What was the person paid to assemble the electronic device you are reading this on? Slavery comes in many forms. Liberals also turn a blind eye to slavery. We look away, because the truth is too painful. How do we communicate across different moral universes, where by definition communication is impossible.
            Maybe we should have a discussion on morality.

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            Yar, It is an age old problem of pricing. Buyers want the lowest price possible and sellers want the highest price that will produce the greatest profits. Both are selfish interest ! How many times have you heard NPR speak, saying such things as, ‘ the economy is showing signs of improvement, housing prices are rebounding’ ? I ask you, “Who in their right mind wants to pay MORE for a place to live “ ? It’s is nonsensical ! I would be willing to bet that you or very few of the people on this site have ever entertained the possibility of a society in which everything was free ! Have you? If everything were free we would have infinite wealth and no poverty, right ! Most people have been so indoctrinated that they cannot even stop to entertain such a notion. Think about it, it’s bizarre! We say we want one thing, yet we strive for something else!

          • Yar

            Pricing is a definition of in-group; you are my brother I should give you a discount; you are my brother I should pay you a premium. The problem comes from monetizing relationship. We are no longer our brother’s keeper, unless he is our slave. We have a contract with society for all stages of life, this is where the contract is being violated. How do we define who is us and who is them?

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            I think you missed my point. The economic world is not about giving discounts to anyone. It’s about sustaining self preservation through maximizing one’s own “stuff”. The problem is, that groups will not act to minimize their prices, (down to zero, best case) without the struggle of competition. I only know of one perfect Christian, one that gave all. If you should run across him let me know, I’ve got some things I’d like to talk to him about. Until then I guess it’s back to the Coliseum.

          • Yar

            Actually we are programmed to share, it is how we increase the chance our DNA will survive. We tend to work better with small homogeneous groups than large diverse groups. Would you let your brother starve?

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            Homogeneous groups can provide a useful well of ideas that can be used to build on. However, it is also know that once a steady state has been reached people tend to gravitate towards accommodation. People quit striving and accept mediocrity as “the way it is”. Stepping away from the group can be invigorating to the individual and be the force that propels to a greater mind and civilization. Personally, I can’t wait to get off this planet !

          • Don_B1

            While the Nevada State Assemblyman has since stated that he was not serious in his comment, he did say that he would vote for slavery today if his constituents wanted him to:

            http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada-lawmaker-says-he-would-never-vote-slavery

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, that’s a pretty weird statement. I think that elected officials certainly need to do what they think is in the best interests of their constituents, but I don’t think that one should blindly follow their wishes. I want my representatives to use their judgement and conscience to inform their decisions, along with the views of their constituents.

      • TELew

        The culture in which Genghis Khan lived was so different that the question is meaningless.

  • Jon

    here is an idea for GOP – instead of trying to cut the food stamps, work on passing a bill that mandates private corporations to be responsible for managing the lives of food stamp recipients with corp tax incentive. it can reduce the poverty in the capitalist efficient way and govt size at the same time.

    • John Cedar

      You mean I could tell my poor employees how to quit wasting their money, so they could afford to feed themselves?

      • Jon

        well I meant you can be a financial manager for the unemployed to train them or even force them to work (i.e., in the farm) to earn their living.

      • jimino

        Why do you have poor employees? Don’t they work?

        • John Cedar

          I have poor employees because someone redefined what poor means.

          The reason I can keep these employees (who are not actually poor), is that faculty lounge types, such as yourself, spend your time musing about your unrealistic ideas on the internet, rather than contributing to society by hiring them away from me at a higher wage with better working conditions.

          • jimino

            Hey, you’re the one that called them poor. What do they make?

            As far as your “faculty lounge type” claim, everyone in my household is self-employed with a small number of employees, none of whom is poorly paid enough to require public assistance.

          • Yar

            Would you be poor if you paid your workers a living wage?

      • Jon

        reduce the minimal wage so that the jobless can replace the undocumented immigrants for their jobs – that works for the GOP immigration policy as well.

        • HonestDebate1

          I would never let the government determine my worth. I determine my worth and I’m worth considerably more than minimum wage.

          • Jon

            so you saying other tax payers are obliged to pay for part of your living? govt doesn’t make but waste tax payers money

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I don’t receive assistance. I pay for others assistance. Government does not have any money, it’s ours.

          • Jon

            I thought you were speaking on behalf of the poor?

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m speaking for myself.

        • Yar

          Or make the undocumented immigrants citizens and then they can demand a living wage, and not drive down wages. Same coin different side.

          • Jon

            are your side of the coin prepared to accommodate more and more undocumented – electrify the fence won’t stop them? who will pay for it, grandchildren?

      • John_in_Amherst

        or you could, unlike places like Walmart (run by a family of billionaires), employ people full-time and pay a livable wage…

        • StilllHere

          Wal-Mart is not run by a family of billionaires. I suspect you’re equally clueless about everything else.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Troll

          • jefe68

            The Waltons currently own 49 percent of Walmart stock plus almost half of the control of the company as a whole. Which means they own a huge share of it. The six Waltons, heirs to Walmart founder Sam Walton, have a net worth equal to the combined wealth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans.

        • John Cedar

          Or YOU could hire them.

          I don’t pay people as much as you would like me to.
          Yet I pay people more money than you do.
          I don’t go to Walmart ever….ever.
          EVER.

          • John_in_Amherst

            ramble on. I have no knowledge of your employment practices, but I’m glad to hear you don’t patronize Walmart. On the offhand chance you are a billionaire who has gotten fabulously wealthy while not paying your employees a living wage, I’d suggest that you can’t call yourself a Christian without being hypocritical.

  • John_in_Amherst

    GOP members, who identify themselves as both fiscally conservative crusaders against fraud and abuse, and Christian, need to choose one identity or the other. Being charitable toward the poor inevitably opens one up to being “taken” by a small number of immoral, lazy louts who will try to sponge off society. There are ways to minimize the abuse, but not eliminate it.

    Practicing draconian parsimony in the face of need does the opposite, curtailing systemic abuse by willfully ignoring the suffering of those for whom the simple needs of food and shelter are going unmet. Since Reagan, the impulse toward callous indifference has increasingly been winning GOP hearts and minds, having reached a new nadir with the teapartiers.
    Throughout his tenure in Washington, Ted Kennedy carried in his wallet a passage from the Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46, which reads:
    ” ….31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
    It is unclear what inspires the leading goats of the GOP these days. Perhaps it is “”Every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost”, or some (ironically) similar Darwinian motto. Whatever it is, they should abandon the fiction that they are capable of compassion. One thing is sure: they are leaving the teachings of Christ in the pages of the Bible they love to flaunt in public.

    • John Cedar

      We don’t really know that much about Draco’s fiscal policy.
      But we know jebus said, “…teach a man to fish…”

      • John_in_Amherst

        jebus?
        First, “teach a man to fish…” is a Chinese proverb.

        I am all for teaching self reliance as the primary strategy for dealing with poverty. However, people who are hungry and/or homeless make bad pupils. Some people are incapable of learning and/or implementing basic skills (like the elderly & handicapped). And finally, the twists of fate guarantee that there will always be those newly fallen into poverty through illness or forces beyond their command who need help getting back on their feet, a task made much harder when legislators are pulling the rug out from underneath….

        • HonestDebate1

          My own experience tells me otherwise. Being hungry and homeless turned me into a great pupil. Now I have many marketable skills.

          You are correct about the elderly and handicapped but only to a degree. Handicapped does not mean disabled. Charles Krauthammer, Steven Hawking and even FDR were handicapped. We had a centered riding clinic here at the farm a few weeks ago. People came from all over the country to attend because the clinician is a world class equestrian. She is also an amputee.

          http://www.usefnetwork.com/athletes/155/robin_brueckmann.aspx

          I just don’t think we should assume the elderly or handicapped or poor or anyone is helpless. We should assume the opposite while we love each other and care for those who are truly helpless.

          • John_in_Amherst

            I totally agree with your last sentence. I am glad being down and out spurred you on. But where, in what I wrote above, do I say the poor and elderly are helpless? How many of the disabled have Hawking or FDR’s genius, or Karuthammer’s talent of self-promotion? Being in need and being helpless are 2 different things.

          • HonestDebate1

            You used the word “incapable” I inferred that meant helpless.

          • John_in_Amherst

            touche. not all elderly or handicapped are helpless. I was wrong to infer that they are. There are many among the elderly who are quite well-off, and still collect SSI and medicare. There are some among the handicapped who overcome great obstacles and live in ample material wealth. So you are in the “devil take the hindmost camp”? thought so.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I’m not. We only disagree on the premise. I’m just saying, from my experience, that the last thing a handicapped person needs or wants is to be assumed to be incapable.

            Until I know differently, I look at a handicapped person and assume they are capable of independence.

          • TELew

            FDR, from my understanding, was born into a very wealthy family. I am sure that made at least a little difference in what his “struggle” was.

          • crescent moon

            Yes, and Steven Hawking had a wife who waited on him hand and foot, doing everything for him. And he resides in a country where we had better healthcare and health insurance options than he would have if he had lived in the good ‘ol U.S. of A (as he himself has commented on). It also should be mentioned that all three examples HonestDebate1 cites are white males. If you look at food stamps demographics in this country, a majority of recipients are women and minorities. Women still make 75 cents to man’s dollar in this country (and that’s just an average assuming the same position, it is a lot less when viewed in terms of a traditionally female dominated profession v. male-dominated profession), a black woman makes something like 50 cents to a white man’s dollar. There’s no such thing as a self-made man (or woman). Maybe some people inherently have more willpower or strength to overcome the cards they’ve been handed if it’s a raw deal, some people don’t. But they don’t deserve to be punished for it, they deserve more resources to bridge the gap. Furthermore, we need to acknowledge the deeply embedded racism and sexism in income inequality before being quick to point fingers just at the poor person. No man is an island, and we should be charitable and not assume because one person does something that inevitably means all people can.

          • HonestDebate1

            I actually listed 4 examples, not 3. I gave link to the fourth, a woman. I just made another reply describing Dr. Carson. The majority of food stamp recipients are white.

          • jefe68

            It’s obvious this chap is failing to see the difference. Or, he’s lacking in empathy. More than half of SNAP recipients are children or the elderly.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, we could ease back on the child labor laws, a la Newt’s vision, and we can just have the elderly work until they die. Problem mostly solved.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s exactly what my evil cruel self was thinking!

          • Ray in VT

            Considering that a quite large number of people receiving SNAP benefits
            are children and old people, then how would your personal responsibility and work harder solutions be applied to them?

          • HonestDebate1

            Since you asked twice I’ll elaborate under the premise of my first reply. How about drug testing chronic recipients? If a child is going hungry and the parent is doing drugs then we as a society are enabling the problem. Regarding the elderly, how about making a concerted effort to make sure Social Security and Medicare are solvent? How about creating an environment that is not hostile to business and by extension jobs? When Newt and Clinton took 6 million off of welfare the doom and gloom predictions were rampant. The heartstrings were pulled. But then 6 million people who were being supported by tax money began actually paying taxes. Surpluses ensued.

          • Ray in VT

            And for the children of parents who are living clean and are just having trouble making ends meet, and, while fixes need to be made to Medicare and Medicaid, how do reforms to programs decades out impact the fact that many elderly are struggling now? Your solutions seem, at best, to merely pick at the edges of the issue that is stagnant or shrinking wages. Business seems to be pretty good for many. Some pretty highly profitable corporations are providing many jobs at low wages and reaping high profits. If those jobs are low wage, unsafe or don’t provide benefits, then that doesn’t seem like a great solution. Welfare reform, I don’t think, created jobs. If you have some research at that end, then please provide it. That was also during a time, as some like to point out regarding federal revenues, of a booming economy, and then that came to an end. That was also before we started to ship millions of blue collar jobs overseas so that companies could reap higher profits from 3rd world wages, so some of the underlying factors in the economy are far different now then was the case then.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am all for helping those in need who are incapable of helping themselves. I am all for a temporary hand out for those experiencing hard times. You seem to assume I’m not.

          • Ray in VT

            Considering some of your past comments on the issue, I have my doubts. It also begs the question as to who you put in the categories that you mention. I am figuring that it would be a different standard than exists currently.

          • HonestDebate1

            I understand you think I’m heartless and evil. All I can do is point out it’s a shallow and destructive conclusion while I deny the charge.

          • Ray in VT

            I am merely making a personal judgement/assessment based upon your comment history. Heartless I might support as a conclusion, but even that would be a bit of a stretch for me. Evil? Certainly not. I have a pretty high standard for evil, and I do not believe that I have ever encountered someone who deserves to be described as such.

          • HonestDebate1

            IMO, heartless people are evil. I can’t relate.

          • Ray in VT

            I just don’t generally think that someone being sort of a heartless d*ck would rise to the level of “profoundly immoral and malevolent”.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s all semantics until a heartless, immoral action takes place.

          • Ray in VT

            Meaning is pretty important.

          • Don_B1

            Then you should be a strong supporter of SNAP as it helps children pay attention in school (hungry children tend to act up in school; there is documented evidence of more children misbehaving in school at the end of the month when food stamps have run out).

          • HonestDebate1

            A parent who lets their kid go hungry should be shot.

          • Ray in VT

            And if the alternative is to let that kid go cold or homeless? Maybe just a beating?

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay.

          • Yar

            When you find drug abuse, what do you plan to do about it? I live in an area where counties have half of the school age children with a guardian who is not their parent. The elderly are taking care of children of parents serving in the military and parents who are in jail. I have delivered backpacks of food to a local school for children who don’t get enough food from home. Tell me a better way. We have around 200 students out of 7,800 in our county who are homeless. Life is not fair.

          • HonestDebate1

            You have put your finger on the problem which is a deteriorating culture. I think we must be honest about the government’s complicity in that. That’s a different discussion.

            In my area there is also a lot of community help for the poor. Local churches are very active. I think when we find drug abuse we should help get them off the drugs and make sure they do. We’ve got to break the cycle.

          • Yar

            Are we willing to look at the roots of drug abuse? Manual labor jobs that break down the body, or hopelessness of finding productive work, even hunger, are all factors. It is easy to say the individual is selfish, it is harder to understand how our society is complicit in abuse.
            I agree we have to break the cycle. Drug abuse extends to all segments and class, yet if you are poor you are (much) more likely to be punished for drugs.

          • HonestDebate1

            Again, the punishment is a different discussion. And no, I don’t think anyone has to do drugs especially the poor. That is a horrible decision that is completely in their control to make. People do drugs because they like to do drugs. It’s as simple as that.

          • Yar

            Your reality is more simple than others. I am not condoning any drug use, I am simple saying it is not always a simple choice. Just as food is not always a simple economic choice. If your electricity has been cut off, how does that change what you buy? How hungry would you have to be to have sex for food? How hungry would you be before you would steal? What if your child didn’t have enough to eat?
            It is easy to rationalize in the abstract, but when we put faces and emotions on these problems they become much more complicated. What if you are a victim of a developmental nutrition deficit?
            One has to be able to visualize themselves in a circumstance to have empathy.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s a choice. I think it s a simple one but it doesn’t matter, it’s still a choice. That’s all I’m saying.

            I understand your questions but my question is how hungry must you be before you quit spending food money on drugs?

            You can get creative with food and get by if push comes to shove.

            http://www.iheartthemart.com/mahatma-rice-only-14-at-walmart-with-coupon/

          • John_in_Amherst

            you DO have facts and figures to support the claim that Clinton balanced the budget on the backs of the indigent who had been shut off, right???….

          • HonestDebate1

            Sure, it’s not a secret. It was a major accomplishment.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have empathy but no sympathy. Sympathy is useless.

          • Ray in VT

            I have doubts about that first statement based upon many of your comments, and how is having “feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune” useless? That seems like something that would come in very handy when dealing with people who face adversity and misfortune.

          • HonestDebate1

            I do not advocate ending SNAP. I do not advocate that children and the elderly go hungry. I advocate the highly controversial, knee-jerk notion that we should reign in fraud and abuse. It’s crazy, I know.

          • Ray in VT

            Considering that there is a pretty low rate for those things and that there are mechanisms to report such abuses, then what else should be done? Do it more?

          • HonestDebate1

            How is it possible to know the rate? What we know is the lack oversight. What we know is how easy it is to just say you have no money and get food stamps without ever having to say why you have no money. What we know is there is no expectations from recipients. What we know is there are generations of people who have never known anything else.

            If someone is standing on the corner with a sign and giving out free money then people will come. If the guy goes broke, I don’t blame the people for showing up I blame him.

          • Ray in VT

            Research indicates a pretty low rate, unless you choose not to believe that of course. How do you know that there is a lack of oversight? People are required to submit detailed income and asset information. Are you suggesting that that is just rubber stamped and not checked on?

          • HonestDebate1

            Correlation. Being poor does not make you stupid.

          • Ray in VT

            Did you mean this as a reply to me?

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, the research points to a correlation.

          • Ray in VT

            The research that I referenced regarding abuse in this program?

          • HonestDebate1

            The research that says you are more likely to stay poor if you are born poor. But I was taking your word for it because you didn’t cite anything. That is not a request nor a complaint.

            I’m skipping around a lot maybe I got my threads crossed. My view on the abuse is that the extent can’t be known. It’s like voter fraud or tort reform.

          • Don_B1

            So if the amount of it is unknowable, then that makes it a big reason for the problem!

          • HonestDebate1

            The problem is on the other end. For instance the Obamacare website is a identity hacker’s dream but we don’t know how much has happened or will. That doesn’t mean we shut wait to make it more secure.

          • Ray in VT

            I didn’t think that I had to cite anything, seeing as how I was told in college that you didn’t have to cite general knowledge, and also seeing as how this very show has covered the topic of American social mobility fairly recently, but maybe you missed all of that.

            I find it interesting that you say that this can’t be known, based upon research, but you stood pretty hard behind one number (even if you misrepresented what the numbers from the table meant) from one table from one year’s crime survey.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are rewriting history. All I did is put up a chart. I didn’t stand hard. I even tortured the numbers to the point of insanity to make the point. I cited the methods. I took the numbers fro 37,460 to zero and changed them to 2 to 1. You still wouldn’t budge.

            But it’s apples and oranges. How do you know how many people on food stamps drink beer or have HBO?

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t recall taking any stand on the numbers, so you much have me confused with someone else. My main problem was with taking one data point with a small sample size, plus how you said that it said something that it did not.

            One can probably get a decent idea with a well worded and sufficiently largely sampled poll. However, if a poll is repeatedly conducted and significant year to year results occur, then one probably shouldn’t just take the data point that most supports one’s beliefs.

          • HonestDebate1

            Look Ray, I’m not going to pinball back to it. I stand by everything I wrote which is far different from your claims. I think 37,460 to 0 has enough wiggle room built in. I gave the source and methods. My point was valid. I’ll leave it there, think what you want.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, we can’t look back to see how statements reflect facts and lend to credibility, right. We don’t want to do any pinballing that might call one’s numbers or one’s ability to faithfully present them,into question.

            You may want to take a look back at what you said if you are going to stand by it all, because you flat out stated something that is not what the table said, and you seem to be pretty locked into that one year, regardless of the fact that year to year numbers vary greatly. David Ortiz had the greatest baseball season in history this year. Of course I am only looking at a six game sample. That’s valid, right?

          • Don_B1

            If you think more oversight is needed, are you for spending the money to accomplish that? Just cutting the money will not magically create additional oversight.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes.

          • Don_B1

            There just is not that much “fraud and abuse” that would justify such draconian cuts to SNAP, and how does just cutting the program reign in “fraud and abuse”?

            Oh, by hurting millions those few who are abusing the system are just going to go away?

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not draconian. SNAP benefits have doubled the last 4 years and the cut is modest.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m sure that that increase has nothing to do with that little economic crash that we went through, plus years and years of wage stagnation.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m sure it does, plus those ads in Mexico.

          • Don_B1

            The benefits per person receiving them or the total amount spent?

            The ARRA did increase the monthly SNAP benefits by an average of 15%. But the big increase in total spending came from the increase in the number of people eligible for benefits. And that increase is overwhelmingly because of the extremely slow job recovery from the Great Recession (Dec. 2007-Jun. 2009), where you support none of the best ways to strengthen that recovery (tax cuts and deregulation will do nothing except make the wealthy wealthier).

          • Don_B1

            So, at what age were you hungry and homeless?

          • HonestDebate1

            19 – 21

          • Ray in VT

            It’s a lot easier to do that then versus 30 with kids.

          • Don_B1

            Or younger, like between 2 and 12, when so much of one’s life outlook is formed.

          • HonestDebate1

            My family was poor too but my parents made sure I was fed.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t advocate having kids unless you can afford them.

          • Don_B1

            And a lot of the young people probably did not plan on having a child at their age and economic status either, but did you never do anything out of irrational motives?

            Humans are biologically programmed to have offspring, and avoiding it takes having the ability to sit back and consider one’s prospects rationally, and when you are hungry and homeless, that can be hard to do.

          • keltcrusader

            Don_B1, this is a man who has all day to sit at home writing crud on a computer while his wife goes to work to support him. You aren’t going to get any relevant answers out of him. He is a troll – pure and simple.

          • Ray in VT

            And if could afford them at the time but then life happens and you get financially shellacked? Can one just return them for a credit or something?

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t vote for Obama who shellacked the economy.

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks for the nonanswer and the Obama blaming. So, who was President again when the economy crashed? It was Obama, right? If I ask you my question above again will I get an actual answer?

          • HonestDebate1

            No, you can’t return them for a credit. I just assumed your question was rhetorical.

            As I have already made clear, I am all for temporary help for people down on their luck. It’s the generational way of life that I object to.

          • Ray in VT

            How long is that temporary help, and what does one do if one hits that and is still in a bad way?

          • HonestDebate1

            Let’s just say temporary does not mean generational. And it depends on the situation. If someone spends the help on crack it’s different than if someone has a car wreck.

          • Ray in VT

            But given that poverty is very often generational, then when do we throw in the towel on a family? I agree that very much depends upon the situation, and I don’t really have any problems with drug testing or limiting SNAP benefits so as to exclude certain types of items.

          • keltcrusader

            no, you just prefer having your wife support you instead

          • HonestDebate1

            My wife doesn’t support me. Why are you being so nasty?

        • John Cedar

          Blah blah blah…
          We’re talking about the other 90%++ who get free$tuff, not the small percent of people who genuinely need help.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bingo.

    • William

      Clinton bragged about one of his greatest achievements was welfare reform.

      • John_in_Amherst

        I do not argue that the welfare system is perfect, without need of reform. I am saying that the GOP is hypocritical in the extreme, extolling the virtues of living a “christian life” and American democracy while working tirelessly to demonize, marginalize and criminalize the poor and simultaneously scheming to deny them the ability to vote.

        • William

          Then we agree and welfare needs a drastic reform. But why is it only the GOP brings it up and is trashed every time they do? It’s difficult being the “bad guy” but it is necessary.

          • John_in_Amherst

            Clinton is not a republican.
            Reform = cut indiscriminately in the minds of many in the GOP. Talk about means-testing for SSI, altering the age of eligibility (at least for some people, depending on their health and the demands on it that their work has placed), increasing the amount of income for which people are assessed taxes to support SSI, etc. would all be great starting points. Further blanket reductions of food assistance is not reform, just mean spirited.

          • Don_B1

            The problems of extending the Social Security Trust Fund should be fixed by raising (or eliminating) the cap on F.I.C.A. and by reducing the inequality in incomes across the working populace.

            The reason the Trust Fund is not growing as expected is that the incomes of the 99% have not been growing as projected, due to the fact that the wealthy are taking most of the increases in income (the 1% wealthiest have taken 95% of the increased profits since 2009).

          • John_in_Amherst

            I agree with a lot of what you said, but a primary reason SSI is in jeopardy is because people are living longer (though, it should be noted, not necessarily healthy enough to continue strenuous work). Another is just changing demographics around the mix of young and old. There are simply more people to support relative to the number of workers making contributions.

          • TFRX

            The people who really depend on SocSec aren’t living really longer. The ones whose life expectancy has skyrocketed are the well-off white-collar and rich sorts.

            Blue-collar folks’ life expectancy has barely budged a couple of years in the 3/4ths of a century. The fascination with taking away a year or two more of their SocSec so it’ll go to those who’re expected to live to their mid-upper 80s is purely a fake crisis.

            Something to hold your breath and wait for coverage* of when the press corps tells us “people are living sooo long so raise the SocSec age again”.

            *Or not.

          • John_in_Amherst

            Good points. Googling ‘life expectancy income’ leads to several articles, papers, etc.

            There is still the issue of falling birth rates resulting in successively smaller ‘next generations’.
            And the economics of a shrinking middle class and a growing percentage of the population working low or minimum wage jobs, who will rely solely on SSI – no pensions, no 401-Ks, no equity…

          • TFRX

            When you say “we agree” all I hear is “I’m trying to put crap over on you”.

      • Don_B1

        @John_in_Amherst:disqus @davidjenson:disqus

        President Clinton certainly took some credit for the “welfare reform” bill he signed, but a lot of it was for the ways he resisted the harsh cuts that the Republicans desired. He also stated that the law was imperfect, and needed some revisions, none of which he was able to achieve.

        President Clinton’s reform bill was determined “successful” because it came into effect during a period of strong economic growth, when a record number of jobs (some 22 million over his 8 years in office) were being created.

        Since the time of President Clinton’s administration, the “reform” has been much less successful as the number of available jobs for people who have run into devastation from job loss or medical disaster has not been in any way sufficient.

        But Republicans just see the total expenditures and put forth measures to cut them without doing anything to address the reasons for those unfortunately necessary expenditures.

    • Rick Evans

      “GOP members, who identify themselves as both fiscally conservative crusaders against fraud and abuse, and Christian, need to choose one identity or the other.”

      The fiscally conservative tea party is now the tail wagging the elephant. They are mostly “got mine” conservative libertarians than political Christians. There is some overlap but the “religious” zealotry of the tea party is smaller government uber alles … except, “Keep your government hands off my social security account and my medicare”.

  • John Cedar

    Will the impoverished be forced to cancel their ring-back tones in order to eat or worse yet, cut back on their minutes plan or {gasp}…take their kids cell phones away altogether?
    Will they have to convert to fourth tier cigarette brands?
    Will they have to go back to the $1 scratch offs instead of the $5 versions?
    Will minimum wage momma be forced to get her princess a used prom dress instead of spending $300 and skip the limo this year?
    Will the kids have to wear clothes without their favorite expensive national team logo on them?
    How can the GOP do this to the “poor”?

    • John_in_Amherst

      So the Reagan “wellfare queen” is alive and well in the twisted recesses of your mind?
      The minimum wage today, in real dollars, is 40% LESS than it was in the sixties. In many urban areas, a single individual must work more than two full time minimum wage jobs to be able to afford a month’s rent. Your snide remarks are as asinine as they are heartless.

      • William

        Reagan said EITC was one of the greatest welfare programs in the government. If you want to call anyone anti-poor or anti-welfare it would be Bill Clinton. He brags to this day about one of his greatest achievements was welfare reform.

        • Don_B1

          The E.I.T.C. was advocated by Milton Friedman and agreed to by President Reagan, so when today’s Tea/Republicans complain about the “47%” being takers they are denouncing President Reagan, which shows how far they have gone to the radical right.

          • Ray in VT

            I was reading a bit about Friedman’s suggestion/proposal that there be some sort of national minimum income, and if someone fell below that, then they would get a tax credit/refund to bring them up to that level. I wonder how much support that would garner these days?

      • John Cedar

        It would be impossible for a person to be more ignorant than you are, of the lifestyle and spending habits of the vast majority of people who receive SNAP. Rachel Maddow and you should spend less time on the internet and more time in a retail outlet where these cards are used frequently.

        • John_in_Amherst

          The omniscient John Cedar? The one who knows my life, my work, my shopping habits? wow. what an honor….

    • nj_v2

      You really are an idiot.

      • jefe68

        And a real piece of work.

  • Ed75

    This is one part, it seems, of the large national argument over many issues that is taking place. As one book says, we’re one country but two cultures, two philosophies, and we don’t agree on very much.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Now the big question. How do we change the situation?

      • HonestDebate1

        We decide which way is right and quit trying to mash it all up in the middle.

        • John_in_Amherst

          or we reach a compromise, like in a representative democracy…

          • HonestDebate1

            That can be useful at times but not here. I think our problems are beyond just spending not as much or having a government not quite as big or having a debt not quite as devastating.

      • Ed75

        Well, I see the situation as similar to the one before the Civil War – slavery had become a terrible crime, and had to end. And the country lined up on opposite sides. Now the issue is abortion – it will end one way or another, and the only way is conflict of some kind, probably from another country.

  • HonestDebate1

    We have to reign in the fraud and abuse. We are enabling decadence.

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Maybe we should offer the poor their own hydroponic gardening system, with instructions and seeds that are non GMO.

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t like the term poor because I believe it is a choice in most cases. We should offer the helpless food stamps.

        • Shag_Wevera

          So if the majority of the poor choose to be so, a mere choice on their part would virtually end poverty?

          • HonestDebate1

            I should have written “choices”. Bad choices lead to poverty. If you choose not to do drugs or drink, not to have kids until you can afford them, to be honest and dependable, to apply yourself, to learn then your chances are remarkably improved.

          • jefe68

            So people who are working low wage jobs don’t deserve to feed their kids because they made bad career choices?
            The majority of people getting help from SNAP are children and the elderly, are you aware of that?

          • HonestDebate1

            Where do you get this stuff?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Um – reality?

          • HonestDebate1

            The reality is I said nothing of the sort. Until we quit assuming people are heartless and evil nothing will change.

          • jefe68

            Funny, I was thinking that about you.

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            Your on to something here. Bad choices are made in large part because of our brains inability to perform at its’ optimum potential. Someone with an oversized or damaged amygdala tends to be prone to violence, which leads to jail time, and an economic spiral into the abyss. Greater understanding of “neuroeconomics“ is called for.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala

            Neuroeconomics:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroeconomics

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            I would like to know who voted down a discussion of some of the most exciting brain related science in all of history? What’s up with that?

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe the person doesn’t like science.

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            A man asks for a dollar. You give him a million. He gets mad. Go figure?

          • hennorama

            Wm_James_from_Missouri — well … a million dollars is pretty heavy to carry around. Ten thousand $100 bills weigh about 10 kilos.

          • HonestDebate1

            I think that sometimes it happens automatically. I’ve gotten dislikes the second I hit post.

          • anamaria23

            I do wish NPR would do a show on brain research, if they haven’t already.
            Understanding of human behavior can be so enhanced by study of brain pathology and hopefully treatment.

          • Don_B1

            A place where a lot of the latest brain research is discussed is on the Charlie Rose Show, where there have been two “Brain Series” presented over the last three or so years, with the help of Nobel Laureate, Dr. Eric Kandel:

            http://www.charlierose.com/

          • anamaria23

            The study of the brain may give us the greatest clues to human behavior that is currently deemed lazy, criminal, addictive.
            Generations ago, the insane were locked in filthy cage like structures for want of knowing how to help them. With the advent of newer and newer psych drugs many of those same “types” are now productive members of society.
            Addiction, which is ultimately a disease of the brain, is one of the great destroyers of body and soul. Hopefully, through gene therapy or other advances toward treatment or cure, we can eliminate this scourge on individuals and families.
            That is why I cringe when funds for medical research are targeted for reduction as is happening now through the sequester.
            We are not all blessed with an optimal genetic profile.

          • anamaria23

            Also, universal health care with access to all may uncover conditions that inhibit optimal functioning.
            Recently, a friend, gradually lapsed into inertia and depression. A medical exam revealed sleep apnea that had been ongoing for some time. Treatment has changed her life.
            Pre-diabetes lurks in many, many. Diagnosis and simple medication treatment restores energy and further progression of disease.

          • anamaria23

            Also, universal health care with access for all, may uncover conditions that inhibit full functioning. A friend who had gradually lapsed into inertia and depression was, upon medical exam, found to have sleep apnea. Treatment has changed her life.
            Diabetes and pre diabetes abound. Diagnosis and treatment restores health, energy and limits progression of the disease.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you implying a choice is not a choice?

          • TFRX

            Scarcity really screws up the actual options, and the brain’s ability to process their (limited) options.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s the other way around.

          • Wm_James_from_Missouri

            We tend to think that the “I” is in control but studies have shown that things are more complicated than this. We are all victims of our biology and history. Sure, we can change some things but only when we have become aware of our limitations do we stand a fighting chance.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree about realizing limitations.

          • Don_B1

            It actually is not required that such physical events occur; the latest research shows that the human mind does not develop its full frontal lobe control that people assume will keep people from making bad decisions until they reach their early 20s. And so many make really bad decisions well before they have the mental resources to avoid them in the circumstances when they are made.

            [People can answer a survey correctly but when making the decision for themselves in the heat of the moment, they fail because the parts of the brain that should help them make the correct decision are not empowered yet, though they will be later in life.]

          • TFRX

            More of this fake “personable responsibility” crap? Sheesh.

            Hey, how about “Poverty leads to poverty.”

            Being born to the wrong parents really does a number on one’s chances..

            (And no anecdata, please.)

          • HonestDebate1

            If you want to believe that in America you are chained to the position in life you are born into then have at it. I have much more respect of my fellow man.

          • TFRX

            I’m not gonna pretend to have a real conversation on this with the sorry crap you dish out.

            Please stop pretending that all those people who were middle class 20 or 30 years ago are now dependent lazy moochers.

            When it comes to the actual bulk of people in these straits, your need to talk of them as morally defective is science fiction, like Ayn Rand.

          • HonestDebate1

            Talk about pretending.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s bizarre. Where did TFRX say that, and do you deny that it is far easier to win a race when one starts ahead of the other runners?

          • HonestDebate1

            He said it here: “Poverty leads to poverty.”

            We’re not talking about a race here. Some of the most miserable people I know are rich.

          • Ray in VT

            So you are rejecting the notion that being born poor makes it more likely to remain poor or that to be born wealthy makes it more likely to remain at least out of poverty? If so, then the research is against you. You prefer another analogy? One can move two pails of water more easily with two arms instead of one.

          • HonestDebate1

            I reject the notion that you are chained to the position in life you are born into. I reject the notion of making excuses for failure. No one has to stay poor. I don’t look to research to determine my value.

            You are also, IMO, confusing correlation with causation. It’s not the lack of money that propagates poverty, it’s the lack of expectations for excellence. That dynamic exists in wealthy communities too.

            Dr. Ben Carson tells a great story about being born into poverty and his mother making him and his brother read 2 books a week (from the public library) and write book reports for her to grade. She could’t read but they didn’t know that. It didn’t cost her a dime.

          • Ray in VT

            Again, one anecdote doesn’t disprove a pretty vast body of research into factors affecting poverty, and I’ll take the research over your beliefs any day. Also, again, TFRX didn’t say that people are chained to their station, and neither did I, so kindly please stop misrepresenting that comments that have been made.

            Didn’t cost her a dime? Who supports the public library? The public perhaps?

          • jefe68

            Oh no not a public library funded by tax payers… Oh no not that!

          • HonestDebate1

            I like libraries.

          • Don_B1

            But everyone doesn’t have the dedicated and loving parenting that Dr. Carson evidently did. You make the same mistake that Dr. Carson does when he assumes that everyone has the same opportunities and support that he, and apparently you did in rising above low circumstances.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s not the point. Rich people can be undedicated and unloving too. I agree we need more love, it’s free. It’s all mama Carson had and it worked.

          • TFRX

            I hope you’re rich enough for the miserable you’ve apparently achieved.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am very happy and fulfilled.

          • HonestDebate1

            Personal responsibility is not crap.

        • keltcrusader

          f’ing clueless as usual :(

          • Don_B1

            I think he presents a deliberate “cluelessness” in perseverance of his goal of reducing the social safety net. He probably has not really thought through the way following his assumptions on how he would like to see human life unfold have profound “side effects,” a sort of collateral damage in the effort to achieve an evisceration of the social safety net. [Of course, they cannot admit that, though some make it pretty clear.]

          • HonestDebate1

            Please don’t tell me what I think.

    • Ray in VT

      Everyone can do their part. Know someone abusing the system? Here’s how to report that: http://www.fns.usda.gov/Snap/fraud/fraud_4.htm

      • Don_B1

        It certainly is interesting that your post got a “down vote” which would seem to indicate that eliminating “fraud and abuse” is not their real goal and cutting the program is.

    • jefe68

      Not as much fraud and abuse as you would like.
      So how’s that change of heart in believing in man made global warming going for you?

      http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/05/16/facts-show-food-stamp-program-has-a-strong-record-of-efficienty

    • TFRX

      It doesn’t exist in nearly the amount you dream it does.

    • nj_v2

      I’d like to reign in your utter obliviousness, but it’s clear that’s a completely lost cause.

  • jimino

    Does a Walmart employee receiving SNAP benefits get an employee discount if they use them at their work?

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Good one ! :)

    • Don_B1

      Apparently Walmart thought that the reduced value of Food Stamps would be good for their business because it would make the poor more aware of the lower prices at Walmart.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Man, the poor sure are a drag.

  • William

    These really are not cuts but are like the money taken out of Medicare by Obama to fund Obama-care. Those were not cuts either and were all about keeping the medical industry honest. So this ten year right sizing to SNAP/Food Stamps is actually targeting dishonest retailers like Walmart etc…

  • Shag_Wevera

    The Earth is capable of producing enough food for all its inhabitants. Anything less is a failure of will and goodwill.

    • brettearle

      How do you know that it can?

      The “New York Times” just published a front-page article about drastic reductions in global food supply, in the coming decades.

      The article is based on research from internationally credible sources.

      • Shag_Wevera

        The coming decades seems to indicate a future tense. I remain fairly confident that everyone should have food today.

      • jefe68

        The operative word in the article was decades. As in 2050. It was also based on climate change conditions that we have now. Wait a minute, you don’t believe in climate change so how come all of a sudden you do? I know it fits your agenda.

        • brettearle

          jefe68–

          Either, I have not been clear on this issue–or else you have misunderstood me or else you may be quoting me out of context.

          In general, when you see me bending over backwards to give the Right its due, it is because I am trying to be as fair as I can.

          It is not because I am a closet-Right Winger.

          In general, I support few GOP views–although I am, for example, in favor of school vouchers, as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is.

          So please…show me, if you have the time, in the next couple of weeks (or, hopefully, sooner) just where I have demonstrated–anywhere on the “On Point” Forum–my respect for the anti-Global Warming crowd.

          Indeed, though I am not a scientist, I believe in Global Warming Climatology.

          In fact, I have been in touch with Dr. Kerry Emanuel, world-famous meteorologist, who advocates Global Warming–in order to encourage him to publicize his results, more widely.

          It came, at a time, a couple of years ago, when the anti-Global Warming clamor had reached an especially high-fever pitch.

          In view of the fact, that you have inaccurately, on this Forum, challenged a position that I DO NOT support, i would appreciate you finding my comments and presenting them.

          Otherwise I would especially appreciate a retraction.

          I am going to assume that you have the personal integrity to do this.

          If I have stated, anywhere, my support for the anti-Global Warming ideology, then I will be the first one to admit that either I have misspoken or that I was wrong.

          Frankly, I do not appreciate having false positions, ascribed to me, and then watching them being attacked.

          Nevertheless, as Hennorama says to many of us on this thread, I have sincerely respected your comments on the Forum.

          But, with this one, you are dead wrong.

          • jefe68

            I’m not in favor of vouchers.

          • brettearle

            I appreciate both sides.

            But, I’m of the opinion that there are too many factors that keep the system intractable and entrenched.

            If there’s an effective alternative–which is being touted by the Democrats–I would like to hear about it.

            I don’t expect you to discus this with me, on this Forum–unless you would like to.

            But I am interested in your view.

            So, if you’re inclined to tell me more, here, about what we could do as an effective alternative–given the essential nature of this issue and the polarities, thereof–then, as Ross Perot said, “I’m all ears.”

          • jefe68

            Those are my principles, if you don’t like them I have others…

          • brettearle

            I wasn’t looking to necessarily criticize or find fault.

            I was basically seeking common ground.

          • Don_B1

            One thing you have wrong is that Robert Reich really is not “for” school vouchers.

            He did write a column for the WSJ in which he supported “progressive vouchers,” which would provide, say, $14,000 for poor children but only $2,000 for children of the wealthy.

            But the purpose of the op-ed was to show that any voucher system will not work to provide better education for the middle- and lower-income groups.

        • brettearle

          jefe68–

          You deleted your comments that falsely ascribed positions to me.

          You apparently did so, seconds, or a minute, or two, after I made my comments, below.

          My comments, below, therefore, appear out of context.

          I would still appreciate a verbal retraction.

          I’m sure you have the character and the integrity to do that….

          • jefe68

            I misread you’re name. Sorry about that.
            Still the article you are quoting as a source is not dealing with the present in terms of food production. There is a difference between our present needs and a projected crisis 37 years in the future.

          • brettearle

            Thanks much for your explanation. Appreciate it.

            And I easily take your point.

  • thequietkid10

    I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this one….

    1. I started a second job working at a national dollar store chain, first day I’ve worked, I had to check out my supervisor, who was in charge of closing down the store for the night. She used food stamps. I’m sorry, I don’t have a problem with how little I am paid for this job, a monkey could do my job. But someone who is responsible for the store in absent of the general manager, should not be getting paid food stamp wages. (That being said I just realized that “food stamp wages” depend on how big your family is)

    http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/fns/

    Oh by the way, according to this site, a single person making 20,000 a year at Wal Mart is “probably not” eligible for food stamps.

    2. That being said I have heard antidotal stories online about people who don’t need all the food stamps given to them and I have also heard stories from my mother, who works as a store clerk, about the garbage that those on food stamps often buy.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    We have lost any claim to being a “Christian” nation. What poor and hungry people would Jesus cut from assistance?

    Now, I think that a claim to being a Christian nation is quite problematic – our founders would be profoundly disappointed in us for this. But the moral thing to do is to take care of all – and we all would be better off if we do the right thing by the poor an hungry people in our country.

    What is the quote on the Statue of Liberty?

    Neil

    • HonestDebate1

      Do you give any credence to the notion that it does not help people when you make them dependent? That it sucks motivation and passion away?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        How does it help anyone when people are hungry?

        Have you heard the phrase “9 meals away from revolution”?

        • TFRX

          Crashing blood sugar is the best motivator.

          • HonestDebate1

            I remember being on the road playing music for $40/week. Our bass player had a sugar issue and the drummer gave him his last $3 to get something to eat. The bass player said, “What a I supposed to get with only $3″? The drummer took the money back and said, “See what you can get now”.

        • HonestDebate1

          For me, it made me realize my problems were of my own making. I had pot though. If I had food stamps (it never occurred to me to sign up) I would not have had to choose between food and pot. When I had no money and knew that meant no food it motivated me to get up very early and show up at construction sites ready to work as a laborer and most of the time Contractors needed someone to do grunt work. Eventually that led to an actual job that was horrifically hard and paid peanuts. But I got better, I learned, I developed skills. I got promotions. I became a foreman. Now I have a Commercial Contractor license but I don’t use it.

          When I was hungry, the country store extended me credit for food. I knew I had better pay it back or it would end and I would be hungry again. I did. I gained trust. Hunger did that for me.

          Now, 35 years later, I need to loose 15 pounds.

        • hennorama

          Neil Blanchard — if you really want to scare the average employed person, ask them “What would you do if your household had no income for a month and a half?”

          Most that I have posed that question to responded with blank stares and dropped jaws, and “Wow. I’ve never really thought about that.”

          This was followed by a brief discussion about emergency savings accounts, and other personal finance matters.

      • nj_v2

        What a sad little pinhead you are.

        • jefe68

          It is amazing that someone can be so clueless and brazen at the same time.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Are you dependent on eating? I am.

        • HonestDebate1

          Yes, you should buy me dinner.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Are you lacking food? What about your kids or your parents? Are they going to be hungry?

          • HonestDebate1

            I am not sure what you are trying to get at Neil. My questions to you were sincere. I don’t get the feeling yours to me are at all. What are you trying to say?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            These are real people who are struggling to live, and my point is that you are quite dismissive of them – but what if they were you or your family? You know – there but for the grace of God, go I.

            Not feeding people who need it costs us all far more than feeding them. And you know what?

            It is the right thing to do.

    • geraldfnord

      Well, Jesus never said that this were something that the government should do, it’s just that under current conditions—mobility, social and technological dislocation,…—it’s something the government had better do if you’d really like to see it done.

      Of course, this limits any individual’s option to help see that those poor of whom he disapproves—too dark, too lazy, too ‘immoral’ (that is, ‘has a better sex than he, at least in his fantasies’)—starve.

  • jefe68

    The regressive right wing vaudeville show is out in force today.

    • hennorama

      jefe68 — what about these guys?

      • jefe68

        Yeah exit stage right…

        • TFRX

          That’s actually stage left–it’s from the POV of the performer on stage.

          • jefe68

            I know that, it was a joke.

          • TFRX

            Ooh, we got us a theater major here!

          • jefe68

            Me, naw. I took Noel Cowards tune to heart many years ago.

          • TFRX

            Noel Coward?

            I’m more up on my Kern and Hammerstein II.

          • jefe68

            He wrote a tune telling a mother not to put her kid on the stage due to lack of talent.

          • Don_B1

            I will throw in a vote for Harold Arlen!

          • HonestDebate1

            Evidently not.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — I was thinking about the TED talk that poster [Yar] linked to below, about how people perceive things differently, when the thought “How do we know which way these guys were actually leaning?” occurred.

          Ergo the flip.

          • jefe68

            I read that article. I’m not sure I agree with it, but very interesting thesis.

          • anamaria23

            The Meyers Briggs personality designation often gives a good indication of how different people view the world.

          • hennorama

            anamaria23 — indeed, but a picture does not.

            I’m looking forward to the next part of the show, with Eldar Shafir discussing the recent research that concluded in its Abstract that “… it appears that poverty itself reduces cognitive capacity.”

        • HonestDebate1

          I know a little about stages, that’s stage left.

    • geraldfnord

      0.) ‘They were only playing leap-frog’
      1.) See, the Right were right after all: gay marriage _does_ lead to polygamy.
      2.) Is it still incestuous if the Koch at the far right is separated by Lucky Paul, Lucky Rand, Lucky Ted, Lucky John, and Lucky Eric from the Koch at the left?

      • jefe68

        It’s a cakewalk, a regressive right wing cakewalk.

  • Bigtruck

    When Jello Biafra sang “Kill the Poor” in the 80′s, I thought, even as a youth it might be a little to much.

    Now as a cantankerous adult, sadly, I think he was right on.

    In “efficiency and progress” there is no room for the poor

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      This song is satire, right?

      • Bigtruck

        of course

      • Steve__T

        “Kill The Poor” By DEAD KENNEDYS

        Efficiency and progress is ours once more
        Now that we have the Neutron bomb
        It’s nice and quick and clean and gets things done
        Away with excess enemy
        But no less value to property
        No sense in war but perfect sense at home:

        The sun beams down on a brand new day
        No more welfare tax to pay
        Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light
        Jobless millions whisked away
        At last we have more room to play
        All systems go to kill the poor tonight

        Gonna
        Kill kill kill kill Kill the poor:Tonight

        Behold the sparkle of champagne
        The crime rate’s gone
        Feel free again
        O’ life’s a dream with you, Miss Lily White
        Jane Fonda on the screen today
        Convinced the liberals it’s okay
        So let’s get dressed and dance away the night

        While they:
        Kill kill kill kill Kill the poor:Tonight

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard
  • TFRX

    Can we hear from working-class whites on SNAP?

    For all practical purposes, the media has disappeared them from the political equation.

    I read more of “the other” getting food stamps and “good rural (wink) values-Americans (wink) on the agriculture bill” than I could stomach.

  • toc1234

    From USA Today… “Under the program, known formally as the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP, a family of four that gets $668 per month in benefits will find that amount cut by $36. . . .” which implies a cut of about 5.4%. and each meal would go from about $1.855 (668/(90*4)) to $1.755 (632/(90*4)). but Tom has it going from $1.80 to $1.40. decrease of 22%. And I do see that $1.40 figure reported elsewhere but to get there from $632 the family would need to be eating 3.75 meals a day. maybe my math is off but it hard to see how a $36 cut is leading to a 22% drop in assistance per individual meal. then again, I’m sure the point was to make it sound as drastic as possible rather than get the math right. btw the whole idea of ‘Supplemental’ seems to be ignored in these reports/calculations…

    • hennorama

      toc1234 — Mr. Ashbrook’s blurb says “Now, after cuts on Friday, that’s headed down to less than $1.40 a meal.”

      The “headed down to” part is due to the high likelihood of further cuts.

      • StilllHere

        Could be headed down to $0 I guess then.

      • toc1234

        hmm… I don’t know if that’s what Tom is saying. i.e. CBS is reporting as “The cuts will leave participants in the program, better known as food stamps, with an average of $1.40 to spend on each meal. The amount people get could sink even more if Congress makes deeper cuts later this year when House and Senate lawmakers try to hammer out a farm bill.” but whatever…

    • solarpup

      I keep hearing these numbers quoted exactly the same way myself, and the math confuses me too. The reporting in this respect has been uniformly awful.

  • MrNutso

    That’s right Eric, it’s not fair that SNAP gives families that suffer from food insecurity a mere pittance to ease the situation.

  • TFRX

    Eric Cantor really shouldn’t be throwing around “used to a life of dependency” too much. He’s just another one of those righties who thinks he’s a Galt’s Gulch hero.

    • MOFYC

      Cantor: the guy who’s lived off the taxpayers for nearly all of his adult life.

      • HonestDebate1

        Unlike Obama. Cantor spent a decide working in the private sector.

        • J__o__h__n

          When is he returning?

        • Ray in VT

          Spent a decade working for his dad. Whoop dee doo. My brother and I had both done that by the time that we were 18.

          • TFRX

            Nepotism?

            Gee, there’s something missing in the Honest post about that.

          • Ray in VT

            There’s also Obama’s 11 years at a private law firm.

          • TFRX

            I’ve been watching Fox for four years and I heard nothing about it, so it didn’t happen.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s weird. What’s the matter with working for your dad?

          • Ray in VT

            It’s just that it’s pretty easy to do unless you’re a total f*ck up. Wasn’t Paul Ryan’s pretty much only private sector job experience working for the family construction job for a bit before getting a public sector job?

          • HonestDebate1

            Well, you don’t know my dad. I’d rather work for scrooge. I have no idea about Cantor’s dad. All I did was refute a notion.

          • Ray in VT

            What did you refute? I must have missed it. Refute is defined as proving something false or wrong. You did not prove that Cantor did not work for his dad (in the sense that he worked for the family’s company) or that my brother and I did not by the time that we were 18.

          • HonestDebate1

            This:

            “Cantor: the guy who’s lived off the taxpayers for nearly all of his adult life.”

          • Ray in VT

            Define most, then. He spend 10 years working for his dad. He spent 10 years deriving at least part of his income from his Virginia House of Delegates, and the past 12 years deriving his income from the U.S. taxpayers, so he has derived a majority of his income from being a public sector employee, unless his father was really forking over some serious dough back in the day. You have also ignored that President Obama spent 11 years at a private law firm.

          • HonestDebate1

            Your just being contentious. Why? The word wasn’t “most”, MOFYC wrote “nearly all”.

          • Ray in VT

            I am not being contentious. I am changing term to make it more accurately fit the reality of the situation. I also refuted your claim that Obama did not spend a decade working in the private sector.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are just making stuff up. I refuted what was written. I didn’t make up my own terms. I didn’t say Obama never spent a decade in the private sector.

          • Ray in VT

            So what does this mean: “Unlike Obama. Cantor spent a decide working in the private sector.” I was working on the assumption that you meant to use a comma and not a period, as well as decade and not decide. Was I wrong to do that, and if so, then please explain your statement.

          • HonestDebate1

            I meant to use a period. Maybe I should have made it two paragraphs. Decide was indeed a typo, you were right about that.

            The statement refuted the notion that Cantor spent almost all of his adult life living off the taxpayers. The Obama sentence was just snark to point out that Cantor was no different than Obama (they both spent considerable time living off the taxpayers) but the complaint went only one way. I try to avoid snark but I’m not above it when replying to snark.

          • Ray in VT

            My bad, although Obama certainly seems to have worked at least as much in the private sector as Cantor, plus his work in the education and non-profit sectors, while Eric Cantor has spent much more of his life drawing a paycheck from the public as an elected politician. Given his long history of public employment, he, like Paul Ryan, is, I think, a poor example of one making one’s own way in the world of the private sector.

          • HonestDebate1

            To be clear, I don’t care how long anyone works in the public sector.

          • Ray in VT

            So it’s not an issue if someone who decries the public sector yet has spent most of his or her life drinking at that trough?

          • HonestDebate1

            Not at all.

  • alsordi

    One merely needs to take a trip to an urban supermarket to see reality. What I see is the illegal immigrants, traditional families, parents with kids, who are day laborers, restaurant workers and house-cleaners, without food-stamps, and buying just the necessities and typically basic foods like chicken and vegetables. This is contrasted with typically overweight to extremely overweight, most-likely single-mothers, with shopping cart overflowing, often two shopping carts, filled with snack foods, soda and the worst foods available. You can accuse me of stereotyping, but I see it ALL the time.

    • hennorama

      alsordi — no accusation is necessary; your words speak for themselves.

      One notes no mention of any conversation, but instead only what you “see,” and your resultant assumptions.

  • TFRX

    Please, let’s talk with real economists about the multiplier effect of SNAP v. other government outlays.

  • AC

    it seems like we’re falling into the exact same pattern that brought about the fall of rome….

    • Don_B1

      If you mean setting up government to favor the rich and renege on promises to the middle- and lower-income workers, you are probably correct, but there is time to avoid the catastrophe that allowing the wealthy to complete the move to a full plutocracy would be.

      It will just require a lot more people to think about what is happening and work out why the Tea/Republicans are preventing the government steps which would jumpstart a stronger recovery and then trying to severely cut the social safety net.

  • MOFYC

    More corporate welfare! More wars of aggression! (not that the two are unrelated) Less help for those who really need it!

    God bless (the privileged part of) America!

    • HonestDebate1

      You sum up the problem very well.

    • northeaster17

      War and corporate welfare are very much related.

  • jefe68
  • TFRX

    Tom, don’t go assuming budget hawks make a real case about this being the one program to beggar in order to “hawk” the budget.

    Interview one.

  • northeaster17

    If we cut food stamps. Why not raise the minimum wage at the same time?

    • jefe68

      Good idea. How about a living wage.

  • M S

    The U.S. Government is laughable…it creates bad industrial policy and sells out the American by signing agreements like NAFTA and then blames people for not being able to provide for themselves…the neo-liberals and so-called “conservatives” are traitors. Period.

  • Dan

    I work full time (and overtime) and my wife works part time. We don’t receive government help. We make sure the kids are well fed and I just skip a lot of meals.

    Can we please pay working people enough to pay the bills?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    And what of cutting subsidies to our highly profitable oil industry or to corporate factory farms?

    And how about the subsidies we give the wealthy in their capital gai income being taxed at half the rate of wages? I would much prefer to be paid in stock options than if it cut my tax bill in half!

    • MrNutso

      Or big military.

  • TFRX

    Can we get someone to carry the Cato’s flag who isn’t on “Wingnut Welfare”?

    He seems to be the kind to drown crossing a stream which averages a foot deep.

  • Jo Bleaux

    Those who say the elderly have to go work seem to have a rosy view of the prospects of an elderly person being hired. Walmart needs only so many greeters.

    • J__o__h__n

      And if they worked for Walmart, they would still need food stamps.

  • Ellen Dibble

    A big part of getting one’s feet on the ground economically is flexibility. My problem with ANY government benefit, from affordable health care subsidies, to affordable housing subsidies, to SNAP, and actually the home mortgage tax deduction that tends to tie people down to locations when jobs have gone elsewhere — it all limits the ability of people to direct their resources according to individual circumstances, really at any age, but perhaps more importantly for the young, where saving ANY money for retirement should be a top priority, for example.

    • HonestDebate1

      That is a great point.

  • TFRX

    ake sure these recipients don’t have a “gGreat deal of money sitting in the bank”?

    Don’t worry, Cato guy. That’s not something these folks are in danger of.

  • Charles

    I don’t really have a problem with food aid to the poor. It’s very tough out there for people living on the margins.
    What I do have a problem with, rhetoric aside, is the fact that food aid is not being used for nutrition aid. It’s absurd that the taxpayers should be subsidizing soda,chips,cookies, etc, which we then have to pay for AGAIN with rising health costs. I will buy the poor all the kale and rice they want!

    • Don_B1

      The bigger problem is the cost of all healthy food, which is rarely subsidized in any way,, while the worst of the worst food contains subsidized high-fructose corn syrup, wheat and soybeans, etc.

      The Farm Bill needs to be restructured so that all sources of healthy food get equivalent subsidies as needed to ensure a sufficient supply for a stable prices but not so much that farmers can get rich by not farming land, and new requirements should be adopted so that farmers cannot get paid for not farming land which is marginal and needed for erosion and other environmental protections.

  • Omaha Guy

    We are so quick to punish people when they are poor. It is so expensive to become a farmer of healthy food. and to get off of food stamps. Large agribusiness functions like the soviet union in a perverse way. Expenses related to the production of alcohol, tobacco, sugary snacks and other fake foods, especially imported foods, receive better deductions and credits than domestic healthy food does.

    Well we KNOW that the production, advertising and distribution of beer is a tax deductible expense for the corporation, yet the product does more harm than good to the public health.

    So, even though I want to eat domestic whole grain bread, low carbohydrate snacks, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and beans. And when i do my part to help with public health, I STILL have to pay to make up the difference that the corporations will not pay in deductions.

    We should be free to eat and drink what we want. But, unless that product is helping public health, we should not have to pay the difference for corporate deductions which are HUGE compared to a grandmother on food stamps who wants to make an apple pie for her grandchild.

  • Boston_mom

    Seems easy to me. Raise the minimum wage. We’re subsidizing the huge profits of large corporations by feeding their workers that they won’t pay enough to live.

    • StilllHere

      Really, how many of the 48 million are employed by large corporations?

      • Boston_mom

        Hm. I’d say McDonald’s is a pretty decent example. Didn’t those workers recently take to the streets because they’re making minimum wage after working jobs for years in some cases?

        • StilllHere

          McDonalds is a terrible example. Many of its stores are owned by franchisees, not the corporation. Please find a better example.

          • Boston_mom

            Really? The corporation makes no profits off their franchises? You’re clearly not intelligent enough to engage with. Find another bridge, silly troll.

          • StilllHere

            They have to pay franchise fees, of course; but they don’t dictate wage and hours for individual workers. Sorry you had to get nasty, obviously you can’t support your contention. Next time, don’t be so lazy and try to have some facts to back up your crazy notions.

          • Boston_mom

            “Restaurant chains and their franchisees spent almost $1 million in 2006 to lobby against minimum-wage increases in several states, according to Bloomberg News, citing Followthemoney.org.”
            Who pays you to troll the Interwebs and antagonize people who challenge the status quo? Or, do you just believe Fox News is real?

          • StilllHere

            2006 lobbying stats? Please, I don’t have to be paid to call your crap out for what it is. Your employer is obviously not getting what they’re paying for.

          • Boston_mom

            Still awaiting a fact or citation. Great handle by the way. You are, indeed, still there.
            In case you are interested in facts: “More fast-food employees now depend on food stamps to feed themselves, according to the Bloomberg report, which cited data from the University of Minnesota Population Center. While 15% of the overall U.S. population receives food stamps, almost 27% of fast-food employees require assistance to buy groceries.”

          • Boston_mom

            You’re assuming I’m employed. I’m assuming you are not.

          • jefe68

            The sad thing is there are about 30 million people earning low wages in this country.

            That 40% of U.S. workers make less Than what a full-time minimum wage worker made In 1968. Back in 1968, the minimum wage in the United States was $1.60 an hour. That sounds very small, but after you account for inflation a very different picture emerges. Using the inflation calculator that the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides, $1.60 in 1968 is equivalent to $10.74 today.

          • StilllHere

            Hey, it’s your dumb contention about large corporations and you’ve still got nothing. But keep trying.

          • Boston_mom

            I’m still trying to figure out what your very intelligent contention is. Is it that corporations do not pay minimum wage? Is it that they do not benefit from paying employees so little that workers cannot afford to buy food? Is it that people on food stamps are not employed by large corporations? I assume you are, as always, Still Here. Do clarify what this point is that you are so desperately trying to make without any regard to any facts, studies, reporting or substantiation? Hey, then you can go on to pontificate about how global warming is all made up and Jesus rode dinosaurs.

          • Ray in VT

            Good luck getting facts and citations. I once cited research on lower emissions for biofuels, which was promptly dismissed as propaganda. Some people just don’t like facts and research that doesn’t back up one’s ignorance.

          • StilllHere

            Wrong, you failed to address emissions during the entire corn-based ethanol production process, from seed to car. I’m still waiting.

          • Ray in VT

            As long as you are unable to read or understand what I cited, which did address that very fact, then you will wait a very long time, but that is not either my fault or the research’s.

          • jefe68

            Troll.

          • Anita Paul

            Wamarts

          • StilllHere

            How many?

      • Ray in VT

        Probably quite a few. Take this for instance:

        In Ohio, the state Department of Job and Family Services report found Wal-Mart to be the state’s top employer for workers and family members who receive Medicaid (16,098), food stamps (14,799) and cash assistance (803), according to January 2012 numbers. A state spokesman cautioned the report does
        not tell the difference between full- and part-time employees, or
        employees who do not yet qualify for benefits, or why employees sought
        Medicaid.

        In Maine, Wal-Mart topped employers with the largest number of workers
        on MaineCare, food stamps and temporary cash assistance, according to a
        2005 Lewiston Sun Journal report, but it did not break down how
        many employees receive each subsidy. The company was fourth in the
        percentage of employees on public assistance.

        In Florida, 1.9 million households receive food stamps, and nearly
        500,000 have earned income as of October 2012. Of those with earned
        income, 9,095 households get paychecks from Wal-Mart, according to a
        report prepared for PolitiFact by the state Department of Children and
        Families.

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/dec/06/alan-grayson/alan-grayson-says-more-walmart-employees-medicaid-/

        • StilllHere

          Sounds like they are doing G-d’s working trying to get these people off assistance programs. Perhaps you would prefer they didn’t look to this population for its part-time staff? Still, you’re not going to even get near 1 million at this rate but keep trying.

          • TFRX

            “God’s work”?

            Remember when that had something to do with poverty? (I don’t mean for the recipients/wage slaves.)

          • StilllHere

            No, apparently you don’t.

          • Ray in VT

            They’re doing “God’s working”. That’s a new one on me. You asked, and I provided a single example, which used stats from 3 states. Let us say that each has 2.58 people per household, then just for Maine and Ohio, which were using numbers from when the program had lower enrollments, then the number from just those two states come to 64,997. That is just one number from one company from 2 states, but if you want to keep up your ignorant trolling, then, by all means, keep trying.

          • StilllHere

            Which came first, their part-time employment or their participation in government assistance programs?

          • Ray in VT

            What does it matter, especially when even the full time jobs don’t pay enough to get one over the poverty line.

          • StilllHere

            Wal-Mart has an active program to help welfare recipients by hiring them for part-time jobs. It only makes sense that they have many of these individuals as employees as they are actively trying to improve their quality of life. It is a stepping stone to a better life, providing these employees with opportunities to burnish their resumes which they can use to improve their career opportunities.

          • Ray in VT

            Have any research showing outcomes from the program as well as how much they pay those people? And how about the many, many full time workers who make so little that they qualify for state benefits, including how “a January 2012 Walmart Associate Benefits book provides a directory so associates can locate their local Medicaid office.”?

            http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/press/caprogressreport_mar12.shtml

          • StilllHere

            You think the outcomes are better when people don’t work at all?

          • Ray in VT

            I’m just asking for some backup information. Got it. You don’t have any, but keep trying.

          • Don_B1

            You are suffering from the years of the right-wing wealthy propaganda that has inculcated the false meme that workers’ wages must be driven down so that the wealthy can take more of the profits generated by everyone in the country.

            When workers do not earn enough to buy what is made by other workers, there will be no profits for the wealthy to siphon off, and eventually those workers will perceive that they are being used and revolt, leading to the downfall of the rich in a way that is unlikely to be good for anyone.

            Workers can be paid a “living wage” without stifling capitalism. The New Deal of the 1930s saved capitalism for everyone, by reigning in its excesses.

          • StilllHere

            Not really, I subscribe to the thesis render to every man according to his works whatever their market value may be. A wage is paid based on what the work is worth. No one siphons off profits, that’s why there will be no workers revolt.

      • Anita Paul

        Lots you ever hear of Walmart. Walmart is the largest employer in the USA.

        • StilllHere

          How many?
          BTW, Wal-Mart is not the largest employer in the US.

    • myblusky

      I agree with that, but I still want a safety net for those who aren’t working for large corporations. Many bus boys, waitresses, etc are expected to live off tips. Nobody should go hungry in this country. Nobody.

      • Boston_mom

        As someone who waited on tables while putting myself through college, I completely understand that point. I do think paying people a fair living wage would help since I believe that is a large reason people can’t afford to eat, but I absolutely agree that there has to be a safety net for those who are hungry. Nobody in a society really wants a lot of very hungry people nearby food that they aren’t allowed to access. People will do desperate things to feed their children. I know that I would. I just can’t understand people’s cold, bootstraps, scapegoating mentality about letting people go hungry.

  • SherylT

    I see people all the time trying to buy Red Bull, chips and soda on their EBT cards at my store–which does not take EBT. I also see them taking their cards to the ATM to get cash to buy cigarettes and lottery. I know there are a lot of needy people out there, but there need to be tighter restrictions on what people can buy with the EBT card.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that some states have made moves in that direction, and it seems reasonable.

    • J__o__h__n

      I have no problem with banning junk food purchases and tightening restrictions.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Food deserts are very directly connected with poverty – poor areas often have lousy sources of food. Stores that carry “real” food are virtually absent from areas where many poor people live.

    • Omaha Guy

      we already correctly limit the ebt in many ways.

      but, we subsidize the expenses related to junk food production, advertising and distributions (which raises the price we pay for gas also)

      the corporate deductions we all pay to make up for, are HUGE compared to a grandmother on food stamps, who wants to bake an apple pie for her grandchild.

      lets reward people who make domestic healthy food, and refrain from rewarding junk food producers. their expenses are huge compared to a teenager who wants that red bull.

    • Mari McAvenia

      I have worked at grocery stores, too, and learned that an EBT card has two different “accounts” linked to it. One is for food only. That is the “SNAP” function of the card. The other function ( if approved) is for cash only. Most folks only have a food, or SNAP, benefit on an EBT card. They can’t get cash from an ATM or buy stuff like beer or cigarettes with it. It’s an “urban myth” that people can buy alcohol and tobacco with SNAP benefits. They can only do that with a “welfare” cash benefit.

      • HonestDebate1

        If someone comes to your store with $20 and an EBT card then buys $20 worth of food and $20 worth of alcohol and tobacco, does it matter which pays for which?

    • StilllHere

      How about drug tests for welfare recipients?

      • TFRX

        How about drug tests for all gov’t assistance recipients?

        • Ray in VT

          Does that include politicians and corporations?

          • TFRX

            And contractors. And student loans. And bailouts.

            But when the spit hits the fan, the last barnacle clinging to the rock is “test the moochers on welfare”.

        • anamaria23

          How about depression screening for welfare recipients? I recall reading years ago of one welfare office that did that with some positive results.

      • Don_B1

        Florida tried that (it is probably still in effect) but they found that the rate of positive test results was about half or less than the known rate for the general population.

        Takeaway: People on SNAP are much less likely to be drug abusers than the average non-SNAP individual. The cost to do this testing is not insignificant, and could do a lot more if it was just put in the bucket to pay for more SNAP benefits.

        • StilllHere

          So what! If they can afford illegal drugs, they shouldn’t be getting welfare.

  • liminalx

    What other post-industrial (western) nation has this conversation? The U.S.A. claims to be the most prosperous country on the planet but clearly humanity here is bankrupt.

    • William

      How much do we as a nation, federal, state, local, and churches, private organizations and non-profits give or help the poor, disadvantaged, etc….on a yearly basis?

  • bilbo44

    I think the real question
    for all program is looking at the overall objectives or priorities and how to
    spend the monies in the budget. It is easy to talk about one program but not
    discuss what impact it has on the overall budget . We do not have unlimited
    monies to spend and we are running deficits. just like people are saying on
    this program that people do have money to buy food, the govt does not have
    unlimited monies to spend. where to we begin to make or structure a budget that
    is balanced. Do the Americans as a whole want to pay more taxes not just the
    1%. most people look at govt monies as someone else money and not their own.
    Ask people how much they give to charities like food stamps or other charities.
    I would bet the average American give very little not more than $100.00 to
    these programs. This is a good program but where is the monies. Do Americans want to pay for it in higher taxes or other ways? Things are changing on America today and hard choices lay ahead for Americans.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I don’t know about food availability in “food deserts,” but my mother in the late 1940s had a book called “Eat Well for Less,” or something like that. I read it and learned that we ate according to its guidelines, and the things that were cheap then are still affordable in many cases. Sometimes the most nutritious food is least desirable. It doesn’t have added sugar and salt, but it’s readily available if basic traditional cooking is used. You can find liver, kidney, beef tongue, dried milk, and a little kale and parsley goes a long, long way.

    • TFRX

      That’s useful advice, as far as it goes.

      Where it stops is how the marketing and supply lines of food have changed greatly since the 1940s.

      I’ve read perhaps two histories of A&P, and, well, they don’t exist on seemingly every street corner as they did seventy years ago. The struggles to bring real supermarkets to many food deserts are covered like they are because, (unlike many ordinary suburbanites in my county) this demographic doesn’t drive by seven megamarts and three year-round farmstands during their commute.

      • hennorama

        TFRX — not only have food marketing and supply lines changed, but the methods of preparation and consumption have as well.

        Preparing and eating meals at home, especially preparing and eating meals together, has become almost passé, much to our detriment.

        Even if we can’t get back to the togetherness thing, it would be very helpful to give students basic lessons in food prep and shopping.

        “Bring back home ec!
        The case for a revival of the most retro class in school”

        See:
        http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/10/12/bring-back-home/EJJi9yzjgJfNMqxWUIEDgO/story.html

    • hennorama

      Ellen Dibble — indeed the offal is not awful, and is newly trendy in some high-end restaurants.

      Beans and rice are also a great combo, and as the English say, “cheap as chips.”

    • HonestDebate1

      And that’s before coupons.

      • Don_B1

        But there were S&H Stamps!

        • HonestDebate1

          Good point but that’s not what I meant. I was pointing out the costs Ms. Dibble was writing about could be further reduced with coupons.

  • Debtors’ Revolt

    It’s time to stop living in fear, regain our dignity, and do so through ACTION, in recognition that our system has morphed into something new – the old rules and methods don’t work, “voting” is just a sham; there are no political solutions to this coming crisis.

    We need a mass, wide-scale repudiation and REFUSAL to play along any more. We must gird our loins, gather our courage and walk away. Let their system collapse in on itself. Yes, it will cause short-term pain, a flash of catastrophe across the boards, but then we will emerge into a new reality, one that recognizes that with modern technology being what it is, *scarcity is now artificial.*

    If we continue along the current trajectory, much of labor and the middle class will be rendered economically obsolete, and all the gains will concentrate in the hands of those who currently own capital. We must crash this trajectory; the need is more urgent that most people – and writers, public figures, etc. – realize.

    DEBTORS’ REVOLT — DEFAULT EN MASSE is the way to start.

    • Omaha Guy

      i can’t figure out anything you are saying there…. lots of anger maybe

      • geraldfnord

        I believe that he’s saying that we’ve reached a technological level such that it were unnecessary that people fear starvation, exposure, and illness in order to get all necessary work done…and that anyone who thinks that they’re irreplaceable enough not to need worry about privation’s reaching him as technology advances is deceiving himself.

        I’m not sure that we’re quite there yet, but I think that we could get there…except that our fear is useful to those doing well with things as they are now.

    • geraldfnord

      But Scarcity is so much _fun_, if you’re on top: you can find so many things other people will do for you, from your prostitutes all the way down (morally speaking) to your think-tank shills.

  • JellyJelly66

    Your earlier guest suggests we “make poverty less comfortable”.

    I can think of nothing more patronizing, more “let them eat cake” than this carrot-and-stick attitude towards the impoverished.

    There is a constellation of factors that result in families relying on food-stamps. None of which will be helped by starving them and their children.

    • jefe68

      I’d like to make his life more uncomfortable.

  • hennorama

    Professor Shafir and his team’s conclusions seem completely intuitive to anyone who has experienced circumstances of poverty and concerns over where their next meal will come from. These concerns can take over one’s life and alter one’s entire perspective.and outlook.

    Those who have not had such experiences have difficulty understanding these phenomena.

    • OnPointComments

      Are we foolish to assume that those on public assistance know the most efficient ways to spend their limited resources?

      Our office hired a single mother with two teenage children who had been on public assistance for at least a decade. She had obtained an associate degree and was being paid $22,000 a year, received housing and SNAP assistance, yet she struggled to pay her bills. Our office manager offered to help her with budgeting, and discovered that her monthly expenses included cable TV with premium channels, three cell phones for herself and her two children, grocery shopping in upscale stores, paying someone for the upkeep on her yard (she had a capable 16 year old son), and other expenses most would not associate with being on public assistance.

      I know it’s an anecdote, but I’m following President Obama’s example of using anecdotes. I doubt that our experience is an isolated incident.

      • hennorama

        OPC – thank you for your response.

        Is your point that this person should not be able to spend as she sees fit? That doesn’t seem to fit with conservative economic theory.

        Rhetorical questioning aside, as I noted in this forum a bit over a week ago, Professor Shafir and his team “hypothesize[d] that poverty directly impedes cognitive function…” As the professor discussed on the show, one’s brain can only do so much at one time. When one’s mind is preoccupied with the circumstances of poverty and concerns over where their next meal will come from, it leaves little “bandwidth” to consider logical financial (and other) choices.

        A quote from Professor Shafir, starting at about 29:45 into the show:

        “…scarcity, when you feel you don’t have enough – money, calories, time – captures a lot of your attention and just leaves less mind to deal with other everyday matters in your life.”

        Here’s more about the research, from the journal Science:

        ABSTRACT

        “The poor often behave in less capable ways, which can further perpetuate poverty. We hypothesize that poverty directly impedes cognitive function and present two studies that test this hypothesis. First, we experimentally induced thoughts about finances and found that this reduces cognitive performance among poor but not in well-off participants. Second, we examined the cognitive function of farmers over the planting cycle. We found that the same farmer shows diminished cognitive performance before harvest, when poor, as compared with after harvest, when rich. This cannot be explained by differences in time available, nutrition, or work effort. Nor can it be explained with stress: Although farmers do show more stress before harvest, that does not account for diminished cognitive performance. Instead, it appears that poverty itself reduces cognitive capacity. We suggest that this is because poverty-related concerns consume mental resources, leaving less for other tasks. These data provide a previously unexamined perspective and help explain a spectrum of behaviors among the poor. We discuss some implications for poverty policy.”

        EDITOR’S SUMMARY

        “Burden of Poverty

        “Lacking money or time can lead one to make poorer decisions, possibly because poverty imposes a cognitive load that saps attention and reduces effort. Mani et al. (p. 976; see the Perspective by Vohs) gathered evidence from shoppers in a New Jersey mall and from farmers in Tamil Nadu, India. They found that considering a projected financial decision, such as how to pay for a car repair, affects people’s performance on unrelated spatial and reasoning tasks. Lower-income individuals performed poorly if the repairs were expensive but did fine if the cost was low, whereas higher-income individuals performed well in both conditions, as if the projected financial burden imposed no cognitive pressure. Similarly, the sugarcane farmers from Tamil Nadu performed these tasks better after harvest than before.”

        See:
        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6149/976

        And from the Princeton University Office of Communications, about the research:

        “In a series of experiments, the researchers found that pressing financial concerns had an immediate impact on the ability of low-income individuals to perform on common cognitive and logic tests. On average, a person preoccupied with money problems exhibited a drop in cognitive function similar to a 13-point dip in IQ, or the loss of an entire night’s sleep.”

        See:
        http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S37/75/69M50/index.xml?section=topstories

        Thanks again for your response.

        • OnPointComments

          My point is that a person who receives charity, whether in the form of public assistance or cash donations, should spend the resources provided to them responsibly and prudently.

          The budgeting session came after two office collections to help this woman. Giving money was easy compared to the exceptionally generous volunteering of time and education made by our office manager.

          • hennorama

            OPC — thank you again for your response.

            Your expectation is understandable and relatable.

            Still, unless the assistance and/or donations are conditional, the beneficiary/donee is free to spend as they see fit, and to bear the consequences, both positive and negative.

            Much of the critical commentary on this topic seems to be related to the expectation that you expressed — that these funds should be spent “responsibly and prudently.” As with many conflicts, this involves unmet expectations, which can lead to frustration and anger.

            This is understandable, but unless there are conditions imposed, the emotional response is not completely reasonable.

            Therein lies the rub.

          • OnPointComments

            A person will likely curtail personal charity if it is discovered that the money was spent unwisely; government charity continues no matter how foolishly the money is spent.

  • Omaha Guy

    North Korea is a very conservative country. And, they also starved their people till they could find a job.

  • MrStang

    ” Congress, meanwhile, doesn’t know much about the bottom
    90 percent. The top 10 percent provide almost all campaign
    contributions and funding of “independent” ads.
    Moreover, just about all members of Congress are drawn from
    the same top 10 percent – as are almost all their friends and
    associates, and even the media who report on them.
    Get it? The bottom 90 percent of Americans — most of whom
    are still suffering from the Great Recession, most of whom
    have been on a downward escalator for decades — have
    disappeared from official Washington.” -Reich
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/03

  • PithHelmut

    Nothing could be more anti-utopian than the economy we are forced to live under and which is designed to profit on the exploitation of people and the environment. We try to contort ourselves into its measly confines then brand everyone who doesn’t fit in (which are most people) that they are failures. There is nowhere to go in such an economy. The leaders are doing alright they look after themselves and the rest well too bad if they are thrown out of their jobs, homes or haven’t got healthy food. Those who condemn the people not making it ought to live that way themselves before they voice their distaste. The economy lowers everyone, money makes everything ugly. Capitalism is founded on exploitation even for the people who do well in the system as they have to deny their own autonomy and surrender to the commands of “the system” and woe betide them if they falter. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Money is just an accounting system that could be designed to elevate people and the environment. We’re not going to hear anything new from these two speakers.

    • warryer

      Capitalism is a system of competition. You know, like that idea of survival of the fittest? What is wrong with a system that says you have to work and work hard and work harder than your competition to reap the rewards? Doesn’t that ultimately lead to better quality as a by product? If you don’t have the stomach for competition step back and let those who do. That’s the raw ugly reality that doesn’t care about what you feel.

      Please tell me how great was the union of soviet socialist republics?

      • anamaria23

        the fittest could not survive without the support of the less fit. Someone has to clean the streets and offices, pick the food, care for the children and the elderly and do all the services that make the world go round.
        It is hard to discern what the Walton family has done to earn their $100 billion. With 51% share of Wal-Mart, it is reported that they earned $2 billion in dividends last year.
        It is the multitudes lining up at their cash registers that enables their wealth. Some of their fortune belongs to society.

        • warryer

          The fit could survive without the less fit. They would survive in a different way.

          Someone does not HAVE to clean the streets. The street cleaners are not compelled to do so. They do so by choice. They do so because they have decided that the compensation is worth the effort they would put in for cleaning said streets.

          Everything we do is a product of our choices.

          The Waltons, are providing a service which people deem as valuable. The first Walton set up (organized) a store which became very profitable. He then decided he wanted that legacy to be passed on to his children. Me personally, I don’t like wal mart so i don’t shop there.

        • OnPointComments

          None of the WalMart owners’ fortune belongs to society beyond the taxes paid by the corporation and individual owners.

          • anamaria23

            Bill Gates seems to see differently.

          • OnPointComments

            How much of your wealth belongs to society?

          • anamaria23

            I go by the 10% ratio after taxes.

          • HonestDebate1

            Tithe?

      • Don_B1

        It only leads to better quality and reward if everyone has an equal opportunity to do the hard work and make a strong contribution to the success of the business they choose to work in.

        The old AT&T, “Ma Bell,” while it devoted a lot of money to Bell Labs, which did outstanding work in discovering and developing new science-based solutions which have made immeasurable improvements to human life, the corporation as a whole was judged to not be bringing enough new capabilities to the telephone industry, so it was broken up. This breakup allowed new things such as caller-id, cell phones, smart phones, etc., to be offered to customers, sometimes with worse performance but often with better performance.

        The point is that AT&T, as a corporation, had become overly rent-seeking, looking for safe but high-rate-of-return investments and not looking to provide the new and productive products that its Laboratory could develop. It had become the equivalent of a plutocratic society, which the U.S. is in some danger of becoming, with the overly influential billionaires effectively selecting public office holders through large campaign contributions.

        As for paying workers, good businesses have been willing to pay rising salaries when unemployment is low, so that workers have to be drawn from other companies rather than from a large pool of unemployed where lower-wage workers can be found.

        In the search for a better bottom line, all too many companies have decided to ignore the costs of disaffected or distracted workers (for one thing, hard to measure) due to their economic struggle with low incomes and accept a lower performance with lower costs.

        But worse is the lack of customers for the business’s goods and/or services due to the lower disposable income of workers with middle- and lower-incomes. No matter how much the right-wing idolizes the wealthy, they just can’t spend as much on the goods and services of daily life as the much more multitudinous 99%.

        Thus the growing inequality of incomes across the American population is not good for the future of its economy. The U.S. economy did the best in its history during the thirty years following the end of WWII when there were high marginal tax rates and the wealthy had less excess money to speculate on unproductive enterprises (e.g., derivatives on flaky mortgages, etc.) which were dangerous for the whole economy.

        The takeaway: Capitalism is fine when it is properly regulated and restrained from following wild and risky paths.

  • MrStang

    ” most Americans are still living in the
    Great Recession. Median household income continues to drop.
    In last week’s Washington Post-ABC poll, 75 percent rated the
    state of the economy as “negative” or “poor.”
    So why is Washington whacking safety nets and services that a
    large portion of Americans need, when we still very much need
    them?
    It’s easy to blame Republicans and the rightwing billionaires
    that bankroll them, and their unceasing demonization of “big
    government” as well as deficits. But Democrats in Washington
    bear some of the responsibility. In last year’s fiscal cliff
    debate neither party pushed to extend the payroll tax holiday
    or find other ways to help the working middle class and poor.
    Here’s a clue: A new survey of families in the top 10 percent
    of net worth (done by the American Affluence Research
    Center) shows they’re feeling better than they’ve felt since
    2007, before the Great Recession.
    It’s not just that the top 10 percent have jobs and their wages
    are rising. The top 10 percent also owns 80 percent of the
    stock market. And the stock market is up a whopping 24
    percent this year.
    The stock market is up even though most Americans are down
    for two big reasons.
    First, businesses are busily handing their cash back to their
    shareholders – buying back their stock and thereby boosting
    share prices – rather than using the cash to expand and hire.
    It makes no sense to expand and hire when most Americans
    don’t have the money to buy.
    The S&P 500 “Buyback Index,” which measures the 100 stocks
    with the highest buyback ratios, has surged 40 percent this
    year, compared with a 24% rally for the S&P 500.
    IBM has just approved another $ 15 billion for share buybacks
    on top of about $5.6 billion it set aside previously, thereby
    boosting its share prices even though business is sluggish. In
    April, Apple announced a $50 billion increase in buybacks plus
    a 15% rise in dividends, but even this wasn’t enough for
    multi-billionaire Carl Icahn, who’s now demanding that Apple
    use more of its $170 billion cash stash to buy back its stock
    and make Ichan even richer.
    Big corporations can also borrow at rock-bottom rates these
    days in order to buy back even more of their stock — courtesy
    of the Fed’s $85 billion a month bond-buying program. (Ichan
    also wants Apple to borrow $150 billion at 3 percent interest,
    in order to buy back more stock and further enrich himself.)
    The second big reason why shares are up while most
    Americans are down is corporations continue to find new ways
    to boost profits and share prices by cutting their labor costs –
    substituting software for people, cutting wages and benefits,
    and piling more responsibilities on each of the employees that
    remain.
    Neither of these two strategies – buying back stock and paring
    payrolls – can be sustained over the long run (so you have
    every right to worry about another Wall Street bubble). They
    don’t improve a company’s products or customer service.
    But in an era of sluggish sales – when the vast American
    middle class lacks the purchasing power to keep the economy
    going – these two strategies at least keep shareholders happy.
    And that means they keep the top 10 percent happy.” -Reich

  • Mary Wissmann

    Read John Steinbeck’s series of articles “The Harvest Gypsies.” He wrote them for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1936. He wrote how cognitive thinking is affected by being poor and eating a high starch diet. His reporting on impact on families, the father as the bread winner, the mother as the caretaker and the suffering of the children is stark.

  • jefe68

    Walmart employs about 2.1 million people in the US.
    It’s global sales crossed $400 billion last year. Its profits exceeded $15 billion.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-employees-pay#ixzz2jh2R25o8

    The Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce report states that the cost of Wal-Mart’s low wages is transferred to American taxpayers. The report zeroes in on Wal-Mart in Wisconsin. That’s because the state releases information on how many workers are enrolled in its public health care program broken down by employer.

    At the end of 2012, there were 3,216 Wal-Mart employees who were enrolled in Wisconsin public health care programs, more than any other employer. Add in the dependents of Wal-Mart workers and the total jumps up to 9,207.

    Factoring in what taxpayers contribute for public programs, the report estimated that one Wal-Mart supercenter employing 300 workers could cost taxpayers at least $904,000 annually.

    2.3 million non-managerial employees at the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States cost taxpayers an estimated $3.8 billion per year in safety-net benefits.

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/04/news/companies/walmart-medicaid/

    Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2013/10/15/fast-food-workers-are-costing-the-u-s-7-billion-a-year-in-public-aid/#ixzz2jh0uTvRc

    • OnPointComments

      Another way to look at it: WalMart employs about 30,000 people in Wisconsin. Take away your approximately 3,000 WalMart employees on welfare, and there are 27,000 WalMart employees left who are not on welfare. This means WalMart employees benefit the state of Wisconsin by a ratio is 9 to 1, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Add in the multiplier effect of those 30,000 Wisconsin WalMart employees and the benefit is astronomical.

      • hennorama

        OPC — it’s notable that you find “the multiplier effect of those 30,000 Wisconsin WalMart employees” to be “astronomical,” yet minimize the impact of the Federal shutdown, which directly impacted hundreds of thousands of workers.

        Curious.

        • OnPointComments

          The shutdown impacted hundreds of thousands of workers for 16 days, and was remedied shorty after the shutdown ended.

      • John_in_Amherst

        Walmart employs large numbers of people for less than 40 hours per week to avoid benefits. A large number of their workers are not working at walmart as a sole means of support. You need to rework your numbers.

  • J__o__h__n

    I would like to thank Tom for not using the verb formed from the word incentive at least twice this morning.

    • HonestDebate1

      What do you suppose incented him?

  • MrStang

    The Koch/Petersen virus Teapublican Zombies deployed via institutions like CATO Freedumbworks Heritage and `Fix-the-debt’ sometimes realize they are engaged in catabolism: ” RONNIE EVANS IS A SELF-DESCRIBED CONSERVATIVE. “I’ll
    say that I was backing some of the Tea Party stuff,” he says.
    But he never imagined the Tea Party victories last November
    would result in the Texas Legislature proposing budget cuts
    that would kick elderly people out of nursing homes—
    especially his nursing home….”
    http://www.texasobserver.org/faces-behind-the-budget-cuts/?mobile=1

  • MrStang

    ” Robin Hood tax would change tone in Washington With
    Congress about to begin the next cycle of budget battles –
    mostly focused on how much more pain to inflict on Main
    Street communities across America – a far different message
    is bubbling up across the land. Activists from across the land
    gathered in Washington October 29 to step up what has
    become an increasingly vocal demand for a change of
    priorities and tone – with a call to expand the revenue pie
    with a tax on Wall Street speculation, the Robin Hood tax.”
    http://www.robinhoodtax.org/latest/robin-hood-tax-would-change-tone-washington

  • MrStang

    ” For the
    past two years, a movement has been building in the U.S.,
    now endorsed by more than 160 local and national
    organizations who are calling for a sharp turn away from
    policies of austerity and more budget cuts with a financial
    transaction tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives and other
    financial instruments, paid by those very same banks,
    investment houses, hedge fund managers, and Wall Street
    traders who created the latest financial crisis.”
    http://Www.robinhoodtax.org

  • MrStang

    “… as Hanley put it, “There’s been a 40 year crime wave and
    we’ve been the victims.” Much of the impetus of the campaign
    for the Wall Street tax has come from National Nurses United,
    the nation’s largest organization of nurses, who have
    sponsored marches and rallies for the Robin Hood movement
    and were among the major organizers of the latest
    conference. “Nurses come with the perspective of humanists
    who don’t give up on patients,” said NNU Executive Director
    RoseAnn DeMoro.”

  • MrStang

    ” “Nurses see the fallout of the wretched economic policy in the
    U.S. and globally and see people who have run out of
    solutions. We see a community responding to our message,
    who understand what matters is what pressure we put on” the
    policy makers, said DeMoro, and the demand “for allocation of
    funding of programs that make up a society, not the priorities
    that the corporations set.” As the conference opened Jennifer
    Flynn, managing director of Health GAP, discussed what the
    Robin Hood tax, as embodied in a U.S. bill, HR 1579,
    sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, could mean.”

  • JBK007

    The deck is stacked, and the playing field is not level, in favor of
    those who already have power, wealth and access. Those people, who benefit enormously from this preferential treatment, are now lashing out at those less fortunate and who are relying on food stamps and other assistance programs to live (not to expand their investment portfolios, or take vacations to Vegas).

    Looking for money to reduce the debt? Remove the “gifts from expensively paid lobbyists”- subsidies to Big Ag, Big Oil etc, eliminate ridiculously biased laws e.g. Citizen United……

    ….Then we can have a talk!

    • myblusky

      You have my vote. Can we start with the lobbyists first?

      • JBK007

        YES!

  • John_Hamilton

    There is a level of silliness in this discussion. It is well-known that cutting food assistance and Social Security is driven by politics. Specifically, the cuts are aimed at lower-income citizens, who vote Democratic more than Republican. It is well-known that legislation to cut assistance programs, as well as voter-suppression laws, are designed by the Amercan Legislative Assistance Council (ALEC). ALEC also created the legislation that disenfranchised the public sector unions in Wisconsin.

    I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, when we had progressive income tax, as high as 91% for the wealthiest Americans. Even after paying their 91% in taxes, the very wealthy were still very wealthy. You don’t get to the 91% level unless you are very wealthy.

    The country functioned pretty well in those days. There wasn’t massive unemployment, manufacturing was strong, college didn’t put people into lifelong debt, and our financial sector was pretty straightforward, serving as a real engine of commerce and individual security.

    Now we have a near-totally corrupt political system. It has been a gradual process, starting its descent with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. His “Conservative Revolution” was largely a demagogic “reform” effort, ending progressive taxation, increasing budget deficits, and cutting benefits to the poor. This process continued through Republican and Democratic administrations, with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and various other policies that caused manufacturing to flee overseas.

    During the Bush II years the proliferation of lobbyists in Washington brought corruption to new levels. The Supreme Court, not to be outdone, made their contribution to corruption with the Citizens United decision, as well as many others. With Citizens United bribery of “elected” officials is now completely legal and unlimited.

    The country is getting a good lesson in evil. Politicians tend to be psychopaths(psychologytoday.com/collections/201104/spotting-the-psychopaths-among-us), and as such, make decisions based on their own advancement. If the system guides them into advancing themselves by harming society, they will do it without hesitation. It is up to the people as a whole to guide them otherwise.

    • William

      At JFK’s 1961 state of the union address he painted our economy in a sorry state and pushed hard to get tax cuts. Obama said no he would not hire lobbyists but lied and did so anyway. That is how it’s done in DC.

      • John_Hamilton

        There indeed was a recession in 1960-61, and Kennedy was elected mainly on the basis of his economic plan. His plan did not include repealing progressive taxation.
        Tax cuts are not necessarily tax cuts for the rich, though they are in actuality these days.

        As for Obama, what you seem to be saying – it’s hard to tell – is that if Obama does something that others do, then it is O.K. for others so do it.

        For some all that matters in the world is Democrats vs. Republicans. As I STATED, our political system is “near-totally corrupt.” I didn’t say except for Obama. I also mentioned that politicians tend to be psychopaths. I didn’t say except for Obama.

  • MrStang

    ” “With $6 billion a year, we can end the AIDS pandemic within
    the next 30 years. “With $50 billion we can create the largest
    job program ever. With less than $3 billion we can end
    homelessness. With less than $10 billion we can reverse many
    of the effects of climate change. With less than $100 billion
    we can provide healthcare for all in most parts of the world.
    With $60 billion we can transform our education system. That
    would still leave more than $200 billion for other needs that
    would be raised by HR 1579.””
    Robinhoodtax.org

    • harverdphd

      If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

  • tbphkm33

    Nopublicans and Tea Baggers are generally not known to be great students or to know their history… but “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche,” or in English “Let them eat cake,” is apropos to this situation.

    You can only push so much before a population will rise up in some way. The Great Depression lead to an era of progressive enlightenment and economic growth for all in the U.S. While in Europe, it descended into warfare. Who know’s in what direction the U.S. will head this time, but I do know that the Nopublican’s and Tea Baggers are not helping the situation.

    • William

      Never happen. Poor riot? Why? We gave them homes they could never afford a few years ago and I”m sure that is going on again now. Section 8 housing, SNAP/WIC/Head Start (day care), free breakfast/lunch at school (some schools offer year round), and toss in a free cell phone too!

  • MrStang

    Onpoint succumbs to koch/petersen teapublican virus mania by symbolically depicting ebt recipients as a black woman with her hand extended to the kindly white working folk. Everybody knows (or should) that the typical ebt recipient looks more like Sarah Palin’s daughter, a pregnant white teen.
    It is ever thus that you can program a zombie to cut benefits it thinks are going to the undeserving dark and undocumented, even though those very cuts will hurt his ma, cousin or neice
    Will reading Grapes of Wrath cure the koch/petersen teapublican zombie virus? Surely such reading could counteract the harmful effects of the toxic Atlas Shrugged and other such Randite poisons.

    • fun bobby

      drink!

  • OnPointComments

    Reading the title of this program and some of the comments, it would lead the reader to believe that the government has abandoned the poor. What is the single largest item in the government budget? It is welfare, which was approximately $1.03 trillion in FY 2011 (excluding spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program). It seems that the most common adjective used by journalists to describe the 5% cuts in SNAP is “draconian.” If a 5% cut is truly “draconian,” then the over 100% growth in food stamp spending from 2008 to 2013, coupled with the 30% increase in average SNAP benefit per person during the same five year period, must surely be extravagant and generous.

    Report: Welfare government’s single largest budget item in FY 2011 at approx. $1.03 trillion
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/18/report-welfare-governments-single-largest-budget-item-in-fy-2011-at-approx-1-03-trillion/#ixzz2jhE1N2MZ

    • hennorama

      OPC — please be so kind as to list these so-called “welfare” programs, and the amounts spent on each.

      • OnPointComments

        I’m sure your researching skills are at least as good, if not better, than mine.

        • keltcrusader

          TRANSLATION: NO

          • OnPointComments

            But I said it so much more artfully.

        • jimino

          My research says you’re wrong.

        • hennorama

          OPC — as you may already know, I seldom pose a challenge without already knowing what’s what.

          What’s happening is a redefinition and propagandizing of the term “welfare.” One supposes that Frank Luntz has been involved, but that’s only supposition.

          If you do not understand how the term “welfare” has been redefined by conservatives, perhaps it’s time that you do.

          • OnPointComments

            I believe I have a reasonable understanding of the term “welfare.”

          • OnPointComments

            How do you define welfare, and how much is the US spending annually on it?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”

    -Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1935 State of Union Address

    Was FDR a member of the Tea Party?

    • John_in_Amherst

      He was looking for political support for programs like the CCC and WPA. I have yet to hear a teabagger support a massive public works program.

      • warryer

        Of course, when he says one thing that hurts your cause it doesn’t count. But when it helps your cause it does.

        The very definition of selective hearing.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          …or if he says something that makes sense then it makes sense. FDRs statement stands on its own merits — independent of failed programs like WPA and CCC.

          • warryer

            I was responding to John not you.

            I agree that it makes sense as an independent statement.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Got it. Thanks.

      • fun bobby

        who has proposed such a solution?

    • anamaria23

      FDR at least did something to diminish dependence. Unlike the Repubs who have obstructed every attempt at a Jobs Act and ridiculed the meager stimulus.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Do you really believe what you wrote about the GOP? What about the 17 jobs bills that house passed and Harry Reid blocked?

        We need regulatory and tax reform for real economic growth. Obama policies are not working. Obamacare isn’t helping either.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        “meager stimulus”
        $900B is meager? The recession was technically over before the vast majority of the stimulus was spent. The ‘stimulus’ was squandered.

        Obama has run up $7T in deficit spending during his tender. Deficit spending IS the keynesian term for stimulus. Again, that $7T was mostly squandered. We should have a booming economy.

      • OnPointComments

        Only a committed liberal could describe the nearly $1 trillion dollar stimulus as “meager.” And, like all committed liberals, when the spending doesn’t provide the results they want, the liberals’ solution is even more spending. As Albert Einstein said “Liberalism is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Oops, ‘Liberalism’ is should be ‘Insanity.’

    • OnPointComments

      Was Benjamin Franklin a member of the Tea Party?

      “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” –Benjamin Franklin

  • Don_B1

    Most of the people on SNAP are trying to do just what your last sentence commands them, but Tea/Republicans are pushing policies which are slowing the job recovery from the Great Recession, thus putting huge obstacles in their paths.

    The various “means testing” incorporated in many programs designed to help them decrease rapidly when their income rises over various thresholds, the benefits drop away, which is equivalent to their facing a big jump in marginal tax rates on their income.

    So a worker is offered a promotion that increases their wages by, say, $1000 or less, but puts them over a threshold for healthcare or SNAP, etc. which results in a loss of $1,500. Do you really think that is an incentive for the worker to accept the promotion? But many such workers do while a lot of others understandably don’t.

  • Don_B1

    So you think no help should be provided and maybe additional obstacles should be placed in their path when people who made bad decisions early in life want to try to recover from those decisions?

    • HonestDebate1

      I can’t speak for Ms. Wetzel but that quite a leap.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    When LBJ started the war on poverty spending on welfare was 1.2% of GDP. Today, poverty levels have not budged despite current spending 5% of GDP and a cumulative $17T on the “war on poverty”. Can we declare failure? Something isn’t working. I suspect the answer isn’t throwing more money at the problem.

    http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/17/morning-bell-how-many-trillions-must-we-waste-on-the-war-on-poverty/

    • hennorama

      WftC — I’ll pose the same challenge to you as I did to OPC: please be so kind as to list these so-called “welfare” programs, and the amounts spent on each.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        You can find the info here for 2011 (links to the CRS report included):

        “The data excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program.”

        http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/18/report-welfare-governments-single-largest-budget-item-in-fy-2011-at-approx-1-03-trillion/

        • hennorama

          WftC — yes, I already know the answer, thank you.

          One question:

          Do you, personally, include spending on health care, education, job training, child care, foster care, adoption assistance, energy assistance, and all the other programs on the list as part of the definition of “welfare”?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Do you deny the massive growth of the State on such items? 1.2% of GDP in ’64 vs. 5% of GDP today. $17T in total.

            Where’s the ROI?

          • hennorama

            WftC — one notices your failure to answer the question.

            This is not Jeopardy. Your response needn’t be in the form of a question.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I don’t consider any personal spending ‘welfare’. It is a silly question. But when I spend it on other folks it is charity.

            Now you are free to take on my questions.

          • hennorama

            WftC — you may have misunderstood my question. Please allow me to rephrase:

            Included on the list of “welfare” are spending on health care, education, job training, child care, foster care, adoption assistance, energy assistance, and many other programs. Do you consider all of the specific items listed in the previous sentence to be part of your personal definition of “welfare”?

          • HonestDebate1

            Hey schoolmarm, do you have a point? Make it please. And WFTC asked you 2 questions you did not answer.

          • hennorama

            WftC — please present the list of programs that were in place in 1964, what was spent on them at the time, and a list of the expenditures for the same programs “today.” Please also update the “in total” figure.

            I’m sure it’s merely a coincidence that the year 1964 was used as a basis for comparison. For those that don’t know, 1964 happens to be BEFORE Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law, on July 30, 1965.

            One would need the above information to properly answer your questions, right?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Medicare and SS were excluded from the total; as were all means tested redistribution programs.

          • hennorama

            WftC — thank you again for your response.

            As previously noted, I know what is on the “today” list, including Medicaid, which did not exist in 1964.

    • jimino

      Since “Reaganomics” became the economic policy of our country, income gains for the top 1% have been at least 5 times greater, and at times almost 10 times greater, than those going to the lowest 20% of the working population.

      Can we declare failure? Something isn’t working.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Hmmm. You claim ‘reagonomics’ but we aren’t living under ‘reaganomics. We are living under Obamanomics and we have the greatest growth income disparity under Obama.

        Yes, something isn’t working and it is Obamanomics.

        • jimino

          I use “Reaganomics” as shorthand for historically low taxation of upper incomes and capital gains, and policies that significantly favor capital and the now-completely-corrupt financial sector and management over labor. “Obamanomics”, despite being viewed by an obviously clueless segment of our country as some sort of socialism, is the same thing as “Reaganomics”. Hence the outcome of growing inequality.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I had a feeling that is what you were getting at. How does high tax rates help the economy? The only way to truly help the poor and middle class is through economic growth.

            Also, none of this analysis takes into account of the impact of the debt. When interest rates start ticking up we’ll be screwed. And the middle class and poor will bear the brunt of the impact.

          • lobstahbisque

            The poor ALWAYS bear the brunt, no matter what.

          • HonestDebate1

            Then you should quit being poor. Do you have skills? Do you have passions? Do you have a job?

          • harverdphd

            Like that breath gum?

          • jimino

            If all the economic gain, income and assets, from such growth all goes to one person, does that improve “the economy”? How about if it goes to .01% of the population. Do you really believe that how the gain from growth is distributed has no bearing on “the economy”?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            ” all goes to one person”
            Let’s look at the poster of the rich — Bill Gates. Microsoft created thousands of millionaires. Further, its growth enriched hundreds of pension funds and millions of 401Ks.

            There is a downside to overtaxing. The 1990 luxury tax on yachts is the poster child. It was amazing to see how quickly a bad tax killed an industry and killed thousands of middle class jobs. Guess what? The rich still got yachts — overseas.

      • OnPointComments

        How would the lowest 20% of the working population have been better off if the top 1% had limits on their earning?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          In the liberal mind, ‘creative destruction’ is destruction of the affluent. Unfortunately their vision doesn’t create anything but crumbs for the poor.

          And the dirty secret is the elites and rich do fine under their system. They always have.

          • fun bobby

            I do always wonder which example of communism they would actually like to recreate. should we be like the Soviets or the Chinese or the Cubans?

          • jimino

            How about Eisenhower’s? You really think we were a communist nation from 1940-1980?

          • fun bobby

            I am pretty sure I never said anything of the sort. how do you come up with this stuff?

          • TFRX

            Ooh, he said “Communism”. Snap!

          • jimino

            No affluent were harmed in our widely prosperous post-war. And you concede the elites and rich do well under that system.

            The question you need to answer is why everyone else has done so poorly under your proposals.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            We haven’t lived under ‘my’ proposals in my lifetime. We’ve only had the ever growing State.

      • HonestDebate1

        The poor got richer too.

    • fun bobby

      the best way to make sure something persists and expands is for the American government to declare war on it

    • lobstahbisque

      So the original tax and spend liberal DIDN’T throw money at poverty? Well then let’s stop demonizing his legacy of liberalism and return to the good ol’ days!

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Are you suggesting WWIII?

        Krugman agrees.

        • lobstahbisque

          [The usual disagreements ensue on whether Trickle Down, or "voodoo economics" (thanks Bush one),are better than the Keynesian variety. Congratulations; you returned the discussion back to useless prattle.]

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I guess I was confused on who the ‘original’ tax and spend liberal was. Wilson? FDR? LBJ?

          • lobstahbisque

            LBJ. You know, everyone’s favorite punching bag.

  • gossipy

    With more people getting food stamps than are employed, wouldn’t it make sense to get some of the benefits receivers employed? Yes, there are many people who need help and we are happy to help them, but what happens when there are more people receiving help and benefits than there are people providing them? There are too many part time and non-benefit eligible jobs in this country. We need employment opportunities that provide benefits so that more people can help themselves.

    • Sunnysmom

      I agree with you, except for those who cannot work like disabled, seniors and children.

      • thequietkid10

        The disabled get SSD and seniors get OASDI

        • Sunnysmom

          SSD and OASDI are not food assistance…for seniors who make like $800/month income and that’s all they have, not enough.

      • Sy2502

        One solution would be for people to be responsible and not have children if they can’t feed them. And for people to save a bit more for their retirement instead of filling their garages with Wal Mart garbage they’ll never use. That way there’s more money for those who really are in need of assistance.

        • Sunnysmom

          You have no clue what real struggle looks like for people who have worked and saved all their lives and then lost everything due to a medical disability or hospitalization etc. etc.

          • Sy2502

            Those would fall in the category I mentioned in my post (which you obviously didn’t read) of “those who really are in need of assistance”.

      • jefe68

        Which are half the SNAP recipients. This libertarian/Ayn Rand ideology is nothing short than a sign of immaturity or some form of sociopathic malady.

        • fun bobby

          doesn’t that mean that the other half can or does work?

          • jefe68

            A lot of them do, and your point is what exactly? That you’re an adolescent Ayn Rand type?

          • fun bobby

            seems like we are subsidizing walmart when we make it possible for people to get by on the low wage they provide. if we give benefits to people who are working then that puts no pressure on the employers to raise their wages. Have you ever read Sun Tzu?
            That’s funny about ayn rand I could care less about her and have never read any of her books or watched any of the movies. I am aware of the premises of her books and I think they are silly. sorry I had thought that you were finally coming around to being logical but I see I was premature in my assessment

          • jefe68

            Those are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others…

            Buddy you seem to me to have a lot of Libertarian sympathies and Rand is a kind of hero to a lot of Libertarians. Guilt by association.
            So I guess the logic of paying people enough to afford housing, food and to pay their bills is not something you would go for. Am I correct?

          • fun bobby

            yes guilt by association is a great logical fallacy to use as a rhetorical device. You may have noticed I don’t really follow any particular political party. I do think rights are important.
            “the logic of paying people enough to afford housing, food and to pay their bills”
            What do you mean exactly?

          • jefe68

            It’s called a living wage, or enough to live on.

            THe fallacy is that you think you don’t follow any particular political party and yet you do follow a lot of the regressive rights political dogma.

          • fun bobby

            What about a living wage?
            My views are not dogmatic because they are not derived from external authorities. I think about issues and come to my own conclusions. I have witnessed you doing much the same thing recently. People who just repeat whatever they hear from wherever are guilty of dogmatism.(drink for regressive right)

        • HonestDebate1

          Cool, so we can cut it in half and the disabled, seniors and children would not be affected. Now we’re getting somewhere. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • OnPointComments

      I wish welfare requirements included a provision that the person receiving the benefit must do something to improve their lot in life, and must not do anything whatsoever to make their situation more dire.

      • lobstahbisque

        Welfare is not SNAP. Didn’t Clinton reform welfare to do just that?

        • OnPointComments

          SNAP is welfare. Part of the Clinton welfare reform was negated by President Obama in July 2012 when he announced that his administration would not enforce the work requirement enacted by the Congress and President Clinton in 1996.

          • lobstahbisque

            No. Look it up, SNAP is not welfare. And the rest of your statement is nothing but Republican froth, a faux scandal promulgated by Fox ‘n Fiends, and the ever turgid Rush Limbaugh.

          • OnPointComments

            The definition of welfare includes government programs to support low-income Americans. The common element to all the programs is that they are means-tested – in order to qualify for benefits the individuals and families must have income from jobs or self-employment at below a defined level. Also common to the Programs is that they are free to low-income Americans – there is no past contribution or taxes paid that are necessary to qualify. These two elements, means-tested and non-contributory, define the programs as welfare.

            SNAP is an example of a Welfare Program – it distributes a voucher for recipients to purchase food. It is a means-tested program that requires no past contribution or taxes from the beneficiary to qualify.

            http://federalsafetynet.com/us-welfare-programs.html

          • lobstahbisque

            Blah blah blah. Try Googling “Is SNAP welfare” and see all the links. You are part of the Republican re-definition campaign. Stop it.

          • TFRX

            But, lobstah, haven’t you heard? There are zero, nada, nil, no Republicans here.

            They’re all TruePrincipledConservatives or Libertarians who’ve magically got all their ideas from Fox news. Or concerned moderates who’ve never liked anything any Dem did once that pol did it as a Dem.

          • lobstahbisque

            That’s part of the mode of operation, I keep forgetting. Also, there aren’t any religulous among them nor any bigots nor those who demonize the poor. Sorry…..

          • HonestDebate1

            On Fox one host wants a single payer system like Sweden. Not me. Fox sucks.

          • HonestDebate1

            Google is not knowledge.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s funny that the only ones who ever bring up Rush or Fox are liberals with nothing else to say.

          • lobstahbisque

            S N A P i s n o t w e l f a r e.
            SNAP is not welfare. You lie. Beep. HonestDebate is an oxymoron. Beep.

          • HonestDebate1

            Non-sequitur, I didn’t say anything about SNAP (but you’re wrong), my comment was about Fox and the harmless lovable fuzzball Rush.

          • lobstahbisque

            Selective hearing beep, SNAP is not welfare, beep…

    • hennorama

      gossipy — you should check the facts before posting. You were wrong by more than 96,665,000 people.

      Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 144,303,000 people employed in the Civilian labor force in September 2013.

      Per the USDA, there were 47,637,407 persons participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in July 2013, the most recent available data.

      Sources:
      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm
      http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34snapmonthly.htm

    • HonestDebate1

      I think you meant all means tested government benefits, not just food stamps. It’s outrageous. what kind of nation have we become?

      http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/census-bureau-means-tested-govt-benefit-recipients-outnumber-full

      • nj_v2

        “CNS ‘News’”

        Hahahahahaha!!!

        • HonestDebate1

          The census bureau supplied the numbers. the link is there… dork.

      • Ray in VT

        The sort of right to work for less, low wage economy that allows corporations, large stock holders and the wealthy to reap huge profits while many workers work full time but still have trouble making ends meet. It’s been a long time coming.

        • HonestDebate1

          Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, we could always just take the easy way out and blame the brown guy, because a lot of people seem to forget anything bad that happened prior to January 20th, 2009.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s sick.

            There are more people dependent on government than people with jobs, if that doesn’t bother you then fine.

          • Ray in VT

            I know. People that do that are pretty sick.

            What did I get wrong?

            We can fix that, in part, with my suggestion yesterday. Follow Newt’s suggestion and put the kids back to work and have people work until they die. That’ll take care of the old and the young.

            It bothers me that so many working people have been getting the shaft while a few profit massively from their labor, but that’s pretty much what I expected from right to work for less, outsourcing and the sort of small business destruction that the big boxification of significant parts of our economy has wrought.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re just babbling. Newt had a good idea BTW. Why don’t you see if you can distort it beyond all logic… oh wait, you already did.

          • Ray in VT

            Babbling? That’s new. I thought for sure that you’d go with pinballing. You saying that someone else is distorting something is pretty rich, BTW.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s abstract, I was specific but you did pinball to Newt. Good point. you should evoke Dickens.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, I guess that I just can’t relate anything that anyone says to anything else that might relate. We can’t go pinballing all over the place. Maybe we should just KISS and blame the brown guy. Seems to work pretty well for a lot of people. Good and simple.

            Well, if we’re going to have one adult to supervise a bunch of kids doing a bunch of work that often gets adults hurt (such as with using hazardous materials), then I think that you and ole Newtie are doing the Dickens work for me. Besides, what other options do they have? I mean those poor kids have no work habits that aren’t illegal.

          • HonestDebate1

            All I did Ray is express concern for the fact that more people are receiving benefits than have jobs. I think it’s a serious issue and unacceptable, you don’t have to agree. This is what the show was about. I didn’t raise the issue, the panelist did. They discussed it because it matters.

            All you have done is come back with platitudes and nonsense about forced child labor, or how heartless it is to address fraud, or how dishonest I am, or you imply any cut will mean staving kids and elderly. You imply that’s what we want. And you keep piling on, now evidently Newt wants kids handling hazardous materials. But worse is you’re now playing the race card. You haven’t done that to this point . It’s sad and I am totally sincere when I say that.

            Yes Obama stripped away common sense oversight with food stamps. He was the one who complained about the Constitution being a charter of negative liberties; that instead of telling government what is can’t do, it should tell government what it must do on behalf of it’s people. That sounds nice but it’s not. I don’t like the fundamental transformation of America so I speak out on forums like this. So, it’s true that I hold Obama responsible for a lot of our woes but I make the case. I don’t give a damn what color ANYONE is. I don’t care what party ANYONE belongs to. I like honest debate. you don’t even try, you just hate.

            What is your purpose?

          • Ray in VT

            I merely found your comment to be the same sort of woe unto us, everything is so bad now under Obama sort of thing that, when one doesn’t dig into the numbers, looks very bad, especially when one just goes and blames the President for some sort of sinister transforming of the country, despite the fact that many of the factors that have gotten us to where we are have been getting cooked into the equation for many years. So, yeah, I think that it is a lot of blaming the brown guy. You object to that, but is it wrong? You’re assuming that I’m playing the race card, but he is a brown guy and he is getting a ton of blame for stuff that’s highly complex and has been building for some time, no?

            Given some of the opinions that you have expressed in the past, and your penchant for hyperbole and knowing some of the people that you say that you love, I merely took a statement (Newt on having kids be school janitors) and sort of addressed what that would entail for some kids. Your position that his idea is some sort of great revelation is the sort of empty rhetoric that may sound great in a sound bite but doesn’t really work in the real world.

            I made clear some of my concerns about the state of wages and some suggestions about how to remedy some of these things, but that flies in the face of your leave it all to the market sort of perspective, and I have not seen you say anything about fraud and abuse aside from that we should fight it, which we should. I provided a link to report issues, so please do so if you know of any infractions. We all need to do our part, and please explain how Obama “stripped away common sense oversight with food stamps”. I would be very interested to know how he did that, as well as when and why, etc.

            I don’t think that you do like honest debate. You do something that you call honest debate, but it is not anything that someone who has engaged in the sort of formal or academic debates would recognize, for in those forums facts matter. Just repeating something that it is untrue and then sticking by it is not debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t give your premises, rewrite and interpretations any credit at all. I am not going to continue this charade if all you want to do is talk about me. I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t feel the need to defend myself against you. I’m not going to dignify your ridiculous accusations or denied innuendoes by responding to them.

            You made only one pertinent request and even there you laced it with accusatory hate. For that reason I’m not even going to honor it. The best I’ll do is point you to a video in a reply to Labstah on this board. I asked Lobstah if the person in the video was him/her/other. It’s not too far down and should be easy enough to find. It explains some of the provisions in the “stimulus” that removed common sense oversight but you should already know all about t if you were paying attention.

          • Ray in VT

            If opposing your lies as regards things like dictionary definitions or countering your false claims regarding the meaning of terms in reports or questioning your use of figures from white nationalist groups is hate, then I am guilty of that. If your video is anything like your one of a black lady thanking Obama for a free phone, then I’ll skip it, thanks. If you would like to cite some language from the stimulus law or something, then I will certainly take a look at that. I play plenty of attention, just not to some of the crackpot sources that you do. That is why, for instance, I was not aware that Obama was waging war on Christians in Africa.

          • HonestDebate1

            Tilt!

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks for the lame response. I figured that you would just repeat your “only” definition of lie (which is a lie in and of itself) and then just claim that you didn’t remember the rest. My bad.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, I told you I’m don’t give your accusations credibility. I’m not going o argue about me. I mean, you say Newt wants kids to handle hazardous materials or that the best intelligence said Benghazi was caused by a video or insist that all the dictionaries are wrong and you say I’m distorting? And now you pinball off to Christians in Africa? WTF? No thanks. Talk amongst your selves.

          • Ray in VT

            Newt says that schools should get rid of most of the janitors, have only 1 and let the kids do the rest. You know what janitors have to do, right? How is one guy going to handle all of the more hazardous stuff? Seems pretty clear to me. It’s just the sort of half-baked idea that seems to appeal to the sort of people who don’t think these things fully through.

            I didn’t say that the best intelligence suggested a video as far as I recall. I have stated that conflicting intelligence existed as to the actual timeline of events that night. You have been the one to suggest that that was not the case.

            When have I said that all dictionaries are wrong? I have merely cited instances across several dictionaries that prove your “only” definition claim to be the lie that it is. You just seem to have a problem accepting reality, and as for the last one, that is something else that came up once upon a time regarding the Conservative Fount of All Knowledge Rush, who criticized the President for going after the LRA. Of course he didn’t know who they were, just that Obama going after them was bad.

            Good luck prosthelytizing to the sorts who would believe that sort of crap. By all indicating the circles that you choose to inhabit would seem to be full of them.

          • HonestDebate1

            Distort, distort, distort.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, that is what you do. Thank you for seeing the light on this.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, what about what I said is abstract? Your poor sources, out of context quotes and inaccurate quotes pretty well speak for themselves as regards my comment on you calling someone out on “distorting”. What’s that saying about people who live in glass houses?

          • HonestDebate1

            Just because you lose argument after argument doesn’t mean you have to make stuff up. I stand by everything I’ve ever written that I have not corrected. I think I remember making a mistake once about a quote from Obama’s book. but as I think about it, you lost that argument as well. Whatever dude.

          • Ray in VT

            Ha! Good one. Way to (almost) never admit when you’re wrong. Create an “only” definition for a word despite the dictionary? Just believe it and you’re right. Post some crap from a bs source about a supposed historical controversy? Just believe it and insist that there’s a debate. Blatantly misstate what a table says? Just say that it’s all true and stick by it. Just more dishonest debate. It’s not even possible to have an argument, let alone win or lose one, when you just reject reality when it doesn’t fit your beliefs or ideology.

          • HonestDebate1

            Give it up Ray, I cited 10 dictionaries. Let it go, you lost. You should be embarrassed. You can’t even say Obama lied about the Benghazi video or keeping your plan. Even Bill Maher says he lied. Don’t talk to me about ideology.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s right! You defeated the dictionary. They caved in to you and expunged the other definitions to fit your view of reality. I am embarrassed for you and your inability to accept what is obvious to anyone who has even a basic level of reading comprehension. As I have said previously regarding the President, I find it very convenient to employ your tactics so as to never, ever to say that he lies. Even were he to come out and say that he lied (as in the case with the Bush administration’s admission of warrantless wiretaps against Americans) I can merely deny that it occurred and somehow still be honest. It’s a very handy way to operate, because I just just declare that I won, even when clear facts are against me, and go about my merry way, fully enshrined and fully encompassed in my ideology that lets me redefine facts and reality.

  • Sunnysmom

    Lmao…love the Michael Tanner guy who talks about ways to lift children and seniors out of poverty rather than “find ways to make poverty more comfortable for them.” The only way to lift seniors who have nothing besides SS out of poverty is to raise SS and that isn’t an option. WTF???

  • gossipy

    P.S. Shame on you NPR for supporting the liberal press in this. If you want to give more of your paycheck, then go ahead. I need mine for my family.

    • Sunnysmom

      Michael Tanner works for the Cato Institute (owned by Koch Bros and pressing Libertarian agendas)..how is that not a balance of perspectives?

    • jefe68

      The shame here is how you somehow have little or no regard for society. Also, you cold one day be in need of the very thing you now are so against.

  • fun bobby

    seems to me the largest beneficiary of the food stamp program is the Walton family

  • lobstahbisque

    I’m on food stamps. They gave me a whopping $17 a month. I am disabled. It is an insult, so I vowed to eat a lobster every two months. Then my allotment went to $127 a month for November. No lobster. (Well I did have clams.) Now what will they cut back to? They might as well scrap the whole SNAP, because below a certain amount a tipping point is reached and mere window dressing results, making the populace still outraged or somewhat warm and fuzzy, depending on the politics. Now can we get back on topic?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Is your photo on your EBT card to prevent fraud?

      • lobstahbisque

        I know you don’t believe me or you would show either a little respect or some empathy. No- only a signature is required —- you know, like on a CHECK, or a CREDIT CARD.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Market Basket requires a drivers license to use a check to pay for your groceries.

          • lobstahbisque

            I can’t afford Market Basket so I wouldn’t know. And I have no drivers license because I can’t afford a car, you freak.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Now we know your problem. Market Basket is the best deal out there. You could double your snap benefits — especially lobstah.

          • lobstahbisque

            The bus doesn’t go to Market Basket. That’s why I can’t afford it.

          • fun bobby

            there is a great dr wayne dyer pbs special you should really watch

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Also, I wasn’t attacking you personally. Isn’t it better for supporters of food stamps to eliminate the fraud that gives the program a bad name?

          Like the woman in MA who was recently arrested for DUI and the cops found FIVE EBT cards in her wallet.

        • fun bobby

          one often must show ID when using a credit card

      • TFRX

        No, and that’s why he voted eleventy-billion times last election.

        Really, quit while you’re behind.

    • lobstahbisque

      The down vote is comical.

      • Ray in VT

        That is my ironic down vote of the day.

    • Sy2502

      You are eating at the expenses of other American people. And you are insulted to boot?

      • lobstahbisque

        Oh I thought you were being ironic, so you got me laughing. No one would be so disrespectful just because of the false sense of security that anonymity provides. What can you buy for $17 Mr. Einstein, Mr. Mother Theresa? Huh?? Not even dirt to throw in my face….

      • TFRX

        Rhetorical question: How many three-martini lunches are not “business expenses”? How many Morton’s of Chicagos would be out of business if it were just event dinners for the hoi polloi?

        • HonestDebate1

          That’s not tax money.

          • TFRX

            You really got a wild imagination about what is and is not written off taxes.

          • jefe68

            He’s a real pill.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m not sure what that means.

            Allowing someone to keep a little more of what is theirs is not spending someone else’s money. It’s pretty basic. TFRX’s logic only works if you consider all money to be governments.

          • TFRX

            If I were conversing with a grown up, I might want to talk along the lines of

            “If I consider all money deducted from taxes to be considered as public monies…”

            All strings are attached, bub. SNAP money, tax-writeoff dinners at three-star restaurants.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not rocket science.

            Money is not deducted because no money is exchanged. When someone receives SNAP (God bless them) real money is taken from someone and given to someone else.

            It’s a tax deduction not a money deduction. The government has no money, there are no public monies.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Apparently they assume the starting point is it is all the governments money and the gov. lets you keep what they deem appropriate through the State’s magnanimous generosity.

            This is exactly why we need a system where everyone has skin in the game. If you need to raise revenue then it must be raised across all income levels. Somehow I don’t think they would be so ‘generous’ if it was coming out of their hide.

          • TFRX

            That Skin in the Game crap? Sheesh.

            Wait for their incomes to get back to where they were even before the Bush II recovery. Then maybe you won’t sound so foolish.

          • TFRX

            f I were conversing with a grown up, I might want to talk along the lines of

            “If I consider all money deducted from taxes to be considered as public monies…”

            All strings are attached, bub.

          • geraldfnord

            Nonsense: everything they have they got as an Heinleinian hero, one man alone living on his brain and muscle…or could have, obviously.

          • geraldfnord

            No, you can believe that some reasonable portion of most people’s money is the end-result of living in society, and so answerable to the just calls of that society, ‘…not to be considered as conferring a Benefit on the Publick, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honour and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or the Payment of a just Debt.’

          • HonestDebate1

            Sure, I don’t dispute that. Neither did my comment.

          • HonestDebate1

            No money exchanges hands with a tax deduction.

          • TFRX

            Sod off, chump.

            Or better yet, talk to an accountant.

      • lobstahbisque

        Yes. Any other leading questions? That $17 a month. A month. Why should I starve while you’re eating ice cream?

        • Sy2502

          You are welcome to eat ice cream too. With your own money.

          • lobstahbisque

            Well hun, Ya can’t buy class! i’ll just settle for some nice french brioche, merci…. It’s been most amusing for me to get you to display what a @#$$% you are.

          • HonestDebate1

            Because he doesn’t want to but your ice cream?

        • fun bobby

          feel free to buy all the ice cream you want

    • fun bobby

      perhaps you could get a job writing rambling internet posts?

      • HonestDebate1

        It works for me.

        • pete18

          The Koch Brothers pay really well. They figure that our posts on On Point will massively change Massachusetts voters opinions and from there they will be able to implement all their plans to make rich people richer and poor people poorer.

  • Sy2502

    Is there any government program that was closed or, heck even downsized, because it solved the problem it was created to address? Because it seems to me food stamps are increasing, and I see something wrong with that picture.

    • Ray in VT

      The Rural Electrification Administration probably isn’t doing much these days. Like other sorts of income support programs, this one (SNAP) really showed a spike with the onset of the recession, and federal budget tables do show decreases in some of these areas in the last couple of years versus the worst days of the recession.

    • OnPointComments

      The secret to achieving eternal life is to be a government program. The Rural Electrification Administration was created in 1935 to bring electricity to rural areas. Today there are virtually no areas of the country that lack electricity, yet the REA lives on with a budget in the billions.

      • Ray in VT

        The REA is long gone, however, the Rural Utilities Service in part succeeded it, and it helps rural areas maintain modern services in areas where the private sector determines it to not be profitable enough to provide things like power, water and phone services. I suppose, though, that we could always do away with that and see how long it takes for places to start losing those things.

        • fun bobby

          lets give it a whirl. I bet the farmers will get at their internetporn one way or the other

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. That’s what farmers are really up to.

          • fun bobby

            what things are you afraid they will lose?

          • Ray in VT

            Power, telecommunications and water/waste/sewage. The things that the REA deals with.

          • fun bobby

            solar/turbines/digesters/biomass, satellite/wireless and wells/digesters/septic tanks. also it seems like the things you mentioned are dealt with at the local level and state level so a federal agency is clearly redundant. more farms will be net producers of energy as time goes on. I was at one this weekend that was 97% off grid. they will be fine without federal bureaucracy

          • Ray in VT

            Those things can, do and will certainly help some people and communities, but all don’t have access or the capital to make these investments, and I would be willing to bet that such initiatives and technologies have been fostered by the REA. I think that to just declare such moves redundant and to think this will all just take care of itself is way too much wishful thinking to me.

      • geraldfnord

        So true, especially as infrastructure never needs maintenance as old tech. decays or expansion as new tech. develops and becomes necessary to civilised living!

        Why, the R.E.A. and successors spend infinitely (or NaNly) times more on rural internet access compared 1935!!!

    • fun bobby

      but then they would lose their jobs. its incumbent on a bureaucrat to spend their budget and ask for more every year. that’s really what is wrong with government at all levels. its a destructive and unsustainable paradigm

    • geraldfnord

      I haven’t seen mch spending on new polio vaccines or internet transport protocols lately.

  • Michele

    So instead of providing food stamps we should go back to the pre-War on Poverty years where people were actually starving to death? The pernicious idea that people on food stamps or other social programs are trying to game the system or take advantage of others still persists. Because there may be a few bad apples (or the suggestion of them) punish everyone. This is a despicable justification and demonizing those that need help is not the answer. If you want an idea of the REAL recipients of food stamps and not the demonized characterization promulgated by the likes of Eric Cantor watch A Place at the Table.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Who suggested eliminating the safety net?

      Why is there growth in the program 4.5 years AFTER the recession ended?

      • Kelli Hernandez

        The ‘recession’ has not ended and the GOP psychopathic obstruction and ‘cuts’, moving many to austerity is hardly over. Only those who ‘make money’ in this country, feel otherwise.

        • OnPointComments

          You are delusional if you believe that our government has been austere. Government spending has been at an all-time high.

          • Steve__T

            LOL you have the nerve to call someone delusional!!!!

          • Kelli Hernandez

            You’re pathological in your thinking, with a strong narcissistic bent. There is no point in arguing with someone who is entrenched in pathological hatred.

          • OnPointComments

            Facts are facts, and you are not dealing in facts. Compare government spending for two five-year periods:
            Government spending, 2003-2007: $14,154,000,000
            Government spending, 2008-2012: $17,683,000,000
            Increase in government spending: $3,529,000,000 (25% increase)

            This is not austerity.

    • fun bobby

      we throw away 40% of our food in this country

    • OnPointComments

      No one is suggesting that people should be allowed to starve. What has been suggested is that there have been draconian cuts to the SNAP program, which is simply not true.

      • Michele

        What percentage of GDP is the SNAP program versus oh, say the military budget? Money for guns but not for food. BTW many armed services families are on food stamps.

        • fun bobby

          good point we should also cut the military spending

        • OnPointComments

          Cuts to SNAP: about $40 billion over 10 years
          Cuts to Defense: about $52 billion this year, on top of $37 billion last year

          • TFRX

            Wanna try answering the question asked?

    • StilllHere

      Are you saying we need a war?

  • HonestDebate1

    The “stimulus” bill stripped away common sense oversight for SNAP. Obama runs ads to get people to sign up. Experts are devising ways to get people on welfare, they seek them out and beg them to take money. This is part of the fundamental transformation of America. It’s not an accident.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cacimbo-Smith/1142235495 Cacimbo Smith

    Perhaps the caller should try having her and hubby work full-time and go to school part-time.Why should the public have to pay for their choices.

    • lobstahbisque

      i guess that ole Murkin Driame is hard for anyone to give up.

    • WestCoastSusan

      “Why should the public have to pay for their choices”

      Because the public benefits from their choices.
      Because we all benefit when the quality of effort goes up. Education is like a lever; It multiplies effort. It enriches the ecosystem that supports us all.

      • Kelli Hernandez

        It’s interesting that all of us, on a larger scale, pay for the ‘choices’ of the teasociopaths, and the teasociopathic minion fail to see it. Their tax money is spent most on the wealthy and their lavish lifestyles, as well as paying for their Representatives to obstruct, and who are heavily dependent upon government. Corporate welfare. Somehow this is acceptable when they are the laziest of them all.

  • MrStang

    ” The inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic rulers is
    one of our gravest faults. We have been blinded to the
    depravity of our ruling elite by the relentless propaganda of
    public relations firms that work on behalf of corporations and
    the rich. Compliant politicians, clueless entertainers and our
    vapid, corporate-funded popular culture, which holds up the
    rich as leaders to emulate and assures us that through
    diligence and hard work we can join them, keep us from
    seeing the truth.”
    -Hedges
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/21

    • Kelli Hernandez

      This is the absolute truth “the pathology of our oligarchic rulers”….all are psychopaths in power.

      • geraldfnord

        I don’t know that they’re _all_ psychopaths, though psychopathic habits are certainly well-rewarded.

        I think we should be measured and careful in our accusations, behaving otherwise intrudes on Fox’s (and friends’) area of unshakable preëminence…

        • Kelli Hernandez

          gerald, most people are describing psychopath/narcissistic behavior without knowing what the label means. That in itself is a positive sign.

          “Pathological” behavior isn’t difficult to see in those who are psychopathic: lack of empathy, remorse of guilt…ie: lack of conscience. Not acknowledging that people with this disorder are in power, is much like the denial that permeates the teasociopathic voting minion.

          These people are dangerous and their pathological behaviors are predictable. I expect to see much more of these behaviors as we head toward another showdown with the budget.

          The disorders are entrenched and pervasive and totally destructive.

          I’ve seen nothing of the teas that suggests they don’t fall within the spectrum of disorders

    • geraldfnord

      If you can write that cogently and well, why do you write otherwise so often, which might blow off steam but I believe likely turns off some who might otherwise be convinced… and I say that as someone who has a soft spot for the odder writing, as I believe does your father, Ivan.

  • MrStang

    Koch/Petersen Teapublican Virus Zombies are programmed to worry for the confederacy, the gun lobby, and to think it honest to debate how many children should go hungry or seniors thrown from nursing homes or for young people togo jobless or homeless all so that Mitt Romney pay 13% in taxes or that Buffet pay 15% on his billions.
    These zombies are not aware at how disgusting and vile and caustic this inequality is to democracy.

    • fun bobby

      chug

      • jefe68

        … and again a dolt.

        • pete18

          Drink!

          • jefe68

            …and yet again, imbécile.

          • pete18

            I’d toast again, but the bartender cut me off.

          • jefe68

            Hope you can drive that tricycle while under the influence.

          • pete18

            Thing rides like a dream.

          • jefe68

            How would you know, you’re under the influence of regressive right wing memes.

          • pete18

            Drink!! Whoah, handle bars are slipping

  • MrStang

    The Koch/petersen Teaublican Virus Zombie will remain here blabbing and commenting earnestly about things it is too sense-deprived to comprehend. Like Paul Ryan they are Randian bots deployed to mouth nonsensical policy that has no grounding in common-sense or science.
    If you know what a zombie is; do it’s gurgles have meaning?

    • fun bobby

      Drink

      • jefe68

        Dolt once more.

        • fun bobby

          I see your racial slur did not persist long enough for me to comment on it

          • jefe68

            Racial slur? Calling white people crackers is not a racial slur. It’s interesting how some white folks try to reverse the idea of race to make themselves out to be victims.

          • HonestDebate1
          • jefe68

            I find a lot of what you post on race to be questionable and sometimes racist. Lets leave it that and spare me your self-righteous indignation.

          • HonestDebate1

            But cracker isn’t a racial slur? How about “Crazy-ass cracker” uttered from someone who uses the n word every day?

            [edit] Actually, never mind. You are already on record supporting different rules for different people based on skin color. I forgot.

            I can’t relate.

  • MrStang

    The christo-oil strain of Koch-Petersen Teapublican Virus Zombie says nothing of the Trillions we are spending on a war against a country their replicator cheney vectored them into.
    It is the dark hungry, sick, old and poor that they arm themselves against using ‘trickle-down clown economics and ALEC sanctioned legislation purchased by washed wichita cash. (koch money)
    These zombies are high.
    m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-24730270

    • fun bobby

      Drink!

      • jefe68

        Dolt!

      • pete18

        Is that shot for the zombies, Tea-publicans, or Koch commentary? Maybe there should be a special sort of drink mixed when there are multiple instances in one Pavlovic response.

        • fun bobby

          for him its either teapublican or zombie. perhaps a zombie cocktail like at the tiki bars

          • pete18

            Nice, a zombie cocktail maybe with a splash of Earle Grey to cover everything.

  • lobstahbisque

    Watch out for Sy2502. I really snagged him with my sad story. WorriedfortheCountry is intelligent and well-meaning in a sadistic sort of a way. You will encounter other creatures lower down on the scale. FUN BOBBY is annoying but mostly harmless. On Point Comments— fagetaboudit. I’ve got all I wanted out of the participants. Thank you all for being so revealing of character or lack of such….

    • fun bobby

      are you sailing off into the sunset? sorry you were upset

  • OnPointComments

    Does public assistance cause a mentality that a person is owed something, that the government and society is indebted to them, that they are “entitled”? Is it as Thomas Sowell said “One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.”

    The problem with the EBT cards that occurred in Louisiana last month, where the limit on the cards disappeared for several hours and hordes flocked in to WalMart and cleared the shelves, may be an example of the type of mentality that can evolve from entitlements. One man who was interviewed said that it was simply a natural human reaction to take advantage of the situation. It wasn’t a natural human reaction. Another person interviewed had it correct: it was nothing but theft, pure and simple. They were entitled.

    Is it too much to ask that the ‘entitled’ exhibit humility and gratitude?

    • Kelli Hernandez

      What a shame. You’ve been drinking much too much of the kool aid. Desperate people will do desperate things and we are living in a country of oligarchy and austerity. You give those people opportunity with jobs and the numbers on SNAP would GREATLY decrease.

      You are what’s wrong with this country. Your lack of empathy and pathological hatred for those with less, is narcissistic and dangerous.

    • TFRX

      All the entitled, then.

      Bailout? Mortgage interest deductions? Tax writeoff? Defense contractors? Agri bills?

      I wanna see their humility too.

  • MrStang

    These onpoint comments smell like horse manure…
    Rafalca must have eaten a smart-phone.

    • jefe68

      Tis an ill wind that blows no good.

  • HonestDebate1

    No, but you don’t have to be a tax attorney to understand that money has to be exchanged to to spent.

    I have a big issue with GE paying no taxes, why would you assume otherwise?

  • gossipy

    jefe68, read my first post where I say that I understand that some people need the help and that I am happy to help them. Needing my paycheck = I do not want to have to be a recipient of public aid.

    • jefe68

      Then don’t. That’s your choice.

  • OnPointComments

    “Here are the facts: Over the last ten years, the number of people on SNAP has more than doubled, from 21 million to 47 million recipients. However, the total amount of benefits paid has nearly quadrupled, from $21 billion to $75 billion. Republican measures would decrease SNAP funding by 5 percent over ten years — a rate much lower than the rate by which it has increased over the past decade. In addition, Republican reforms will help ensure that the program is sustainable by limiting it to only those who truly need it, and ending SNAP benefits for traditional college students and lottery winners.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/363070/food-stamps-folly-rachel-campos-duffy

    • jefe68

      Could it be due to flat wages and the loss a lot of well paying jobs coupled with the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression… I think there just may be a correlation in there somewhere.

      • OnPointComments

        Benefits paid under SNAP has increased at twice the rate of the number of people on SNAP.

        • jefe68

          And your point is what? That more people are getting assistance? As to lottery winners getting SNAP, I bet there’s a whole load of them out there….
          College students might be low income, did you ever think of that?

          More mindless diatribes from the regressive right wing cakewalk society.

          • pete18

            Drink!

          • jefe68

            Dolt!

        • Ray in VT

          It’s more like 1.5 when you adjust for inflation, and a good chunk of that is likely to be from that now expired bump up that was a part of the recovery act.

        • StilllHere

          In an era of food deflation.
          This is Demorat vote buying plain and simple.

      • HonestDebate1

        There has been a concerted effort to expand the program. The economic downturn is history… or should be. There is no reason for the pain. There is no reason this so-called recovery is so anemic. Obama did this. Obama’s policies have failed… or from my perspective succeeded.

        • jefe68

          If there was no demand, there would be no need to expand it.

          • HonestDebate1

            There is always demand for free food.

          • jefe68

            Oy vay.
            He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.

  • Gerald Morine

    One can buy a 25 pound sack of rice for less than $10 which will last for at least 2 weeks. All the rest of the hundreds of dollars in SNAP is for meat, fruit, veggies, and fun-foods. The reason people show up at the Food Shelf for the last week of the month, is that they “trade” their SNAP benefits for baby-sitting, tobacco, alcohol, gasoline, marijuana, and cash.

    • lobstahbisque

      Some people do. Most don’t. Some people rob the collection plate at church. Some people cheat on their spouses. Grow up.

    • StilllHere

      Studies suggest most do this. Sad.

  • geraldfnord

    Uhh, but if there were people suffering who didn’t deserve it…
    0.) …it’s possible that my own success might not be fully deserved and so inevitable, causing me anxiety, and
    1.) …I might have some sort of obligation toward those suffering, born of ethics or morals or even of rational self-interest in an uncertain world, and I dislike helping people, especially if they don’t remind me of the hominids in the hunter-gatherer band in which I were raised.

    The Just World in which I instead live is one in which I deserve all I have, due to the optimal wisdom of God (a.k.a. The Market, The Party, The Natural Order of Things, &c.) and there are no injustices I ought to help end (or stop profiting therefrom).

  • geraldfnord

    Don’t blame them hard: we set them up to be amoral and unpatriotic profit-maximisers, we richly reward them for being amoral and unpatriotic profit-maximisers, so what can we rightly expect?

  • fun bobby

    excellent point

  • HonestDebate1
    • fun bobby

      your tax dollars at work. I wonder how much it costs us to investigate all the food stamp fraud and imprison the offenders

      • HonestDebate1

        We don’t have to imprison or even find them.

  • MrStang

    Jean Valjean: I stole a loaf of bread.
    My sisters child was close to death,
    and we were starving…
    Javert : And you will starve again
    unless you learn the meaning of the
    law!

  • MrStang

    “… the GOP continues to expend every effort to
    shred the safety net, not change its elasticity. Five years of
    near-depression conditions have only hardened the GOP line
    against any and all poverty assistance, turning what might be a
    mild reform in times of full employment into pointless cruelty
    against those least able to bear it.
    Here’s Ned Resnikoff on GOP-demanded cuts to food stamps:
    The 2009 stimulus bill raised the cap on food stamp
    benefits and pumped an additional $45.2 billion into the
    program over the next several years. But as provisions of
    the law expire, the program is scheduled to receive a $5
    billion cut over the next year alone. Those cuts will reduce
    monthly benefits for every single food stamp recipient in
    the country; a family of four will receive $36 less per
    month, on average. Billions more in cuts are scheduled to
    occur in the following two years, despite the fact that food
    insecurity in America has not even begun to return to pre-
    recession levels…
    When people don’t have the resources to feed
    themselves, and government welfare programs aren’t
    giving them the help they need, food banks are often the
    safety net of last resort. However, these non-profit
    charities are also dependent on government subsidies, and
    many of them are seeing their budgets shrink even as
    demand for their services reaches unprecedented levels.” -wapost
    http://tinyurl.com/qdqctqx

    • fun bobby

      you should have a food drive

      • StilllHere

        It’d go well with the Kool-Aid he’s drinking by the gallon.

  • marygrav

    White politicians don’t seem to believe that Americans need to eat in order to live. This is as true today as it was in the First Great Depression. The only quasi-politician who believe that Americans had a right to eat was an African American preacher, Father Divine and his International Peace Movement.

    During the First Great Depression, you could go into any of Peace Mission restaurant and eat a 5 course meal for 15 cents, and if you did not have any money saying “Peace,” was enough payment.

    The Peace Mission Movement fed thousands during the First Great Depression, while the government looked the other way.

    Racism and ethnocentrism is playing a part in the cold hearts of the T-Party Republican attitudes towards the lower classes, i.e., former Middle Class. The House seems to believe that all the people receiving Food Stamps are Black, Hispanic, or other peoples of Color. However, this is the minority of peoples receiving SNAP benefits. And in spite of what Newt Gingrich believes, maybe it is because President Obama is a former community organizer and is a Black man, he understands that people need food to live and that Food Stamps is a need, not a luxury.

    Newt Gingrich should have been strung up with piano wire years ago. He is at the root of the obstructionism that we have in Congress today. He is a hustler and a fraud. That is why the traditional Republicans threw him to the wolves in the last election.

    House members like Eric Cantor who has given Benjamin Netayahu a direct line to his office; and Steve King, a man with a gonad problem, who claims to represent the concerns of farmers, are ill equipped to be in Office. They want to starve the children of the poor, while they recruit their fathers and older brothers for the military.

    Jobs are not the aim of Cantor and King. Their mission is to drive American workers into the Servant Economy where there is only a 2 class system: the elites and the underclass. Cantor and King are a T-Party combination whose time may be limited when they drive the American public into revolution as was promised by the First Great Depression.

    Time will tell, but if we have a Fascist like Ted Cruz out there, we must have a Lenin, a Che, a Castro, a Mao, or a Patrick Henry here in America that will cut the Cantor, Kings and T-Party down to size.

  • Dee

    We all have a moral obligation to dump the GOP candidates
    who shamefully protect and defend the predatory class on
    Wall Street….even to the point of taking food out of hungry
    peoples’ mouths. What an unGodly and evil party…..Dee

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