What is it about Reactionary Social Darwinist Republican Conservatives that like to prey on the most vulnerable with draconian repressive social policies while fattening the wallets of the one percent with bloated and unpaid individual and corporate tax cuts?
Last summer, the Trump Administration announced its intention to tighten rules in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) –Food Stamp Program that would have resulted in 500,000 children in the country (including 30,000 in Arizona) being kicked off the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
Now as the holiday season kicks in, Administration officials, using the theme of self help none of them actually subscribe to (look up Donald Trump paying bills,) have proclaimed more new work requirement rules and waiver restrictions (without resources to assist those in need) that could, according to the Urban Institute, throw an additional 700,000 adults aged 18 to 49 off the Food Stamp Rolls.
In Arizona, approximately 6700 people who live in mostly rural areas would be affected.
Two other restrictive Administration proposals, assuming they and the newly announced measure actually goes into effect, would increase the number of affected people losing Food Stamps to just under four million people (65,300 individuals in Arizona).
Republican dogma-big lies that the poor are taking advantage of the system strain credibility.
Angie Rodgers, the President, and C.E.O. of the Arizona Association of Food Banks commented to KJZZ that:
“I think they believe there is an overreliance on the SNAP program, and we don’t believe that some families are really struggling with exorbitant housing costs or high utility bills. We believe that SNAP just helps to supplement that diet to make sure that people have options for choosing healthier foods.”
She also commented to AZ Central that:
“Arizona has been working to get more individuals to work, but without additional job training funds, has had limited success in doing so. If we are serious about getting people to work, we need to invest in on-the-job training and post-secondary education that prepares individuals for current labor market demands and addresses the issue of livable wages.”
There has been criticism from other progressive segments of Arizona society.
Matt Grodsky, the spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party issued a statement, writing that:
“…..The change in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was approved despite significant opposition. The Association of Arizona Food Banks and numerous anti-poverty organizations said the USDA’s focus on overall unemployment rates ignores the “unique challenges of certain populations and certain communities….”
“It tells you everything you need to know about Washington Republicans that they’ve gifted billionaires and corporate special interests a trillion-dollar tax break, and are now trying to strip food access away from thousands of Arizonans. This decision is illogical, cruel, and a slap in the face to every Arizonan who is fighting to get ahead.”
Andrew Sugrue, the Economic Policy Analyst at the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, commented that:
“SNAP benefits are the first line of defense against hunger and food insecurity. We know that SNAP protects family income, boosts the economy, fights poverty, and encourages healthy eating. Instead of seeking to improve and expand the program for working families, the Administration continues to sidestep Congress to execute these cuts.”
Democratic Congressional District Five Candidate Joan Greene offered that:
“It is not a crime to be poor but it is criminal the way we treat our poor.
Continuing the war on our low-income families will not help reduce our debt but it will actually cost our States more money.”
“Trump’s administration has knowingly set our communities up to fail instead of providing the tools and the high paying jobs to succeed.”
“Infrastructure projects and opportunity zones need to start in rural and low-income areas with contractors and workers coming from those areas.”
“We need to increase the minimum wage so people only need to work one job. This will free up their second or even third job so someone can have a first job.”
“We must demand the multi-millionaires who run our government to provide viable plans to grow and help our communities instead of hurting them.”
Democratic Congressional District Four Candidate Delina DiSanto conveyed that:
“I’m tired of hearing our economy is so great. #AZ04 is at bottom of Median Household income. Unemployment rate in Yuma is 16%, average for AZ04 is about 8%. Why isn’t Representative Gosar doing something about this and if no jobs, how do people get #SNAP? Voters live in fear!”
Two of the Democrats running for their party’s nomination to contest Debbie Lesko in Congressional District Eight also voiced their concerns.
Michael Muscato relayed that:
“Does this administration really think people would prefer to live off of SNAPs $1.40 a day than to work and have a better life? Of course they don’t. Take note America, this is the “First Food Benefit Cut” because as stated multiple times over the past three years in various media outlets, this administration wants to end the SNAP program. Much like their desire to privatize social security and eliminate pre-existing conditions for their own non-existent healthcare plan, this administration policy targets a 97% poverty population with a work requirement and a poorly thought through box lunch idea as a replacement to SNAP. Pardon me if after $4T more in debt and slashing corporate taxes, I choose to stand up for those less fortunate and their $1.40 a day for food.”
Bob Musselwhite stated that:
“Food is pretty basic. This program provides for people who are in need and provides markets for American farmers.”
“There is a need I believe to reform the food stamp program to provide that quality nourishment is what is being provided to human beings through the food being provided and some of the items that presently qualify should probably be reconsidered. The goal of making sure that no one in this country should be insecure when it comes to food should be preserved.”
“It is wrong that people could be in a situation of food insecurity in a nation that produces so much food and where there is such plenty.”
Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor while passing trillions in unpaid tax cuts for the rich is not the way to make America great again.
It is time to enact public policies that benefit one hundred percent of the country’s people and move the nation forward rather than measures that enable the top one percent and move the United States backward.
It is time to complete the war to conqueror poverty.
Voters need to decide in 2020 what course they want to pursue and what public servants they want to take them there.
Featured Image from Real News