Oh SNAP! The GOP war on the poor

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

There is some good reporting on what the Tea-Publicans in Congress are planning to do with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aka "food stamps" that they bifurcated out of the Farm Bill before they left town on August recess. (Keep in mind that the Senate has already passed a routine Farm Bill with far less draconian cuts to the SNAP program than House Tea-Publicans fantasize about in their hatred for the poor).

Laura Clawson reports at Daily Kos, The real food stamp fraud is in the reasons Republicans give for cuts:

House Republicans aren't telling all the details of their plan to cut
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over 10
years, but the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has taken a look
at the information that is available and rounded up some of the bad news.
The CBPP estimates that the cuts would deny food aid to "at least four
million to six million low-income people, including some of the nation’s
poorest adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors, and
families that work for low wages."

Republicans will talk a big game about adding "work requirements" to
SNAP. In fact, SNAP already has work requirements, in the form of a three-month
limit for childless unemployed adults to receive benefits, unless they
live in an area with such high unemployment that their state has gotten a
waiver for it. So what would these so-called work requirements really
do?

In reality, they would terminate basic food assistance to
people who would take any job or job training opportunity offered but
cannot find one; the proposal doesn’t require states to provide jobs or
job training and includes no added funds for these activities. And,
though proponents stress the need to promote work, the proposal cuts
assistance to low-income working families who struggle to afford food.

Proponents’ rhetoric about the importance of work also ignores the
fact that most SNAP recipients who can work do work. More than 80
percent of SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled
adult worked in the year before or after receiving SNAP.

These provisions could cut food stamps for 170,000 veterans, by the way.
Children in families without working adults could also lose their food
stamps through these and other provisions.

Wait, it gets worse. The Tea-Publicans in Congress are punitive and want to stigmatize the poor as lazy drug users, and subject them to drug testing to receive benefits. This belief, for which there is no supporting objective data based upon the research, has been making the rounds in Tea-Publican controled state legislatures for several years. Ed Kilgore at the Political Animal blog writes, SNAP Goes the Drug-Testing Argument:

So when House Republicans get around this fall to legislation
reauthorizing the SNAP (food stamp) program, which they’ll have to do
before getting to a conference committee with the Senate on the farm
bill, we already know they’re going to push for a huge ($40 billion) cut
in benefits and a provision allowing if not requiring states to impose
drug tests on applicants (this was approved by the House before all the SNAP provisions were stripped out of the farm bill).

At Wonkblog today, my friend Harold Pollack along with the University of Michigan’s Sheldon Danziger take a look at the data
on SNAP recipients and drug use, and find out pretty fast there’s not
much of a case for the expensive and punitive testing regimen the GOPers
want:

[I]f one excludes marijuana, then abuse or dependence of
other illicit substances is rare within the SNAP population. By far the
most common substance use disorders among SNAP recipients (and among the
general population) arise from alcohol use—behaviors generally left
undetected by drug-testing.

On every measure we examine, SNAP recipients are only
slightly more likely than non-recipients to display substance use
disorders. Yet the absolute risks associated with SNAP receipt are quite
small. And some obvious socio-demographic subgroups display much higher
prevalence of substance use disorders than SNAP recipients do.

This is about hassling and stigmatizing those people, not anything to do with food policy or drug policy.

Fox News has been pimping its phony investigative report of the SNAP program for a while now.

For real information about SNAP fraud go here. To learn about the facts and myths about SNAP go here. (h/t crooksandliars.com).

Shouldn't we be drug testing all the banksters of Wall Street who got a federal bailout from us taxpayers? Shouldn't we be drug testing all the corporate executives who get federal subsidies and tax breaks for their companies to the extent that they do not pay any federal income taxes? Shouldn't we be drug testing our members of Congress who are public employees and work for us?

The "one percent's" share of the "public dole" is far greater than the millions of working poor Americans just trying to survive and feed their families.

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