Compassion? Oh, SNAP

Thursday, September 19, 2013
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In the writings of the New Testament, “compassion” means: “To be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity.” In the ideal world of religion, compassion is lauded as a trait that mankind should strive for. In Congress, those who would clamor for a more Christian nation with Christian values remain adversarial to the very concept of taking care of those who live in poverty every day.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is currently being hung up in Congress like a piñata. Led by Tea Party Rep. Eric Cantor, Republicans and some Democrats are lining up to see how many whacks they can take at a proven assistance method that is this nation’s most important anti-hunger program. In 2012, food stamps helped almost 47 million low-income Americans per month afford a nutritionally adequate diet. Plus, the Department of Agriculture estimates that $5 in food assistance produces $9.20 in local and state economic activity. These federal dollars go directly to farmers, small businesses, and grocers, and their employees.

Nearly 72 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities. And SNAP is color blind with 49 percent of its participants being white to 26 percent African American and 20 percent Hispanic.

The proposed 2014 federal budget of over one trillion dollars has a razor-thin slice of one percent for agriculture and food while the military is to receive 57 percent of the pie. When countries with more abbreviated resources can feed their populations, the congress of the richest country in the world in terms of resources should not feign economic hardship.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

The hypocrisy of the " Christians" in Congress is astounding. In an era when we are seeing the results of Republican social engineering and the resultant income disparity, it is shameful that they want to push it even further. Their policies have devastated the middle class and now they want to start bleeding the impoverished too. What a bunch of religious hypocrites.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 7:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If this is an open discussion and not simply a Christian-bashing lovefest, I'd like to add my two shilling's worth.

Hypocrisy can be found on both sides of the political aisle, and we all are guilty of it at some point.

Politicians are generally smart people who know how to manipulate emotions; the Republicans have figured out that they can play the "family values" card every time to get the vote of the Religious Right. The fact that these politicians often have several living wives or get caught doing nasty things in bathroom stalls has little sway on their supporters, the adage "I don't care if he's a lying heartless adulterer, he's a good Christian and I'm voting for him". Fast forward to "progressive" hypocrisy...

The Democrats pull the same shtick with their supporters. We all see how the "Hope and Change" deal is working out; more war, more incursions (with plenty of help from their Republican collegues) into our civil rights, and Nanny State policies ostensibly designed to help those of us working-class blue collar folks but in reality is hurting us. One quick example is that I tried to get some extra work on the weekends as a security guard. I had allowed my guard card to expire back on about '05 when I went in-house in the place I work now. I called a friend who owns a security company and told him I wanted the extra hours on the weekend and he told me he'd be glad to hire me but I needed to renew my guard card, "no problem" I thought, because in the past it was a $35 out-the-door fee. Guess to the People's Republic of California, I have to take a 40-hour course and pay at least $99 (but possibly hundreds more) and go through the time wait needed as I deal with bureaucrats, voice mail, e-mails, etc, MAYBE I can take the course online, forget the fact that I've been in the business since 1989 and even have a Department of Defense clearance. Bottom line, I'm screwed.

I"m not saying this looking for any sympathy, but to point out how the endless regulations by the poltical Left are hurting the working-class as well, and in all fairness to Mr. Moulim, it's unlikely he's even aware that the attack on the working-class is coming from both ends of the poltical aisle.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If SNAP beneficiaries would only kick back half their benefits to Congress, then they'd get due attention to their needs. Is that too confusing? Half a loaf....

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 8:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

SNAP outlays have increased 80% in the last 4 years. If they had least reinstituted the work requirement, we'd slow down that increase.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 19, 2013 at 8:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In 2010, about three out of four SNAP households included a child, a person age 60 or older, or a disabled person. Most people who received SNAP benefits lived in households with very low income, about $8,800 per year on average in that year. The average monthly SNAP benefit per household was $287, or $4.30 per person per day. On average, SNAP benefits boosted gross monthly income by 39 percent for all participating households and by 45 percent for households with children.

About one-fifth of the growth in spending can be attributed to temporarily higher benefit amounts enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The remainder stems from other factors, such as higher food prices and lower income among beneficiaries, both of which have boosted benefits.


Since the recovery, 90% of the income increase has gone to the top 1% who control the pay of their employees. Earning multi-million dollar salaries is not uncommon for CEOs and the wage disparity in this country has not stopped widening. The "bad" government does not control what private businesses do.

The robber Barons of the top 1% are bleeding the country dry by shipping their untaxed earnings to offshore accounts, shipping jobs overseas, and leaving the rest of the country in increasing poverty. If the hunger of children and the elderly is going to increase, watch as society disintegrates into third-world status.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 2:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually BillClausen , Moualim is assailing the current GOP movement to defund SNAP. This attack is definitely not " coming from both sides of the aisle" as you posit in your last paragraph.

geeber (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 3:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Democrats have shown their willingness to cut some of SNAP, but the death-wish Republicans want to hack it much more (House bill they just passed 217 - 210: )
Yet the House Republicans have no trouble passing a farm subsidy bill which gives agribusiness almost $200 billion in subsidies. This all figures since, as Tabatha correctly notes, the 1% which is doing very well don't seem to care much about the poor needing SNAP but DO care about their business profits. And yes, while the 1% do pay a lot of taxes, they have also reaped almost all of the benefits of this so-called Recovery. Let's just use local baron Ty Warner as an example of a 1%'er who got caught with his offshoring some of his money: they all do this, only poor Ty got caught. Let's go after these pseudo-Americans, not poor adults and children on food stamps.
Botany, you are your usual heartless landlord self: you note the increase in SNAP over the last four years: have you heard of the great Recession? Since 2008 [5 years ago] the bottom of the safety net fell out and while the wealthy and hyper wealthy have recovered quite nicely, thank you, those at the bottom have not. Perhaps these people needed to eat, oh yes, let them eat cake.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 4:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Geez Dan, where did all this class warfare rhetoric come from? My only issue is that they should work for their benefits as was the case when Democrat Bill Clinton passed into law when he was president.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 5:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ahhhhh, the factless and biased:

Among the 254 counties where food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011, Republican Mitt Romney won 213 of them in last year's presidential election, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. Kentucky's Owsley County, which backed Romney with 81 percent of its vote, has the largest proportion of food stamp recipients among those that he carried. [...]

The Bloomberg review of 2,049 counties where the data was available included the 250 with the highest concentration of food stamp recipients. Among that group, 227 are wholly within one congressional district, with 160 represented by Republicans and 67 by Democrats.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 9:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

class warfare was started long ago, attacking welfare queens and other fairy tales by those with against those without. When those without cry class warfare, those with cry against it even tho they are the ones carrying it out endlessly. War on greed now! Idiots didn't get their war in Syria, so make the Americans without suffer, disgusting. Now you can cry about the bloat and the waste, let me get you your tissue.

spacey (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 2:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"class warfare" is when nearly all the so-called "recovery" goes to the top 1%, Botany, AND they whine and cry for more corporate socialism at the same time as they screw the bottom 20% by slashing SNAP funds. Class warfare is when Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan get fined big money [not big enough] AND none of the bankers are named and there is no criminal jail time for any of them. Class warfare writ small is when the Montecito 1% control SB's mayor and get her to switch her support over to the ridiculous left-hand 101 offramps and onramps at Hot Springs and at Sheffield [see Nick's article].

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 2:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I know, I know, today there's no leftside onramp at Hot Springs; but the left-hand southbound onramp at Sheffield is crazy dangerous: Georgy, you should try entering there sometime during rush hour. But I guess the 1% don't care since basically their chauffeurs will navigate it just fine.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 2:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dan, I guess the left on/off ramps are only thing "Left" you don't like!

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 3:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ha! I don't like Stalinism, Communism (many sorts), Maoism, leftwing anarchists like Bakunin,...but I do like social democracy where the plutocrats and landlords via capital accumulation take over and then INCREASE their share of the wealth while complaining all the while.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 6:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oops, "do like social democracy UNTIL the plutocrats and landlords via capital accumulation take over and then INCREASE their share of the wealth while complaining all the while."

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 21, 2013 at 7 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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