House Republicans and the Food Stamps Vote

by Crane-Station and cross-posted at Firedoglake/MyFDL

Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed reports:

Several of the House Republicans who voted Thursday for a bill that slashed billions of dollars from the food stamp program personally received large farm subsidies for family farms. The bill cutting the food stamp program narrowly passed on a mostly party line 217 to 210 vote.

The names of a few of these Republicans, who enjoy the benefits of being on the government dole themselves include: GOP Rep. Stephen Fincher, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (Missouri), Rep. Kristi Noem (South Dakota), and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (Indiana). Read the full article for details of the food-stamp slashers swelling up like ticks, on government handouts.

Since GOP Rep. Stephen Fincher had the wherewithal to mislead, misinform and twist the truth to justify his egregious hypocrisy, by cherry-picking an out-of-context biblical quote from Paul, called Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, also known as 2 Thessalonians, I think a terse response is in order. Paul’s quote “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” obviously was not directed at children, the elderly, the disabled, the displaced (by outsourcing, layoffs and job elimination), the temporarily sick, or those experiencing mental disability, those recently released from incarceration, the veterans experiencing PTSD, the victims of traumatic accidents or those experiencing illness.

Yet Fincher and others targeting food stamps want everyone to believe that anyone receiving SNAP is able-bodied, lazy, unwilling to work, and chooses to live that lucrative life that SNAP has to offer, at great suffering and expense of red-blooded tax-paying responsible Americans.

Fincher predictably quoted the bible, during the food stamp debate, because as if by unwritten rule, a Republican must back his full-of-holes claims with a disarming biblical passage. Almost any passage will do, even if the translation has been debunked by scholars, as long as the quote is prefaced with “and besides, the bible says.” Buzzfeed briefly explained how the quote came about, and then added an accounting of Fincher’s own practice of sucking from the government teat:

During the food stamp debate, GOP Rep. Stephen Fincher, who received thousands in farm subsidies, responded to a Democratic Congressman during the debate over the cuts by quoting the bible, saying “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Fincher himself has received his own large share of government money. From 1999 to 2012, Stephen & Lynn Fincher Farms received $3,483,824 in agriculture subsidies. Last year he took in $70,574 alone.

As Rep. Fincher and other fake ‘Christians’ who cherry-pick out-of-context scripture to justify their hateful behavior, they may want to consider some facts:

PROGRAM FACTS

SNAP is targeted at the most vulnerable.

76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits.[i]

SNAP eligibility is limited to households with gross income of no more than 130% of the federal poverty guideline, but the majority of households have income well below the maximum: 83% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 100% of the poverty guideline ($19,530 for a family of 3 in 2013), and these households receive about 91% of all benefits. 61% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 75% of the poverty guideline ($14,648 for a family of 3 in 2013).[ii]

The average SNAP household has a gross monthly income of $744; net monthly income of $338 after the standard deduction and, for certain households, deductions for child care, medical expenses, and shelter costs; and countable resources of $331, such as a bank account.[iii]

The idea that people who receive SNAP are lazy and refuse to work is also a myth. Years ago, when I received food stamps, I awoke at 3 AM every morning to ride a bike to the Labor Ready line. If I was lucky enough to even get work, I worked until I nearly dropped: packing concrete forms, cleaning hotel rooms, flashing skylights on a rubber roof at a Boeing hangar building, cleaning debris, digging, shoveling, and other hard labor. Hard labor that was taxed, by the way. My SNAP benefit did not allow a cup of coffee during the Labor Ready line wait, nor did it provide toilet paper, cleaning supplies, or other hygiene products. I could afford no fresh fruits or vegetables, ever. Milk was a luxury that involved sacrifice of some alternate form of protein.

More likely than not, the SNAP slashers showed up to vote to cut food stamps, wearing items of clothing sewn in substandard conditions in outsourced countries, and wearing jewelry from ‘conflict metal’ and diamond countries. Outsourced clothing manufacture, and ‘conflict’ gems and metals exist, of course, to maximize profits to the wealthy. If Republicans can vote to cut food to the poor, the working poor, the folks who lost their jobs to outsourcing, the young, the elderly, and the disabled, they can most certainly ignore the idea that suffering is also maximized in the workers in other countries, who produce clothing and jewelry the Republicans wear.

I hope President Obama vetoes this vote to cut food stamps. Not only will it lead to great harm for those in dire need of sustenance in this country, the money will more likely than not, be used to line the pockets of those who are not in need. It is no mistake or coincidence that there is no proposal in place to suggest a greater ‘good’ for the ‘saved’ money.

end note: DS Wright’s report House Votes To Cut Food Stamps By $40 Billion

Peterr’s essay: God Is Not Pleased With the House GOP

Please let me know if you have posted on this topic, so I can provide a link. (I have been away for a couple of days and may have missed it)

50 Responses to House Republicans and the Food Stamps Vote

  1. a2nite says:

    We have the kind of government that the “majority” of voters decided. The people who vote for the evil RW radical Rs are getting screwed along with the rest of us. They just expected Dem only voters to get screwed. So I can’t feel too sorry for the people who voted these monsters. in. It is too bad the remainder of us have to put up with this nonsense.

    I think if we spent more money at home than abroad by making living wage jobs; people would be less angry and afraid. But that is what the evil 1% want for us to argue over moldy crumbs. It takes a lot of workers to support the evil greedy money hoarding class. That is why capitalism is a pyramid scheme & the American dream is a lie.

  2. Boyd says:

    The total defense budget is broken up here. $52 Billion just for the CIA. $88 Billion for what I think is Afghanistan.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/budget.pdf

    • Trained Observer says:

      Thanks for link, boyd.

      I’m not an isolationist by any means, but funding for “spreading democracy” as W used to put it, and rebuilding countries that we’ve bombed to bits should not take precedence over feeding Amercia’s hungry … or offering every American affordable health care.

      • Boyd says:

        You’re Welcome. $52 billion for the CIA is crazy! That’s about the size of GB and France military budget.

        For sure we are not getting our monies worth on that.

      • colin black says:

        WW2 Made America the wealthy globeall power it is today.

        The War in Europe dragged America out of the Great Depression

        Also the Billions it was making in Interst from loaning the UK food supplies munitions ect

        Isolasitionism never earned Americas elite a cent .

        Being the Worlds Policeman an entering into conflicts right an left lines there pockets.

        You the American taxpayer line there pockets whilst blackwater et all rakes in free for all unacountable money

  3. Girlp says:

    Great article Crane, they ignore that Jesus said ” ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. … So if a person happened to have a felony, is on drugs, does not work for some reason still you should feed them. They are also cutting benefits as you mentioned to those who have very low incomes, are disabled and cannot work and children. Really their messiah is Ayn Rand not Jesus.

  4. MDH says:

    The offshore worker paid a bowl of rice a day creates wealth that is extracted by the elite at the expense of labor that was creating said wealth in the country that Wall Mart sells the product. The irony is that the displaced worker often ends up toiling for Wall Mart and needing SNAP to survive; with the added insult of being called lazy or non-productive.

    The only way to fight this shell game is for workers to unite across national borders and demand a decent standard of living as a right for being the foundation on which the elite get to live a life of leisure.

    Soldiers, being proletarians, should also question why should they fight wars to secure property rights for the exploitation of workers.

    China and Cuba are communist.

    Cuba is in the axis of evil while China is not.

    Which one lets foreign corporations exploit labor?

    All the above should be the big issue of our times.

  5. MDH says:

    Without labor, there can be no wealth. Part of the social contract is to be kind to the ass that bears you.

    • aussie says:

      “Without labor, there can be no wealth” is a saying from the days when companies (and their owners) made their money out of actually producing goods and selling them.

      Not so anymore. They can make more money out of dumping labour, moving jobs offshore to pay “a bowl of rice a day”, robbing companies blind by making them take out loans to pay the management then going bankrupt and being bought at a pittance by the same management just to repeat the cycle, the losses coming out of wages and pension funds of the remaining workers and/or the investments of other people’s 401ks in the banks the loans came from.

  6. MDH says:

    We spend an enormous amount on the military-prison-industrial complex because the primary function of our government, in the eyes of Republicans, is the protection and promotion of property rights of the wealthy.

    Our people are lazy, in their eyes, because we don’t; accept the same standard of living as a Chinese proletarian making products for Wall Mart.

    IOW, we are a commodity.

    This speech by the IWW guy shows how things have not changed.

    Note how this video also addresses divide and conquer.

    “We work, they don’t. That’s all we need to know about the enemy”

  7. boyd says:

    they’re better at messaging than the democrats

    when was the last time a $682 billion dollar yearly defense budget discussed?

    I think we spend on the military as China and Russia combined times 2.

    to do that we scarifice health education and welfare.

  8. bettykath says:

    $42 billion is safe in off-shore accounts of corporations who don’t have to pay taxes on income earned out of the country.

  9. MDH says:

    The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.

    – Jimmy Cliff

  10. Rachael says:

    If I remember correctly, I read a news story that repugnantcans were dining on a steak and lobster dinner whilst deciding this. It is disgusting. My son works a $10/hr job (minimum wage here is $9.19 – of course a 1-bedroom apartment is $1700/month) supporting a wife and 2 kids and they need those food stamps. She is working now too at a $10/hr job, but still…

    I am disgusted by the perception that people who are on food stamps are lazy and should get a job. Aside from the fact that many have jobs, what job? There are no full-time jobs with benefits these days, just part time jobs that make you work more hours than you are supposed to so they get the hours, you don’t get the overtime OR the benefits. And when repugnatcans say just get another job, they are talking out their ass. Part-time service industry jobs give you a different schedule every week which make finding childcare very difficult and almost impossible to coordinate with another job that is doing the same thing. And now they want to take food away from people? There are people working at McDonald’s, Burger King, Walmart, etc., who are living in shelters because they can’t afford housing, utilizing food stamps, soup kitchens and food banks to feed themselves (and families if they have them) and they want to take that away? And then what???!!! What are they supposed to do?

    • Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.”

      Looks like the Republicans are going to temp fate and stuff their fat throats with steak and lobster all the way to the guillotine.

      No measurable intelligence present in that bunch.

    • pat deadder says:

      How do these disgusting,corrupt,heartless people get elected.
      Are they corrupt before they get in power or do they become corrupt later.
      Who will be able to buy the food from the subsidized farms or for that matter the other things the rich are selling.
      Something has to give.
      My Grandparents made it through the great depression but said it was only because they had a farm.They helped the people in a small town near by as much as they could.
      Even I can remember tramps coming to our door for food.We didn’t have much but my Mother made eggs and toast from homemade bread for them and fruit to take with them.Hobos I guess they were called by some.They travelled by train and were very nice..Contrary to all the news clips the 50’s wasn’t such a paradise for my parents.My Father came home from overseas and contacted TB from the navy base where he drove ambulance.
      Why can’t nice people become rich and powerful.Well I guess some do but not enough.

      • lurker says:

        PBS had a great documentary on the Great Dust Bowl this year. Very interesting study in cause and effect and the role of government. The Dust Bowl figured heavily into the Depression. And, was largely man-made, through turning a lot of largely arid land into farm-land (maximizing profit for “weekend farmers” who bought large tracts) during years of atypical rainfall. When cyclical drought returned, all native vegetation that could hold the earth had been stripped bare. Some family farmers were able to survive with greatly diminished expectations while others were driven off in desperation.

        The WPA did two very important things. One was to serve as employer of last resort for those without jobs. The other was to bring about implementation of various new methods in agriculture designed to interrupt the ravages taking place. Then as now there were many unwilling to trust the government. Many regarded the jobs as “make-work” (despite an astonishing legacy of public buildings, parks, roads, etc). And many farmers–particularly those on a large scale–were reluctant to give up the possibility of large yields should the drought end spontaneously. However, government methods prevailed.

        Interesting thoughts.

    • Soulcatcher says:

      To the Congressman who said, “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat

      Not a wise comment to make. Be assured, people will eat. I guess the Congressman isn’t aware that sometimes desperate people make desperate choices when it comes down to a choice of survival.

      I guess that means more jobs losses for the mom and pop stores that depend on the people who use ETB/Food stamps. Some may close down, lay off or cut hours. And it falls down to the delivery drivers, pickers, packers, less to the stores, less help
      needed.

      Good job, so now as more people fall into poverty, or further, that means more unemployment, wefare, medical or Obamacare, housing, free lunches, ect. The more desperate people become by cuting benefits, there will be more shop lifting, theft, and crime. It becomes a downward spiral.

      I hope there is a plan to get all the so called lazies back to work. That would mean at above poverty wages, so people can afford to eat. That would incude employees at Walmart, the ones that are given help with papers for med-i-cal/medical insurance. They need to eat, and when you cur their food stamps, where do you suppose they are going to get the food from.

      This year at Thanksgiving, Congress, while you and your company are sitting around half blitzed, cutting into your plump turkey, you might want to make sure the security system is set, and the curtins are drawn, and don’t forget your thankful prayers. Enjoy, you deserve it, another long hard year working for The American People, can’t wait to see what next year brings.

      • lurker says:

        I have to respond to the misappropriation from the letter of Paul. Paul was addressing himself to church elders who had begun to believe that their leadership role in the church entitled them to a pass when it came to physical labor such as tending to crops, harvesting, etc. A more appropriate application would be in consideration of the rather thorny issue of whether clergy ought to be paid for their services–but I’ll let that one alone.

    • Girlp says:

      They are shutting down Planned Parenthood where low income and poor people can get birth control so how does that help a minimum wage person so now their children go without food.

  11. Trained Observer says:

    Crane-Station — thank you for this info on farm subsidies lapped up by pigs who would deny food stamps to the poor. I will put it to good use, shoving it in the face, and hopefully down the gullets, of some of my myopic distant kin.

    Nancy Pelosi was so on target when she apologized for being late to the Warren Buffett event noting that the House was “busy taking food out of the mouths of babies.”

  12. kllypyn says:

    Most people on food stamps have jobs they either don’t earn enough to live on or they don’t work enough hours. Some are people who are retired. Some are disabled. they want to cut 40 billion. How about the 40 billion in subsidies to the oil companies

    • Exactly. This will affect the working poor as well as those who are temporarily unable to work or find work.

    • crazy1946 says:

      kllypyn, A good example of this is Wal-Mart who seems to have more employees on the public assistance list than any other company in the country… Wal-Mart demands tax incentives from the communities where they build their stores, and the tax payers subsidies include not only reduced taxes, but a huge increase of police activity upon their private premises, at the tax payers expense… Yes, the poor need to starve to allow the rich to become richer, or at least that is what the elected officials in Washington seem to think…

  13. Crane-Station on Fred’s screen.

    Dear JanCorey, in the spam queue:

    #Banned.

    You belong in a mental ward, to mildly understate.

    • Crane again. Sorry for the off-topic. JanCorey couldn’t pour piss from a boot, if the directions were printed on the heel.

      Jan, there are any number of other asinine blogs where you can openly display your ignorance and bigotry.

  14. colin black says:

    Well the only quote Ive paid attention to from the Bible in fact Ive set my entire life philospy about is.

    God helps those whom help themselves.

    ….And to those unable to help themselves charity help is there right .

    As one never knows you may be alright at the moment but but for the grace of god or fate you may find your self in need of charity.

    An if you cant be bothered to help those in need now.

    You cant expect others to help you if your circumstances change.

    One incident can alter your life for ever.

  15. looneydoone says:

    *46.7% of merica’s workforce earns less than $10 hr
    *37% of college grads are stuck in jobs (not careers) that require no more than a HS diploma
    *50% of the workforce earns a median wage of $26k or less
    *23% of the workforce earns $50k or more annually
    yet
    the bottom 65% (200 million workers) combined earned less than the top 425 takers hauled in for themselves

    Welcome to 3rd world ‘merica where minimum wage, part time “service ” sector employment opportunities are the new normal

    Anyone else remember shuddering when GHWB announced that free trade, a global economy and a new world order would equalize wages and living standards for people around the world ? Or how transitioning from manufacturing to a consumer/service economy would result in more leisure time for ‘merican workers ??

  16. Two sides to a story says:

    I hope Obama vetoes this reprehensible action as well. It is unbelievable and yet predictable that Republican legislators would continue to disenfranchise the poorest among us.

  17. MDH says:

    Conservative Republicanism is easy to figure out.

    They want those with property to dictate the lives of those who have little or no property. It is a neo-aristocracy based on how much capital one owns or controls. In that aristocracy, the peasants must work to eat. A peasant who can not work because of age or illness is thrown away like an old tire.

    There anti government rants are a sham. They want and need laws and government to protect and enforce the rights that they feel they deserve via owning a large amount of capital.

    The government they hate is the one that uses one man one vote democracy to provide basis human rights and a decent standard of living to all that toil to add value to property.

    Woe to them, I say.

    Democracy is the peaceful way for the social contract to be kept. The elite give something up and keep their status. The Bastille way cause them to lose their heads.

  18. Only a despicable and hypocritical human being would vote to cut food stamps with millions of unemployed during an economic depression when, in addition to them, millions with jobs need food stamps to feed their families because they are not paid a living wage.

    The unemployed are unemployed through no fault of their own because their jobs were outsourced to others in foreign countries.

    May those who war against the poor find only rejection, calamity and suffering in their lives.

    • Trained Observer says:

      “May those who war against the poor find only rejection, calamity and suffering in their lives.” — Frederick Leatherman

      x 2 and then some, especially for those elected reps lapping up farm subsidies.

    • Xena says:

      I know employees of the county where I live who qualify for and receive food stamps because of their low wages. There are also people who are State employees, working as personal assistants for the disabled, who qualify for food stamps. These are not families but single individuals. I could not imagine how they would survive if they had spouses and/or children to feed.

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