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Issue #1612      September 25, 2013

Where is justice in cutting food stamps?

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives are scheduled to vote on the Farm Bill; part of which includes a US$40 billion cut in the food stamp program.

Of those receiving government help in the form of food stamps or the SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) 76 percent are children, disabled or elderly. Fifty seven thousand children lost Head Start services because House Republicans voted to keep the sequester (automatic budget cuts) instead of choosing a balanced approach to the budget that makes corporations and millionaires pay their fair share. The WIC program, a health and nutrition assistance program for low income women and children, is also under fire from the right.

Zoë Neuberger and Robert Greenstein writing for the Centre on Budget and Policy Priorities say, “WIC will need a substantial funding increase in fiscal year 2014 to be able to serve all eligible applicants. Based on our estimates using the most recent data available, the President’s budget request of US$7.142 billion for WIC would allow the program to serve all eligible applicants. Competition for discretionary funding for next year will be fierce. But if Congress fails to provide adequate WIC funding to serve all eligible low-income women, infants, and young children at nutritional risk who apply, there would likely be long-lasting detrimental effects for the vulnerable individuals whom WIC serves.”

Many American workers who are receiving some food stamps are eligible because wages are keeping them in poverty. Republicans and right wing Democrats should be repeatedly asked, “Why is the minimum wage set below the poverty line?”

A liveable wage: Is that too much to ask for? If so, who says so and why? While the right wing are attacking our most vulnerable people who is it that they subsidise and help at every turn: gas and coal companies. The reverse Robin Hood of the American right wing and the heartlessness of American capitalism and apparently many in the tea party and the Christian right has been shocking to see (the extent) but those of us on the left will always fight for the kids, the underdogs, for justice.

People’s World

Next article – Film review – Blue Jasmine

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