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The Blue & Gray Press | May 20, 2018

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Republican party lacks logic on food stamp legislation

By RYAN QUINT

The Republican Party started off with good intentions: a platform for old-fashioned Whigs to abandon a sinking party and join forces for a common goal of abolishing slavery.

With that accomplished, Republicans became the freedmen’s champion, pushing for the downtrodden and their rights.

But when they morphed into the party of big business, they became the supporters of Citizens United, and forgot their base.

Let us forget Obamacare for a moment, set aside the Syrian crisis, and look at the recent Republican initiative to eliminate billions from food stamps.

In a 217-210 vote, the Republican-controlled House passed legislation that would eliminate $39 billion over the next 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

SNAP is the food stamp assistance that, according to a Washington Post article, 47 million Americans rely on.foodstampsrepublican

Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), told the New York Times, “This bill eliminates loopholes, ensures work requirements and puts us on a fiscally responsible path.

In the real world, we measure success by results.

It is time for Washington to measure success by how many families are lifted out of poverty and helped back on their feet, not by how much Washington bureaucrats spend year after year.”

That is all fine and dandy until one looks at the statistics of those who actually get SNAP benefits.

A recent Forbes article broke it down as follows: of the 47 million aforementioned Americans, 48.7 percent of them are children. Unless Stutzman and others of his cloth would like to revoke some child’s labor laws, I am not entirely sure how children are supposed to measure their own success.

Furthering the figures from Forbes: eight percent are elderly, nearly 20 percent are disabled and almost 24 percent are the non-disabled adults that Republicans seem to want to pull out of poverty and help back onto their feet.

Except rather than create a sense of dependency, SNAP already has precautions in place.

Of those 24 percent, they are only eligible for three months out of every three years, and only as long as they are working 20 or more hours a week.

That is 20 hours short of a full time position at 40 hours a week, but discussing hours of working also brings up another social issue that Republicans are trying to stonewall: the minimum wage.

Recently, the state of California addressed concerns of minimum wage, and, as outlined in a Wall Street Journal article, hoped to raise the minimum wage to $10 by 2016.

On that note, however, there are Republicans trying to shut down the whole affair, even while they are trying to shut down the government as well.

Bob Huff, Republican leader of the California State Senate, is quoted in that same Wall Street Journal article regarding the raising of minimum wage, “It is a feel good thing—people want the lowest earners to make more money, but it actually accomplishes just the opposite…”

To recap, Republicans want to cut food aid to 47 million Americans, almost half of them being children, but they also want to limit the prospects of an employee getting better wages in order to lift themselves from poverty.

That is not a very good hand to be dealt.