Social safety net

The Coming Food Stamp Cut Will Hit 900,000 Veterans

veterans_jobs_photo

In addition to the millions of poor families and seniors, our servicemen are affected by the forthcoming food stamp cuts authorized by Congress as well.  

Think Progress

Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, will automatically drop come Friday thanks to the loss of additional funds from the 2009 stimulus bill. That cut will hitabout 900,000 of the country’s veterans, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Nationwide, in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP to provide food for their families in 2011,” CBPP writes. The number varies state to state, with over 100,000 veterans in households that rely on the benefits in Florida and Texas each.

The coming cut will range from $36 a month for a family of four to $11 a month for a single person. Food stamps will average less than $1.40 per person per meal next year with the cut. Benefits were already sparse, at just $133 a month on average.

Veterans can face a lot of challenges finding work when they return from service. While overall the unemployment rate for veterans is 6.5 percent, those who have served since 2001 to the present have an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent. Nearly one in 10 veterans with disabilities were without employment in 2010. They are also disproportionately likely to live in poverty and to be homeless. In 2010, nearly a million veterans ages 18 to 64 had experienced poverty over the past year. As of 2011, nearly one in seven homeless adults was a veteran and more than four in ten homeless veterans were without shelter. They are therefore heavily impacted by cuts to the social safety net.

The automatic reduction in food stamps won’t likely be the last cut, however. House and Senate lawmakers are set to negotiate this week over a bill to continue funding the program, and House Republicans want to cut it by $40 billion, while Senate Democrats have proposed cutting it by $4 billion. If Republicans get their way, as many as 6 million people could be dropped from SNAP.

Tom Coburn: $30 Billion In Millionaires Aid Is ‘Sheer Washington Stupidity’

When I initially read this story, my jaw had become semi-paralyzed in an open position.  Talk about “jaw-dropping” moments, this story is astounding.

I am certainly no fan of Tom Coburn ever since  Rachel Maddow exposed Coburn as being complicit in trying to hide the John Ensign scandal.

However, he may have earned a small bit of redemption by telling the following story.  The emphasis are mine…

The Huffington Post

Millionaires are receiving billions in taxpayer-funded support every year that helps them pay for everything from child care to bad debts to boats and vacation homes, according to a report released Monday by Sen. Tom Coburn.

People who individually earned more than a million dollars in 2009 even managed to collect a total of nearly $21 million in unemployment insurance.

“From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” wrote Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, in an accompanying letter. “Multimillionaires are even receiving government checks for not working. This welfare for the well-off — costing billions of dollars a year — is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate.”

Calling the giveaways “sheer Washington stupidity,” Coburn detailed in the study more than $30 billion a year that comes out of the U.S. Treasury to aid people who make more than a million a year.

For Coburn, who describes his survey as the first-ever compilation of federal aid for the richest, such a startling figure makes no sense when most of the country is struggling to get by. He also thinks it reveals some sensible targets for Congress’ stymied debt-trimming super committee.

“Even in these difficult times, the United States remains a land of opportunity and not everyone is in need of government handouts,” wrote Coburn in the accompanying letter.

“The income of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans has risen dramatically over the last decade. Yet, the federal government lavishes these millionaires with billions of dollars in giveaways and tax breaks,” he wrote, referring to the growing income gap recently documented in stark fashion by the Congressional Budget Office.

“The government’s social safety net, which has long existed to catch those who are down and help them get back up, is now being used as a hammock by some millionaires, some who are paying less taxes than average middle class families,” Coburn contended.

And what the report “reveals is sheer Washington stupidity with government policies pampering the wealthy costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year,” Coburn argued.

Coburn totaled up all the federal money for millionaires over several years that his office could find. Among the handouts for the well-heeled are:

  • $18.15 million in child care tax credits
  • $74 million in unemployment checks
  • $89 million for preservation of ranches and estates
  • $316 million in farm subsidies
  • $608 million in business entertainment deductions
  • $9 billion in retirement checks
  • $21 billion in gambling losses
  • $28 billion in mortgage breaks for mansions, vacation homes and yachts

Some of the payments, such as for Social Security and Medicare, stem from payroll taxes and are not means-tested when they are paid out. Advocates of such payments believe the government made a promise to individuals that it must keep, regardless of their wealth.

Some other payments, such as the millions received by the wealthy to preserve land or to use alternative energy sources, arise from programs that proponents consider beneficial overall, even if the rich get the money.

But Coburn doesn’t see much justification for these payments, considering how well the wealthy have done over the last 30 years compared to everyone else. “Fleecing the taxpayer while contributing nothing is not the American way,” he wrote.

He also sees policies that help the rich avoid taxes as government-sanctioned redistribution of wealth.

“Americans are generous and do not want to see their fellow citizens go without basic necessities. Likewise, we expect everyone to contribute and to demonstrate personal responsibility,” Coburn wrote.

“Government policies intended to mainstream wealth redistribution are undermining these principles. The tragic irony is the wealth in these cases is trickling up rather than down the economic ladder,” he continued. “The cost of this largess will thus be shared by those struggling today and the next generation who will inherit $15 trillion of debt that threatens the future of the American Dream.”

Coburn does not argue that taxes should be raised on the wealthy, however. Simply ending giveaways for people who don’t need them would help, and he recommends limiting or cutting payments to millionaires in the safety net programs; ending farm and conservation payments to the rich; means-testing tax breaks and other payouts; and reforming provisions of the tax code that help pay for vacation properties and mansions.

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Rick Santorum: ‘America Was a Great Country Before 1965′

One could only assume that Santorum is implying that this country was better off before “the Blacks got their civil rights…” or something to that effect.  Clearly Santorum is playing to the racist, tea party crowds with that statement. 

Yet, it seems to be a pattern with most of the GOP presidential contenders, say the most shocking thing you can muster up in order to have at least a two day news cycle and garner the attention needed to win the GOP nomination.

Racism in America is no longer being swept under a rug.  They are still using coded words and phrases but the implications are clear.

Crooks & Liars

While bowing down to the corrupt Ralph Reed by showing up at his conference this weekend, the former Senator whose name should not be Googled, Man-on-Dog Santorum let the audience there know that he apparently doesn’t think putting our social safety nets in place is part of what’s made America “exceptional.”

Here’s more from TPM — Rick Santorum: Obama’s Support For Entitlements Shows He Doesn’t Believe America Is Exceptional:

Rick Santorum has a message for President Obama: Despite what you may think, America was pretty awesome before the mid-60s.

Santorum is one of two presidential candidates speaking during the Saturday sessions at the Faith and Freedom Conference in downtown DC. At home before the social conservative crowd today, he offered up a ripping speech that touched on his long history as a national culture warrior.

Continue reading here…