To Protest Budget Cuts ...
26 Members of Congress to Live Off Food Stamps
Apologists for maldistribution pan food stamps as government dependency, saying the rapid growth of this program has only increased dependency on government and added to our federal deficit. This 2013 excerpt is from Alternet, June 14.
Twenty-six members of Congress will live off of a food stamp budget for a week to draw attention to House Republicans cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program’s eligibility requirements already leave out 50 million food insecure households, but another 2 million Americans would lose access to food stamps in the proposed changes for the Farm Bill.
The SNAP challenge means that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and 25 participating members must try to live off of under $4.50 per day for food and drink. When a young, single mother, she was on public assistance.
Other officials have attempted to live off of food stamps for short periods of time. Newark Mayor Cory Booker took the challenge earlier this year. When Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton participated in the challenge, he found he was “tired” and it was “hard to focus” by day four. “If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant,” he wrote. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who recently participated in the SNAP challenge, found “I’m hungry for five days…I lost six pounds in four days.”
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JJS: Actually, keeping people from going hungry saves the government some money. In education, better fed kids learn better. In health, better fed seniors stay healthier. But that’s physical health. There’s still mental health.
To erase the stigma of charity, all government expenditures should include not just cash but also food stamps. Politicians should be paid in part in food stamps; soldiers, too. Corporate welfare should in part be food stamps, especially for weaponeers. Bank bailouts should in part be food stamps; same with support for factory farms. Let the real welfare queens -- the big corporations and the rich -- get a taste of their own medicine.
Ultimately, of course, we must get beyond selfishness, recognize the natural and automatic bounty of our advanced economy, and share the common wealth, which is all our spending for land and resources, and eliminate conventional taxes and subsidies (food stamps included).
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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