On my way to work this morning, I heard this story on NPR. Starting in January, the Obama Administration is cutting food stamp benefits for millions of Americans by $50 per month because they are lowering the credit they give recipients for paying utility bills because those rates have gone down due to lower natural gas prices. Then came the kicker, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services(JFS), which administers the program in my state, had appealed the decision to the US Department of Agriculture and been turned down flat.
Just to make sure I could believe my ears, I used the Google a little bit on my lunch hour. Lo and behold, from the Toledo Blade and the Associated Press:
Some Ohio families will lose $50 per month in food stamp benefits in 2013, leaving food banks bracing for higher demand.
The cut won’t apply to all 869,000 households(in Ohio alone) receiving food stamps, only to some homeowners and renters who have a “standard utility allowance” deducted when determining whether they are eligible for food stamps, The Blade reported.
Those families will see a cut in benefits because of how the government calculates utility expenses. A mild winter in 2011 and lower natural gas prices led to a decrease in aid.
The thinking is that lower utility expenses meant families had more money for food.
Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services tried to stop the change but the appeal was denied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the food stamp program.
“This is a federal issue,” said Joel Potts, executive director of the job and family services directors’ association. “We just think it is going to be really hard on families and individuals. They will see significantly less money starting in January.”
The state appealed the change because many families that will see a reduction don’t even use natural gas to heat their homes and instead use fuel oil or propane and didn’t see a cost savings, said Ben Johnson, a spokesman for the job and family services department.
Plus, many people still rely on food assistance at a time when the nation is coming out of the recession, he said.
Ben Johnson is the head of the Ohio JFS, appointed by Republican Governor John Kasich. So, the Obama Administration cuts food stamp benefits for millions of Americans and a whole boatload of Ohioans, the Kasich Administration objects on their behalf, and is rebuffed by the Democratic administration.
Less than a week after Obama’s re-election, which was made possible by many of the working poor who turned out to vote for him by the millions. The same working poor who he is now screwing at the first opportunity.
Governor Kasich himself, to my knowledge, has not spoken about this, and he may have had some good conservative business reasons for opposing the cut. For example, grocery stores, farmers’ markets and others who accept food stamps will be hurt and less money will be flowing into the economy. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the the administration of a Republican governor tried to do what was right for hundreds of thousands of its citizens and was shot down by the Democratic federal administration who, as we’ve been told for a couple of years now by a legion of Democratic Party apologists, we simply had to vote for in order to keep the Big Bad Scary Crazy Republican out of the White House and thereby save civilization as we know it.
Natural gas prices drop, so the Obama Administration leaps at the chance to slash food stamps by 36%. I say that because the average food stamp grant is a measly $138 per month. As Obama himself said in the debates, “Do the math.” 50 bucks can buy a few family meals by a smart shopper, and most food stamp recipients are by necessity. It’s definitely a hit in the pocketbook.
Worse than that, it’s just downright mean.
No doubt Obama supporters will claim it’s a necessary part of some Grand Bargain or that their demigod is playing umpti-dimensional chess again. Balderdash! Obama could stop this move with the stroke of a pen.
But he won’t. Because he’s not some progressive whose going to show his true colors now that he can’t run for re-election again. He’s just a fascist bastard who really doesn’t care about the working class. He’s also going to hurt and piss off a whole lot of people.
Even John Kasich won’t go that far. I think that says something important. Do you?