Last March, I wrote a post about the two-pronged assault on Food Stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP). Now the legislation doing just that is being shaped in Congress. The bad news is, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow, only wants to cut SNAP benefits by 0.5%. The worse news is that Republicans want to cut it a LOT more. That great Libertarian hero, Rand Paul, wants to cut the program by $45 Billion a year until $322 billion in “savings” is achieved.
“Americans would be flabbergasted” if they knew how much money is spent on Food Stamps, Paul intoned. Fortunately, his amendment was shot down in flames, with 13 Republicans joining all of the Senate Democrats in killing it; whether they were motivated by lost revenue to corporations like Wal-Mart and JP Morgan Chase or fear of rioting is unclear.
JP Morgan Chase, you ask? Oh, yes, Jamie Dimon profits handsomely off the SNAP program and has for some time. JP Morgan, you see, makes many of the EBT cards that SNAP recipients use, and charges them a quarter every time they check their balance. With millions of EBT cards in circulation that benefit one in seven Americans, that’s got to be millions of dollars every month that Jamie Dimon rakes in, for doing exactly nothing productive.
I find it interesting, disgusting, and completely unsurprising that the opening Democratic position is to cut SNAP benefits by a few dollars a month for everyone receiving them, and that no one in either party is saying anything about the beau coup bucks Wall Street is making off of the program. The same people who wrecked the economy are now sucking money off the most vulnerable working poor like so many gleeful vampires, and our government does absolutely nothing about it. I speculate that Obama, the fascist poltroon, is doing everything he can to make sure his buddy Jamie sucks as much as he can get away with.
So. Food Stamp benefits WILL be cut; the only question is by how much. Probably not by all that much, but I speak from experience when I say that even the slightest cuts will hurt the working poor a lot. Money that used to go to rent or clothes or utilities or gasoline will soon have to go to food; either that or somebody in the family will have to miss a meal or two. Democratic cheerleaders will scream that the Republicans would do worse, Republican cheerleaders will say that they are only trying to “enable” people to get off of Big Government assistance, and capitalist cheerleaders will say that now maybe those lazy bums will be forced to get a minimum wage job, never mind the fact that most adult SNAP recipients DO already have low-paying jobs at places like Wal-Mart.
The great irony on this topic is that Wal-Mart and the grocery store chains, which stand to lose money for every dollar cut from the SNAP budget, are the working poor’s strongest allies on this particular issue. Chances are even they can’t kill all of the cuts, but they will limit them.
In the larger scheme of things, this move fits neatly into how capitalism operates. Cut social programs that help people in order to force them to grovel for whatever crumbs the capitalists are willing to throw them, at the greatest possible profit, of course. And they will NEVER stop trying to do so. That is why I think it is foolish to try to reform and regulate capitalism, that is why it should be destroyed before it succeeds in destroying not only the lives of ordinary people, but the planet itself. It’s an insane system. It should be shot down like the rabid dog it is.
Photo by NCReedplayer under Creative Commons license