Saturday, November 2, 2013

What's With a Country That Lets Millions of Kids Go Hungry -While Rich Pigs & Spooks Cash In?

The question in the header is the one I am considering. This is in the wake of the discontinuation of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)  yesterday - even as the spooks (e.g. NSA) clamor for more money to support their  unmitigated spookery (including for a new, mammoth ultra spy center at Bluffdale UT), and the plutocrats (e.g. Peter G. Peterson, the Kochs)demand more tax cuts - while they also insist on cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

This, despite the fact that inequality in the U.S. has never been higher, now rivaling Mexico and the Philippines  - with a Gini coefficient approaching 0.5. (A Gini of 1.0 denotes total income-economic inequality, while 0.0 denotes complete economic equality.)

It's true the SNAP was launched as part of a stimulus back in 2009, when the economy was crashing and 27 million were of work - after the credit meltdown caused by small economic 'bombs' planted in obscure financial instruments called credit default swaps - which were then bundled into bonds - falsely claimed to have 'AAA' ratings (by supposedly reliable credit rating agencies). This led unwary purchasers to grab them unaware of the refuse lurking and how they'd regret it.

To cut a long story short, SNAP came to the rescue of millions of families, but had a sunset date of Nov. 1, 2013. The hammer thus came down on 47.6 million food stamps recipients yesterday - of whom perhaps 60% are children. The effect of the cessation translates to a loss of $11 a month per individual and $36 a month per family of four.

Now, if you think that's diddly squat, please reconsider. Given a whole chicken of about 3.5 lbs. costs $6.75 at a typical supermarket (like our Safeway) and a large package of pasta or Jasmine brown rice comes to about $2.99 we are talking of a loss of up to 22 meals in a month for this family of 4! For those still puzzling that means a total of 22 dinners, or just over one week's worth for a family of 3 and over five days worth for a family of four!  That is what they lose. Those who say the SNAP was "supplemental" anyway (and families ought to have planned for its sunset) still aren't getting that in the interim since it was put into place inflation has risen more than the stimulus delivered.  Thus families are even worse off.

What the hell are these families supposed to eat? Leaves? What are all those millions of kids supposed to eat, so they don't go to bed hungry each night? Well, fortunately food pantries still operate - as in our area by 'Care and Share' - but we know this SNAP cut will see them inundated by people needing help. That means their resources will be stretched thin unless much more in donations pours in. Meanwhile, the rich pigs are rolling in dough - so much that they can afford to splurge on $65,000 all copper bath tubs, e.g.
As well as weekend junkets to St. Kitts for 18 holes of golf, while their wives enjoy $27,000 each rose wine wraps at the spa.

What does all this show? Obviously, a nation in serious, serious decline. We know- as Kevin Phillips observed in his book, Arrogant Capital - that the first sign of major decline is such visible inequality: the wealthy splurging on expensive toys and trips, and gorging on  $25,000 (apiece)  Frrrozen Haute Chocolate   desserts,  while children go to bed hungry.

Meanwhile, an evil, mean-spirited political party castigates the food stamp recipients as "takers" despite the country being unable to generate enough decent paying jobs to support a family of four. This party is so vile, that it had no problem helping World War II vets storm their memorial  on the first day of the government shutdown (that THEY caused, btw) but now have no issue pissing on the same war vets. (Remember how the likes of Cruz and Sarah Palin railed against President Obama for the cuts to veterans’ benefits that resulted from the Cruz-caused shutdown?)

We know that as from yesterday,a  $5 billion cut to the food-stamp program has hit thousands of veterans squarely in their wallets. Where the fuck are all the GOOPrs now? Hiding?  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), “in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] to provide food for their families in 2011, a previous analysis of Census data estimated.”

That means the vets will be going hungry along with the kids and their parents? Have the GOOprs no shame? NO pity? Or are they out there purely for political showmanship and posturing, as when they paraded the WWII vets to their memorial? Well, as we know - also from Phillips' work, such displays are also a sign of a country in decline, along with the takeover of most of the economy by financiers, and the selling of financial instruments dominates as manufacturing recedes.

But how vile is the GOP-Tea Bagger House? Understand that the cuts that went into effect yesterday are nothing compared to the $39 billion cut to SNAP over the next 10 years approved by the GOP House in September. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 2.8 million Americans would lose their food stamps next year under that legislation. Meanwhile, as Jon Soltz of pointed out in a piece for the Huffington Post, there are pricey Pentagon projects the defense department doesn’t even want that Congress insists on funding.

But we already know this is the standard GOP Teepee template: jack up funds for defense and "security" (oh, while demanding more tax cuts) and leave the rest of government (the portion designated to helping vets, hungry children) in the lurch and scream "deficits" and "unfunded liabilities". Also, award the NSA spooks $50-75 billion a year merely to gut our 4th amendment rights, and wreck international good will by spying on long time allies - while kids and vets go hungry.

As I asked:  Has this country - at least one of its major parties - no shame? Evidently not. And it seems we all will pay the price as we head toward more economic shutdowns over stupidity starting in January!

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