As the GOP keeps looking for somewhere to cut government spending that won’t affect their pockets at all, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is now in their sights for cuts that could potentially devastate families who need it most.
Almost 47 million Americans are now receiving benefits under SNAP, also known as ‘food stamps’, and many of those are children, elderly, disabled, or working poor. As expected in troubled economic times, enrollment in the program skyrocketed and with it the costs of the program, which more than doubled to $80 billion. What many people don’t know is that food stamps are funded under the Farm Bill, the same bill that funds Federal subsidies for farmers.
So as the House Agriculture Committee debated this week over how much to cut from SNAP, it was not surprising that Representative Juan Vargas, a California Democrat, would remind the committee to follow the example set forth by Jesus, who said that how we treat the least among us is how we treat him. Of course, not to be out-Bibled, Representative Stephen Fincher, a Tennessee Republican, came back with his own Bible verse, quoting the Old Testament when he said, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” [Actually this quote is from the New Testament, Thessalonians 3:10--VB]
Really? Is that how we see the least fortunate among us? As lazy? Last I checked, there were laws against child labor in this country, and children make up almost half of all SNAP beneficiaries. Further, since many of the jobs that have been created since the economic recovery began are low wage jobs, it is to be expected that many of the families on the program are what are called ‘working poor’; families that do work but do not make a living wage.
But Rep. Fincher certainly doesn’t fall under this category. The Fincher family owns a 2500 acre farm in western Tennessee that brings in MILLIONS of dollars in Federal farm subsidies from the very bill he says needs to be targeted for its food stamps benefits. Make no mistake, this is no small family farm. Not one to miss out on any free government money, Fincher also took a grant from the state of Tennessee, as did his father, that allowed for taxpayers to buy them new farm equipment. That’s free to them. Free work related materials. FREE.