"The major goal must be to get jobs and wages back, not balance the budget." ~ Robert Reich
According to FRAC, as of December 2012 - - - 47,791,996 Americans now rely food stamps (SNAP). That's nearly 1.3 million more than the year before. But why?
Many Republicans only have a one-word answer: Obama. But for more rational people with an open mind, the real reasons are mostly because of high unemployment caused by a combination of several factors: downsizing since the Great Recession began in 2007, H-1B VISAs, automation, robotics, union busting and 40 years of outsourcing overseas --- and this all translates into an over-saturated job market that mostly offers low wages that don't keep pace with inflation. (And also because of manufacturers in the South, such as those in the auto industry, who are ripping off their non-union workers.)
More than one in seven Americans now receives SNAP – and that percentage (15.2% percent) is comparable to the percentage of the American workforce affected by unemployment or underemployment (14.4 percent) as of December 2012.
And not only are most people who need food stamps white and have jobs, they're also Republicans. Boomberg reports that "seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008." (Source: USDA)
Under-employment: Companies who pay low wages for part-time jobs like Wal-Mart, Dominos, Staples and McDonalds all make out like bandits --- because food stamps are really "wage subsidies" for most Americans; and if these same corporations don't offer healthcare insurance either, then Medicaid and trips to the emergency rooms also become wage subsidies. And if these same corporations aren't paying the statutory tax rates because of loopholes, then they aren't even paying their fair share for these wage subsidies --- aka "government entitlements".In 2012, nearly one in five Americans struggled with “food hardship” according to a FRAC analysis of data. But even with the increase in SNAP, still, one in four people who are eligible go un-served. And yet, just behind the ban on contraception and abortions on the Republican's agenda, is the cutting of food stamps. The GOP's main focus has NEVER been about jobs.
At the Huffington Post, Robert Reich says, "The major goal must be to get jobs and wages back, not balance the budget." I couldn't agree with him more. Jobs with "living wages" will fuel the economy.
Just as millionaire investor Nick Hanauer said in a speech at TED University) "Somebody like me makes hundreds or thousands as times much as the median American, but I don't buy hundreds or thousands of times as much stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and shirts a year like most American men. Occasionally we go out to eat with friends."
See this video of Nick Hanauer being interviewed by Neil Cavuto at Fox News. Neil used the same old ridiculous argument about the rich paying more in taxes, "If you want to pay more, then write a check right now."
Nick replied, "Try using that argument at the next company meeting at Fox News. I've run a lot of companies and once in a while somebody will pop up with this attitude. You know what we do with those people? We fire them. Both because they're useless and because they're poison to the culture."
Jobs that pay living wages will fuel the economy more than tax cuts for the rich --- even an unemployed or low-paid Republican worker must agree with that, so why do they always vote for politicians who only want to cut taxes for the wealthy and extend the age for Medicare and Social Security to 70? --- Why do they always vote against their own best interests? It's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist, wrote in a Tuesday blog post that
Paul Ryan's newest budget proposal is much like the last one, except worse -- slashing government spending in the name of budget tightening, while actually hurting the nation’s most vulnerable in the
process (like unemployed or underemployed Republican voters).
“Nothing has changed, except that the plan has gotten even crueler,” Krugman wrote of Ryan's plan. By a wide majority, the American people agreed, and that's why they voted for Obama/Biden instead of Romney/Ryan.
Paul Ryan's newest plan calls for balancing the budget by repealing ObamaCare® and making cuts to programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Working Republicans, just like working Democrats, would all be better served by "Medicare for All" if they wanted to escape the healthcare industry's greed, corruption and abuse ($12 for a paper pill cup? Read the full story at TIME.)
Andrew Fieldhouse, an analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, estimates that Paul Ryan's plan would cost the country 2 million jobs in 2014 alone.
There is a much more reasonable and sane government budget proposal for all regular working folks (even for Republican workers) called the Back to Work Budget. It taxes the very rich their fair share, and preserves Social Security and Medicare for everyone else --- for regular working Americans when they eventually get too old and/or sick to work The ultra-wealthy don't need these programs, so therefore, don't want to contribute one dime to their cost --- they'd rather hoard their money instead. (That sounds pretty darn unfair and inhumane to me!)
We have a $13 trillion annual economy with a $1 trillion annual budget with $16 trillion in
national debt ($6 trillion of that is Obama's). Homeowners earning $50,000 a year
might have a 30-year mortgage on a home with an initial value of $250,000 plus triple that in interest (plus insurance, utilities and taxes). Our economy has always been driven by debt (and the bankers love us for it).
Debt is not the problem now --- and one or two "honest" Republican
leaders know this.
The population has gone up by over a third, from 200 million to 315 million, over the past 40 years --- so it's only reasonable to assume that government spending would also go up.
If corporations paid the "statutory" tax rate (35%) instead of a much lower "effective" tax rate (18%)--- and if capital gains were taxed as ordinary wages (in 1977 the tax rate on capital gains was 39.8%, today it's 20%) --- we'd have the necessary revenue that we need to keep a normal functioning government --- and we could care for our poor and unemployed. (And like some people, maybe you wouldn't have to wait in line for 3 hours to renew your drivers license.)
Yet the GOP wants to cut food stamps, to literally "starve the beast" (you).
But without filibuster reform (thanks again Harry Reid!) the Republicans on the floor don't have to defend their mean-spirited reasons for deliberately hurting American workers in both political parties --- even though we already know their real reason --- because we have a half-black President --- and the color of his skin is the only thing that makes him "divisive"
In the movie A Time to Kill, do what Jake asks of the jury in his closing argument. Close your eyes. Listen to what Obama is saying. Can you see him? I want you to picture our President. Now imagine he's white. And if abortion laws are still your main priority, then by all means, vote for more Tea Party candidates in 2014. Otherwise, vote for your own best interests and I promise you, America won't be a Socialist country and you'll still be allowed to keep your guns and religion.
And at the very least, you'll still have Medicare and Social Security when you get too old and sick to work at your crummy low-paying job.
Below is a comment I left for another commenter who had disagreed with Robert Reich's post:
Women (who are a majority), especially in Southern states, should stop listening to the misguided advice from their boyfriends and husbands, and vote for Democrats --- because it's in their best interest too. Put on your shoes and get out of the kitchen woman ;)
My related post: A Government Budget for Working Folks