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Depression-era black and white photo of big crowd waiting in a soup line.
The U.S. Congress sees nothing wrong in this picture.
On Tuesday, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a Farm Bill that cuts food and nutrition programs by $4.1 billion over the next decade, $400 million annually. That's bad, and unnecessary, particularly in light of the CBO's new report of shrinking deficits. But the Senate cuts are peanuts compared to what the House is prepared to do: $2.5 billion in cuts annually for the next decade, for a total of $21 billion.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities gives context for those cuts:

The proposed legislation would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) by almost $21 billion over the next decade, eliminating food assistance to nearly 2 million low-income people, mostly working families with children and senior citizens.  The proposal reduces total farm bill spending by an estimated $39.7 billion over ten years, so more than half of its cuts come from SNAP.  The SNAP cuts are more than $4 billion larger than those included in last year’s House Agriculture Committee bill (H.R. 6083).

The bill’s SNAP cuts would come on top of an across-the-board reduction in benefits that every SNAP recipient will experience starting November 1, 2013.  On that date, the increase in SNAP benefits established by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) will end, resulting in a loss of approximately $25 in monthly SNAP benefits for a family of four.  Placing the SNAP cuts in this farm bill on top of the benefit cuts that will take effect in November is likely to put substantial numbers of poor families at risk of food insecurity.

Families of four will see a reduction of $25 a month in SNAP benefits starting in November because of the expiring stimulus bump. That's a big chunk out of a working family's food budget. But with the cuts that the House is proposing, millions of them could be cut off completely. According to CBPP, those the House bill would cut off are: almost 2 million people in state option program that allows states to provide the benefit to people who are slightly over the income eligibility cut off, but with below-poverty income; several hundred thousand children who will lose free school meals, and 210,000 children who's families will lose SNAP benefits; working-poor families who own a car.

Got that? You have a low-wage job and you have to have a car to get to your job, and if the House has their way, you'll have to choose between giving up the car, and probably your job, or making sure you can put food on the table, a really tangible concern since your kids don't get free lunch at school anymore. All because the Very Serious People have bought into a bankrupt and debunked theory of austerity.

With the Senate proposing cuts of $4.1 billion, and the House $21 billion, you can expect the cuts to end up being in the double digits of billions range. Because we all have to have skin in the misguided austerity game, don't you know.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America, Invisible People, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just when you think you can't reach any higher (34+ / 0-)

    levels of disgust, something comes along to make you raise the benchmark yet another time.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:28:47 AM PDT

  •  Remind me again why I'm supposed to defend (28+ / 0-)

    The Democratic Party when it gets in hot water over the various scandals real or imagined?  

    If you want me to have your back you better start delivering for Democratic constituencies because as far as I can tell when it comes to economic justice the Democratic Party has gone out of business.

    •  They're going to try to fix it (8+ / 0-)

      when it gets to the floor of the senate, according to various news reports.

      Link

      The committee rejected amendments by Johanns and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to expand the cut, while New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat, said she will offer amendments on the Senate floor to restore the food stamp dollars. She said the cuts are immoral.

      "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being up there."

      by Betty Pinson on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:45:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gillibrand - 2016 POTUS. (4+ / 0-)

        I have said that for three years.

        "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

        by shrike on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:54:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with you on that. Hillary is too hawkish, I (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alice kleeman

          fear, and will try too hard to out-Thatcher Maggie.  Gillibrand knows who she is and isn't afraid of being an old school NY Dem.

          Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

          by judyms9 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 03:29:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not so fast, LOL! She's been in 'No Labels.' (0+ / 0-)

          Let's make sure that she renounces that organization  BEFORE throwing support in her direction.  ;-)

          TPMDC

          Political Insiders Launch ‘No Labels’ To Support Moderation In Washington

          Jillian Rayfield December 13, 2010, 1:34 PM

          A group of high-profile Democrats, Republicans, and Independents today launched No Labels, a non-profit that calls itself the “Woodstock of Democracy,” touts non-partisanship, and features a bipartisan bison as its official logo.

          The group kicked off at an event in New York today, with speakers like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) appealing to the “vital center of our still-great country.”

          and this excerpt from this piece 'Mayor Bloomberg Dons Bipartisan Purple Tie for 'No Labels' Kick-Off.'
          . . . More than 1,000 Republicans, Democrats and Independents were expected to join Bloomberg Monday at Columbia University for the "No Labels" event. Among the featured speakers in attendance were New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who earned the animosity of some Democrats by losing the primary as a Democrat and going on to win the seat by running as an Independent.

          Gillibrand described the event as a "call to action to demand bipartisanship."

          "People on both sides are measuring success by the amount of bills they block, not the number of solutions they find,” she told the revved-up crowd when she took to the podium.

          The group touts policies including reining in the deficit, securing Social Security and Medicaid, and "encouraging free and open markets, tempered by sensible regulation."

          I certainly have no personal animus against Senator Gillibrand.  But my understanding is that she hails from a very conservative upstate New York District.  And, that her politics are rather conservative, especially regarding fiscal matters.

          Certainly here participation with this organization raises a big 'red flag' for me.

          I hope that progressive activists in New York vet her very carefully, for all the rest of us!

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 04:14:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're right, Betty. But as I mentioned in the (0+ / 0-)

        quote from my comment:

        New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat, has called both proposals, including Stabenow's, "callous" and bristled at her colleagues who call the heating assistance eligibility a "loophole." She says she will try to erase the cuts on the Senate floor, as she did unsuccessfully last year.
        Guess we all need to be calling our Senators.  ;-)

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 03:54:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not a matter of defending (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TacoPie, aguadito

      It is a matter of becoming dominant in the Democratic Party. You do not do that by threatening to walk out, to nowhere.
      There are no Libertarians or Greens in Congress. Not even Senators Sanders or King. These parties have not won a single electoral vote in the last 2 decades.
      There will be Democratic primaries next year. We must encourage good people to run.

      Censorship is rogue government.

      by scott5js on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:56:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You nailed it, gb. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      madronagal, socindemsclothing

      Both parties should be brought to task on this issue.

      Yes, the Repubs are even more egregious in their behavior.  And should be exposed.  Here's a recent article regarding the House bill.

      House panel set to OK cut in food stamp program

      The House bill would cut about $2.5 billion a year — or a little more than 3 percent — from the food stamp program, which is used by 1 in 7 Americans.

      The committee rejected an amendment by Democrats to strike the cuts 27-17, keeping them in the bill.

      The legislation would achieve the cuts partly by eliminating an eligibility category that mandates automatic food stamp benefits when people sign up for certain other programs.

      It would also save dollars by targeting states that give people who don't have heating bills very small amounts of heating assistance so they can automatically qualify for higher food stamp benefits.

      So, please folks, those of you in 'red states,' let's your Congresspersons hear from you on this matter.

      By the same token, some Dems need to be taken to task on this issue.  So please contact your Dem Senator or Representative if they support cuts to SNAP.

      Read this excerpt entitled 'Some cuts likely for food stamps.'

      Published: Wednesday, May. 08, 2013
      By MARY CLARE JALONICK - Associated Press

      WASHINGTON--The government's food stamp program, which helps feed 1 in every 7 America, was one of the few programs exempted from this year's automatic spending cuts. But now it is likely to get trimmed. . . .

      Stabenow's bill is expected to find the $400 million in annual cuts by targeting states that give people who don't have heating bills very small amounts of heating assistance so they can automatically qualify for higher food stamp benefits. That approach passed the Senate last year in a farm bill that died at the end of the congressional session when the House failed to move on the legislation.

      Lucas says the House bill will make those same changes but also end what is called "broad-based categorical eligibility," or granting automatic food stamp benefits when people are signed up for certain other programs. . . . .

      But 'cheers' to NY Dem Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who according to the same article:
      Stabenow, too, is caught in the middle of getting a farm bill passed and appeasing her caucus.

      New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat, has called both proposals, including Stabenow's, "callous" and bristled at her colleagues who call the heating assistance eligibility a "loophole." She says she will try to erase the cuts on the Senate floor, as she did unsuccessfully last year.

      The debate over food stamps doesn't always fall along party lines - the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, has said he won't support major cuts to food stamps because it is a popular program in his state. Food companies and states, both of which benefit from the program, are also expected to fight changes

      .

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


      hiddennplainsight

      by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:57:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You know, that Warren Buffett quote? (6+ / 0-)
    the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett
    That's bragging.
    That's not something a decent human being would say.  Not when hunger is all there is on too many tables.

    Time is a long river.

    by phonegery on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:31:48 AM PDT

  •  until (9+ / 0-)

    Until bad people get punished, they will continue to do bad things.  Obama didn't (can't? won't) twist arms--the media doesn't report--this will get progressively worse (pun intended).  Blocking the people's will in a democracy is treason--until we call them traitors, we're part of the problem.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:37:14 AM PDT

  •  it's war on poor and punish vs/nourish (14+ / 0-)

    Monsanto is poison,gotta be stopped. Can't afford rich people anymore;must cut back. People like Dick Cheney are evil, don't belong in government. We need @ 9 different revolutions in this country, and may they all crossoverlap soon..

    by renzo capetti on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:55:47 AM PDT

  •  here's hoping someone... (15+ / 0-)

    filibusters the agriculture bill. Gridlock for the win.

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:03:28 AM PDT

  •  Were there any cuts to (10+ / 0-)

    our unconscionable 'entitlements' to Big Agribusiness?  I don't suppose there's much hope for that.  Did Monsanto get any new tax breaks for being so All-American that even our feckin' Ambassadors were shilling for them?

    Conservatism is a function of age - Rousseau
    I've been 19 longer'n you've been alive - me

    by watercarrier4diogenes on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:21:43 AM PDT

  •  Because of the sequester, food prices are going (6+ / 0-)

    up, at least i think they are, so $25 a month is still a big deal. These people need to the $1.50 a day pledge. yeah, I know that's laughable.

    SOS - Save Our Sigs!

    by blueoregon on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:24:23 AM PDT

  •  They want to starve the poor (8+ / 0-)

    Why?

    Because they can.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed May 15, 2013 at 12:13:35 PM PDT

  •  Martin Luther King, Jr-- (4+ / 0-)

    A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

  •  It's damned well time the "poverty level" (15+ / 0-)

    got updated.

     2013 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES
    AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Persons in family/household    Poverty guideline
    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,020 for each additional person.
    1    $11,490
    2    15,510
    3    19,530
    4    23,550
    5    27,570
    6    31,590
    7    35,610
    8    39,630

     Do the math. It's not even a thousand bucks a month to live on.
    Given the salaries of even frosh in the Federal Congress, this is damn ridiculous. Poverty level ought to be $24,000 per year for one person, and $32,000 per year for two. This is the richest country on the face of the earth, and we're trying to starve people for the fatcats' sake. How long before we figure out that this isn't just greedy and short-sighted and UnChristian, but stupid too????

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 12:54:59 PM PDT

    •  11,490 for a single person (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, ChemBob, socindemsclothing

      is considered poverty level?

      So with my $491 a month SS check what does that make me?.

      And that bullshit about having a car is... well BULLSHIT! Even in the days of Nixon and St. Ronald you were allowed to own a house and 1 car.

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:21:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're allowed to own a car and a house (6+ / 0-)

        and still be eligible for SNAP. If you've been told otherwise, you were lied to. If that's all the income you have per month, you're eligible for SNAP. If your check is SSI, you're categorically eligible. SNAP is a federal program and is the same from state to state. The only things that would make you ineligible is if your resources (bank accounts, etc.) exceed $2,000, or if you're in a household with people whose income exceeds the limit. You can get around that if you provide a letter that states that you "purchase and prepare separately."

        •  My parents' farm truck, which was broken, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pariah Dog

          was counted against them, in Texas, in the middle 1990s.
          They were told to fix or sell it. Nobody said one damn word about the money to fix it with.

          The system is designed to screw people over every possible fashion, and I blame St. Ronnie of the Raygun and all his anointed apostles thereafter. May they rot in a special ring of hell.

          LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 03:47:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The system really isn't designed to screw (0+ / 0-)

            people over. If Congress didn't think it was important to supplement people's food budget, they wouldn't have created it. Like the "IRS scandal," it comes down to people. Some people who work for the welfare dept are either uninformed or just mean. And lots of people who apply for benefits feel embarrassed, and are unwilling to challenge what they're told. But like I tell my daughter and SIL, if you're not happy with the person you're dealing with, ask to speak to their boss.

            •  I did. Had with me (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fairlithe, socindemsclothing

              the last receipt for registration (more than 10 years in the past) and an estimate for the repairs (broken crankshaft = 2x the value of the truck, or a little more, which was not available money; what I neglected to do was call a scrap dealer for the value of the truck weighed out, which the supervisor did. Turned out less than a month's worth of food stamps).

              Thereafter, my parents dealt exclusively with that lady.
              My parents, you see, spoke no Spanish. This was counted, in a West Texas office, as proof one or both of them was lying about lack of money, by the "eligibility specialist."

              Pissed me right the fuck off, and I was not shy about saying so, in English and in Spanish (Castilian first, then ... vernacular) -- using almost exactly the same terms I had used for the "hospital staff" who put 55-gallon trash barrels in my mother's hospital room a few months earlier, while she recovered from a cracked pelvic bone after a fall.

              Tell me I'm prejudiced, and I'll agree with you -- against stupidity, laziness, bigotry, arrogance and lack of giving a damn about the job you do or the customers you do it for, regardless of your sex, the color of your skin or your mother tongue, never mind your excuse for religion -- behave like a jerk and I'll call you out for the jerk you are.

              LBJ, Lady Bird, Van Cliburn, Ike, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

              by BlackSheep1 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 05:04:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Oh I know (0+ / 0-)

          You're allowed to own a car. That's what I was saying. Even under the biggest assholes of the Asshole party you could own a car and still be eligible for food stamps. This bill, however, proposes to eliminate that. How they expect people to get to job training or actual low pay jobs is a mystery. PFM perhaps.

          But speaking of categorical eligibility, that's the biggest part of this bill. They want to eliminate that entirely because - - in their tiny minds - it's what's caused to program to explode out of control!

          That too is bullshit, but few will labor to examine the nature of its bullshittedness.

          There's another aspect to this that wasn't mentioned in the diary - and probably won't get much mention anywhere else either. Come November there's an across the board cut coming because some stimulus increase is expiring.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Wed May 15, 2013 at 04:48:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A car that has a relatively 'low value,' that is. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            socindemsclothing

            Other than a tremendous raise in the FPL (Federal Poverty Level), there should be a 'huge' increase regarding the so-called 'asset test.'

            Heard a legal aid attorney say that the 'asset test' has not been raised since 1989, for Pete's Sake!  

            Folks need to raise heck about these cuts.  Frankly, I am convinced that they will not stop.

            I know a man who receives a LIHEAP energy bill subsidy.  From what he says, the LIHEAP program does NOT have an asset test.  It is (or was) strictly 'income based.'

            That is the REAL REASON that they are wanting to disqualify folks who qualify for it, from qualifying for 'food stamps.'  The SNAP program has strict asset guidelines.

            IMO, even if you have a decent house and/or automobile, if you're living within the pathetic parameters of our FPL, you should be eligible for the SNAP program.

            And from what I've read and heard on C-Span, SNAP insufficient, at best.  (Though clearly better than nothing.)  

            I actually heard a SNAP official admit on C-Span's Washington Journal that the benefit could be as low as $10 a month!  That was several years ago, anyway.

            But, I'm not surprised, since it seems that the progressive community at large, has all but abandoned this issue on a national scale (that I can tell).

            It appears that the Democratic Party has pretty much jumped on the bandwagon that agrees that 'charities' and 'churches' should take care of many of the needs of the less fortunate, in our society.  

            Which has probably made it much easier for Dem politicians to constantly aim their messages to 'middle class' folks (and higher), to the exclusion of lower income folks, much less the poor.

            The only way to change this, is to vote in real progressive Dems--not facsimiles thereof.  ;-)

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


            hiddennplainsight

            by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 05:40:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When I worked at the welfare office (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musiccitymollie

              (last day: 12/31/95) the value of the car was considered. After welfare reform was passed (1996), the food stamp program allowed for one car, regardless of its value. If there were other cars, they were lumped in with other resources. IIRC, total resource limit was $2,000. When a family is poor enough to qualify financially, it's a rare occasion when their resources exceed the limit.

              •  HappyinNM, thanks. I'll post the info on the 'car (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HappyinNM

                value' below.

                Cars

                In some cases, cars may be considered countable resources, but there are plenty of exemptions.

                Vehicles are not countable resources if they are "used for income-producing purposes, needed for long-distance travel for work (other than daily commute), used as the home, needed to transport a physically disabled household member, needed to carry most of the household's fuel or water, or if the household has little equity in the vehicle (because of money owed, it would bring no more than $1,500 if sold), according to the USDA.

                Families are allowed to have one vehicle for each adult in the house and for each driver under 18 who uses a vehicle to get to school, work or a job training program.

                But when these vehicles exceed $4,650 in value, the excess is considered a countable resource.

                Like almost all of our safety net, I suppose they've been chiseling away at this benefit, too. ;-)

                Actually, in my line of work, I also dealt with a number of folks who would have qualified for SNAP and other public assistance programs, except that they had just a little too much money in the bank (and often it was from a small inheritance).

                IOW, they had no income but a tiny social security check that met the 'income test,' but had too much in cash assets.  Often it was by just a very few hundred, or several thousand dollars.

                I'm not saying that it was not within the SNAP program regulations to not process them for Food Stamp assistance, just that I think that it is ridiculous to set the 'cash asset' requirement that low.

                The man that I mentioned who receives LIHEAP receives just several dollars too much per month (his ONLY income is Social Security) to qualify for Food Stamps, at today's standard.  And because he inherited several thousand dollars when his Mother died, he wouldn't have met the cash asset test, either.

                Which is one reason that the excuse offered by both Dems and Repubs, makes no sense in regard to closing the 'loopholes' that allow folks to qualify.

                Qualifying for LIHEAP could not possibly qualify an individual for SNAP, since there is no asset test for LIHEAP [and there is for SNAP].

                Hope that clarifies what I was trying to communicate.

                Mollie

                "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


                hiddennplainsight

                by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:36:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  When the only income is "unearned" like (0+ / 0-)

                  Social Security, there are no allowable deductions as there are with earned income. LIHEAP is a totally different program. The amount given to the states is a finite number. When a state runs out of that fund for the year, that's it. SNAP is an entitlement program, meaning that if a person qualifies, they receive benefits. The reason resources are considered (particularly liquid ones) is obvious. While we would all like to have our own personal safety net, the government thinks we ought to spend down our own money before asking for assistance. Personally, I don't think that's unreasonable. I once had a hearing with a man who had just purchase a brandy new truck. He figured he could afford it because he didn't have to pay for food for himself and his family. He couldn't understand why his truck made him ineligible for food stamps. Everyone in that room wanted so badly to tell him that selling the truck was the easy remedy. From what you quoted, it seems that the regulations for vehicles has changed once again.

                  •  Well, not sure what your reference to 'unearned' (0+ / 0-)

                    income refers to.  But yes, I understand the LIHEAP program is a grant program.  You may recall, it was 'cut' during one of the earlier 'faux' fiscal crisis.

                    My only point was that it is not a 'means tested' program.  It is based upon an applicant's income, but is not 'asset tested.'  Or at least, that is what I've been told.

                    BTW, I'm certainly not for having no asset test at all. Simply meant to say that the 1989 test of $2,000/Individual and $3,000/Couple seem ridiculously low for today.

                    Some time ago had to research the safety nets in other OECD countries.

                    Our social insurance programs are pathetic in comparison.

                    The state pension program in many countries have replacement rates of up to 70 and 80 percent.

                    According to Ms Janice Gregory (in 2010), she was the President of NASI at that time:

                    Today's (this was in 2010) Social Security 'replacement rate' is 39% at age 65, AFTER paying one's Medicare Premium.

                    And, that by 2030, the Social Security 'replacement rate' will be only 32%.

                    And that does not even count the taxing of Social Security benefits (which may not apply to all Social Security beneficiaries--I'm not sure).

                    We are grateful to both have good retirements (both defined benefit plans and 401Ks)--especially if they don't manage to destroy Social Security and Medicare, before we're old enough to apply.

                    Because of all the 'tinkering' (LOL!) with Social Security, I plan to file for Early Retirement Benefits, even though I won't need the money to live on (at that point).

                    Anyway, thanks for the interesting conversation.

                    Mollie

                    "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


                    hiddennplainsight

                    by musiccitymollie on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:08:24 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I love it when progressives sound just like (0+ / 0-)

                    conservatives.  It just goes to show you how incredibly effective the GOP propaganda machine is that their reach extends into the deepest recesses of left-wing thinking.  

                    People aren't entitled to reliable transportation!  They should be forced to purchase cheap clunkers that will sop up every spare dollar in expensive repair after expensive repair.  Ask me how well that works out in the long run, when you have a $5,000 budget for a used car and end up having to replace the engine in two years, and this after throwing money at a string of incidental repairs.  It would have been far more prudent to finance a newer, more reliable mode of transportation, but with people like you lining up to cheer on GOP policies that wage war on the financially disadvantaged, people like me will never be able to make the prudent decision.  

                    Bless.  You.

                    Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. -George Carlin

                    -7.88, -7.64

                    by socindemsclothing on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:15:11 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you, sidc! You've expressed the point that (0+ / 0-)

                      I was trying to make, better than I did.

                      It does not make any sense at all, to impose as you suggest, that lower income folks be consigned to driving 'clunkers.'  From a practical standpoint, they will continue to have a hard time 'getting ahead,' or even treading water, if they have such old and unreliable (cheap!) transportation that they are constantly saddled with unaffordable car repair bills!

                      I'd have to say that if an individual drove a new Mercedes, they should probably be expected to 'spend down' to a more 'average' vehicle.  But the idea that an individual can't have a newer and very decent vehicle is ridiculous, IMO.

                      This rule or regulation reminds me of how some conservatives would severely restrict the actual 'foods' that can be purchased by Food Stamps.  And I'm not talking about restrictions such as hard liquor, or something, either.

                      Some bills would outlaw any 'sweets,' etc.  So, I'd have to ask, "Does that mean that the 5-year-old of a very poor person should not be allowed to have a Betty Crocker cake on their birthday?"

                      I mean, c'mon.  How heartless and authoritarian can you get?

                      Mollie

                      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


                      hiddennplainsight

                      by musiccitymollie on Mon May 20, 2013 at 12:34:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Subsiize people not Monsanto. (7+ / 0-)
    ....Reducing subsidies to crop insurance companies – as Sen. Gillibrand has proposed – would save more than $5 billion over 10 years. In combination, reducing subsidies to the companies and setting a payment limit on premium support to the largest and most successful farmers – as Sens. Shaheen and Toomey have proposed – would eliminate the need for cuts to conservation and nutrition altogether.

    Avoiding these needless cuts to these vital programs is reason enough to support crop insurance reforms.

    But there are even better reasons.

    First, current crop insurance policies have created a playing field that is badly tilted in favor of the largest and most successful farms. Under current law, there is no limit on who can receive premium support or the amount they can receive. As a result, 26 policyholders received more than $1 million apiece in crop insurance premium support in 2011, and more than 10,000
    policyholders received more than $100,000 each.

    By contrast, the bottom 80 percent of farm businesses received only about $5,000

    http://www.ewg.org/...
  •  This is bad for farmers too (6+ / 0-)

    Since that was the original reason for food stamps to begin with.

    Farmers were not able to sell their production, so they were going out of business and ended up starving. Food stamps took care of two problems - they keep farmers in business and feed the poor, who will reliably spend the food stamps each month as soon as possible, creating a steady reliable income for the farmers.

    It's a virtuous loop, keeping things going so the wealthy can have whatever they want whenever they want it, dipping into the circle to take what they want. Without the farmers, the wealthy won't have any food to eat.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 01:50:37 PM PDT

  •  Because if you're hungry, fuck you! (4+ / 0-)

    How do those people sleep at night? Maybe the remnants of a conscience is why Boehner looks half-sloshed all the time.

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:02:59 PM PDT

    •  He'll just enjoy a round of golf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psnyder, socindemsclothing

      with the President tomorrow, and all will be well.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:42:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do not worry. What do you think will be the end (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, renzo capetti

    result of all this cutting back?  People are not going to willingly starve, or be denied health care.

  •  the gop keep (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, Mr Robert, corvo, socindemsclothing

    hurting the poor and the dems keep saying they don't agree, but talk is cheap and the dems are nothing more than gopers in dem clothing.

  •  & after previous cuts last year & this (7+ / 0-)

    SNAP has been cut about 3 of the last 4 years or more!!!!

    This is a great way to starve/harm the poor/elderly/disabled. who need nutritional support for multiple chronic drugs & other treatments that affect vital organs.  Food moves the Rx drugs to the problem & often badly affect organs which then need other foods/vitamins-mineral supplements to preserve the patient's organs.

    More killer cuts that the WH & DEMS aren't fighting against !!!!

  •  The Obama admin... (4+ / 0-)

    Will start with a proposal at $1.5 billion (half-way between the Senate and the House) and end up at $1.9 billion and call it a 'victory'.

    'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

    by RichM on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:12:07 PM PDT

  •  Do these have to go through/be approved by (0+ / 0-)

    the Senate first???

  •  Why isn't there a bill to double (4+ / 0-)

    foodstamps?

    We are going off the cliff here.

  •  Another Reason Minimum Wage Needs to be Raised (5+ / 0-)

    Anyone who works a full time job should make enough money to cover the necessities of life instead of having to depend on the government to make up the difference. All of these programs are just another form corporate welfare, propping up an immoral system that allows corporations to gain the labor of people who are not paid enough to survive but must instead suffer the indignity of turning to the government for assistance and forcing all tax payers to subsidize their labor force.

  •  Where are all the reps of farm areas and big ag (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Aquarius40

    to make sure this is fully funded?

    "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

    by Inland on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:16:53 PM PDT

  •  $400 million annually, half of what it cost (4+ / 0-)

    to maintain the illegal detention center in Guantanamo, costing $800 million a year to keep 167 men detained indefinitely, now costing more to force-feed them.

    A good horse is never a bad color.

    by CcVenussPromise on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:17:29 PM PDT

  •  The Economy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Aquarius40, socindemsclothing

    is picking up. They have to figure out some way to slow it down. Giving the poor less money is one way.

  •  This is criminal, or should be. There are people (6+ / 0-)

    in this country who are barely getting by at the current SNAP levels. Good documentary on this called "A Place at the Table." Chef Tom Colichio was one of the exec producers, and even testified to Congress about hunger in America.

    I am so fed up with the haves who don't have a conscience or a heart.

  •  Andyet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, socindemsclothing

    millions of those people will continue to either not vote, or vote republican or blue dog.

  •  G_d, they are a cruel lot. n/t (3+ / 0-)

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:26:05 PM PDT

  •  All these phony scandals serve their purpose (6+ / 0-)

    They keep the masses distracted--and the press even more so--while they light a bonfire in the House and throw the "undeserving poor" into it.  Any dreams we may once have had about being a fair and equal democracy are up in smoke.  This is a rich man's world, through and through, and they mean to keep it that way.

    "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    by SottoVoce on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:27:08 PM PDT

  •  Teapublicans are taking lessons from... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socindemsclothing

    North Korea... They keep their people starved into submission...

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:30:05 PM PDT

  •  Nice shot of a Canadian breadline… (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nomandates

    … not that it matters, but that is something slightly wrong with the picture.

  •  The only way the Congress will start to view (3+ / 0-)

    Food Stamps and other welfare programs differently is when a million WHITE PEOPLE show up in Washington DC to protest these draconian cuts to critical programs designed to feed the poor.

    Unfortunately Congress still harbors all of those racist images from the Reagan years where old Ronnie was constantly preaching about "welfare queens" riding around in Caddilacs while "gaming" the welfare system by laying around popping out one baby after another. However the widely unreported fact is that before the economic crash of 2008 the welfare rolls consisted of over 75% white people.

    The Republican dominated House of Representatives obviously want to cut the heart out of all federal welfare programs, simply because they are less enlightened than members of the Senate regarding the racial makeup of people dependent upon welfare. I think a huge sea of white faces appearing before these white Congress people would have a dramatic effect upon their perception of just who are the actual dependents upon this critical life sustaining funding.

  •  Remember when we criticized the communists (0+ / 0-)

    For letting their people starve to death?

    Now Republicans want to do the same damn thing.  They won't be happy until America's enduring a famine.

  •  Morally unconscionable. (3+ / 0-)

    We need to run on things like this. Obama's argument for a economic fairness is what won the election last year.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:35:25 PM PDT

  •  Let Them Eat Cake (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Fairlithe, socindemsclothing

    One wonders how long it will take before the hungry offer the same solution the French did to Marie.

    Honestly.  If you can't do the right thing for the right reasons, do it because the rabble may decide to cut your head off.

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:36:29 PM PDT

    •  Except the modern rabble (0+ / 0-)

      Will be mowed down in a millisecond by our militarized police forces.  Call me crazy, but I would bet anything that a healthy portion of our hyperinflated defense budget is earmarked for preemptive protection for the gov. from the rabble.  Pitchforks and torches don't have the same element of intimidation that they used to.  *sigh*

      Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. -George Carlin

      -7.88, -7.64

      by socindemsclothing on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:28:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can these guys do anything (0+ / 0-)

    right?

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:39:30 PM PDT

  •  Yonge St Mission (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NorthCountryNY

    Is that in Toronto?

  •  Here in Maine, the Bangor Daily News (5+ / 0-)

    made a front page headline weekend edition story about a man who was found to be defrauding the state by accepting handouts on the street corner, without reporting them as "income". They kicked him off public assistance for a couple months as a punishment, but are generously not prosecuting him, and thankfully they haven't identified the miscreant.

    In the online comments section of this newspaper, a large majority of people seem very satisfied that a terrible wrong has been righted, and it's quite clear that this sort of issue strikes a chord in the lizard brain of conservatives, and other people who get outraged without thinking about the proportion of what is being discussed.

    The general consensus seems to be that panhandling is an outrage against the standards of common decency. Anyone who would stoop to the level of asking for handouts from strangers is someone who has cast off all sense of self respect. So the idea of giving someone like that a check every month to pay for basic costs of living is like a brutal insult to normal people.

    It's terrible that the Bangor Daily News stokes this kind of sentiment by publishing stories like this on the front page, but, believe it or not, Texas and Arizona don't corner the market on sad mainstream politics.

    "The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths," ~Paul Krugman

    by Nimbus on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:41:12 PM PDT

    •  What is doubly or triply cruel about this is that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musiccitymollie

      many people reduced to begging for scraps suffer horrible self-esteem issues. And the cruetly is that a lot of this is COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE SUFFERING.

      The Calvinist legacy in America - the poor are that way because they are not favored by God - lives on.

      Don't get me wrong - I like John Calvin a lot and respect his theology (despite his stance toward the Anabaptists :). But humankind has evolved from the days of 'predestination' and the 'communion of the elect'.

    •  Thanks for sharing this. And it gets to the very (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nimbus, socindemsclothing

      root of many of the problems in our society--lack of empathy and compassion (for starters).

      BTW, how many politicians do you see pushing back on those misguided values--next to none!

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


      hiddennplainsight

      by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:21:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dem motto for 2014: (2+ / 0-)

    "We only want to cut your food stamps one-fifth as much !!!!  Oh, and your Social Security, too !!!"

  •  Of course they are! (2+ / 0-)

    But you'd never know it by listening to MSNBC right now. They're all IRS Scandal, All The Time.

    Fuck the what? The REAL scandal--besides the one here in this diary--is the one about the freakin' REPORTERS and their phone records being "reviewed". But does Tweety give either actual scandal any play whatsoever? No. he's got freakin' Dan Rather bloviating about how this IRS bullshit is Good News for John Boehner and how This Has Real Legs and Might Need an Independent Prosecutor. They're talking about how un-transparent the Obama Administration is.

    No shit, sherlock. Except you got the reasons ALL WRONG. But that's their job at MSNBC, just like it is at FOX and CNN. All obfuscation, all the fucking time. THEY are the ones you should depend on, to tell you what The Scandal actually is. What bullshit.

    Hey, let's screw our reporters and wave everyone's boogeyman around, the IRS, at the same time. That way, there just won't be time to report on all those dead American children who starved to death because the economy has been tanked by the greedy sonsobitches that OWN Tweety and Company.

    Move along, nothing to see here...(bangs head on desk)

    "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

    by lunachickie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:46:50 PM PDT

    •  A most righteous rant. Along those lines and c (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      socindemsclothing

      continuing in the same vein:

      Be sure NEVER, EVER to mention that 1% of the country's population controls 40% of its wealth and that 10% of the country's population controls 80% of its wealth, leaving just 20% of the wealth for the remaining 90% of the populaton.

  •  Great Historical picture of Toronto and Mission (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nomandates, NorthCountryNY

    http://www.ysm.ca/...

    More pix and history, still operating today.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

    by ontario on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:50:50 PM PDT

    •  Time to stop using this picture. (0+ / 0-)

      This is indeed the YSM in Toronto.  Still operating today, and the Republican HoR has no business with it, because thankfully we're not operating under its jurisdiction.  

      Not that Toronto's homelessness situation is great by any means (and a lot of it was caused by the previous Conservative government..)  But using this picture kind of opens you up to accusations that you don't know what you're talking about.

  •  also on House line-up tomorrow, (0+ / 0-)

    their 37th legislative attempt to repeal Obamacare

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:58:44 PM PDT

  •  Saying they've "bought into austerity" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    socindemsclothing

    is like saying a thief has bought into not paying for shit.

    It gives them credit when all they're doing is taking from the have-nots and giving to the haves. There are no principles at play here other than theft.

    Money doesn't talk it swears.

    by Coss on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:59:39 PM PDT

  •  501(c)4 tax exempt caviar parties (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madronagal, socindemsclothing

    working poor no scraps for you and pay yer taxes too.

    Validate my parking Validate my parenting Validate my politics Validate my religion And I will be happy.

    by 88kathy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 03:11:31 PM PDT

  •  It really is a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fairlithe, socindemsclothing

    Faustian non partisan choice these days politically speaking. I'm sick of the whole lot of them, all branches, both parties, 'powerful influences' the god damned  DC villagers and the corporate media along with the so called centrist leftie (lol) blogesphere. The Kabuki just keeps getting more and more outrageous and the damage done to our society, ordinary people and world at large just keep escalating.

    All the partisan excuses for this pile of steaming shit heaped on our heads globally ring hollow for good reason. The plot line is so convoluted it and twisty it's should be funny except that it's not. It's beyond harmful it is dangerous and ferments death and destruction globally. It shows no sign or way to get better. Down hill from here is hard to comprehend. The shocks applied no longer shock anyone and according to Naomi Klein that's a good thing. FDR would agree fear is the only thing...

    The only silver lining I can see would be if humans let go of their fear be it of Republicans, Democrat's and all the masters of the universe who want to rule the world and impose their inhumanity and pillaging. Globally all people need to say enough!  There is something so rotten and odorous, that who except the fearful and delusional can ignore the stench. Maybe we all have Stockholm Syndrome or are just in denial who knows but wake up and look what is going down day after fucking day. What a farce.

    Sure the Dems. aren't quite as bad, on a cosmetic level they look better. They are not the theocratic vagina prober's, the American Talilban and yet...  They set this up with their procedural rules, catfood commissions, fake bogus unaffordable health care reform, Bush tax cuts taken hostage for what?, The Grand Bargain and ensuing Sequester. The bankster's, lobbyists and Third Way Dems cheer them on. Go blue you can do it chain that CPI. Cat food for all after all as someone here told me seniors can cook from scratch and save some bucks. Right...I shop I cook I know what decent food costs.

    'That's why I'm richer then you'  Jamie Dimon

    All of these ruling class fuckers are richer then any of us and the reason is they are sociopath's with power, big guns and money. They need to be stopped and if the political system is this corrupted it looks like it's up to 'we the people'. Oh no's you say anarchy in the UK. We need to let them know that there is a society regardless of Margret Thatchers proclamation that it is nonexistent. As a final thought as a woman watch out for the shards of glass when Hillary once again breaks that glass ceiling. They certainly aren't edible and will kill your kids.  

    •   shaharazade, if not 'Stockholm Syndrome,' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, socindemsclothing

      Grand Bargain Watch - Save Social Security
      Photo Credit: Grand Bargain Watch--Save Social Security, DonkeyHotey's photostream, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/...

      at least a huge dose of 'learned helplessness,' which is similar, I suppose.

      I've watched for months as folks 'woke up' to the Grand Bargain, a great deal of righteous indignation and resolve seemingly build in this community.

      And it's been wonderful--almost exhilarating!

      But, when it comes to trying to elect folks to change the direction of this country--it's beginning to appears that things will be the way they've always been.  [Maybe I'm wrong--I hope so.]

      Just this past couple of weeks, I've seen folks rally behind some very fiscal conservative Dem politicians.

      So, I guess that I will continue to put out information on the 'No Lables' and 'Fix the Debt Campaign' crowd [i.e., corporatist /DLC/Third Way Dems] in hopes that more awareness may help facilitate some primary challenges from progressives.

      Could it be that the Dem Party has such an effective propaganda arm that folks really don't see some of these very conservative Dems for what they are?

      Don't misunderstand me, please.  I don't feel personal animus toward the more conservative Dems.

      I just don't want to help them gain a bigger foothold, with which to go after our social insurance programs with even more ferocity. ;-)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


      hiddennplainsight

      by musiccitymollie on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:16:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who knows Molly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie

        This by-partisanly nasty just doesn't cut it. Footholds by conservadems, the New Democrat's ('The Third Way') in our so called D representatives in DC or within the Democratic party seems to me to be locked in.  Fractures within the Democratic party rank and file  just keep gong, on and on. They are only given strength by accepting this totally hyped  non-partisan reality. A strange new message I that hear from the current Dems in power that has absolutely nothing to say that I believe or even want. Fear be it of RW'ers. or the assholes who run our Democratic Party, or even the 'terrist's who want to kill yer family'  whatever your fear. We need some cool clear water.

        'Don't you listen to him Dan, he's a devil not a man and he spreads the burning sand with water.'

  •  Oh, just starve the poor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info

    That's a great policy, as Marie Antoinette would attest.

  •  Another reason Congress wouldn't see anything (0+ / 0-)

    wrong with the picture is because it was taken in Toronto.
    Just sayin'

  •  Bread and Circuses strategy requires Bread. (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently the members of the US Senate don't understand this.

    I see that madronagal has had a similar thought, above.

  •  If I loose my food stamps I don't know what will (0+ / 0-)

    happen to me.

    I am really scared about this. I'm barely making it. I am too injured to find work (I keep looking for what I can do).

    It's all a house of cards, I pray they won't take this one away so it all crashes down.

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