Skip to main content

Stephen Fincher, a deranged Republican congressman from Tennessee, is very angry that the federal government is committed to preventing poor people from starving to death:
Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, who supports cuts to the program, had his own Bible verse from the Book of Thessalonians to quote back to Vargas: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat,” he said.
The program in question is SNAP, better known as food stamps. Fincher and his ultra-right-wing friends in the House are furious about the fact that the worst economic crisis in 80 years has resulted in more Americans needing food stamps. The whole point of programs like SNAP and other automatic stabilizers, of course, is that they kick in when the economy is struggling and people need help. Fincher is shocked and horrified by this heinous policy of ensuring that poor people and their children don't starve. Food is to be earned! Sure, this is the richest country in the history in the world, but if we provide our citizens with food to eat, then freedom is obviously dead.

He fulminates about people who are allegedly "unwilling to work" sucking off the government teat with impunity. This is a patently dishonest representation of the SNAP program. Most people who receive food stamps cannot be dismissed as losers who are "unwilling to work." Nearly half (47%) of all food stamp recipients are children. Another 8% are 60 years of age or older. The "working poor" - people who live in a household with income from work - represent another 41%. Between children, the elderly, the working poor, and people who want a job but cannot find one - someone should tell Fincher that there are still more than 3 unemployed job seekers for every 1 opening - that leaves very few people who can be accurately described as being "unwilling" to work. It's also worth noting that the average monthly SNAP benefit is a whopping $287. It takes a deeply disturbed person to crusade against providing this class of people with food to eat, when the economy is this battered, and when the broad economic benefits of the program have been so well established (at least in the reality-based community). 

Now, this would not normally be worthy of mention. Hardly a day goes by without some Republican sadist expressing fury that poor people have it so good. Devising new ways to make the peasants suffer is what makes Republicans wake up in the morning. What's fascinating about this particular case, though, is Fincher's background. 

The reason this is even more egregious than the usual Republican class warfare is that Fincher himself is a poster boy for government dependency. It's not just that he's benefited here and there from some government help. That sort of low-level hypocrisy is almost to be expected from these types. But Fincher has received millions - $3.2 million as of June 2010 - in federal crop subsidies. The people who refer to themselves as Tea Partiers threatened to derail his candidacy over this, but then they realized that they have no principles, and supported him anyway. He's now a member of the "Tea Party Caucus," which, amazingly, is something that actually exists. Fincher's brother and father also snatched another $6.7 million in subsidies as Stephen geared up to run for Congress on a platform of eliminating "wasteful government spending." The "wasteful spending" that he had in mind, of course, was that which serves policy aims with which he disagrees, such as keeping poor people alive. 

House Republicans are on a mission to slash the SNAP program by $20 billion over the next decade. A Senate committee, just last week, voted to cut it by "only" $4 billion. If some sort of vicious "compromise" is reached between the sociopaths in the House who are demanding human sacrifice on a massive scale, and the "moderates" in the Senate who are only comfortable with letting some people starve, it will not be pretty. This is not hyperbole, either. SNAP really does keep poor people, including millions of children, from going hungry, and it's under attack from ultra-right-wing ideologues. This program deserves the support and activism of progressives as much as any government program in existence.

(Originally posted at www.justindoolittle.net)

Originally posted to Justin Doolittle on Mon May 20, 2013 at 06:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by State & Local ACTION Group, Community Spotlight, and Three Star Kossacks.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, skybluewater, fly, mickey, Renee, Paleo, Upper West, filkertom, teacherken, Geenius at Wrok, Gooserock, Pandora, Powered Grace, Fishgrease, MsSpentyouth, Minnesota Deb, Sherri in TX, tacet, hyperstation, eeff, xynz, gjohnsit, Matilda, davelf2, Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal, opinionated, cfm, concernedamerican, missLotus, TracieLynn, kalihikane, annrose, ask, chimpy, jalbert, oceanview, Iberian, splashy, sidnora, dksbook, aitchdee, wader, Quege, SneakySnu, edrie, Moody Loner, TexDem, NYC Sophia, figbash, johanus, cosette, Damnit Janet, Steven Payne, Sychotic1, betson08, annetteboardman, rlharry, lcrp, MagentaMN, riverlover, zett, zerelda, mungley, randallt, kfred, WisVoter, poemworld, Black Max, rmx2630, xxdr zombiexx, sebastianguy99, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, sb, rapala, bloomer 101, historys mysteries, Tinfoil Hat, Ckntfld, ichibon, BluejayRN, caul, irate, Erik the Red, kefauver, basquebob, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, EJP in Maine, Dobber, fixxit, boofdah, eru, PSzymeczek, bleeding blue, SaraBeth, CyberDem, Sun Tzu, Zen Warrior, Overseas, most peculiar mama, RichterScale, kaliope, Blu Gal in DE, sodalis, Lisa Lockwood, peacestpete, Oye Sancho, noweasels, xaxnar, barbybuddy, Philpm, third Party please, Debbie in ME, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, cybersaur, edwardssl, BlueInARedState, dharmafarmer, profundo, Gorette, rl en france, smokeymonkey, KenBee, dougymi, blueoasis, NBBooks, twigg, DSPS owl, PapaChach, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, hlsmlane, onionjim, BlueMississippi, CA Nana, Statusquomustgo, PhilW, markthshark, Leap Year, One Pissed Off Liberal, Philip Woods, Deadicated Marxist, ninkasi23, grelinda, devis1, MikeTheLiberal, ColoTim, puakev, karmsy, cobaltbay, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, david mizner, Matt Z, terabytes, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, dclawyer06, joedemocrat, HCKAD, rivamer, cyncynical, Back In Blue, jnhobbs, Fireshadow, millwood, cececville, GeorgeXVIII, leonard145b, JML9999, Empower Ink, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, gundyj, wyvern, kimoconnor, GAS, califdem, Sixty Something, Foundmyvoice, Aureas2, Involuntary Exile, elwior, filby, treesrock, Akonitum, Its any one guess, Calamity Jean, Cassandra Waites, triplepoint, TokenLiberal, Jeff Y, mofembot, ClapClapSnap, petulans, gas28man, Executive Odor, suesue, sagansong, WearyIdealist, GrannyOPhilly, lissablack, statsone, oldliberal, clent, multilee, greengemini, dharmasyd, Gorilla in the room, CamillesDad1, elziax, papahaha, kevinpdx, realwischeese, sfarkash, Tortmaster, davespicer, deviant24x, jpmassar, Lefty Ladig, Amber6541, brentbent, coppercelt, FogCityJohn, indie17, Observerinvancouver, lorla, mookins, Polly Syllabic, Simple, NM Ray, Eddie L, elginblt, anonevent, DiegoUK, nirbama, DrTerwilliker, kenwards, ericlewis0, Floande, Oh Mary Oh, stevenaxelrod, Actbriniel, slice, dpwks, kerflooey, Front Toward Enemy, jackt51, StateofEuphoria, bgblcklab1, slowbutsure, sostos, vahana, freesia, Cintimcmomma, asterkitty, mikejay611, Nicci August, deeproots, NormAl1792, Teiresias70, trumpeter, marleycat, IllanoyGal, JWK, Yogurt721, tardis10, createpeace, nogo postal, wintergreen8694, Calvino Partigiani, Wood Dragon, stevie avebury, cjo30080, blue aardvark, stlsophos, Regina in a Sears Kit House, caryltoo, Mortifyd, No one gets out alive, Laurel in CA, Monsieur Georges, SuWho, livingthedream, jacey, ridemybike, stormicats, fallsgus72, anodnhajo, sow hat, Flying Goat, Williston Barrett, Siri, Jakkalbessie, wordfiddler, ahumbleopinion, David54, nellgwen, midgebaker, pimutant, a2nite, swampyankee, FloridaSNMOM, Trotskyrepublican, congenitalefty, Horace Boothroyd III, This old man, LittleSilver, jan4insight, MorganLvr, BusyinCA, MartyM, doroma, OllieGarkey, cassandracarolina, avsp, arizonablue, LoreleiHI, Victim of Circumstance, Glen The Plumber, George3, wasatch, peptabysmal, ShoshannaD, Australian2, Heavy Mettle, Hammerhand, allensl, GoGoGoEverton, Chaddiwicker, nomandates, Dancun74, countwebb, David Satterlee, argomd, Linda1961, CharlesInCharge, Thornrose, Tim DeLaney, 84thProblem, Steve in the Library, goodpractice, gypsytoo, aresea, echedgar, Constantly Amazed, Icicle68, Mannie, Laura Wnderer, BadKitties, JKTownsend, blue91, Another Grizzle, pragmaticidealist, Jim Domenico, OregonWetDog, oslyn7, TheDuckManCometh, RUNDOWN, Tom Lum Forest, Chas 981, Betterthansoap, dannyboy1, Hubbard Squash, Dodgerdog1, ashiftinconsciousness, old mule, Treetrunk

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site