Where are you Bobby?

Where is Bobby Kennedy?  Bobby Kennedy had a unique ability to make people feel ashamed of themselves, even when they were people who typically had no shame, and we certainly need him today.

If this is a ‘farm bill’ then I think we should all rejoice that it failed.  It is more of a vicious attack on the poor than a farm bill as far as I can see.  While giving up to $250,000 in subsidies to corporate farmers, some of whom are millionaires, it takes pleasure in starving the poor.  The ridiculous part is that it was the Republicans who killed it because they didn’t think it was cruel enough so let’s look at some of the ideas they debated for “dealing with” the poor.

But first let’s look at what a food/nutrition expert had to say about it.  Tom Colicchio, a chef and hunger activist, is thrilled it didn’t pass and goes into great detail about the malnutrition state of the poor and how it’s causing obesity.

A Republican congressional staffer raised eyebrows this week when he argued that people on food stamps already get too much money.

Donny Ferguson, the communications director and agriculture policy adviser to Rep. Steve Stockman (the lawmaker who is currently raffling off an AR-15), claimed to have a “quite filling” experience living off food stamps for one week. For the average SNAP recipient, that amounts to $31.50 per week. Ferguson bragged he needed only $27.58 to get by for the week.

Colicchio called Ferguson’s stunt a “recipe for obesity” for his selection of low quality foods and pointed out the larger issue of access to nutritious, affordable food in poor neighborhoods.

“The ingredients that he bought on his food stamp challenge—pasta, tomato sauce, soda, sweet and fruit juices, no fruits and vegetables, no high quality proteins, things like rice and beans,” said Colicchio. “That’s exactly what people of low income are faced with. They have very few dollars, they are buying the cheapest thing available. And the cheapest thing available happens to be very very unhealthy foods.”

Colicchio said he hopes the failed farm bill will serve as a wake-up call for citizens to start voting on food issues.

He suggests we should be voting on pro-hunger, anti-hunger the way we vote pro and con on other issues.  It’s a brilliant idea for these people running for office to be labeled either pro-hunger or anti-hunger.  We should have a “report card” for that.

Currently a food stamp allowance is approximately $1.50 per person per meal.  That’s about $6 for a meal for four people.  What do you buy to make a meal for four people for six dollars?  A bag of potatoes and a loaf of bread will pretty much take that so poor people are living on starches and processed food.  That’s why they can be obese yet still hungry and malnourished.

The farm bill wanted to cut that to $1.40 per meal per person.  So what do you buy to make a meal for a family of four for $5.60?  Poor people are already living on cheap hot dogs, cheap macaroni and cheese mixes, potatoes, rice and beans.  That kind of budget doesn’t allow for any kind of fresh produce.  Even a head of cabbage at 59 cents per pound can be $2-$3.

Rep. Gohmert (R-TX) just went on a rant about people on food stamps eating crab legs.  Seriously?  I defy him to find crab legs for one much less a family of four for $6.  It’s lying, hateful rhetoric to get people to accept starving the poor.  He should be ashamed of himself but unfortunately Bobby Kennedy is no longer with us.  They want to reduce it to 2008 levels even though the costs of everything have gone up in contrast to wages remaining stagnant.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) wanted to double those cuts reducing it to $1.30 per person per meal. Rep. Gohmert (R-TX) wanted to end the program entirely.  Rep. McKinley (R-W VA) wanted to require photo ID.   Rep. Huelskamp (R-KS), among others, wanted it changed to a block grant which means we’d just give the money to the states and they could do what they wanted with it.  Oh wouldn’t they just love that?

That is just a few of the ways they wanted to victimize the poor but there’s a punch line.  Guess what they wanted to do with at least part of the savings?  They wanted to create a registry for what people buy with food stamps even though they think it’s a violation of our rights to have to gun registry.  Another crazy idea to spend food money was to drug test recipients even though Florida proved that not only comes up empty but is a huge cost.  I think that’s a brilliant idea.  Let’s take the pennies we give poor people for food and instead give it to testing laboratories and some private industry to keep track of the potatoes and beans they buy.

They wanted to add a work requirement too, without any exceptions for disability and no funding for job training, even though 28% of the people receiving food stamps in 2010 were already working.  Since unemployment is going down but wages aren’t going up I’m guessing that number is even bigger for 2013.  The problem isn’t that people aren’t willing to work.  The problem is they aren’t making a living wage.  How about raising that minimum wage to get people off of food stamps?  How about a jobs bill?

They were so gracious to cap farm subsidies at $250,000 yet $1.40 for a meal for a poor person got their panties in a twist.  What rock did these people crawl out from under?  Where are you Bobby?

I suggest means testing the millionaires getting farm subsidies and maybe we should drug test them too.  If we can’t afford to feed the truly hungry then we certainly shouldn’t be feeding the millionaires out of the same coffer.  I would also like to suggest that we drug test these senators and representatives…all of them.  They sure talk and act like they’ve been doing hallucinogenic drugs.

The president promised to veto food stamp cuts and he should, even if they manage to get any kind of consensus in the party of ‘no’ to pass something, because it’s more of their insane ‘budgeting,’ transferring more money to the top while starving people at the bottom.  Where are you Bobby?

References

Drug testing for food stamps, and 10 other GOP amendments to the farm bill — MSNBC. (n.d.). MSNBC — Lean Forward: The digital home of MSNBC TV. Retrieved June 21, 2013, from http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/06/18/drug-testing-for-food-stamps-and-10-other-gop-amendments-to-the-farm-bill/

Halpin, J., Blogger, G., & Teixeira, R. (n.d.). The Political Legacy of Robert Kennedy — Barack Obama? | ThinkProgress. ThinkProgress. Retrieved June 21, 2013, from http://thinkprogress.org/election/2013/03/16/1714511/the-political-legacy-of-robert-kennedy-barack-obama/

House Farm Bill Fails On A 195-234 Vote | Regulation content from BEEF Magazine. (n.d.). BEEF Magazine Home Page. Retrieved June 21, 2013, from http://beefmagazine.com/regulation/house-farm-bill-fails-195-234-vote?page=2

House defeats farm bill because of food stamp cuts – CSMonitor.com. (n.d.). The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com. Retrieved June 21, 2013, from http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2013/0620/House-defeats-farm-bill-because-of-food-stamp-cuts

N0RT0N, M., SCH00L, H. B., ARlELY, D., & U., D. (n.d.). Food Stamp Cuts Draw White House Veto Threat. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 21, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/17/food-stamp-cuts_n_3456155.html

Tom Colicchio: Hunger activists ‘thrilled’ farm bill didn’t pass — MSNBC. (n.d.). MSNBC — Lean Forward: The digital home of MSNBC TV. Retrieved June 21, 2013, from http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/06/21/tom-colicchio-hunger-activists-thrilled-farm-bill-didnt-pass/

Author: Cheryl Creech

What say you, the people?