Why Is a Senate Democrat Agreeing to Another $8 Billion in Food Stamp Cuts?

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We’re proud to collaborate with The Nation in sharing insightful journalism related to income inequality in America. The following is an excerpt from Nation contributor Greg Kaufmann’sThis Week in Poverty” column.


Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., right, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., left, and other Farm Bill negotiators wrap up a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. There is agreement on many parts of the legislation but significant differences remain over funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), right, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), left, and other farm bill negotiators wrap up a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

On the same day that President Obama eloquently described his vision of an economy defined by economic mobility and opportunity for all, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow was busy cutting a deal with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas to slice another $8 to $9 billion from food stamps (SNAP), according to a source close to the negotiations.

“One study shows that more than half of Americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives,” said President Obama. “Think about that. This is not an isolated situation.… That’s why we have nutrition assistance or the program known as SNAP, because it makes a difference for a mother who’s working, but is just having a hard time putting food on the table for her kids.”

Indeed it does, but the chairwoman consistently fails to get the memo.

There are currently 47 million Americans who turn to food stamps to help make ends meet. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly 72 percent are in families with children and one-quarter of SNAP participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities. Further, 91 percent of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes below the poverty line and 55 percent to households below half of the poverty line (about $9,500 annually for a family of three).

Despite the fact that the Institute of Medicine demonstrated the inadequacy of the SNAP benefit allotment and that a child’s access to food stamps has a positive impact on adult outcomes, the program was just cut by $5 billion on November 1. The average benefit dropped from $1.50 to $1.40 per meal. The Senate Agriculture Committee’s previous proposal to cut yet another $4 billion from SNAP would have led to 500,000 losing $90 per month in benefits, the equivalent of one week’s worth of meals.

“That was the first time in history that a Democratic-controlled Senate had even proposed cutting the SNAP program,” said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. “The willingness of some Senate Democrats to double new cuts to the program…is unthinkable.”

The president recognized in a very personal way the need for a SNAP program that protects families from severe hardship.

“When my father left and my mom hit hard times trying to raise my sister and me while she was going to school, this country helped make sure we didn’t go hungry,” he said.

In contrast, Berg tells of a mother he recently met who now sees this country turning away from her and her children.

“I recently met a mother of two, trying to advance herself and her family, by working her way through college,” said Berg. “After November 1st, she lost $46 worth of groceries a month, which equals at least 30 fewer meals for her family.”

It seems she and her kids are about to absorb another hit.

“These SNAP cuts will be devastating to families across the nation,” said Dr. Mariana Chilton, co-principal investigator of Children’s HealthWatch, a research organization analyzing the effects of economic conditions and public policy on children in emergency rooms and clinics around the country.

“Not only will families lose significant SNAP dollars — which will make it harder for them to feed their kids and also reduce their children’s nutrient intakes — but it will also cause major health problems for children, increased hospitalizations for very young kids and greater need for psychosocial and mental health services for school aged kids.”

President Obama perfectly captured what it means for this country to turn its back on children.

“The idea that a child may never be able to escape poverty because she lacks a decent education or healthcare, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action,” said President Obama.

We are the community and it is offensive. Now is the time to tell the president: if these cuts land on his desk, he must veto the bill.

 


Update, December 8: Senator Stabenow’s office did not initially respond to a request for comment, but have replied to this post. Their statement:

Senator Stabenow strongly opposes any changes to food assistance that make cuts in benefits for people who need help putting food on the table for their families. She has been the number one defender against the House Republican proposal to cut food assistance by $40 billion, including rule changes that would throw four million people off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) altogether.

Unlike the House proposal, the Senate Farm Bill protects critical food assistance for the over 47 million Americans who need help. The Senate bill saves $4 billion solely through ending program misuse—like stopping lottery winners from continuing to receive assistance, cracking down on retailer benefit trafficking, and curbing the misuse of a LIHEAP paper work policy by a small number of states. It is very important that we continue to maintain the integrity of these critical food assistance programs so that opponents cannot use rare examples of misuse as arguments for gutting assistance to children, families, seniors and disabled Americans.

While no final agreement has been reached, Senator Stabenow will not support any policies that arbitrarily remove people in need from SNAP or make across-the-board cuts to benefits. She will only support savings focused on program misuse.

Greg Kaufmann is a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, the former poverty correspondent for The Nation and a former contributor to BillMoyers.com. The opinions expressed here are his own. You can follow him on Twitter @GregKaufmann.
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  • Anonymous

    Who the hell is this woman that she would do this to her constitutes? Must not want to be reelected. This is awful.

  • Arm of Keaau

    Stabenow is no more than a Republicon in sheep’s clothing. The EPA should check on the contaminants in the water of the peninsula. (_: FBI

  • Anonymous

    Sorry folks (and Bill), time to get rough. Screw her! And all Democrats like her. Purge her and all like her from the party! Defeat the Clintons! No Hilary, or anyone like her, as presidential candidate! The fight begins now!

  • Anonymous

    Another f**king Corporate Democrat!!!!!

  • Barry Braker

    In the democratic party unlike the republican party, members get to vote based on their own mind, but I hope her constituency fucks her next election.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like Frank Lucas is pretty happy. These people do not relate to humanity.

  • Lea Margaret Barlow

    How about cutting the government liquor bill?? $400,000.00 for liquor in a year??? $180,000 in September before the shut downs?? THROW THEM ALL OUT !! DO NOT RE-ELECT ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    This is the damn reason the President can’t get things done he has more enemies in his own party working against him! How much money is she getting from this stupidity?

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, she was just reelected in 2012 so we have five more years of this to contend with. If she runs again (and if I’m still alive) in 2018, she most certainly will NOT get my vote!

  • KD

    What liquor bill?

  • Judi Blueye

    So very sorry i voted for her.

  • Anonymous

    Why did Reid give her the Agriculture chair?

  • Lea Margaret Barlow

    Western Center for Journalism
    While the rest of the government prepared to shut down this fall, the State Department was busy stocking up on embassy liquor supplies…

  • Lea Margaret Barlow

    See above. I am sorry that I put in wrong place.

  • Ph

    This is what happens when the party that’s supposed to represent average people has to go to the same money backers to get elected. Nothing is ever going to progress again until we actually take the shadow money out of elections. Then brave politicians (other than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) can actually come right out and say we’re not going to balance budgets by refusing poor Americans a little bit of food.

  • Anonymous

    Quisling Democrats/Vichy Democrats allow the Evil to grow and persist. two faces of the same Elites

  • Edward Moriarty

    Here’s hoping everyone in this conversation that sounds sincerely concerned about this issues, votes in every election in which they are eligible to vote. Much of the problem in this country is people sounding outraged at what is going on and then staying home instead of going into the voting booth and expressing their opinions and beliefs by voting in EVERY ELECTION. There is no excuse for NOT VOTING.

  • Fish

    Good Lord! She’s from MICHIGAN and supported this???

  • Kelli Hernandez

    Someone above asked ‘why is she doing this?’ This is the VERY question one asks about whether or not someone is a psychopath. She is, in female form. The number one way to tell a psychopath or narcissist, is a profound lack of empathy. This is the NORM in Congress. I have a feeling we will start to see MORE of whom is whom as time moves on. Watch carefully, you will know who to vote out because when push comes to shove, you’ll see whose about the money, power and control and without empathy and who is not.

  • sam Micalizzi

    Mr President cutting food stamps for poverty level families
    this is unconcionable and tell Senator Reid Im sure Senator Stabenow and her family is well fed.Veto this bill

  • cgmcle

    How can politicians in the wealthiest country on earth continue to subsidize corporate agriculture at current rates, while making significant cuts in a program that provides food to millions of children, millions of the elderly, and millions of people with disabilities — all of whom live in poverty or near-poverty and depend on such assistance to stave off hunger?

    How can business leaders in the wealthiest country on earth tirelessly pursue corporate welfare, along with their crony politicians, demonize the “takers,” who live in poverty, for accepting help in providing their children and themselves their daily bread?

    How can so many politicians, and even so many ordinary citizens, oppose health care for people, and especially children, who live in poverty?

    Windenergy was correct in commenting below that “these people don’t relate to humanity.” Many of these people are sociopaths.

    It has been estimated that 1-4% of the U.S. population is sociopaths. Sociopaths do not relate to humanity, they are incapable of empathizing with anyone or forming meaningful relationships with anyone. They exploit others and use them any way they can to get what they want. And they want to win, at any cost to anyone who gets in their way.

    If we acknowledge that there are sociopaths among us, and that many of them reach positions of great power in business and in politics because they recognize no constraints in their destruction of others as long as they achieve their goals, the answers to such questions are clear. Almost everyone knows at least a sociopath or two. He’s the boss who belittles and threatens employees. She’s the co-worker who bullies her peers.

    Now picture these sociopaths on steroids. They’re the executives of many of our major corporations, who greedily slurp billions from the public trough, while trying to claw away the crumbs we feed the poor among us. They’re the politicians who hold in contempt the 47% who struggle from paycheck to paycheck, and the children whose families can’t afford winter coats.

    Why does the U.S. have the greatest economic inequality among the so-called “advanced nations”? We are ruled largely by corporate and political sociopaths, and the majority of citizens are either unaware or are blind to their destructive power.

  • cgmcle

    Kelli — Thank you for your comment. We need to keep talking about sociopaths and psychopaths and describing their aberrant and destructive behavior. They constitute a substantial proportion of the people in the most powerful positions, not only in government, but also in corporations. To a significant degree, we are being ruled by sociopaths. The more people are informed about sociopaths and psychopaths, the more they’ll recognize the pathological behavior and see what’s really going on. Let’s keep spreading the word!

  • Anonymous

    Stabenow is an embarrassment to liberals, progressives and Christians. She also voted for the reworked bankruptcy laws that favor creditors, not debtors – think Detroit and who will benefit.

  • http://www.globalexplorerclub.wordpress.com/ globalexplorer1

    On the surface this proposed legislation seems heartless. Upon further investigation it is deplorable. Stabenow is a stooge for the plutocracy.

  • http://www.globalexplorerclub.wordpress.com/ globalexplorer1

    I agree wholeheartedly. Up until I read this article I was focused on the importance of campaigning against the GOTP to avoid future government shutdowns and legislative gridlock. Now I see the evil-doers occupy both sides of the aisle. Without changing the face of Congress we are doomed.

  • http://www.globalexplorerclub.wordpress.com/ globalexplorer1

    This article makes another strong case for publicly funded elections.

  • Sandy Lee

    I so agree. They are so far removed from their oath of office, I don’t understand why there is no demand for their removal from office, no more pay or benefits and 1000 documented hours of community service at minimum wage, 8 hours a day. I don’t think they’d last one hour.
    They shouldn’t ever be allowed to run for office again either.

  • Anonymous

    Ummmmmm Greg……to answer your story’s titular question…..maybe because she has seen in very real recent very real light…..what the unbridled policies that are almost always lurking closely nearby any legislation involving the so-called liberal tenet of “The Greater Good” that are perennially interwoven with public assistance programs INCLUDING Food Stamps…..Stabinow has seen first hand what all of that dead end Federal assistance has done to Detroit.

    Okay so now comes all the “what about feeding the starving children?” arrows. Detroit has just declared that it would rather be dead than to continue in the same path as the prior 50 years.

    Your storyline question belongs directed at the current CEO of the country…..ask him why nearly 47 million people in this country eat free food. Let him explain to all of us mean horrible taxpayers why the Food Stamp Program should NOT be gutted and put together in a way that is much more in line with it’s original mission statement. After I left work this afternoon I stopped at my neighborhood 7-11…….after an hour and a half of driving through crappy ice covered roads to get home….the VERY LAST thing I needed to see was the toothless welfare clown at the 7-11 counter buying a $3.99 can of Monster Energy drink with a Food Stamp EBT card……and then in nearly a simultaneously shameless public assistance kung fu master finishing move moment this same clown pulls a 20 dollar bill from his pant pocket and asks for a pack of Newport Menthol 100′s. You and every other person who thinks that is okay can bray on all you want about Food Stamps…..I’ll find MORE than 47 million Americans who absolutely DO have a problem with that little 7-11 Food Stamp story of mine that is something I personally witnessed just several hours ago with my own eyes. I do not owe ANYONE a free four dollar can of Monster Energy Drink. Period. End of sentence. The Food Stamp Program needs completely scrapped and a much more reasonable supplemental nutrition program needs to replace it. AND that new program better not pay for free “Energy Drinks”……in fact it shouldn’t even pay for anything but milk and water…and if you are allergic or intolerant of either of those two things….too bad. Go buy some free soybeans and mix something up.

  • Anonymous

    Paula…..there are as many Republicans in Michigan Federal political offices as there are Sasquatches walking around the woods in that state…..how can you “recall” things you “thought” she has done or not done…and not even know what political party literally runs the state of Michigan? And in many places and cases….RUN it right into the ground. Do you think Republicans run Dearborn? You know that city right? The one where an individual hearing a church bell is probably actually suffering a personal psychotic break….but hearing a “Call To Prayer” blaring from 10 blocks over is just an easy substitute for carrying a watch.

  • Ph

    I vote in every one. Every last one, local, off year, presidential year, midterm, doesn’t matter…If there’s an election that’s going on and I’m qualified to vote in it, I’ve done my research on the issues and candidates and I will vote.

    Problem is..I talk to other people on the left and…say last month for instance…so many of them didn’t even know an election was going on. So many of us don’t come out for the local and state elections…the city council spots, the mayorships, the county executives, the state rep and senate races.. and it’s those elections that have the greatest day to day running impact on our lives. Much more impact than who’s sitting in the White House, honestly (although that does matter too).

  • medcannabis1

    This should be on every news broadcast and Ms Stabenow needs to be run out of office… there is no reason to force this austerity upon the sick and suffering

  • Edward Moriarty

    In addition to voting, i find it valuable to not only discuss politics with others, but to offer rides, computer assistance etc. to get registered, and prior to election day I begin offering folks I have come know rides to the polls on election day. If I am not BUSY on election day getting people to polling places,I feel I have not lived up to my responsibilities as a citizen. I have faith in democracy, if participation is high and people are well informed. I never ask anyone WHO they are voting for. Democracy will put the right people in office—if enough people participate. I encourage everyone to set a goal of 2 or 5 or 10, whatever is realistic for that person, voters assisted each election day to assure that they have the opportunity of participating in democracy. Each of us can double, triple or massively multiply our participation in ensuring good government by having a busy fun day every election day.Actively encourage and help citizens to get out and VOTE!

  • Anonymous

    No kidding. I think Reid is not on the side of the poor.

  • Anonymous

    Check out Red State Oklahoma. It has term limits. It has been taken over by corporate money.

  • Anonymous

    Charlie Pierce has rechristened it “Michissippi.” Says it all.

  • Anne G. Arsenault

    I cannot believe that Stabenow has done this. I once supported her, but never again. Such a hard heart is despicable.

  • Edward Moriarty

    Term Limits have been catastrophic in Florida. We have a legislature that cannot even function. The lobbyist descend upon Tallahassee as soon as the election process is over and go straight after the newbies threatening to make sure they have no power to get any bills put up for a vote. These state legislatures are the place ALEC has chosen to turn our country into a corporate controlled state – and they have been very effective. the lobbyist have been around the state capital for many years. they have all of the “correct” connections to use the legislative process in their favor, and the freshmen legislators come wide eyed and bushy tailed only to find out that if they do not tow the line of lobbyist controlled power structure they will be unable to put forth any meaningful legislation themselves. government requires the best people to stay in the process for a while. Florida has degenerated to the point that we all know who the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives will be at least two years prior to the time they will be installed into that position. The only requirement: follow the wishes of Super Pacs and lobbyists who know that these term limited law makers only have a limited time to achieve their goals of wealth and power. they have become easier to buy off from the very first day than ever in history. If they do not tow the line “NEXT GUY PLEASE!”
    We must get Citizens United overturned to get the dark money out of politics and young, idealistic legislators that have no idea what they are up against.
    We already ready have the best and most effective means of term limits. They are called elections, but WE need to educate the voters and get them into the voting booth on election day. Give them rides, help them register and keep the information factual .

  • Edward Moriarty

    Right On! the Wealthy and Powerful are The King. The lawmakers and bureaucrats are The Sheriff of Nottingham and: We have no Robin Hood. The band fellows is in forest arguing about numerous nonsensical differences and complaining about the sheriff. Educate, assist in registering prospective voters and help “the people” get to the polls. That’s how we enforce term limits in a functioning democracy. If enough of us show up and do the work our democracy can become functional and representative of the peoples wishes. This requires action by all who truly want democracy in this nation.

  • Scott

    WELL I hope you and all your friends get the guts to vote against her the next time around!!!!!!

  • JonThomas

    After hearing news like this, I REALLY hope the Swiss pass that initiative that allows an unconditional basic minimum income payment for every Swiss citizen.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/2700-month-no-matter-what-some-swiss-ask-government-assure-income-1466508

    I hope the measure passes and succeeds beyond all expectations!

  • Russell Scott Day

    I have continued to encourage the destruction of CSA, Confederate States of America monuments because otherwise the hunger and hate have no focus and continue to be invisible.

  • Anonymous

    In all States. No more career politicians. And when they leave office no business dealings with government representatives or committees or departments in any way for 10 years.

  • Anonymous

    Florida’s Government is dysfunctional because we have an all GOP Govt. Body. And that is the GOP Agenda and Platform. Yes, it was signed by Mittens at their convention in 2012…Where? Tampa Florida!

  • Anonymous

    That is all I can think also. My God this just made me sick for those people. Very sad situation our country is in.

  • Reginald Bronner

    Did anyone ask the Senator why she did what she did? If not then this article is blather.

  • Edward Moriarty

    if you click on the link for Chairwoman “consistently fails to get the memo” the chairwoman gives waste, fraud and abuse as her reasons, but she offers no evidence to support her reasoning.

  • Mark Tambellini

    Being a Democrat means NOTHING! Being a true progressive LIBERAL Democrat means EVERYTHING! The lessons NOT learned since Reagan during this era of Conservatism!

  • cgmcle

    Thanks. For many years, I’ve been thinking about and observing the signs of the sociopaths among us who are causing our society to rot from the inside out.

    It’s disturbing to me how rare it is that anyone even mentions the sociopathic element in our country. We need to spread the word. Once people begin to see the sociopaths among us, from the everyday type we all know, to the corporate and political “leaders” who serve only themselves, maybe we as a society will act together to diminish their control over us.

  • Dane

    Why are these deals also made in closed door meetings?

  • Anonymous

    This is how we pay off one drop in the bucket for something that unprosecuted banksters and politicians did to the country.

    Iceland, on the other hand, understands what justice really means, although the people of Iceland apparently aren’t conditioned to “stay on the sidewalk and behind defined lines” when they protest… They also have a clue what their cause is, and who the enemy is, but that’s a whole nother can o rotting American liberal worms.

  • mcalip

    I agree with the suggestion of term limits for congressional members. I also think that Senator Stabenow and Frank Lucas need to have their salaries cut back immediately to the $10/hr wage that Walmart pays THEIR employees. Let’s see if they can survive on that “living” wage! In the meantime, PUSH for term limits for ALL of them!

  • Anonymous

    I have signed many petitions and get a response from her quite often. Her GMO information is the lies Monsanto and Syngenta want the “sheeple” to believe and she swallowed the Kool-aid on this one, or else they PAID her more than enough $$$ for her to give them a free pass on their false B.S.

    Perhaps it is senility or she is becoming a Teabagging RepubliCON in disguise.

  • Anonymous

    And Michigan has had the longest depression*, not a recession* as they still spout. Michigan has been hit with declining cars manufacturing since the 1970′s. We still have not recovered from those job looses.

    * according to the US government back in 2007-8, if a recession lasts longer than 3 months, it is no longer a recession, but a DEPRESSION. That was the definition when G.W. Bush was still President and this DEPRESSION has lasted since well before election night 2008.

  • jillscherb7

    This is how the poor have most often been treated, even since the Poor Laws in England in the 1800s. There are a couple of great books to read that look at this. One is by Francis Fox Piven and Richard Cloward’s “Regulating the Poor.” Another, looking at how we’ve talked about the poor and “reform” since the English Poor Laws is “The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy,” by Albert O. Hirschman. What we are, in fact, doing is keeping the poor barely alive in order to retain them as needed labor in better times. In the meantime, they must scrape by as best they can with little help. SNAP benefits are so low that most families certainly can only consider them a meager supplement to other ways of obtaining food if they are to survive. As new jobs do not appear in our post-industrial service economy, as private equity firms “flip” factories the way houses are flipped for profit only, we’ve entered a “monetized” economy in which profit is made from practices that include dis-employment rather than employment, and de-industrialization rather than productivity. Money, in this economy, is both product and profit. It’s not the goverment but economic forces that ensure these practices and drive the government policies of both parties. We need to be clear about how this is accomplished and for whose benefit.

  • fmendoza

    Debbie Stabenow agriculture committee chairwomen.Ms Stabenow is agreeing to republican demands that the poor be punishised. by starving their children with a massive cut to the SNAP PROGRAM. Ms. Stabenow should have been named. Ms. Stab in the back. the betrayal is beyond comprehension. when the democrats are blown out in the midterm elections. they’ll know exactly why the democrats did not show up to vote.

  • Edward Moriarty

    we have term limits. they are called elections.

  • Anonymous

    Quite likely!

  • Michael Lussier

    I see a lot of people making some very good passionate points.

    If anyone’s interested I started a White House petition to stop the cuts:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-food-stamp-cuts/4QBN1cPT

  • Anonymous

    She, and most GOPers have never been hungry. That’s why food stamps have been cut.

  • AMERICAN

    It feels like a legal form of genocide ,the more people that starve to death the less they will have to spend on helping the poor of there own country .Detroit went bankrupt ,they shut down our government because they could not change what was already law.,we elect these people to work in the best interest of the american people and our country .our tax dollars pay there salary ,we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors . we need to recall the politicians that don’t do there job in good Ernest for our country as a whole. prices keep going up and we are not allowed to have enough money to survive they should have to live in our world . make minimum wage ,work 3 jobs (that is if they could find one ,as they would be over qualified for any job they applied for) we pay for them to have servants . while we struggle to decide if the kids will have food,heat or toys for Christmas. the rich get richer and the poor get eliminated .

  • mcalip

    Elections guarantee you nothing! We need term limits!!

  • mcalip

    If the Chairwoman wants to get rid of waste, fraud, and abuse, then she needs to take a look at the “deal” that Congress made with the Wall Street banksters! She and others can start “cutting back” there! and start prosecuting! JP Morgan isn’t the only one that needs to go!!

  • mcalip

    Check and see how many shares of Monsanto that Bill Gates owns. He’s also a big proponent of vaccines. The same people who own Monsanto also own ALL the pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Check out a book written by G. Edward Griffin, “World Without Cancer”. It gives you the details on ownership of chemical conglomerates and big pharma and who the political players are.

  • mcalip

    Design legislation to make it illegal to lobby any local, state, or federal government employee, elected or appointed. And definitely overturn Citizens United. Also a good start would be to take back three rogue agencies: FDA, USDA, and EPA!

  • Edward Moriarty

    And what body is going to pass that legislation?

  • mcalip

    rofl……………Ed, want to run for Congress? Maybe if enough “bodies”, like We the People DEMAND IT, it might have a chance……..

  • Anonymous

    Ed I agree with you 100%! We need to do a better job of educating the voters!We don’t campaign like we should.I had house parties and they were very affective.Some people just don’t understand the issues and once everybody was able to talk about their issues everyone left with the knowledge they needed.Let it happen!We can do this without destroying one another!

  • Anonymous

    Really? Its Lottery winners keeping their Food Stamps that justifies $8billion. How about we increase SNAP from $1.50 a meal to a still paltry $2.50. Pay for this by cutting farm subsidies to big Ag. Support crop insurance to small farmers but not ADM, Cargill, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I have read many comments and there is a lot of myth and vitriol about the “type” of person that receives Food Stamps (Snap). First of all most single adults are ineligible for SNAP (some states allow a three month period for singles). Most receipients of SNAP are children and the disabled elderly. Over half of working age recipients do work full time and simply do not make enough to put food on the table. Many in our military qualify, most corrections officers qualify, many police and deputies qualify. Sadly, many who are eligible WILL NOT even accept the needed benefits which means the problem is larger than thought. This is not anything to laud.

    As one commenter ranted, why should our hard-earned money go to those who can buy pot. Well, in Florida they tried drug-testing. I think only two applicants failed the test. Ranter was partially right. Poor SNAP recipients can’t afford illegal drugs. But the real winner in that fiasco was the drug testing company. So tax payers paid over $100 for tests that were by and large unnecessary and added yet another indignity to those in need of help . And SNAP is primarily for children. So now the kids of the two people who failed are still hungry. So who are you punishing by your moralistic judgment? By convincing yourself of the myth that SNAP is a huge fraud being perpetuated on the state by the poor (that they sell benefits for liquor and drugs, have secret wealth and Cadillacs, buy lobster and steak), then you don’t have address your own false and judgmental cruelty.

    The SNAP program has waste and fraud far below MediCare (which the Fla Guv was associated with defrauding). Its just far more painful to realize that the last thirty years has created a society of a few haves and a whole lot of have nots, all still waiting for that wealth to trickle down.

    Most recipients struggle to put food on the table after the 2nd week if receiving benefits, even when they work fulltime (ie, Walmart, McDonalds). Now I am all for having a discussion that requires businesses to pay a fair wage that at least is at the poverty line. But we should not make cuts to SNAP while we give trillions of dollars to corporations in subsidies (I’d be curious to see the drug tests of all corporate recipients -they can actually afford expensive Rx and illegal narcotics).

    As an aside, most who use drugs never become addicts (even meth, though it is higher). Most drug and alcohol users are working and functional and you would otherwise never know. And now our most of the hard drug dealers are doctors. Adderal and Ritalin are basically meth, Vicodin and Oxycontin are essentially heroin.

    Unless we change our tax policy and start rebuilding our infrastructure and a strong middle class with good high-paying jobs, we will continue to have a growing poverty class. I just feel it is unAmerican to impoverish people (bad schools, no healthcare, birth control and lack of opportunity) then grouse and be upset that we have to subsidize those we have pushed into poverty. You can’t tell people to pull themselves up by their boot straps after you’ve taken away their boots. The only myth in this sad tale is that The American Dream is still alive.

  • Anonymous

    If its population control why not birth-control or the one-child policy like China? Or pay for abortion? I thought the US had a negative birth rate and our only grow is immigration? Most Americans know they cannot afford children.

  • Anonymous

    I’d feel better about Stabenow’s capitulation to GOP demands if all recipients of ag subsidies, esp. revenue stop loss insurance subsidies & shallow loss payments had to get drug tests and fraud rooted out & prosecuted aggressively.

  • Linda Stevens

    One woman tried to continue to receive SNAP benefits after she won the lottery. She must have been dumber than a doorknob because she won her loot in Michigan. In Michigan it is the law anyone who receives any significant amount of money is paid by check and the individual’s name is made public. So the dum-dum was busted.

  • Miles Howard

    Start taking names, and remember them on election day next year. Vote these scumbags out of office: it’s the only power we have.

  • Alex Sawyer

    That’s ridiculous. Elections determine everything. We just need to inspire people to stop voting for the same people and the same ideas over and over again. The power lies with us. Enacting term limits says the people are too dumb to make good decisions for themselves. It also takes a lot of institutional memory out of government and sweeps the good people out with the bad. What if I like my representative (not saying I do, just being hypothetical)? What if I think he’s doing a good job? Why should I have to give him up because a bunch of other nincompoops in Congress might not be doing their jobs?

  • mcalip

    Yes, elections determine everything However, elections have been known to be fixed! How do you think Obama got in during his first term? STOP listening to mainstream media, you’re being fed “BS”. General Electric owns the majority of media in this country. Guess who owns General Electric? The same people who own the Federal Reserve,Wall Street, and Swiss Banks! Dig deeper in your research. Yes, a “few” good people will go with a “lot” of bad people. But that’s a price they have to pay. Let’s say your representative was doing a good job according to your perception. During the government shutdown and the showdown over Obamacare, did you see/hear from your representative? Did he/she take center stage in the media or on the internet and call out his/her counterparts for their actions during this fiasco? I didn’t see ANY representatives or senators standing up for the American people by calling out Obama, the republicans or the democrats! Did you? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we have NO STATESMEN in Washington now who are looking out for the interests of the American people. All we have are politicians who look out for themselves and their party.

  • NJHope

    I’ve not been aware of her being on the side of defunding the poor’s support systems, so I hope that she will “prove” it, once and for all.

    We will never have a third Party that is winnable. We have to change the current Democratic Party, and we do that by exactly this method. Speaking out against impostors, writing constantly to Congress and the President, writing constantly to news organizations and posting comments that demand correct and ethical standards of our Party, our legislators, and our Policies. If the media does not get it right, and support ethics in government, we the People do not stand a chance. It is the media who makes or breaks a politician. Shenanigans need to be reported. They Must be reported. We make that happen by calling out journalists and politicians. Do not let up. We must stay vigilant and active, to keep the few remaining threads of democracy alive and well.

    If Bill Moyers can do all that he is doing, surely you and I can do a our bit, too.

    Good luck out there.

  • Michael Wilk

    You will never change the Democrats until and unless you make them fear losing your vote. And you will never accomplish that so long as you throw your vote away on Democrats no matter how far to the right they move.

    You don’t see such “logic” on the far right, which has no problem making its politicians lose elections in order to get the politicians it wants elected. They go out and put the fear of not only electoral loss, but fear of not getting a cushy after-loss lobbying job, into their politicians. Just look at how Lincoln Chafee was treated when he refused to go with the far right playbook. While Rick Santorum got a well-paying job at a right-wing think tank, Chafee had to make do with a temporary adjunct teaching position.

    Think about it.

  • Michael Wilk

    So, because your ex is one of the very few actual frauds, you think that’s an example of how the entire system works. How droll. I’ve got news for you. Your ex is an exception, not the rule, and the sooner you realize that the better. In the meantime, I suggest you find a VERY good attorney and get yourself out of your predicament.

  • NJHope

    I would say that the Democrats are definitely in “fear” of losing my votes. I no longer even allow them to send me mail, asking for donations to the Party. I simply will not part with my funds that way. Specific candidates only get any funds from me. Only in that manner can we completely show that certain kind of candidate, that specific set of ethics we hold in high regard, will be supported by us.

    I know almost no ex-Congress people, from either Party, who’ve not gone on to work for some scandalous outfit I had no respect for. They are all looking to make the largest sums of money they possibly can, and most of them do not care how they accomplish that, in the end.

    To assume that my votes go to right leaning Democrats is to completely miscalculate my thoughts, my meanings, my actions. Making assumptions is never a good idea. I simply stand up for people when I see that they “may have been” be completely misunderstood. I prefer to lean on the side of “evidence.” Once proven to be right leaning in fact, I walk away from supporting that politician, no matter whom it may be. My comment here was simply related to the specific article and comments made related to it. Nothing more. And the article is now quite outdated, even being just a few days old.

  • GregoryC

    Not really. Duopoly republicrats get to gerrymander their districts so they don’t face real competition from anyone who doesn’t receive dark money contributions thanks to Citizens United. Have you ever wondered how Congress with single-digit approval ratings manages to get reelected every election cycle?

  • GregoryC

    Agreed.

  • fmendoza

    president Obama would not have been elected. if it weren’t for the poor. and middle class voting. have you forgotten the long lines in Florida. and other parts of the country. so to assume we don’t vote. is just racial profiling.

  • Michael Wilk

    You neglected to mention whom you actually vote for, so I could only guess that it didn’t factor into your equation to cast your ballot for third party candidates. If I misjudged you, then I apologize.

    As for how voting third party works, just look at how marvelously running H. Ross Perot for president in 1992 and 1996 worked for the far right; not only did they send a strong message to Republicans about the consequences of allowing tax increases on the wealthy, it gave cover for the already deeply conservative Bill Clinton to press ahead with his own policies of gutting Welfare, cutting food stamps and other safety net benefits, deregulating as much as he could including repealing Glass-Steagall, and paving the way for privatization of Social Security and Medicare, not to mention trade deals such as NAFTA. It’s not enough not to vote for a right-wing Democrat. Voters have to cast their ballots for leftist third party or independent candidates in enough numbers to force politicians to pay attention. Otherwise, they simply laugh at us and tell us to go back to voting Democrat lest those Republicans win.

    I wasn’t aware there was a time limit on responding to comments. My computer isn’t functioning as of now, so I can only log on from public terminals when time and availability allow.

  • Michael Wilk

    I concur.

  • kitty

    That woman who won the lottery or some that are like her have nothing to do with the many truly in need of help because of the economy. Those who are disabled, some of the elderly on less social security, or the under paid families that have children who are trying to learn at school while being hungry or under nourished because of the greedy pigs that reach the wrong conclusions in the “higher up places” don’t care because they have never gone without, they haven’t a clue and they are not able to feel anything for others except just for themselves- what kind of a new car they want this year or should they add another room to their mansions as they continue to cut food off to those who need it the most. There is a time coming when they will learn a lesson for their greed and callousness, but then it will be too late.

  • kitty

    That’s exactly right, they are steeling food away from those who deserve and need it the most. The old saying goes, we have all heard it ; “no good deed goes unpunished”, well, the fact is that wickedness and greed will not go unpunished either. So the poor are suffering now, but later on the ones who are causing them to suffer will find out what suffering is.