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Cole writes: "The GOP Congress's assault on the American working class has been waged with the pretext that the Federal government has no money (what with being in debt and all). This despite the money being owed to the American people on the whole, and despite the long tradition of deficits in government budgets, which have seldom in history been balanced."

Juan Cole. (photo: PBS)
Juan Cole. (photo: PBS)


Congress Cuts $8.7 Billion in Food Stamps, But Finds $22 Billion to Fight ISIS

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

01 October 14

 

t was all the way back in February, so the memory of this headline has faded:

” Congress passes $8.7 billion food stamp cut

By Ned Resnikoff

It’s official: 850,000 households across the country are set to lose an average of $90 per month in food stamp benefits.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-32 to send the 2014 Farm Bill – which includes an $8.7 billion cut to food stamps – to President Obama’s desk. Nine Democrats opposed the bill, and 46 members of the Democratic caucus voted for it, joining 22 Republicans.”

The GOP Congress’s assault on the American working class has been waged with the pretext that the Federal government has no money (what with being in debt and all). This despite the money being owed to the American people on the whole, and despite the long tradition of deficits in government budgets, which have seldom in history been balanced. But note that when there was a Republican president in the zeroes, the same voices did not demand austerity, but ran up the deficit with obvious glee.

In contrast, Congress has no problem with the war on ISIL in Iraq and Syria, which could cost from $18 bn to $22 bn a year. Admittedly, in military terms this expense is relatively small. The point is that the same people who have trouble justifying a safety net for the working poor and find it urgent to cut billions from the programs that keep us a civilized society rather than a predatory jungle– the same people have no difficulty authorizing billions for vague bombing campaigns that are unlikely to be successful on any genuine metric.

The failure of an air campaign in Syria where there is no effective fighting force on the ground allied with the US, which could take advantage of the bombings, is becoming evident at Kobane. Despite US and other aerial bombings, ISIL fighters have moved to only a couple of miles from the besieged Kurdish city.

In contrast, in Iraq the Kurdish Peshmerga have taken a few villages and a border crossing with Syria back from ISIL in the past couple of days, and may have benefited in this push from close air support from the US and other governments. Even there, while intervention to stop the Kurdish capital of Erbil from falling to ISIL might be justifiable, helping the Kurdish Peshmerga capture Sunni Arab towns is a more delicate proposition.

In any case, all of a sudden I guess cost is no object for the Tea Party and its fellow travelers.

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+76 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-10-01 14:07
A few people make money off of war. WE PAY. Get the neocons out of "our" government. NOW!
 
 
+28 # harleysch 2014-10-01 17:20
Pablo Diablo -- Given Cole's report, that many Dems voted for the spending, and Obama asked for the funds and pushed the war in the first place, shouldn't we get them out of our government, as well?
 
 
+30 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-10-01 19:11
We must get rid of everyone in Congress who votes for these illegal and immoral wars. Our only problem with the Arabs is that OUR OIL is under their soil---and that is where is should stay!! Burning that oil will end life on earth. We must protect all life on earth by getting the greedy people who only value money out of our government. We have to stop burning oil and create a renewable energy system as soon as possible.
 
 
+9 # Cassandra2012 2014-10-03 13:06
And the fossil fuel corps. are trying to ensure that no solar/wind/ther mal energy eats into THEIR (DESERVED AND ENTITLED????) PROFIT$ !!!
 
 
+7 # bckrd1 2014-10-03 15:58
Their name is the KOCH Brothers.And they are using their ALEC arm to write the bills so the Republican led states can pass them verbatim. Ohio just repealed their renewables for the next two years and hope to kill it off entirely. Kansas surprisingly fought back but they will keep trying. Brownback is in the Kochs pockets.
 
 
+24 # Texas Aggie 2014-10-01 23:16
While what you say is true, it is also true that the neocons were the moving force behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Democrats voted out of fear of the electorate rather than out of conviction, for the most part. There is a strong argument that without the neocons, the war would never have occurred.
 
 
+27 # RLF 2014-10-02 05:40
Get the neocons out of the democratic party now!
 
 
# Guest 2014-10-03 18:06
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2014-10-04 12:16
If you think $22B for fighting ISIL is bad, that's nothing. They found over $1 trillion for the frikin' F-35. The Dems voted for that as well.

At over $100 million per airplane it would have taken only 8 aircraft to fund all the food stamps.

Where the hell are our priorities?

PS take a look at the chart about half way down on the following page and think about how you vote.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_parties_in_the_United_States
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2014-10-04 12:24
Sorry about the mistake. Projected life cycle costs are about $1.45 trillion - that's nearly $600 million each for nearly 2500 aircraft. So it would take more like 15 aircraft to fund the food stamps.
 
 
+58 # tedrey 2014-10-01 14:24
Congress will spend billions in tribute to our military/indust rial/corporate rulers, but not one cent in defense of our lives and liberties.
 
 
+55 # futhark 2014-10-01 15:52
We need a new definition of "national security". No nation is secure when the medical needs of the people are not affordable, when young people of promise cannot get the education they need to maximize their potential due to high tuition costs, and in which so many people are going hungry. The United States of America has the wealth to accomplish all of this and more, should its politicians wake up to the fact that having a healthy, well educated, and well fed populace working toward an ecologically sustainable economy is far more important to real national security than chasing around after alleged bandits on the other side of the planet.
 
 
+27 # hannibal 2014-10-01 15:58
It does not have to be that way if the American people revolted against the Republicans who have wrecked our financial system and those who created it were literally thrown in jail.
 
 
+24 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-10-01 16:29
Looking at the voting record, this bill. 9 Democrats voted against the bill (They are for food stamps). BUT, 46 Democrats voted for the bill (They are against food stamps) joining 22 Republicans. The vote: 68 to 32. We had a discussion, is there a big difference between the two parties? One instance such as this one does not prove a trend, but suppose this one instance is one of many instances? Then, except in certain cases, there really is no difference between the parties. Truman twice nuked Japan. Kennedy doused Vietnam with hundreds of tons of a weapon of mass destruction, Agent Orange. Bush by using a weapon of mass destruction, radio-active ammunition, made especially Southern Iraq, radioactive HOT for millions of years. D U, once spent as ammunition, becomes a deadly radio-active powder. Hundreds of tons spread throughout Iraq, especially Southern Iraq. Steeply increasing the incidence of cancer among the Iraqi's.

I'm now an Independent, a Progressive. And a happier man for it. Most Republicans are Constitutional cowards. They do not believe that in the eyes of the law, "all men are created equal." They hate blacks, minorities. And yet, with some exception, Democrats mostly swim with the Jelly Fish.

You want access to your representative' s office. Your key to their door is your checkbook. All representative' s votes are for sale to usually the highest bidder.
 
 
+44 # dyannne 2014-10-01 14:43
War is a racket.....Gene ral Smedley Butler. And it's an EVEN bigger racket now than when he said that.
 
 
+43 # Regina 2014-10-01 14:44
War has been the national priority ever since the Cheney & Co. battalion got into power. No lie is too big -- like the phantom WMD. It's their way of life -- the deaths of millions. And the reap of billions.
 
 
+10 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-10-02 11:10
You might add Gerald Ford's comment (even if you did not like him) "all wars are fought over natural resources."
 
 
-29 # MidwesTom 2014-10-01 15:00
During WWII we had full employment. This is not WWII, but defense spending employs millions of Americans today. We are somewhat trapped, without the spending our wage and employment situation would be much worse. Civilian Industries that employ lots of low skill people have all left. We are trapped.
 
 
+39 # futhark 2014-10-01 15:55
I agree that we are trapped in an economy dependent on endless war as long as we lack the vision and courage to redirect our resources and efforts toward a peaceful and sustainable nation. Historically economic addiction to militarism seems to be a hazard of maintaining an empire. Perhaps we ought to go back to having a national discussion about what kind of country we really want to be.
 
 
+11 # karenvista 2014-10-02 12:52
Quoting futhark:
I agree that we are trapped in an economy dependent on endless war as long as we lack the vision and courage to redirect our resources and efforts toward a peaceful and sustainable nation. Historically economic addiction to militarism seems to be a hazard of maintaining an empire. Perhaps we ought to go back to having a national discussion about what kind of country we really want to be.


Absolutely. Since our founding we have been at war for all but 21 years of our existence. We have not completed a single decade without engaging in war. As we all know very few military actions were because WE were attacked first.

Our national DNA is infected with militarism. As others have noted, war makes profits for those who run this country.

We need to take control of our country and redirect our financial and creative abilities toward positive rather than negative industries.

On a positive note - Bernie Sanders is seriously considering running for president and has announced he'll be campaigning in New Hampshire and Iowa.
 
 
+25 # rockieball 2014-10-01 16:59
During WWII we were a manufacturing nation not a service nation like today. Out cars, out clothing, out food, our shoes, the radios, washing machines everything was made in the USA. Then came along the greedy corporations and moved it all out of the country. but of course they called it off shore as if Americans were commuting via boat to a ship to work. Then came the corporate raiders who closed down the factories and sold them off one machine at a time to these same other countries. It takes more than a low skill to make a TV a radio, a washing machine. Corporations moved not because of skill but because they did not want to pay the wages, the healthcare and to break the unions which back in WWII and through the till the 80's and Reagan made raising the min wage and an healthcare act not needed. People saved, people had union pensions to comfortable in retirement and the rich were still their living well and good. But today the rich are over rich and poor over poor and more are joining the poo each day world wide than they are the rich. sooner or later the poor pot is going to boil over.
 
 
+11 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-10-02 11:12
A jobs program for the death industry, the war industry. MidwesTom, you are sick! If you like war, you will love John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Still think you are a board plant.
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2014-10-02 19:46
Quoting MidwesTom:
During WWII we had full employment. This is not WWII, but defense spending employs millions of Americans today. We are somewhat trapped, without the spending our wage and employment situation would be much worse. Civilian Industries that employ lots of low skill people have all left. We are trapped.

Trust you to come up with the negative side.
How about -as Germany (Solar), Scotland (Wind and Wave) and other countries are doing, committing to courses in sustainable technology, R. & D. which are putting many thousands to work and will be the foundation for a whole new set of burgeoning industries -in a country the size of the US multiply it by the population and it could easily absorb the death industries and much more and their research, design, manufacturing process, marketing and distribution channels are made more efficient, affordable and available.
But of course Rayethon and such are jerking the puppet strings of those they own via their bag-carrying "burrowers" with that ever-revolving back door access.
Hell, even as far back as 1976 when I graduated from Edinburgh University College of Art, Design and Architecture, I could have taken a post-graduate year in "Environmental Conservation" as an alternative to the distinguish post-grad traveling scholarship -and I often wish I had.
How many US colleges are offering Conservation Technology and Science courses even now, rather than churning out a bunch of MBA's or Weapons Researchers?
 
 
+38 # Carol R 2014-10-01 15:00
There's always money for killing (war) and snooping by the NSA. We don't even know how much total $$ is being wasted on these efforts.

What happened to the cuts in food stamps, cuts in Meals on Wheels funding, cuts on unemployment insurance and cuts in early childhood funding? Guess the corporate war drums need to keep beating even when there is no clear goal nor any possibility of winning.

What a sad lack of compassion or morals.
 
 
+25 # hannibal 2014-10-01 15:55
Please do not blame this only on Republicans although their lock-step march towards no raising taxes on those who should and could most afford to pay, has played a major role in this terrible problem of removing food from those who are the least ablest to pay for food.

Look at the huge number of Democrats who voted with a smaller number of republicans to pass this bill to the president for signing.

Now the question is , who is best able to pay for the war against Isis? The rich or the poor and that should be our mantra from now until the 2016 vote.
 
 
+9 # karenvista 2014-10-02 13:03
Quoting hannibal:
Please do not blame this only on Republicans although their lock-step march towards no raising taxes on those who should and could most afford to pay, has played a major role in this terrible problem of removing food from those who are the least ablest to pay for food.

Look at the huge number of Democrats who voted with a smaller number of republicans to pass this bill to the president for signing.

Now the question is , who is best able to pay for the war against Isis? The rich or the poor and that should be our mantra from now until the 2016 vote.



Those who benefit from the war should be taxed to pay for it fully. That includes all those who own or benefit from the MIC, the intelligence contractors, and the corporations for whom the wars are fought to enhance profits.

As stated in the article we once fought "the Banana Wars" for United Fruit, now we tend to fight for the oil and pipeline companies.

Let them pay for their wars and fight them with their own people. Their profits should be taxed by this country to maintain our services and infrastructure.

Even this is still morally reprehensible so maybe they would move abroad and let us create a better world.

Bernie Sanders is running for president. Sanders/Warren in 2016?
 
 
+26 # Sweet Pea 2014-10-01 16:14
Kind of sounds like my alchoholic uncle who always had money to buy drinks for all his friends at the bar-but never had any money to buy food for his own children.
 
 
+17 # rockieball 2014-10-01 16:50
They are more worried about a reporter or some other person going where they were told not to and end up loosing their head than they are about families in this country being able to feed themselves or their family. you listen to the right-wing they make it sound like the homeless are the one's getting food stamps and going out and buying the best foods. When it's low salary workers from places like Wal-Mart, Papa Johns, burger king and Micky D's that need them. With what little these people do get they could teach Congress how to balance a budget and make a little go a long way.
 
 
+14 # Femihumanist 2014-10-01 17:02
They are also spending more to kill people in the Middle East "to protect us" than they are spending to "protect us" and the rest of the world against Ebola.
 
 
+3 # Cassandra2012 2014-10-03 13:13
Short-sighted skinflint Repugs have forgotten about those funny contraptions called airplanes. ———— Ooh, it has already begun, hasn't it?... where else but in misogynist Texas, where women and women nurses [one of the nurses at that Dallas hospital informed the doctors that he had been in Liberia, but the doctors apparently blew her off!!!) are ignored, forgotten, or just allowed to die of botched abortions.
 
 
+14 # angelfish 2014-10-01 19:55
Dependent children, elderly, infirm and the unemployed/unde r-employed can't provide OIL and or other valuable natural resources. These valuable resources are the KEY to this Congress doing ANYTHING for ANYBODY who isn't in the Fossil Fuel business or out to rape Third World Countries for their Natural Treasures. Thank the Koch brothers for polluting our Congress with lame brains and sycophants who do their Master's bidding at the expense of needy Americans. All we are doing is throwing good money after bad and harming ourselves. There are none so blind as those who WILL not see. Pitiful, don't you think?
 
 
+12 # m... 2014-10-01 20:38
I don't know what the outcome will be in Hong Kong.
All I do know is that those people over there have a lot more guts than the 99% here who are letting the 1% walk all over them.
 
 
+12 # angelfish 2014-10-02 01:29
Quoting m...:
I don't know what the outcome will be in Hong Kong.
All I do know is that those people over there have a lot more guts than the 99% here who are letting the 1% walk all over them.

m...It's not that people are letting the 1% "walk all over them" it's that the 1% has BOUGHT and paid for the mercenary ignoramuses who now fill our House and Senate, sitting on their hands and refusing to do the will OR work of the people! Money has corrupted our Congress and we have the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson along with a few other ME First-ers who care more for their bottom line than they do about this Country to thank for it! The "shrub", aka George W. Bush, saw fit to appoint the minions of the Mega-Wealthy to our SCOTUS and they are only too eager to do the bidding of their Wealthy Masters. Some, like Thomas and Scalia are too stupid or brazen to even try to hide the fact that they're "For Sale". Guts have nothing to do with rebellion. Frederick Douglass once said, "The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress". I hope I'm LONG gone before the people in this Country rise up, because when they do, the French Revolution will look like a walk in the Park.
 
 
+8 # MexicanJunkman 2014-10-02 05:13
The Republican vote on the Food Stamps cuts failed: 23 opposed, 22 favored. Yes, the Senate Democrats voted 46 to 9 to cut food stamps while voting to fund wars. -I am not sure the author gets that??
 
 
+8 # Stevodevo 2014-10-02 09:38
Somehow I feel Congress, which gets so much money from AIPAC, is more concerned about keeping Israel safe than worried about ISIS's threat to America. Israel gets two billion dollars each year in "aid" and I suspect some of it is recycled to Capital Hill and the White House to get our politicians to do Israel's bidding... Not a bad return on investment.
 
 
+12 # kalpal 2014-10-02 09:42
The people who were deprived of that $8.7 billion dollars will not have any measurable effect on the electability of any GOP candidates. The arms suppliers will greatly enhance GOP coffers in their gratitude for the massive profits they will be so generously given by the nation's tax payers.
 
 
+13 # jimallyn 2014-10-02 14:31
In the United States, the slaughter of human beings takes precedence over everything else. There's always money for killing people.
 
 
+5 # RMDC 2014-10-02 19:56
jimallyn -- how right you are.
 
 
-3 # harleyrider1978 2014-10-03 11:37
Wheres all the crying when back in 2009 the Democrats cut food stamps to fund Michelles junk science war on anti-obesity..........

Lower the bmi and other disease levels and voila instant overnite PUBLIC EPIDEMIC INVENTED..........

Michelle Obama's Solution to Childhood Obesity? Cut Food Stamps

August 15, 2010 • 11:35AM


Is Michelle Obama's solution to childhood obesity to stop eating?

In a scheme that looks like it could only have come from the demented minds of the writers at Mad Magazine, the U.S. Senate passed a bill, just before it left for its summer recess, which includes as its centerpiece, Michelle Obama's anti-childhood obesity program—and pays for it by taking money out of the food stamp program! Congress is now treating the food stamp program, which more Americans have come to depend on for basic sustenance than any program, and has even become the sole source of income for millions of the poorest Americans, like a bank that can be raided to fund other things, such as the $26 billion Medicaid and education funding bill passed last week, and the $900 billion health care "reform" bill, passed earlier this year.
 
 
0 # harleyrider1978 2014-10-03 11:38
While House Democrats swallowed that particular pill, last week, because the effective date for the food stamp cuts isn't until 2014, many of them are balking this time around. Fifty House Democrats, in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), warned they will not vote to cut the food stamp program again. "This is one of the more egregious cases of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and is a vote we do not take lightly," they wrote. They urged Pelosi to take up the House version of the bill, instead, which is larger but is hobbled by the fact that it's not paid for by offsetting spending cuts or tax increases. According to The Hill, the White House has not weighed in on the food stamp issue, but has made clear that it supports the Senate bill.
 
 
-2 # harleyrider1978 2014-10-03 11:43
Democrats’ big-government agenda to dip into food-stamp program … again


posted at 10:55 am on August 16, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

I spotlighted the $26 billion BigGovJobs’ union payoff bill that President Obama signed into law last week — a payoff that was achieved through elaborate money-shuffling , including taking $12 billion from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Now comes word via The Hill that the Dems are going to double-dip into the food stamp program again — this time to pay for the massive expansion of the Child Nutrition Bill pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
http://michellemalkin.com/2010/08/16/dems-hey-lets-raid-the-food-stamp-program-again-for-big-labor/
 
 
+6 # dsepeczi 2014-10-03 13:07
Quoting harleyrider1978:
Democrats’ big-government agenda to dip into food-stamp program … again


posted at 10:55 am on August 16, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

I spotlighted the $26 billion BigGovJobs’ union payoff bill that President Obama signed into law last week — a payoff that was achieved through elaborate money-shuffling, including taking $12 billion from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Now comes word via The Hill that the Dems are going to double-dip into the food stamp program again — this time to pay for the massive expansion of the Child Nutrition Bill pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
http://michellemalkin.com/2010/08/16/dems-hey-lets-raid-the-food-stamp-program-again-for-big-labor/


When I first started reading this, I thought it might be BS but you're right. The dems did pull this shit back in 2010. That doesn't change my opinion that it was ridiculous for Republicans to cut SNAP again, crying poor, and then throwing billions at another senseless war ... but it does correctly point out that both sides of the aisle are evil. Most of us at RSN know this already but thank you for pointing out another example of Democratic BS so that I can hate both parties of this country almost equally. I guess it's like I've said before. Democrats and Republicans are just the left and right wing of the Corporate Greed party that rules us all no matter which party's in control.
 
 
+5 # Vardoz 2014-10-04 22:12
This is a tragic and outrageous reality. It is so inhumane, immoral and a murderous act against our citizens. Death by cuts is now completely acceptable.
 

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