Monday, April 23, 2012

The Shape of Things to Come?

Last week Congress made two curious decisions which may be a harbinger of things to come.

They voted to give $46 million in tax relief to households making over $1 million and then cut food stamps or the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) by $33 million.

Although touted as a 'small business tax cut' the impact by some counts, benefits only 16% of business making under $200,000. On the other hand, cutting food stamps impacts nearly 2 million Americans (about 300,000 Texans) while costing jobs.

I'm sure there's some math that makes sense here...but I'm not quite getting it.

Especially given the strong evidence of the extent to which food stamps kept those most economically vulnerable from falling deeper into poverty...

"Food stamp benefits led to a decline of 4.4 percent in poverty from 2000 to 2009, according to a new report from the USDA's Economic Research Service."
"The impact was particularly strong for children, who are more likely to live in poverty than adults. Child poverty was reduced by 15.5 percent, on average. The researchers also looked at the depth and severity of poverty, and found that severity was reduced by 21 percent. They say looking at this gives a better measure of the role of food stamps in improving the lives of Americans, compared to just a straight look at the poverty rate."

"In 2009, 21 percent of all children, or 15.5 million, lived in poverty. That's up from 16 percent in 2001, an increase attributed to the economic downturn. And that's including the buffering effect of food stamps."
So again, what type of arithmetic supports the logic of strengthening the country's economy by giving those who are rich more money, while weakening the safety net for the most economically challenged?
Here's a better question: 'Who's declaring class warfare on whom?'

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