by Terry Plotkin
There is a rural county in Kentucky that is made up of mostly white people. It is one of the poorest places in the country. Most of the people there are on food stamps, and they don’t have health care. They got some bad news recently when they found out their food stamp ration was cut. What’s worse is that if the Republicans, in their effort to cut the deficit, get their way they are going to be cut again. Substantially. No one likes to have their income cut, but when you are poor any cut is severe because there is no excess money around.
Thankfully, I do not need food stamps, but I am willing to pay more in taxes so people that need it can have enough to eat. I am not a saint, nor am I a liberal, but it feels fine to me to give a little to someone who cannot afford food. I am in no position to judge them on whether they need it or are taking advantage of the system or refuse to work. I suspect that most people are in real need or they wouldn’t ask or be eligible.
Rather than cut their food stamp allotment we could reduce our deficit in a far better and fairer way. Allow working people to feed themselves by paying them a living wage, say $11 per hour. ‘Preposterous!’ Conservatives would rant. ‘This will cost jobs!’ As if they care. They would rather the taxpayers supplement companies like Wal-Mart or McDonalds with food stamps and other benefits so they don’t have to take care of their own employees. I can assure the conservatives if Wal-Mart or the fast-food industry were forced to pay a livable wage and thus get off welfare (That’s right. The Walton family, the richest in the world, is feeding at the public trough by underpaying their workings and thus forcing them onto food stamps.) it would not cost any jobs at all because those companies need to stay where they are, and they need workers to run their businesses.
Back to those people in Kentucky. In the last election they voted 73% for Romney. Yup. They voted for the party that would cut their food stamps and deny them health care. Is it ignorance? Self hatred? Racism? Gay bashing? Abortion antagonists? Religion gone mad? I can’t figure it out.