2011-10-24 "GOP Tries To Cut Food Stamps While People Line Up For Formula" by Robin Marty
Republican Senator Jeff Sessions thinks that too much government money is being spent on food stamps, and it’s time someone did something to stop it. According to the Daily Caller [http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/23/sessions-budget-for-food-stamps-ballooning-out-of-control/], the Alabama senator is upset that the program’s costs have doubled in the last three years, and is now larger than most of the other government expenditures. “There is no doubt, if this country isn’t willing to look under the hood of the food stamp program as we try to bring our surging debt under control, we are obviously not serious about what we are doing,” Sessions said. “You know, for example — this is important — the federal highway program is about 40 billion [dollars] … The entire Department of Justice, including the prison system, is about about 30 [billion]. This program is 80 [billion], and it’s doubled in three years.”
Sessions blames the extra costs on the fact that there are automatic eligibility points in the system that need to be removed. One such automatic entry? Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Because, apparently qualifying for assistance doesn’t automatically qualify you for assistance?
Of course, no one in the GOP is willing to concede the fact that the number of people qualifying for food stamps have gone up at the same time that both unemployment has skyrocketed and the economy has been shedding living wage jobs in exchange for minimum wage and part time work. When jobs don’t pay enough to feed a family, that family will need assistance feeding itself.
It’s a trend that even Wal-Mart’s CEO is noticing, as a growing number of people are showing up with a cart full of basic necessities — including formula for infants — and waiting in line until midnight on the first of the month in order to have their next batch of food stamps kick in. According to Salon [http://www.salon.com/2010/09/22/walmarts_midnight_baby_formula_bread_line/], executive Bill Simon noted, “[I]f you really think about it, the only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it, and they’ve been waiting for it. Otherwise, we are open 24 hours — come at 5 a.m., come at 7 a.m., come at 10 a.m. But if you are there at midnight, you are there for a reason.”
Until the clock strikes midnight, I guess they just go hungry. And with GOP proposed cuts, they can go even hungrier.