Category Archives: Republican cuts to safety net

Responsive Reading with Refrain

The Republicans have become “experts” in so many areas lately. They are “experts” about health care and “experts” about computers, “experts” about what will and won’t help rid America of mass shootings, “experts” on the economy and how much debt America can deal with and how much the budget needs to be cut. They are “experts” on what our foreign policy should be and on how big and well-equipped our military should be. They must be “experts” on all of these things because they believe that every decision President Obama wants to make in these areas is wrong and because they share their expertise with us constantly whether we want to hear it or not. They are also, apparently, “expert” scientists who are not afraid to scoff at the science which says that climate change is real; and they are “experts” in morality who will swear that they know that abortion is wrong for every single woman on the planet, that they know when life begins, and that they believe birth control means millions of tiny abortions.

Lately, and problematically, they also believe they are “experts” on what will help the poorest people in our society, the disabled, and even seniors find their way up out of the “muck” of government support which, like quicksand, keeps sucking them back to the bottom. They believe people are staying poor, disabled and old on purpose and that they will continue to do so as long as the government gives them financial assistance or subsidies. They believe our government can no longer afford to offer support to those in need or those who have earned their retirement (and who thought they had paid for their retirement).  Forget that corporations and farmers have been receiving subsidies for years because in this one way corporations are not like people. Government support doesn’t make businesses dependent on government largess according to that know-it-all party, the GOP, which does not favor cuts to corporations or farmers.

I sort of feel that we need to offer the Republicans a little exercise in responsive reading, because as such great Christians, this is surely a format they are used to.

Let’s talk about Welfare:

During the Great Depression in the 1930’s a program was created called Aid to Families with
Dependent Children (AFDC). In 1996 the Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act which gave each state a flat rate to spend based on population with the proviso that the state would keep its funds by making sure recipients were preparing for employment or were actually employed. By 2011 America was experiencing the highest poverty rate since the end of the Great Depression – over 15.1%. The GOP wants to end or severely cut welfare.

RESPONSE:  (everyone) CONGRESS, YOU ACT LIKE IT’S YOUR MONEY YOU ARE SPENDING. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY – IT’S THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

Let’s talk about Social Security:

Social Security began in a limited form in the 1930’s (the Great Depression) as social insurance because the poverty rates among seniors exceeded 50%. The Social Security Act was enacted on August 14, 1935 when FDR was in his first term. He was the first president to advocate federal assistance for the elderly. Programs like Title I for assistance to aged individuals, Title III for unemployment insurance, Title IV for the AFDC, Title V for Maternal and Child Welfare, Title VI for public health services and Title X for the blind were included in the same act. In 1937 the Social Security Trust Fund was created and benefits were provided to wives, elderly widows and dependent survivors. The FICA tax was legislated in 1939. The retirement age and the amount of the FICA tax rate have changed several times since 1961. Payments amounts to recipients have also been adjusted a number of times. In 1972 amendments established Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is not a Social Security benefit but a welfare program, because elderly and disabled poor are entitled to SSI regardless of work history. Amendments continue to be made to Social Security. This is a very brief summary and leaves out all kinds of difficult to follow machinations by Congresses over the past 7–8 decades. Our government now tells us that Social Security is going broke. They say they want to save Social Security but the GOP seems intent on either privatizing Social Security or cutting back on payments to recipients. They also lead us to believe that those who retire in the future will not be able to receive Social Security.

RESPONSE:  (everyone) CONGRESS, YOU ACT LIKE IT’S YOUR MONEY YOU ARE SPENDING. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY – IT’S THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

Let’s talk about Medicaid, the health program for families and individuals with low income and resources. It’s a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments and managed by the states. Medicaid recipients must be US citizens or legal permanent residents and may include low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. This program was created by the Social Security Amendments of 1965 (Title XIX). There is section of this program that is offered to schools throughout the US for the reimbursement of costs associated with the services delivered to special education students. In 2010 the ACA extends Medicaid services to citizens without health insurance if they qualify. Republicans, although I don’t recall that they have mentioned Medicaid specifically would probably agree that they want to defund Medicaid or privatize it as part of their overall budget cutting measures.

RESPONSE:  (everyone) CONGRESS, YOU ACT LIKE IT’S YOUR MONEY YOU ARE SPENDING. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY – IT’S THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

Let’s talk about the school meal programs:

The most prevalent school meal program in the United States is the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), a federal program signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. Before this help was sporadic. In 2011 the program served low-cost or free lunches to over 31 million children per day. This program has been revised a number of times over the years as things like nutrition guidelines were added. The School Breakfast Program (SBP), which was developed as part of the National School Lunch Program, began as a pilot program in 1966 and then became permanent in 1975. There is much more information about these programs available on-line. They have a complex history. Republicans would like to privatize school lunch programs, cut them, or discontinue them, although I am just drawing this conclusion as an extension of other opinions they have expressed about the social safety net.

RESPONSE:  (everyone) CONGRESS, YOU ACT LIKE IT’S YOUR MONEY YOU ARE SPENDING. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY – IT’S THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

Let’s talk about Medicare:

Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the US federal government since 1966 that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older and younger people with disabilities as well as people with end stage renal disease and persons with ALS. Medicare has gone through a number of changes since its inception. We contribute from our pay checks to Medicare funding until we retire (this only applies to the aged, some other groups are covered without charge). We are also told that this program is in jeopardy as it is too expensive. The Affordable Care Act, in addition to all of its other objectives, is supposed to help bring down medical costs and extend the life of the Medicare program. The Republicans have been rabid in their campaign against the ACA.

RESPONSE:  (everyone) CONGRESS, YOU ACT LIKE IT’S YOUR MONEY YOU ARE SPENDING. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY – IT’S THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

Let’s talk about food stamps (SNAP):

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly and still popularly known as the Food Stamp program, provides financial assistance for purchasing food to low and no-income people living in the US. It is a federal aid program administered by the US Department of Agriculture, though benefits are distributed by individual US states. The first Food Stamp program ran from May 16, 1939 – Spring, 1943). After 18 years of studies, reports, and 1964 legislative proposals we arrived at the Pilot Food Stamp Program which ran from 1961 – 1964. The program we have now, although it does not use food stamps, but now uses EBT cards, began in the Food Stamp Act of 1964. Another incarnation of the Food Stamp Act was passed in 1977. This act has probably gone through more changes than any of the others. $5 billion dollars in cuts kicked in for the SNAP program last Friday and the Republicans have separated the food program from the farm bill because they would like to see $39 billion in additional cuts from food stamps (SNAP).

RESPONSE:  (everyone) CONGRESS, YOU ACT LIKE IT’S YOUR MONEY YOU ARE SPENDING. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY – IT’S THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

Let’s talk about WIC:

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a federal assistance program of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for healthcare and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants and children under the age of five. The eligibility requirement is a family income below 185% of the US Poverty Income Guidelines. WIC currently serves 53% of all infants born in the US. WIC was formally created by an amendment to the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 on September 26, 1972 sponsored by Senator Hubert Humphrey (D) of Minnesota. WIC is another program that the Republicans are eyeing for cuts.

RESPONSE:  (everyone) CONGRESS, YOU ACT LIKE IT’S YOUR MONEY YOU ARE SPENDING. IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY – IT’S THE PEOPLE’S MONEY!

 

These laws represent the way an enlightened society cares for its most unfortunate citizens and for its elderly. If we undo this system the consequences will be so hard to live with that we will just be forced to reenact these humane laws all over again. We must continue to find the money in our budget to finance these priority programs. America is a country that is governed by its people and we determine how we spend our money. We are against privatizing our social safety net. We are against cutting the budgets of our social safety net programs until we once again live in more affluent times with good jobs available to any citizens who can work. Many of us might be willing to pay slightly higher taxes if that is what it will take to preserve the social safety net. Stop threatening to refuse to fund the programs that prop up those who find themselves at the bottom of the American economy. It is not your money! It’s the people’s money.

I gathered these facts from Wikipedia because that allowed me to use one source for the info I needed. In some cases program descriptions are exact quotes from Wikipedia. In other cases the exact language of Wikipedia was condensed or rephrased to be less technical and more readable. Comments about what the Republicans would like to see happen with the social safety net are stated in my own words, but are taken from current news stories.
 
 

 Thanks to The Guardian who I “borrowed” the first picture from and to Northern Insights Blog for the second.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com