Saturday, September 21, 2013

GOP to Veterans: GO HUNGRY!

The party that fetishizes veterans, that worships military duty, that calls every man and woman who serves his or her country a "hero," has voted to demean their heroes and let them go hungry.

You read that right.

We saner folk know, of course, that the GOP's posturing is all show and zero substance, and another manifestation of their fake patriotism, which was demonstrated this past week when the Republicans in the House voted to slash the SNAP program.  Hundreds of thousands of our veterans--you know, the folks who defend our freedoms here and abroad, the ones who lay down their lives so that GOP Congresscreeps can charge their lavish dinners to the government while they travel in the U.S. and abroad on "fact-finding missions"--millions of those men and women depend on the SNAP program.  Yeah, those GOP hypocrites, who never saw a program for the needy in this country that they didn't hate and that they didn't go after, pretending it would save the tax payers millions of dollars and make those lazy, undeserving moochers who want free stuff, our veterans, get off their lazy asses and find a job!

Those are Republican values:  Slash needed programs to feed our veterans and their families (and millions of other struggling Americans), while pretending they support our troops.

From the daily kos:

Thursday's House vote to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $40 billion over 10 years proved, once again, that when the Republican drive to demonize poor people comes into conflict with the supposed Republican reverence for veterans, demonizing poor people wins. 

The bill would kick 170,000 veterans off of food stamps, out of around 900,000 veterans in the program. Republican rhetoric was that the food stamp-slashing bill would continue food assistance for the virtuous poor—children, seniors, disabled people, employed people—and only cut assistance for able-bodied adults who don't want to work, preferring to live high on the hog off of their average benefit of around $4 a day. 

That's false in ways almost too numerous to count: 

  • The bill contains no provisions for people who can't find work in an economy where there are three jobseekers for every available job. 

  • Republicans claimed unemployed people could fulfill the bill's work requirements by turning to job training programs, yet many people don't have access to job training programs and the bill did not fund them. 

  • The bill would kick 2.1 million mostly working or elderly people out of SNAP by eliminating expanded categorical eligibility. On paper, these people's income or assets are above the SNAP threshold even though, in reality, they face significant expenses like child care in order to keep working, bringing them below the threshold: 

A typical working family that qualifies for SNAP due to categorical eligibility consists of a mother with two young children who has monthly earnings just above the program’s monthly gross income limit ($2,069 for a family of three in 2013). On average, the families above that limit who qualify for SNAP as a result of categorical eligibility have combined child care and rent costs thatexceed half of their wages. The approximately $100 per month in SNAP benefits they receive covers about one-fourth to one-fifth of their monthly food budget.

From the Military and Foreign Affairs Journal "Veterans Today:"

Hardest Hit by Proposed Food Stamp Cuts? Veterans and Active Military 

The prejudices against those who desperately need food stamps and other supportive programs are rampant. However, what the Huffington Post report uncovered is that a surprising group of hardworking Americans rely on food stamps. This group will undoubtedly change the face of what the average American thinks of what a food stamp recipient looks like as well as the trajectory of the food stamp funding battle. 

Veterans and active duty service members are one of the largest growing populations that need assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a financial assistance program provided by the federal government that allows struggling families to purchase food. According to data compiled by the Huffington Post, 1.5 million veteran households are using SNAP. 

The sharp increase of veterans or other military families relying on food stamps is right in line with what is happening across the board: more families are struggling to make ends meet because of the recovering economy and families who may have never needed assistance before are looking for help. 

Compounding the issue further is that many veterans who recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan may also have returned with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from working or continuing their service. As of 2011, more than 46 million Americans received food stamps.

Food stamp use at military commissaries up sharply in four years

My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. 

My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college. I've never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan. 

 Oh, and I'm now on food stamps. 

Since June, as a matter of fact. 

Why am I on food stamps? 

 The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving. I mean, if that's okay with you: 

  •  Mr. or Mrs. Republican congressman. 
  • Mr. or Mrs. Conservative commentator. 
  • Mr. or Mrs. "welfare queen" letter-to-the-editor author. 
  • Mr. or Mrs. "fiscal conservative, reason-based" libertarian. 

Remember this outrage the next time you hear a loud-mouthed hypocritical Republican thank one of America's military heroes.  Remember that it's only lip-service that the posturing Republican is giving to the man or woman whose real service defended our freedoms and is now struggling to feed him/herself and family.


  1. Shaw,

    The financial crash was caused by Republican fiscal policies. Then they act surprised (and of course blame it on Obama) when requests for food stamps rise. Can't debate that kind of dishonesty.

    Of all the issues I have with my government, mistreatment of our veterans and active duty soldiers, is a pet peeve of mine. I can't think of another issue our government has been so dishonest about, for so long.

    This is an issue that goes back to the Revolutionary War. MacArthur burned the Vets out of Washington D. C. Allowing soldiers to live in pain and die, because the government wouldn't admit that Agent Orange used in Vietnam was killing them. Oh sure, 30 years later the government allowed those claims, but by then many had died including a friend of mine.

    Cutting their food stamps is another kick in their teeth, but not the worst we have done to our Vets and active soldiers.

    Stopping the draft cut the protests against war. Soldiers have a problem protesting their government. That shows they have more patriotism and conviction than the scum politicians they take orders from and treat them so badly.

    As far as I'm concerned, these politicians who send our people to war, then make them beg for health care, food, housing, etc., are traitors!

    I would add that I have never been in the military. My number was 252 and they were only calling up to 225 in those days. I did not enlist. I saw no reason to fight and die for such a mean, dishonest, government. My government!

    I knew many friends who came back from Vietnam with serious problems; and to watch them crawl to the government for help, made me sick, and MAD!

    It opened up a new life for me. It was the first time I was ever exposed to and got personally involved with people that had such medical problems. Bathing them, feeding them, taking them to their doctors, taking them to the VA and watching them be turned down for life and death medical help. Not to mention the mental stress caused by being kicked to the curb by their own government after the service they performed. I understand their frustration and desperation.

    Military suicides are way up. And these scum politicians want to cut help; they should be doubling the amount of help to our soldiers!

    If Americans won't pay the taxes to pay these expenses. then they are hypocritical and UN-American.

    Part of this I copied from my own comment at your site, and I added more. No spammer here.

  2. Great post Shaw and a damned good comment by the anonymous guy too.

  3. Dear Anonymous, a cousin I was very close to died from the effects of Agent Orange in 2010. He was a Marine who served in Viet Nam. I saw what he and his family suffered as a result. I agree with you on the disgraceful way America treats its military. Almost every male in my family in my generation served his country.

    I admire what you have done to help our veterans. Thanks for your comment.

    And thank you, too, Capt. Fogg.

  4. America has a long history of stirring up the patriotic hearts of its citizens when it needs cannon fodder and then crushing them completely when they manage to survive the horrors of war and return home.
    Every time we go to war, there is a strategy for everything except what to do when the soldiers come home wounded, needing jobs or needing healthcare. The dirty secret the government doesn't want any of us to know is how many active military live below the poverty line and need additional assistance for their families. Shame on them for sweeping it under the rug and shame on us if we let them get away with it any longer.

  5. The suicide rate alone exposes the war lover patriots for what they are. Spend some money on counseling? Are you some kind of liberal?

    And you're right. WW I veterans had to fight for their promised bonus and weren't paid until 1936 when Congress overrode FDR's veto. Hoover called in tanks and troops to break up a washington protest rally. Vets were shot.

    God bless America, please, because I can't.

  6. For some reason, I'm not able to go into Blogger on The Swash Zone and eliminate rockync's duplicate comments. Sorry about that.

    Re: WWII veterans. They got the G.I. bill, which allowed them to earn college degrees, and I remember an uncle telling me about the $20 a week they received for, I think it was, a year, for "walking around money."

  7. 'tis done.

    But yes, It's been argued that the GI bill was the birth of the Middle Class and certainly it rose to unimagined heights in the post war years, 90% marginal bracket notwithstanding. It may have been the biggest boost to upward mobility ever and as an investment, it paid off enormously, but if one is a tea-stain, one will not recognize that government investments on such a scale have made America. The space program alone built the modern world with spin offs like Integrated circuits.

    But I digress - where was I? Oh yes, the selfish, miserly bastards who use people and spit them out. . .

  8. Thanks Fogg, I only entered once so not sure why it put in multiple times.

  9. Anonymous,
    Please accept my thanks for your comment and personal account. Here is a memory of mine during the Vietnam War era:

    As soldiers returned from the Vietnam war, some exercised their GI educational benefits and started showing up on my college campus. One in particular was a young man in a wheelchair, a former Green Beret and double amputee.

    How he lost his legs: He was sent into Cambodia on a mission, and there was an ambush. He sustained wounds in both legs and, by the time he crawled his way out of the Cambodian jungle back to Vietnam, his legs had turned gangrenous. Hence the double amputee.

    After he returned to the States, he visited a VA office to apply for additional medical assistance. His application was rejected. Why? When the VA asked where he received his injuries, and he replied 'Cambodia,' his application was denied on the grounds that there were no U.S. troop operating in Cambodia (at least not officially).

    That is how our government treated our returning veterans - hung them out to dry - the injured and the impoverished - through political expediency, cover-ups to conceal illegal military incursions, an act of moral degradation.

  10. continued ...

    Here is another account worth mentioning here. After 9/11, when the Bush/Cheney administration was drafting legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security, Bush and Cheney did not want a cabinet level agency subject to Congressional oversight; instead they wanted an office of the executive branch free of oversight. The administration inserted divisive anti-union provisions into the draft legislation.

    Some Democrats balked, including Max Cleland (D-Ga). During the 2002 Senate campaign, his Republican opponent ran political ads suggesting Cleland was aiding and abetting Osama bin Laden by opposing the anti-union provisions. Saxby Chambliss, his Republican opponent, won the election.

    Cleland was a Vietnam war veteran, a triple amputee who won a Silver Star and Bronze star for his service.

    The flag-waving Chambliss avoided serving in Vietnam thanks to five (5) student deferments and a well-timed knee injuring playing football. How Chambliss described his victory: "You have delivered tonight a strong message to the world that in conservative Georgia values matter." Hypocrisy and demagoguery matters too.


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