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GOP Food Stamp Cuts Help the Rich, Hurt the Poor and Starve the Economy
Posted on Nov 19, 2013
If House Republicans succeed in their quest to slash the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program—food stamps—while preserving farm subsidies, they would both exacerbate economic inequality in the country and add yet another drag on the economy, a Nobel Prize-winning economist says.
Joseph Stiglitz argues in The New York Times under the headline, “The Insanity of Our Food Policy,” that the consolidation of wealth in the hands of the few has also led to a consolidation of political power, leaving low-income Americans both cut out of the Great Recession recovery and with little political recourse to do anything about it. He writes:
Stiglitz argues that farm subsidies made sense during the Great Depression, when they first arose, to try to shore up rural economies—home then to 40 percent of the country—and domestic food production. These days, the beneficiaries of the subsidies tend to be large corporations that don’t need the help, and the subsidies wind up perverting the economy.
And although the farm subsidies no longer work as an anti-poverty measure, food stamps have become one of the main sources of support for the growing ranks of impoverished Americans. Yet House Republicans want to keep the farm subsidies—rewarding campaign contributors and the wealthy—and slash an additional $40 billion over 10 years in food stamps. It is robbing the poor to give to the rich, with rather dire ripples, from making it harder for the poor to become economically productive members of society, to preserving a food system heavily reliant on products that erode health—products often used by the poor because of their low costs. It’s no mystery why low-income Americans have a higher incidence of adult Type II diabetes. According to Stiglitz:
Well, it’s not like Washington hasn’t embraced moral and economic failure before.
—Posted by Scott Martelle.
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