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Serve bankers or serve the poor? Congress reinterprets Jesus
Thank God for Congress, right? When things get out of balance in America, we can always count on our legislative stalwarts to recalibrate the scales of justice.
Take greed, for example. The Wall Street barons who wrecked our real economy with their greed-fueled casino games are playing the same games again, while pushing Washington to let them keep their public subsidies, fat bonuses, and special low-tax rates. So, our Congress critters turned their legislative guns on avarice. Unfortunately, their aim was a bit off. Instead of popping overprivileged, Congress hit the most un-privileged Americans: People on food stamps.
Too many families are getting food stamps, they shrieked, driving the cost of this poverty program to record levels. Yoo-hoo, knuckleheads, record numbers of our people are on food stamps today because – guess what? – record numbers of them are unemployed or underemployed, and have been knocked all the way down into poverty.
Yet, the tea party Republicans now ruling the US House are demanding cuts of as much as $25 billion a year in food stamp benefits, which would prevent some 13 million Americans – half of them children – from receiving the program's groceries. Rep. Michele Bachmann rose to a Biblical falsetto to rationalize this: "If anyone will not work, neither should he eat." Hello, Michele: That's not quite what Jesus said. Also, many of these people are working, but not paid enough to make ends meet. And many more are desperately seeking jobs that aren't there.
In fairness, though, the GOP did vote to give these food stamp applicants something: Drug tests. Hmmm – I don't recall that Jesus, at the Sea of Galilee, required anyone to pee in the cup before getting fishes and loaves. And if he had done so, he would've required the bankers to take the first cups.
"House rejects farm bill; food stamp cuts at issue," Austin American Statesman, June 21, 2013.
House Defeat Of Farm Bill Lays Bare Rift in G.O.P." The New York Times, June 21, 2013.
"Collision Over the House Farm Bill," The New York Times, June 21, 2013.
"Michele Bachmann Says If You Are Unemployed, You Should Starve," www.addictinginfo.org, November 8, 2011.
"Food Stamp Cuts Derail Farm Bill," www.huffingtonpost.com , June 20, 2013.