"Currently, due to the economic crisis, 15% of Americans are on food stamps, and 7.9% of us are unemployed. The bill would disqualify the unemployed from the SNAP program– because, you see, Eric Cantor and his buddies are dead convinced that people are unemployed only because they don’t feel like working. Oh, and also that people with food stamps are running around buying crab legs and filet mignon."
The GOP’s proposed $40 billion food stamp cuts bill reveals utter contempt for Americans
Sep 12, 2013
by Robyn Pennacchia
The House is poised to vote on a bill this week that will cut the SNAP program by $40 billion over the next several years, leaving 4-6 million Americans without food.
Currently, due to the economic crisis, 15% of Americans are on food stamps, and 7.9% of us are unemployed. The bill would disqualify the unemployed from the SNAP program– because, you see, Eric Cantor and his buddies are dead convinced that people are unemployed only because they don’t feel like working. Oh, and also that people with food stamps are running around buying crab legs and filet mignon.
Apparently, the impetus for the bill is the fact that, since the economic crisis, the amount of people on SNAP assistance has doubled. Obviously, the best thing to do to your country’s citizens when they are down on their luck is to kick them while they’re down and steal their lunch money. How lucky are these people that they actually don’t know how dreadful being unemployed actually is!
As someone who has actually been unemployed during this crisis… I can tell you that Cantor’s idea of what that is like could not be further from the truth. Being unemployed is not fun. It is the opposite of fun– it is humiliating. I was so severely depressed and constantly scared during this period that I had to get on Zoloft. I spent all day every day applying for jobs, working every random freelance writing job I could snag, and I barely ever left my house– hell, I could barely afford to leave my block, save for interviews.
No, I didn’t apply at McDonald’s, I didn’t apply at Walmart. What I got from unemployment was, thankfully, more than they would have paid me, and I couldn’t simultaneously apply for jobs and go to interviews if I had been working full time for minimum wage, and I was terrified of being stuck somewhere forever and losing opportunities.
Being unemployed during a time like this is terrifying– it wasn’t “funemployement”– it was the worst time of my life.
So I think it’s kind of shitty for people like Eric Cantor to make the assumption that the 12.3 million Americans that are currently unemployed aren’t trying to get jobs, or don’t care that they’re unemployed, because they just don’t have enough pride.
Now, here’s my thing– why do we have a situation in this country where people who are employed are on food stamps? What is that about? Shouldn’t we be holding employers accountable for paying such crap wages that their employees are forced to go on government assistance?
Now, granted, god forbid we raise the minimum wage to a living wage, because that would just be “socialism.” However, what might be nice would be to at least levy a tax on employers whose employees have to go on food stamps. Perhaps that might “incentivize” them to be a little less stingy with their payrolls. We could then use that tax money to fund SNAP and other programs that help people who need it. Bam.
At the same time, we should reward companies that pay their workers a living wage, and companies that hire people who have been on long-term unemployment (the longer you don’t have a job, the harder it is to get one). We should make it as attractive as humanly possible for the people calling themselves “job creators” to actually create jobs, and to make those jobs the kind of jobs a person can earn an actual living at.
We should not be hurting the people who are already hurting. We do not need to kick people when they’re down, we need to lift them up.