Topic: food stamps
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November 18, 2013 at 7:01 PM
Split the food stamps and the farm program
I agree with Froma Harrop, “let’s split the food stamps and the farm program” [“The last farm bill? Opinion, Nov. 17].
November 5, 2013 at 7:29 AM
Cut salaries of rich military contactors to save money
As food stamp benefits decrease, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wants to cut another $39 billion from food stamps over the next 10 years [“State will lose $144 million a year as food-stamp extra benefit expires,” NWFriday, Nov. 1].
At a time when poverty is growing, this is monstrously cruel.
The Senate, controlled by the Democrats, wants to cut $4 billion over the same period. Perhaps the “Party of Extreme Cruelty” and the “Party of Moderate Cruelty” could agree on a “compromise” of $20 billion in cuts.
The reporter quotes Republican Frank Lucas, defending cuts to food stamps by saying, “We don’t have any money.” Really?
The CEO of Lockheed Martin was paid about $23 million by taxpayers in 2012, while the CEO of Boeing was paid about $10 million. Boeing and Lockheed are bidding on a contract to build an unnecessary replacement for the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the world’s most expensive airplane (so far).
If Congress cancels the new plan and cuts back the salaries of rich military contractors to $120,000 a year, that should free up some money for food, not bombs.
Bill Distler, Bellingham
September 26, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Reverse the decision
Please urge U.S. senators and representatives to reverse the House vote to reduce SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) by $4 billion which will affect more than 47 million Americans. [“House conservatives vote to cut $4B in food stamps,” News, Sept. 20.]
Pacific Northwest residents include many who have connections with out-of-state officeholders. Please also ask them to make sure our poor do not suffer any more than they already do.
Malnutrition can diminish the children’s brains for life. Those of us who have experienced hunger and dehydration know those conditions leave a person with a worn out, warped feeling — too overwhelming to perform well at work.
Anyone who has gotten food from a food bank knows that, too regularly, the fruits and meats aren’t as fresh as merchandise on store shelves.
We can lift up our brothers and sisters.
John Freeburg, Bremerton
September 25, 2013 at 7:26 AM
A punch in the gut
When I first heard that the House of Representatives narrowly passed legislation to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $4 billion annually for the next 10 years, I was shocked and saddened. [“House conservatives vote to cut $4B in food stamps,” News, Sept. 20.]
A “yes” vote on this bill means a deliberate decision to vote to make people hungry. This bill claims to fight fraud and waste in the system but it actually is a slap in the face to all the charitable hunger-relief organizations that have struggled to meet the record rise in need for emergency-food services since the start of the recession, on dwindling contributions from the private sector.
Furthermore, it’s a punch in the gut to the families in crisis who need SNAP to survive. There are 1.1 million Washingtonians who rely on SNAP. These are children, seniors living on fixed incomes, people with disabilities who are unable to work, veterans and workers who are underpaid or underemployed.
All of these people are already being asked to make a sacrifice when, on Nov. 1, the average benefit will be reduced to less than $1.40 per person, per meal.
Congress isn’t asking anyone else to make this kind of sacrifice. It’s insulting and demeaning, and we should all be outraged.
Christina Wong, SeattleInformation in this letter, originally published on Sept. 25, 2013, was corrected on Sept. 26, 2013. A previous version of this letter stated that SNAP would be cut by $4 billion, but did not include the information that the program would be cut by $4 billion annually for the next 10 years.
September 18, 2013 at 6:54 AM
Congress should protect people, not corporations
The House of Representatives is likely to vote this week to cut food assistance by $40 billion over 10 years, a cut that could threaten an adequate food supply for as many as six million Americans. [“House bill would cut $4B a year from food stamps,” seattletimes.com, Sept. 16.]
While the annual $4 billion cut would impact a diverse range of people (including veterans), it would disproportionately hurt children, who make up almost half of food stamps recipients.
Congress needs to re-evaluate its priorities. These politicians are OK with taking food away from children, while at the same time continuing to protect tax loopholes that allow corporations like Apple, General Electric and Verizon to avoid paying their fair share in federal taxes.
It’s outrageous that Congress would play political games with people who are struggling to put food on the table. Our elected officials need to stand up and protect their constituents, families and communities; not just corporations.
Bonnie Daut, Kent
September 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Government support needed
In the past few months, I looked out my office window and wondered why, with unemployment in King County below 5 percent, are more people lining up at The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s and every other food bank in the area? [“Guest column: Proposed cuts to food stamps devastating,” Opinion, Sept. 14.]
Why would cuts in food stamps be devastating to so many? Are people not willing to work?
To the contrary, people are working and very hard, but $10 an hour provides an income of only about $1,600 a month. Many of the new jobs in our economy are barely above minimum wage. This is simply not enough to cover rent, medical costs, transportation, child care, utilities, telephone and other necessities along with food.
We need to support our food banks, but we also need to advocate for continued government support through food stamps and, most of all, more jobs with benefits and salaries above the minimum wage.
Patricia Wittmann-Todd, pastoral coordinator of St. Mary’s Church, Seattle
August 16, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Employers, not taxpayers, should pay workers
A minimum-wage employee is likely receiving a number of government subsidies including food stamps, housing assistance, earned-income tax credit and soon medical insurance assistance. [“A crazy generosity experiment,” NW Sunday, Aug. 11.]If the minimum wage were raised (say, to $15 an hour) the minimum-wage employee would receive fewer, if any, government benefits.
Since these benefits are paid by the government, we the taxpayers are, in essence, supporting part of the overall payment of today’s minimum-wage workers. Why should the taxpayer subsidize wages paid by fast-food companies, Wal-Mart Stores, and other minimum-wage employers?
I would much rather pay a few cents more for a hamburger so the workers earn livable wages, than pay additional taxes to support employees earning the current minimum wage.
Paul Jones, Mercer Island
August 6, 2013 at 6:28 AM
Farm bill was a mega-bill
The House of Representatives and House Republican leadership recently took a bold step to separate the farm bill into farm policy and feeding programs (food stamps). [“Budget plans imploding, Congress is heading home,” News, Aug. 2.]
When asked for a reaction to the split, the most common answer in my farm community is “it’s about time.”
We have allowed Congress to fall into a pattern of mega-bills too large for anyone but full-time lobbyists to read and understand. Focusing on issues separately allows for more transparency, better debate and less opportunity for brokered back-scratching.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a relatively recent addition to the farm bill, and has nothing to do with providing a market for U.S. farmers. It has everything to do with forcing urban congressional attention to farm policy, the ultimate national-security issue. Bluntly, it buys urban votes.
The House Republican leadership understands voter frustration with thousand-page bills that have to be passed before anyone knows what’s in them. Mega-bills are written by special interests and will always be inherently flawed.
Passing a farm bill that focuses on farming is the start of a great trend.
Sue Lani Madsen, Edwall
July 23, 2013 at 7:04 PM
Hard times require tough decisions
I read the letter to the editor about the food-stamps debate, claiming these cuts were like welfare for the rich. [“Northwest Voices: Food stamps at risk,” Opinion, July 22.]
I was a Democrat all my life, until the party became a charity and we became a welfare state. Sure, there should be help for the poor. However, this government is so large that fraud is everywhere, from the drug dealers taking food stamps to the students that sell theirs.
My mother was a single parent who never thought of asking for help. She taught us that if we didn’t have money, we did without. My mother grew up in the Great Depression, when people learned how to do without. We had a good work ethic and we didn’t expect anyone to take care of us. Maybe our children would appreciate their lives more if everything wasn’t given so easily.
We are now living in a “me” society, where food-stamps recipients get not only food but free cellphones and phone service as well. Food programs were made to help families, not to indulge them.
When a family’s income is cut, the family has to cut their budget, not keep spending. The parents have to make decisions that are not popular with the family. Somebody has to be in charge so their family can survive. We are at that point in our country.
Don’t blame the GOP because they want our country to survive these hard times. Someone has to take action if we are to be the great country we always were.
Kathleen Bukoskey, Everett
July 22, 2013 at 7:03 PM
Allotment is too much
Kyung Song’s illuminating story on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was the first time I’ve seen a monthly allotment for a participant, and it made me question my support for such low-income food assistance. [“A food-stamp fight over values,” page one, July 18.]
$526 a month is very generous for a three-member family. I checked with Seattle-area friends who have kids, who were flabbergasted by how quickly Davida Norrell ran out of program benefits (two weeks), when they don’t spend that in a full month on larger families.
If she or her daughters cooked, instead of buying microwave meals, and ate reasonable portions, Norrell could stretch her dollar — our tax dollars — much further.
This generous allotment, which encourages overeating and poor nutrition, seems to work at cross-purposes to Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign.
Sadly, I’m not surprised our government is defeating itself.
Greg Piper, Seattle
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