Have others who know how important the federal Food Stamp program is had enough of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum’s endlessly ignorant verbal attacks on the Food Stamp program? Santorum has made several comments that prove he is atrociously ignorant of how the program works, who gets the Food Stamps, and ignorant of how it generates economic activity in the communities where the Food Stamps are spent. In one media appearance, he said that the fact that there is a greater incidence of obesity among low income kids is PROOF (my emphasis) that the nation doesn’t need Food Stamps. Yes, he actually said this. Santorum shows himself to be completely ignorant of the causal connection between cheap, high calorie but low nutrition foods that poor kids routinely eat and childhood obesity. Santorum also commented to a white audience in Iowa that he doesn’t want to give black people Food Stamps, to give them “other people’s money” but wants to give them an opportunity to earn their own money. Incredibly, although the audio tape clearly has Santorum saying “black people”–implying to an all white audience that all Food Stamp recipients are black–Santorum later got on national TV and alleged that “I’ve listened to that tape over and over and what I’m pretty sure I said was ‘bla people.’ ” Really Rick? Really?
Before Michele Bachmann left the GOP race, she pointed out to an audience that she thinks the U.S. should look to China for an example of how to treat our poor. Bachmann noted that China doesn’t have Food Stamps. Yes, Michele, they don’t, instead China lets their poorest families starve and lets hungry children recur to begging in the streets for charity. Is that really how we want to do things here? China also has shameful industrial working conditions for its laborers, and runaway air pollution due to the lack of regulation of manufacturing. Perhaps Bachmann thought it’d be good for us to emulate those things China does, too.
Newt Gingrich chastized Obama, calling him the Food Stamp President, and saying that more people signed up for Food Stamps under Obama than under Bush. But Gingrich, they signed up because the economy is in such a sorry state that parents must seek help to responsibly feed their children. Would Gingrich prefer that the poor have their kids go hungry so that they can earn the respect of Gingrich, a man who earned $25k a MONTH working for Fannie Mae and obviously has never needed Food Stamps?
A few years ago, Chuck Schumer unfortunately engaged in Food Stamp bashing in a book he wrote, “Positively American.” He proposed in his book that Food Stamp recipients should have additional restrictions put on what food they can buy, because low-income parents “choose the wrong foods.”
Enough. People need to eat. Must we really scapegoat Food Stamp families in an economy that fails so many? Do we really want to pay the price in health care costs and special education up the road that comes from kids not eating enough?