Monday, January 11, 2016

Bright Ideas Department: Jeb Bush Wants to Eliminate Food Stamps, Housing Assistance, and Welfare in Order to Help the Poor!

Waiting in line for soup. You don't need food stamps,
housing, or cash assistance, you've got soup!

It's boring harping on the heartless Republicans, but they give us little choice. Jeb Bush, you'd think, would want to make people like him (he's a little behind in that department), and, boy, does it speak volumes about the GOP base that he feels announcing he's in favor of killing food stamps will help him turn the corner on his flagging campaign.

But you'd be wrong.

Also featured in his new policy proposal is the ending of housing assistance and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, which took the place of Aid to Families with Dependent Children in the legendary "end welfare as we know it" effort during the Bill Clinton administration. Clinton was famously triangulating, as it could be said he cut welfare in half to save it. Maybe so. Hard to know.

Jeb! wants to stick it to the poor to show his conservative bonafides, which is fine as far as it goes. But at least it should be noted that he's trying to make a dent in Iowa by cancelling a program beloved of farm states. Food stamps is a Dept. of Agriculture program that, among other things promotes farming. If people gotta eat, then they're gonna eat some farm-grown stuff, much of it from Iowa. Great strategy, Jeb!

This is naturally tied into the usual mantra of turning federal programs over to the states because the states can then innovate and do it better. Only a lot of the time the money has a habit of getting sucked into states' general revenue fund, allowing, for instance, a governor like Scott Walker to build a new NBA arena instead of aiding the poor and supporting education. Innovative!

Of course, Bush says that this is really all to help the poor because if we give them housing, food, and a little cash for the kids, they'll just spend it on Powerball, lobster, and Dr. Pepper. In other words, the lazy poor don't need housing because without food stamps they don't need kitchens, and they never should of had those babies without also having the perfect two-parent family that lives in the Dallas suburbs or something.

You just keep thinking Jeb!, that's what you're good at.

Final thought, with an assist from Slate: Bush -- and Ryan before him, with his "opportunity grants" -- really is saying the only way to help you, poor people, is to stop helping you. Beyond the mandatory moralizing is the grim reality that, whatever else, ending food stamps means more Americans will be hungry.

The GOP campaign has sunk into a hate fest in which candidates battle to see who can build the biggest group of people to target as the undeserving Other. Pricks. What's worse is that they're probably just offering policies that their angry conservative base wants to see.

My country, tis of thee, sweet land of liberty.

Hey, poor: The eagle has landed, on your ass!

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