To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Observercast

More Food And Politics

on

BY SHARON MARTIN

Sharon MartinAccording to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-IA, 10% of the biggest farmers and agribusinesses get 70% of the benefits from the 2014 Farm Bill.

And there’s this: SNAP, the food aid program, was cut by $8 billion over 10 years. This is on top of a $5 billion cut in November 2013.

What do the additional cuts mean?

Whether it is 850,000 families [New York Times] or 1.7 million [takepart.com], a lot of people who depend on food aid are going to lose about $90 a month, about a third of their food budget.

And most of the money cut from SNAP made its way back into the Farm Bill budget to fund other items. The true savings, on the backs of poor people, is about $1 billion, one-one thousandth of a percent of a $1 trillion package.

And that isn’t the only outrage. The Senate stripped language from the bill that would let us know which legislators get farm subsidies. Some of them have gotten some bad press lately, so I guess they took care of that.

This falls in the same camp as voting oneself a raise, I think.

At least the King Amendment failed. Introduced by Rep. Steve King, R-IA, it would have nullified state and local laws regarding agriculture, food safety, and animal welfare. Take heed, all you states’ rights advocates, because this will come up again.

In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory, the only things more basic to survival than breathing are food and water. Until we get this right, nothing else will be right. Until we quit building pipelines through essential reservoirs and subsidizing corporations instead of people, we can’t be a powerhouse country.

There are solutions. If conservatives want to reduce food aid to the poor, here’s what they need to do:

— Raise the minimum wage.

— Teach people to supplement their diets with homegrown foods no matter where they live.

— Support small farmers.

— Promote nutrition education.

— Quit subsidizing empty calories over real foods.

There will always be those who need help. We must insure that low-income seniors, disabled persons, impoverished children, and military families get that aid.

Anything less than this is heartless and not worthy of American values, either conservative or liberal.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

 

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.