Jim Pugh at In These Times writes—The Food Stamp Work Requirement Is a Scheme to Punish Hungry Americans:
Growing up in Boonville, California in the 1990s, a friend of mine would sometimes jokingly use the phrase “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” If people are feeling bad, what better incentive to change their mood than getting repeatedly whacked with a stick?
The recent proposal by Congress to add work requirements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) reminded me of that phrase. In the 2018 Farm Bill currently under consideration in the House, Republicans have proposed new conditions for SNAP that would block many people from receiving food assistance if they are unemployed. While at first glance this may appear like a policy to encourage greater employment, it would actually make it harder for people to find a job, while taking away crucial support from more than one million hungry Americans.
While setting more unemployed Americans on a path to employment and economic self-sufficiency is a positive goal, the threat of withholding food is a highly ineffective way to encourage workforce participation. Some of the most common barriers to employment are insufficient education or skills, mental health issues, hiring biases and a lack of job opportunities. Fear of not having enough to eat does nothing to overcome those obstacles.
When people are hungry, they’re frequently unable to focus, which makes it harder for them to get a job, not easier. Instead of boosting employment, this proposal would act as a barrier rather than an incentive.
The actual impact of this policy change would be to punish hungry Americans. In many regions of the country, people are struggling to find full-time work, but can’t. While the overall unemployment rate sits at a low 3.8 percent, the rate of involuntary underemployment is more than twice that, and exceeds 10 percent in many states and counties. This proposal would leave those who are unable to find a job with neither income nor food assistance. […]
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On this date at Daily Kos in 2005—GOP Game Plan for 2006:
Okay. Now we know what the Republicans will run on in 2006.
The White House accused Democratic leaders on Wednesday of obstructing President Bush’s agenda in a second straight day of combative attacks against the minority party on Capitol Hill.
“I think the American people reject those who simply say no and stand in the way of getting things done,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.
Nevermind that Republicans have the trifecta, with dominant majorities in both chambers of the legislature. What is this obstructionism that we keep hearing about?
So far [Bush] has been unable to gain traction in Congress over his proposals to overhaul Social Security and has had ongoing struggles over energy legislation and the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement, among other items.
On Social Security in particular, Bush has called on Democrats to offer their own proposals instead of simply attacking his, but the tactic has largely not worked.
Listen, Mr. President, you have the numbers to pass your legislation in the House, but I haven’t seen any of it introduced. Heck, I haven’t even seen a social security bill from the White House, so I’m not sure what “plan” you’re referring to.
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