Food stamps on the chopping block: A tale of two budgets

The gang of flunkies for the super-rich running the show in Washington, D.C., are proposing to cut 700,000 people off food stamps. Here are some facts to keep in mind when assessing the magnitude of their latest crime against humanity.

The U.S. has the most arable land in the world — some 914 million acres. This is more than any of the other largest countries, including India, China, Russia and Brazil.

The U.S. has 2.1 million farms, averaging 435 acres per farm.

Armed with this knowledge alone, most people would conclude that with so much food being farmed, everyone in the country enjoys an adequate and nutritious diet — and that more mountains of food are available to export to the rest of the world.

But they’d be wrong.

Because in 2017, 40 million people in the U.S. struggled with hunger. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access during part or all of the year to enough food for all household members. In 2017, an estimated 15 million households were “food insecure” — a government euphemism for hungry.

Officially, more than 40 million people in the U.S. live in poverty. One third of them are children.

About one in six people in this country rely on some form of government-funded food assistance — food stamps; Meals on Wheels; the Women, Infants, and Children program; free and reduced-price school lunches; and other programs.

Without these services, millions would feel an increase in hunger and end up eating cheap, unhealthy foods just to fill their bellies.

Racist power dynamics and hunger

Food stamps are now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. “SNAP is a bridge for people who’ve hit a financial crisis,” said Debbie Norman, outreach coordinator at United South Broadway Corporation, a community service agency based in New Mexico, where a large number of the poor rely on food assistance.

In New Mexico — Indigenous lands colonized by Spain and then stolen by the U.S. in 1848 through a vicious war — many of the poor who depend on food stamps are descendants of those who inhabited the lands at that time, but were reduced to extreme poverty by subsequent U.S. conquest of the territory.

In the U.S. South, as well as major urban areas in the North, descendants of enslaved African people suffer the highest poverty rates. They make a disproportionate number of those who will suffer real hunger without the government programs that are now on the administration’s chopping block.

Trump and his lackeys, professing to care about the people they are knifing in the back, say that “private charities” can pick up the slack. These charities currently provide only about 5 percent of the food services that people in poverty rely on.

Hunger takes a back seat to warfare

The amount the government would “save” by this draconian measure is a mere pittance compared to the hundreds of billions of dollars lavished on the military-industrial complex, not to mention payments on the astronomical and ever-increasing national debt.

The Pentagon budget for 2019 is just shy of $700 billion. The next largest military budget in the world, that of People’s China with more than four times the population of the U.S. to defend, is just $177.6 billion.

In contrast to the vast sums showered on the Pentagon, the federal budget for SNAP and other related food assistance programs for fiscal year 2018 was $68 billion.

This is also far, far less than the interest the federal government pays (out of our tax money) to the banks on the national debt. In fiscal 2019, this interest is projected to surge to the mind-boggling sum of $389 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And it will only grow in the future, leaving the bankers ever richer and the workers ever poorer — and in need of food assistance.

Yet this excrescence called Trump lies through his teeth, telling his racist and clueless base that he is saving them money — by taking food out of the mouths of babies and stuffing it in the maws of his fellow capitalists.

Is it any wonder that 70 percent of millennials said they’d vote for a socialist in a recent YouGov poll? Voting won’t unseat this class of deadly parasites, but it’s a start.

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