FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bombing Food Stamps; Feeding Bombs

by JOHN LaFORGE

Beginning Nov. 1, food stamp cutbacks mean $36 per month less for a family of four.

Public ‘servants’ like Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan and Democratic former President Bill Clinton point to the failure of poverty programs to end poverty, and then slash those program budgets or abolish them altogether. Clinton’s actions did away with Aid to Families with Dependent Children in a fell swoop he dubbed “welfare reform.”

Meanwhile, the chronic test failure of anti-missile rockets never results in budget cuts, but is called reason enough for more funding. The latest miss by the “missile defense” project occurred July 5 over the Pacific, adding to a near perfect record of total flops or faked hits. The rocket business is one welfare program that is never declared fraudulent or wasteful except by scientists, honest think tanks and military watchdog groups.

Today a lot of Republicans claim the food stamp program — officially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP — is rife with fraud. They say “Ineligible people get food stamps!” So Congress dogs the poor who may not vote and don’t donate to campaigns, while doling out $billions to missile contractors Lockheed, Martin, Boeing, TRW and Raytheon, etc. in exchange for $millions in re-election cash.

So the House adopted a farm bill in July that for the first time since 1973 eliminates food stamps A Senate bill approved in May cut about $4.5 billion from the program, mainly by altering eligibility rules.

The percentage of our population that uses food stamps went up from 8.7 in 2007 to 15.2 in 2012. This near doubling is partly the result of the Great Recession, high unemployment, and the fact that Republicans have made deep cuts in unemployment benefits.

The House action will eliminate about 5.1 million people from SNAP, according to a report by the Health Impact Project. Almost half a million people who get food stamps but still do not get enough to eat (the average SNAP amount is $134 a month) would lose their eligibility for the stamps. The HIP study found that food stamps cuts will not just affect the ability of low-income people to feed themselves, but would also increase poverty.

Failed and redundant weapons getting $billions

Independent analysts like MIT Prof. of Science, Technology and International Security Theodore Postol argue that “ballistic missile defense” can’t work — interceptor missiles can never distinguish real incoming weapons from swarms of decoys — and should be cancelled. Postol charged in a March 2000 letter to Pres. Clinton  that the program’s officers were “most likely attempting to illegally use the security and classification system to hide waste, fraud and abuse,” that included faked test results. British PM Margaret Thatcher told Ronald Reagan 30 years ago, “I am a chemist. I know it won’t work.”

Still, spending for BMD over three decades totals about $200 billion — $130 billion by 2000, according to the Center for Strategic & Budget Assessments — and about $10 billion every year since then. Last March, President Obama announced another $1 billion in funding to add 14 new “interceptor” missile pads to the 26 already deployed in Fort Greely, Alaska.

Let them eat fighter jets

Even more insulting are the weapons programs unwanted by the Pentagon that get funded again and again. Military brass have said that the new Joint-Strike fighter jet bomber (or F-35) and additional upgrades to the M1 Abrams tank are unnecessary. The 6,000 completed M1 upgrades are enough, says DoD. Baltimore Sun blogger Terry Munson reported Aug. 17 that zeroing the Abrams rehab program would save $3.5 billion.

Pentagon chiefs have called a lot of costly systems unneeded and unaffordable.

Josh Sweigart in the Dayton Daily News reported last year that the military had proposed cost cutting that would save at least $487 billion over 10 years. The Pentagon suggested canceling: 1) the Global Hawk drone — whose purpose is served by the U2 — saving $2.5 billion by 2017; 2) the C-27J Spartan transport aircraft, saving $400 million by 2017; 3) 5,000 jobs from the Air National Guard — and slashing $300 million from its budget; and 4) plans for an East Coast missile defense battery that Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had called unnecessary — saving $3.6 billion by 2017.

The same Congressional budget cutters who call for “small” government have insured that useless military boondoggles in their districts stay big—even while providing fewer jobs per $billion spent than any other sector of expenditure. As Munson said, “If we used some of that money to feed hungry children and educate those who need it most … Congressional reps might be compelled to find support among real voters and not just corporations seeking government handouts.”

John LaForge is co-director of Nukewatch—a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group in Wisconsin—and edits their quarterly newsletter. 

 

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

More articles by:
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Renee Parsons
Blame It on the Russians
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is it the Cops or the Cameras? Putting Police Brutality in Historical Context
Russell Mokhiber
Dems Dropping the N Word: When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
Howard Lisnoff
The Elephant in the Living Room
Pepe Escobar
The Real Secret of the South China Sea
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian Refugee’s Journey from Izmir to Greece
John Laforge
Wild Turkey with H-Bombs: Failed Coup Raise Calls for Denuclearization
Dave Lindorff
Moving Beyond the Sanders Campaign
Jill Richardson
There’s No Such Thing as a “Free Market”
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Moves Against the Gulen Movement in Turkey
Winslow Myers
Beyond Drift
Edward Martin - Mateo Pimentel
Who Are The Real Pariahs This Election?
Jan Oberg
The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World
Johnny Gaunt
Brexit: the British Working Class has Just Yawned Awake
Mark Weisbrot
Attacking Trump for the Few Sensible Things He Says is Both Bad Politics and Bad Strategy
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Think Three’s a Crowd? Try 2,000
Corrine Fletcher
White Silence is Violence: How to be a White Accomplice
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail