The following is an abridged version of a conversation at http://www.facebook.com/edpagecourant.
Jeff Clark: A cruel measure ... cut subsidies to Monsanto, corporate America, Wall Street, EXXON Mobil, etc.
Edward J Boughton Jr: Maybe if we were helping job producers, and not making business life a living hell, we could give more people jobs and not have to give more food stamps.
Marty Townsend: If the poor need benefits, they should incorporate. Then the GOP would give them all they need or want.
Jeff Clark: I see that as paramount to extortion (helping job producers). Laissez faire economics goes both ways.
Joyce Bartolomei Adams: Low blow to families who are already the most vulnerable in our society. There is no excuse ... the poor are the easiest target. Cruel stroke because it affects many children. Equally tax the top 1 percent wealthiest instead of targeting those living below poverty level.
Mark Pappa: The best social program is a job. Obama has failed other than proposals to expand the government; the recovery has all been the Federal Reserve. ... Food stamp budget has doubled from $40 billion to $80 billion since 2008. GOP proposes $40 billion in cuts over 10 years or $4 billion per year to bring the budget back in line. That's not draconian or cruel.
Ed Page: Numbers don't lie, as they say. But the reason for the ballooning need for food stamps was the economic collapse, not Obama's presidency. You can't make the need go away by saying "it's too much to spend."
Joseph Normand Grinnell: In France, the minimum wage is about $12 per hour. In 1945, they did not have America's advantages. They were a pile of rubble. I think America should have at least the same standard of living as the people it liberated.
Mark Pappa: Ed, facts are stubborn things.
Ed Page: No, actually it's people who are :-(
Tom Nash: Perhaps this will be an incentive to at least look for some type of gainful employment!
Carolyn Houck Patterson: Please tell the military families who have to use food stamps to get by to look for more gainful employment.
Robert Fort: Frightening breakdown of responses on this issue. Compassion and humanity are core values. Greed and indifference suck.
Sean Cooper: Don't worry. Nancy Pelosi says food stamps stimulate the economy ... like we have seen for the past five years.
Paul Finney: I can't tell you how many times I've been at a convenience store and some able-bodied folks are loading up on junk food and crap and whip out the EBT card to pay for it. Once I was there and had to listen to boyfriend yell at girlfriend, "Get whatever you want, it's not your money!" So at midnight they buy Starbucks coffee drinks, ice cream and chips! Get a job!
East Hartford Gazette: This will harm rural America most. You know — the big span in the center of the country that votes Republican. Nice work, GOP.
Paul Finney: So we've got 47 million people working in this country and 48 million getting government assistance and $17 trillion in debt and more every day. Does anyone else out there understand this is a huge problem? When the music stops and the printing press finally runs out of ink, we are screwed. Can't we be self-reliant and interdependent economically without the government stealing half our money, enslaving our children with debt and free to pursue our individual happiness?
Bette Barrett: Food stamps buy milk for children. ... Why do people automatically think people on food stamps are low-lifes? Lots of seniors are on food stamps, as well as young people and military families. You should be grateful you can afford groceries, and don't always assume welfare recipients have big cars, large-screen TVs and spend their money on booze. It's pure ignorance and I'm tired of ignorance in this country.
Marty Townsend: You're comparing apples to oranges, Paul. Many of the families receiving government assistance ARE working. If you want to lift working families out of poverty and government assistance, raise the minimum wage and stop subsidizing Walmart and the fast-food industry.
Sean Murphy: Congress should be out of the food stamp business entirely. This, like most of what they do, should be left to the states.
Bill Selavka: It is simply immoral to allow human beings to go hungry, period. Allowing the most vulnerable to slide further into poverty weakens us as a nation. Taking care of ALL Americans should be a priority and a source of pride.
Sean Murphy: Immoral to let people go hungry? Immoral to steal my money, give it to people who did not earn it, or throw me in jail for not letting government take my money.
Lorna Nichols Hosley: Letting billionaires and successful large corporations leap through loophole after loophole so that they pay few or no taxes, while cutting benefits — food, for goodness' sakes! — to our neediest citizens just does not make sense.
Marie Serio DellaValle: Ya know, I would give the shirt off my back and my last dime to those in need, and there are those who are honestly in need, but when I see those with the welfare food card buying up junk food, no fresh meat or vegetables, soda, cookies and unhealthy food, it really makes me sick. They have money to buy beer, cigarettes, and go out to eat ... I feel that 90% of those on SNAP or whatever are milking the state. I have never seen a carton of eggs or a gallon of milk in their baskets ... gosh ... when I was in retail, I could tell you dozens of stories.
Marty Townsend: "Those" people, Marie? Really? ... What you don't know is that your one of your co-workers may be one of "those" people. That kindly old lady that lives next door may be one of "those" people. The woman whose husband is in Afghanistan now is one of "those" people. I'm sure you can tell us dozens of stories, I could make up plenty myself. The amount of fraud in SNAP is about 1%.
Ralph Capenera: We should be focused on getting these people back into the workforce and becoming productive citizens instead of dependent upon working taxpayers and free money.
Scott McGowan: Key word here people: responsibility. You are responsible for your actions or inaction. If you cannot find work or are already on some form of gov't aid, why are you still having more children? If you can't pay for the ones you have, please don't have any more. ... Shouldn't the people on food stamps be trying to better themselves?
Katrina S. Axelrod: We are responsible for our fellow Americans when the economic system we are in keeps them from succeeding. We are responsible for this catastrophe. This is a very deep recession ... what about that don't you understand? This was brought on by irresponsible people playing cruel games in our Congress.
Bill Selavka: If we need to rein in SNAP costs and voting rights due to a small fraction of abuse, perhaps no one will object if we apply the same standard to gun ownership. Just a thought.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun