Needed cuts or assault on the poor?

Posted Monday, Nov. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A
More information MORE INFORMATION All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, mnorman@star-telegram.com.

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Reductions in the federal food stamp program on Nov. 1 focus attention on entitlements as Congress and the White House begin the next round of budget negotiations. Is this the best way to cut the budget?

Yes, I am in favor of cutting some of the food stamp program.

I’m tired of seeing so many people using food stamps to buy Cokes, candy, top-of-the-line ice cream and many other things they don’t have to have.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is an entitlement program unlike Social Security, which we pay into.

Too many people abuse the system. So cut it down some and put the savings back into Social Security.

— Ray Burns, Sunset

Opinions concerning food stamps probably depend on our attitude toward some basic questions. Are we a Christian nation? Are we our brother’s keeper? Do we love our neighbor as we love ourself?

The Bible is clear. Jesus championed the poor (the have-nots) and openly and courageously rebuked the wealthy and powerful (the haves) who suppressed and exploited them.

He castigated the hated temple priests who enriched themselves by selling animals for the required temple sacrifices. He criticized the hated Jewish elite and the Roman quislings such as King Herod. Unsurprisingly, most of Jesus’s followers were peasants.

An old Indian adage says we should not criticize another until we have walked in their shoes. Unless we have experienced similar genetic limitations and/or similar negative environmental influences, we should not criticize them. Rather, we should say, “There but for the grace of God go I!”

— John Paul Mitchell, Hurst

These cuts are a criminal assault on the poor and hungry.

The U.S. is extraordinarily wealthy and our workers are among the most productive in the world. These cuts are meant to support companies’ giant profits, and because they control the government, this is inevitable.

An army marches on its stomach, and the army of labor grows mutinous with every attack on our poorest fellow workers’ dinner tables.

The Democrats and Republicans are both responsible because they are both conducting this attack. The working class must build our own party as we have done everywhere else, to our class’s great benefit.

The unions say they oppose the cuts. Excellent! Now please build a labor party. The workers will be with you. Recurring crises are inevitable under capitalism. Ultimately, we’ll need a socialist revolution to protect food security for all Americans.

— David Harding, Euless

Again, Congress is looking at cutting the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it.

Food stamps allow low-income families a way to purchase just a little more food for their families. Cutting the amount these families receive is not the way to balance the budget.

Members of Congress should cut their salaries instead.

— Susan Radde, Hurst

According to a recent article in the Star-Telegram, about 47 million Americans are on food stamps and the cost is $80 billion per year. Maybe someone could check as to why that is such a big cost per person.

— Martha Cyphers, Aledo

There’s nothing right about cutting food stamps. Many of these people work, are children, elderly or disabled.

Where’s our Christian charity? Cut corporate welfare and waste in the Defense Department and raise the minimum wage.

Anyone who promotes cuts in food stamps ought to have to do community service at our food banks, soup kitchens and welfare offices.

— Loveta Eastes, Benbrook

This is not the best way, or the only way, to cut the budget, but it’s one way!

The food stamp program has lost control of the requirements to receive food stamps, and many who receive them are not eligible. All government agencies should be scrutinized for ways to reduce spending.

I’m not an educated expert. But when you spend and spend and don’t take in enough money to pay debts, you have to take in more money (taxes) or reduce spending.

Tom Brokaw was correct in writing that the World War II generation was the Greatest Generation — and the Giving Generation.

Today’s generation, I believe (generally), is the “give me, give me generation”!

— George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

The federal budget must be cut to prevent a looming financial debt crisis. All areas should be under consideration.

I’d like to see the House and Senate turn over the budget cuts to 535 retired volunteer CPAs and give them three months to fix it. It would happen.

In private business, departments are told to cut 10 percent and turn in their budgets to meet financial needs. They can’t print more money as our government does.

As far as food stamps are concerned, it’s an entitlement program meant to help the poor, which has resulted in creating decades of dependency on welfare and killing motivation. The War on Poverty had unintended consequences of severely damaging families, especially in minority communities.

This is fact. Food stamps are now provided to an estimated 47 million Americans.

Let’s not keep doing the same thing over and over with the same disastrous results.

— Paula Scoggin, Benbrook

I’ve read that the rationale for reducing the dollar value of food stamps is to force the abusers off the couch, find a job and go to work. The same rationale is used with the welfare system.

Opponents to these programs would lead us to believe that virtually everyone receiving food stamps and/or welfare is a deadbeat. To prove their point they trot out some California surfer who figured out how to scam the food stamp program.

I see people nodding their heads while listening to these diatribes about deadbeats. But their eyes glaze over and they go into that 1,000-yard stare if the topic turns to the fact that one in four children in Texas faces food insecurity daily.

Conjecture and innuendo support the belief that only deadbeats are on social welfare programs. But actual data suggest that tens of thousands of working Americans would not survive without this assistance.

Reinstate the money to food stamps and take it from big agribusiness. But, I forget: Poor people don’t provide campaign contributions.

— Tom Smusz, Brock

Food stamps are obviously a tremendous help for the poor, the disadvantaged and the unemployed. They provide the opportunity to just exist.

The problems of expense and abuse are exacerbated by the government agency in charge of distribution.

The bureaucracy required for distributing the stamps is huge and the workers must be paid. Greed and graft run rampant, requiring more bureaucratic controls.

Our citizenry has permitted another government takeover that breeds graft and results in the most ineffective and inefficient method of helping the poor.

In actuality, benevolence of this kind belongs in organizations staffed by volunteers who want to help other people, with their only reward being service to those in need.

Helping others brings an inner joy, which is denied by placing this responsibility in the hands of government. May our government return this benevolent activity to those who really want it.

— Grady Fuller, Kennedale

By encouraging states to ease asset and income tests, the Obama administration has altered the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from one providing food to destitute Americans to one providing food to people with savings, income and property.

The states are happy to go along with this because the feds provide 100 percent of the money. As a result, SNAP participation has jumped 70 percent since 2008 and has remained high even though unemployment has gone down.

What this amounts to is that now some SNAP enrollees can purchase a bigger flat-screen TV, or buy a more expensive brand of wine courtesy of the taxpayer.

The test for SNAP participation should be revised so that it benefits the truly needy, and is used only as a bridge to better times instead of as a permanent crutch. Cutting the program budget gives incentive for this change.

— Joel Downs, Hurst

Reduction of the federal food stamp subsidy is a low blow to everyone dependent on this program.

Forty-nine million in the U.S. went hungry last year.

Now Congress and the White House are taking the path of least resistance, against the poor, the poverty-stricken and those without advocates to champion their cause for this tax-paid relief program to feed one’s self and one’s children.

So the most vulnerable demographics will be impacted and the ramifications will be hard felt. Children, in particular, need proper nutrition to grow and do well in academics.

“Trimming” the food stamp recipient program is simply un-Christian and shows the lack of compassion the administration has for its people.

Is “dumpster diving” the next option for a meal?

— Sharon Ream, Fort Worth

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?