Why Must Congress Cut Food Stamps… NOW?


Today I saw an article, at MSNBC, that caught my eye… then it hurt… me. This article will be a test. A test of my abilities. As a writer, and as a humanist. The test? Can I write an article about policy and leave out the politics. This is a very important challenge for me. Let me tell you why.

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I was born, raised and educated in South-East Texas. Pearland to be exact. I am a proud Texan. However, when I was a boy, in Texas, the state was ‘Blue’. Meaning that more than not, at that time, Texans voted Democrat. When America elected John F. Kennedy they also elected a Democrat Vice President named Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ was, at the time, the epitome of a Texan. He was larger than life, had a deep accent, a voice that was both deep and thoughtful. And hands… Well, let me you a short story. When I was six or seven, when the honor I did have, to meet LBJ. I was with my father, my BFF from 3-13, and we were at either Ellington AFB, or at my father’s society.

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Here is what I remember… I remember a warm and rumbling voice… I remember he cast a shadow whenever he stood in front of you. He was so tall and large, it was like he blocked out the sun. I remember than even though he was an enormous man, when he stood in front of my father and spoke to him… I was not scared. I remember him leaning down (way down) to look me in the eye. Then he grasped my hand in both of his… and my hand disappeared. Literally, My Dear Readers, I lost sight of my hand! Even though, to me, he was a giant. Even though, in his hands mine disappeared. There was this overwhelming calm that I felt. I was not afraid. As a matter of fact… I remember feeling like I wanted to give him a hug.

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LBJ asked me my name, and I replied Daniel! He smiled… leaned over… and whispered in my ear “When you grow up… you are going to vote Democrat… right?” Lucky for LBJ that even at this young age I knew of politics and I knew my father and mother voted Democrat. I replied

“Yes sir… a straight ticket, all Democrat. Like my father does!”

I remember that he laughed. Deep and rumbly, it shook the air around us, and I felt it in my tummy. He smiled so large I thought he would split his face in half. He turned to my father and said (something I did hear often… and it made me proud to have people say it to my father… with me there)

“He’s as smart a whip, eh, Ken?” and he laughed again… then moved on.

My father was beaming, so awestruck he did not speak… simply nodded. LBJ was a great man, and I was/am proud that I had the honor to meet him.

When LBJ took over the Presidency from our slain President Kennedy, he did not ride on his laurels or those of his running mate. On January 8th, 1964 (I would have been six) Lyndon Baines Johnson changed America by announcing the beginning of the War On Poverty[1] This war was joined by legislation such as the; Social Security Amendments of 1965’’[2], Food Stamp Act of 1964’’[3], Economic Opportunity Act of 1964’’[4], and Elementary and Secondary Education Act’’[5]. These laws were passed, all of them, with (what we cannot seem to do for the life of US) Bi-Partisan support! In the House of Representatives and the Untied States Senate these pieces of legislation received wide Bi-Partisan support. The major reason why the strong, and across party lines, support?

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During John F. Kennedy’s Presidential run for office he did something no President had done since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He took trains, he rode in cars, and he toured the South. And what did he find? Rampant and intractable poverty all across the South. At the time the ‘War On Poverty’ started the rate of poverty in America was Nineteen percent. That means, if you took five people… let’s say from Texas. From five different towns, ONE of those five would have lived in (often generational) poverty. America was the wealthiest nation on the planet. The most wealthy in human history.

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We could not stand to know this, and see such intractable poverty harming fellow Americans. I clearly remember before America was forced to watch our son’s die in battle in Vietnam. We sat at our T.V. Trays and watched as John and Robert Kennedy sat on porches, in the South, of the deeply impoverished. Once We (THE American people) saw the footage and heard the stories? There was no turning back, we simply had to act.

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At the time these laws were passed (and I cannot say this enough, with Bi-Partisan support) the national poverty rate was 19%. One in five Americans lived in poverty, and many it was intractable and generational. We were the single richest nation in the history of man. We could not tolerate the fact the 19% of US could not; feed, clothe or shelter themselves. It had to stop. I remember hearing about this poverty, as a child of seven and eight. I remember asking my father “Are we poor?”

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Nineteen percent. The nation was horrified by the size of that number. We moved as one and struck at its roots. I remember it was the topic of many a sermon @ South Park Baptist Church. I remember the ‘Food Drives’ and other activities held locally to address poverty in our own backyards. I remember giving up clothes, canned goods and time @ South park Baptist Church. I, sincerely, wanted to do my part in this ‘War On Poverty’. However, I was not alone. I saw other children, my age, at the church helping in the same cause. I saw ‘shorts’ on the Nightly News about other children getting involved.

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As a nation we moved in unison, we moved with purpose, we moved as ONE regardless of; race, color or political affiliation. This poverty reflected on US all, every single one. The line between the Haves and Have-Nots would (at least) be, for the time, blurred. And, like everything else that our great nation puts it mind too… focuses on… moves as one! We took a big ol’bite out of poverty in America. And I was proud.

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Psalms 82:3-5: “Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.”

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When LBJ lead; the Congress, the Senate and the American people into war against poverty the national poverty rate was 19%. Today in America in 2013 the national poverty rate is (conservatively rated at) 15%.[6] That is equal to 46.2 million America citizens. Danny is sitting here, and without even thinking, is doing some math… in his head. In forty-nine years we have dropped poverty only four percent. They estimate that over 16.2 million children live every day in hunger. In America… today.

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1 John 3:18 Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. 1 John 3:19 Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.

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Today I read an article that disturbed me, and is the motivation for this article. Now, My Dear Readers, I firmly believe that up to this point I have been objective. I have not favored any party, nor have I bashed any political party. Now we get to see how well Danny can dance (not very well… you can ask my date to the Prom (Lisa Long DeHoyos) or anyone from “The Man Who Came To Dinner’. With two left feet, I was born, there can be no doubt. However, here goes my very best attempt to avoid politics and speak only of national policy. I cannot edit the title of this article. Therefore, the use of a party name in this link and header is not my doing and beyond my power.

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Republicans to propose $40 billion cut over decade to food stamps program[7]

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I deeply apologize if this title did offend anyone. Please believe me when I tell you, and I mean this with all respect and admiration, if the title would have read the name of the other party. I would be writing the very same article in the very same way. I hope that you can accept my position, and my apology, and not hold it against me or my blog and my writing. A promise I have made, to myself and to others, to leave partisanship behind and it is a promise I will work hard to keep. I think it is important, for me, but I also think it is a lesson we (as a NATION) could do well to learn. If we can leave partisanship (especially this new breed of ‘Hyper-partisanship’… and it is both parties that engage in this practice) behind I think we would have a better chance of making this a better nation.

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Mat. 25:44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ Mat 25:45 “And I will answer, ‘When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.’

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The cuts will come over ten years, at four billion a year. Since the financial downturn of 2008-2009 the roles of the Food Stamp program (now known as SNAP- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program[8]) did swell. However, what is to be expected? Our nation suffered, what is now being called, ‘The Great Recession’. With twelve million Americans looking for; a second job, a job that pays a “Living Wage”, or just a full time job one can reasonably expect that more Americans would not have enough money to pay their rent and food. In my humble opinion, there should be no shame in asking for assistance to feed your family… or just yourself, if it is beyond your means. Now, I do not think that we should be providing food for; drug dealers not reporting their drug sales income, any recipient of illegal funds that are not reported, residents that are here illegally and have committed crimes while in our nation, and parents with children that simply refuse to look for work or work for the state for their benefits. Having said, I do think that; people with disabilities that simply cannot work, mother’s with infant-school age children who work one or two jobs and need the assistance, the elderly and seniors, Veterans of our nation’s Armed Forces, and people who work as many hours as the jobs they have allow and still live below poverty. There are more… but I am sure you understand.

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Our nation has not, yet, completely recovered from the single greatest economic downturn since The Great Depression. Especially when we all got the good news that our national deficit has fallen $642 billion in 2013.[9] This is not some mathematical error and it is not partisan. I saw this reported on Fox News as well as; NBC, CBS and ABC. Please, put parties aside and politics as well. Let us look at this as fellow Americans individuals of all walks of life banded together for the betterment of our posterity and our nation. Did I mention that this equals Sixteen pint two million children?[10]

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1 John 3:17 But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him ?

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I don’t know about you? But that part… I find unconscionable. The entire budget for SNAP (at its highest recorded level) was $78 billion dollars. During the height of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars the United States was paying out nearly $100 billion a month for third party vendors to feed our troops in these war zones. We are out of Iraq and by the first quarter of 2014 our troops will be out of Afghanistan. The savings of just one month from not fighting these wars will pay for One YEAR of “Food Stamp’ benefits that will reach nearly ten million American families.

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By now you have all noticed me doing something different. Within this article I am placing quotations from the Christian Bible. As I mentioned, earlier, I was Baptized @ South Park Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. When my family moved to Pearland ( and I am very proud to be from Pearland) we attended the First Baptist Church of Pearland Texas. Until my parents marriage went south, we attended church regularly. My father was involved in both churches. In Houston he was an Usher then later a Deacon. I do not talk of this often, and I do not brag about it either. I am proud of my membership in these fine churches. I am very proud of the lessons I learned and the positive effect attending had on me. I only mention it now… because… How, pray tell (play on words) can we call our nation Christian… how can we call ourselves Christian… if we support cutting programs that feed the poor of our very wealthy nation?

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Prov. 14:31 Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.

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I place these quotations not to guilt and not to insult. I place them out of a desire to put our actions (Rather the actions of our Representatives in the House of Representatives) into perspective. I am proud of my Christian upbringing. I am proud to be a Christian. I think that our nation has done well to keep Christianity alive for our children and our children’s children. But… doesn’t actions… even only intended… speak volumes about these the callus natrue of these acts? Cannot we make cuts to other programs that do not feed the poor, the disabled, and our seniors? I mean, why can’t Congressmen and Senators take… let’s say… a 3% pay cut and keep feeding these impoverished Americans?

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An offering, like that, would certainly get the Congressional approval rate above seven percent. Yes? I know it would improve my opinion of Congress and the Senate. Heck, I would even approve of cutting endowments for the Arts before we put the axe to food for the impoverished!

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1 Sam. 2:8 He lifts the poor from the dust– Yes, from a pile of ashes– And treats them as princes sitting in the seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord’s And he has set the world in order.

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My Dear Readers, I am nearly finished. I have said my full and I cannot think of any more arguments for America to do what we all know to be rightful action. If, by chance, you agree with my sentiment. If you agree that other programs or the military should be cut before these programs to feed the poor. Show your support. Show your support by; leaving a comment here on this thread, call your representative, write a letter to your Congressman or Senator or call. The number for the Congressional switchboard (which can locate your representative and connect you to them) is 202-224-3121.

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As always, My Dear Readers, it is my honor to have you visit my blog. You honor me by reading my works. I thank you for your time and am grateful for your comments and support. Thank you for your time, it has value and I respect your time.

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Please… I have been the awestruck recipient of a very generous donation this week. It has pushed me well towards my goal and I am eternally grateful. However, I am still far from my goal and I ask for your support. Please… if you can… please give. If you simply cannot? Please share my works, my blogs, and my campaign… and leave the rest to me.

“Thank YOU!”

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

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