A deal which passive-aggressively condemns more than a million chronically unemployed Americans to lives of destitution while it restores most of the Pentagon sequester cuts actually won praise from the fiscally conservative commander in chief -- by virtue of the fact that the pretend-enemy factions were able to come together to make a deal, any deal, ending the "gridlock" which nobody but the wealthy Beltway insiders pretend to care about.
|The 113th Congress|
The austerians won another round. The Big Money decreed it, the Big Money guaranteed it. And so, while military spending increases, younger veterans will be subject to chained CPI reductions on their future benefits. Federal workers will contribute more to their pension plans, on top of the effective wage reduction occasioned by the president's three-year pay freeze. Airline travelers already abused by stop and frisk tactics will now be charged an extra fee to defray the cost of the groping experience.
The wealthy will pay nothing. Their tax loopholes will enlarge into gaping chasms. If anything, they will get even richer.
And Congress isn't done yet. If you thought the Democrats would be clamoring for an expansion of the food stamp program at a time when an historic number of people are experiencing food insecurity, think again. The two right wings are currently negotiating over how much money to cut from benefits.
Taking a cue from the double-talking Barack Obama and his crusade to end human misery by imposing more of it, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow proclaims herself a champion of the downtrodden by dividing the deserving hungry from the undeserving hungry. She is suggesting another $8 billion in SNAP cuts on top of the already $5 billion yanked from the program last month. In Bipartisan Austerity World, there apparently exists out in the hinterland a secret cabal of lottery winners and other cheats stuffing their faces with groceries on the public dime. And even worse, some of them are unfairly staying warm in what's looking to be a colder than normal winter. There's apparently a "loophole" that qualifies people in some states for automatic low income heating assistance, and Stabenow wants to sew it up tight. Her theory must be that people will be shivering so much that they'll forget their stomachs are empty. Oh, and since the Obama budget already had cut LIHEAP by 30% anyway, just think of the added savings when poor families ratchet down the heat from 60 to 55. It'll tie in so nicely with Michelle's Let's Move campaign when the kids have to do jumping jacks just to keep warm.
Joel Berg, director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, trenchantly observes:
As chair of the Agriculture Committee, she (Stabenow) has it well within her power to propose a farm bill with no additional SNAP cuts whatsoever. The House Republicans have no legal ability to pass additional cuts unless the Senate Democrats and President Obama consent to such cuts. The Democrats should join together in scrapping this horrible bill that slashes food for struggling families while boosting corporate welfare, and instead start from scratch with a brand new farm bill that aids small- to mid-sized family farmers, slashes hunger and boosts rural economic development.The Democrats are no longer even pretending to represent ordinary people. The only question remaining is how much pain people are willing to endure before they finally SNAP.
Judging from the radio silence, despair reigns over the Feudal States of the Homeland this holiday season.
And here is the third part of the New York Times series on Dasani, the homeless urban child that Barack Obama, Debbie Stabenow and the bipartisan pain caucus want to put on another diet.