The Orange Grinch struck before Christmas with a cruel scheme that literally snatches food from the mouths of many of his adoring MAGA fans.
Weeks before Christmas the Trump Administration announced implementation of new regulations for SNAP – also known as food stamps. This is the federal program that provides food assistance to folks struggling at the lower ends of America’s economic ladder from the disabled to the elderly to low wage working families that include members of the military.
These new regulations slated initially to slam over 700,000 across America will eventually engulf nearly 4-million persons. The initial round pounds single persons with new work requirements to receive limited food stamp assistance irrespective of their ability to physically hold a job and ignoring realities that in many places around the nation jobs are not readily available, especially for persons with low-skills or no-skills.
Trump Administration officials, rejecting overwhelming public opposition to their cruel scheme, packaged their new regulations as necessary cost-cutting measures to manage the federal debt…despite the certainty that their changes limiting food stamp access will sharply increase suffering from lack of food.
Trump officials tout $8 billion is savings over ten years from their three sets of new SNAP cut regulations.
However, Trump’s signature White House accomplishment – the massive tax cut for wealthy individuals and large corporations – will cost the federal government $8 trillion over ten years.
With a trillion dollars being a thousand billion dollars, just a small portion of Trump’s tax cut for wealthy individuals (like Trump and many of his top officials) could fully fund SNAP assistance plus provide free meals in elementary and secondary schools around America that would end the repugnant practice of publicly ‘shaming’ students whose families owe as little as $10 in unpaid school meal fees.
One of the crueler ironies stashed inside the small print of the SNAP cuts are their impact on states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
Seven of the ten states with the largest number of SNAP recipients are states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election. That seven includes the so-called ‘Rust Belt’ states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania where small margins of victory by Trump helped secure his Electoral College victory despite his having lost the popular vote by three million.
Digging into the real-feel impact of the SNAP cuts, as an Urban Institute study did, reveals states that will suffer the most total loss under the new regulations are Pennsylvania and Michigan along with the Dakotas (North & South) and Montana – again, all states that went red in the 2016 election.
Too many Make America Great Again (MAGA) supporters do not see that the SNAP cuts extend beyond ‘those’ unworthy persons of color. For example, the black populations of North Dakota and South Dakota are less than three percent and two percent respectively while less than one-half of one percent in Montana.
Reality: Trump’s SNAP cuts will ravage a lot of white folks. Many MAGA fans might personally escape SNAP cut deprivations but their extended families, close friends and favored neighbors will not.
The Orange Grinch delivered cruel December ‘gifts’ beyond SNAP cuts.
Trump, who made repeated 2016 campaign promises to preserve Social Security, floated a proposal in December that could snatch life-saving disability benefits from hundreds of thousands of people through imposition of new barriers for the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility for payments. This proposal, if implemented, would impact persons from children to the elderly.
Showing no sense of shame, the Orange Grinch (a/k/a Trump) continued with his patterns of prevarications during December campaign rallies in Pennsylvania and Michigan – two of the states most burdened by the coming SNAP cuts. (As of mid-December, Trump recorded 15,413 false or misleading claims since entering the Oval Office according to on-going tabulations by the Washington Post newspaper.)
Trump, during a Pennsylvania campaign rally, deceptively trumped to cheering MAGA fans, that Pennsylvania’s “unemployment rate has reached an all-time low.” This was one of 22 false claims Trump made during that Hershey, Pa rally according to news accounts.
As the old saying goes: figures never lie but liars figure.
Yes, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in October 2018 and was 4.1 percent in October 2019, but the September 2018 rate was 4.0 percent. If the more accurate federal measure of unemployment is used – the U6 rate not the U3 rate used by politicians and the news media – Pennsylvania’s October 2019 unemployment rate is eight percent…the same figure as September 2018.
The county in Pennsylvania that registered the largest growth in unemployment was the lightly populated Cameron – a county in that state’s northwestern tier that is 99 percent white and an area that gave 74 percent of its votes to Trump in 2016.
Trump, at that Hershey rally, also renewed his claims that he’s improved unemployment among African-Americans, despite the fact that the state’s unemployment rate for blacks in October 2019 was 7.8 percent, higher than the 3.6 percent rate for whites. Historically, the unemployment rate among blacks nationwide has remained double that of whites, a product of systemic discrimination that Trump policies/practices have not dented.