Saturday, October 29, 2005

Panel OK's food cuts for poor...


So why isn't this news?
It's 7:30am on Saturday morning. My husband and I are reading the paper and he asks, "What do they expect these people to do?" I say, "What are you talking about?" He reads to me from the article in the Orlando Sentinel, an article by Libby Quaid/Associated Press.

The House Agriculture Committee approved budget cuts Friday that would take food stamps away from an estimated 300,000 people and could cut off school lunches and breakfast for 40,000. (Whole article will be posted in the comment section)

So I say, "Hey that should be blogged" and set off to find an electronic copy to post on this blog. And 30 minutes later, I'm still hunting on the Internet for this article. There wasn't an electronic copy in the Orlando Sentinel. A search on Google News comes up empty. And I'm thinking, isn't the fact that they are taking food stamps away from the poor news worthy?

This week we learned that Wal-Mart is going to try to cut costs by hiring only healthy people. So that means all of the fat poor people can forget about going to work at minimum wage at Wal-Mart. The media says Americans are overweight so now I guess we can say, “Well those poor people need to lose weight anyway. Cutting food stamps and letting then starve a little bit will be good for them..." So we are going to spend money to build a bridge to some remote island in Alaska to residents who don't really want it, but the politician does because the bridge will be named after him. (It is enough money to by Learjet’s for every resident on the island.) At the same time, we are going to cut food stamps to the poor, many who are elderly. We also are going to try to leave No Child Behind but let them sit in class with empty stomachs.
And you wonder why I think Bush's presidency was a mistake for this country?

1 comment:

Martie said...

washingtonpost.com
Senate Panel OKs $3B Cut in Farm Payments
By LIBBY QUAID
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; 10:16 PM
WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee on Wednesday voted to pare $3 billion from farm payments and conservation programs but revived a disputed $1 billion dairy subsidy program.
Lawmakers from Western states with huge dairy operations tried to kill the subsidy program, arguing it hurts big producers by flooding the market with milk. Senators from the Northeast, where dairy herds are smaller, said the program keeps small family farms afloat.
"This is a simple program to help the little guy," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
President Bush made a campaign pledge last year to renew the program, Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., pointed out.
Congress ordered $3 billion in cuts to agriculture in a budget outline passed earlier this year. Cutting payments to farmers by 2.5 percent across the board would save nearly $1.3 billion while spending on conservation would fall by more than $1 billion.
Lawmakers will vote separately on aid for farmers trying to recover from hurricanes, drought, flooding and other disasters, said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.
The Republican-controlled committee approved the budget bill on an 11-9 vote. One Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, sided with Republicans, saying he backs the dairy program, which benefits farmers in his state.
Leahy and other lawmakers also were relieved that the bill spared food stamp programs from budget cuts. Food stamps were initially targeted for a $574 million cut two weeks ago, but Chambliss, R-Ga., decided against those cuts.
Some $821 million of the cuts in conservation would affect a program that pays farmers to use environmentally friendly practices.
The dairy subsidy pays dairy farmers when prices are low, helping small farmers in particular because payments are allowed only on production equaling about 120 cows.
The program is popular in Pennsylvania, where the average dairy farmer has a herd of 64 cows, and other states in the Northeast. But the program is despised in areas where herds are large and producers see relatively little benefit.
"It distorts market signals and rewards a portion of the dairy industry for continuing to overproduce," said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. In his state, the average dairy herd has more than 500 cows.
Santorum countered that production dropped in the Northeast but rose in the West when prices fell and payments kicked in. "The idea that this program is somehow market-distorting is simply not true," he said.
Congress created the dairy subsidy in the 2002 farm bill, but it expired Sept. 30. Dairy farmers have not received payments since last year because prices have been high.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said lawmakers cannot justify continuing the dairy program, which is estimated to cost $1 billion over five years, while reducing spending for corn, cotton, rice, wheat and other farmers and conservation programs.
"How can we reduce these programs and add $1 billion back into the dairy program?" Roberts said.
Senators voted to continue the dairy program, defeating an amendment by Crapo to kill it.
The news was not all good for dairy farmers. Those producers are facing bigger cuts than other farmers under the bill, but senators refused to scale back the cuts.
When prices fall below a certain level, the dairy subsidy pays dairy farmers to cover 45 percent of the difference; the bill reduces the rate to 34 percent. Senators refused an attempt by Dayton to keep the rate at 45 percent.
The $3 billion in food and farm cuts are part of a Senate effort to shave $35 billion from federal spending over the next five years. The next step for the bill is the full Senate.
The House Agriculture Committee is expected to seek more severe cuts. The conservative-dominated House GOP leadership is planning $50 billion in budget cuts.