Last night at 8PM the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives introduced a new Farm Bill. This was essentially the same bill as was rejected just a short while ago. The big change was that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) otherwise known as “food stamps” was missing in its entirety. For decades the linkage of farm subsidies to food support for the poor has been the norm in the House, but no longer. The House Leadership felt it would be easier to address the SNAP program separately. Right. This, of course, is nonsense. The farm subsidies are near and dear to Republican hearts and the SNAP program near and dear to Democrat hearts so there were natural concessions built in. Separating them is an act of war.
The bill was voted on and with only Republican “Aye” votes was passed today. That’s right from 8PM to today, a 600 page bill was debated and voted on. A “do nothing” Congress no more.
So, in addition to the war on unions and the war on women, the Republicans are now waging war on poor people.
Of course, since SNAP was the bulk of the funding in the farm bill and removing it made the bill very much smaller, the “fiscally responsible” Republicans took the time to add many billions of dollars of additional supports direly needed by corporate farms (yes, I am being sarcastic). Oh, and they made all of this permanent, no need to vote on this every five or ten years, just lock in the record levels of corporate welfare in perpetuity.
So, Republicans (at the behest of their wealthy masters) have made war on unions and through them on the vast majority of working Americans who have seen their wages in the last 36 years go up 4%. Over that same time period, productivity went up 98% or 25 times as much. Instead of some of the wealth created going to the workers who made it, the wealthy got even wealthier and invested their money to the point that banks were overflowing with cash (which is why a savings account is really stupid and has been for decades). The banks needed to get that money out into circulation if they were going to make any money but there was so much of it they loaned it to anyone for anything, hence the housing bubbles, the Great Recession, etc.
The Republicans are waging war on women, with regard to their health care, but in other insidious ways. Their latest attacks against unions have focused on public-sector unions, which means public office workers, nurses, teachers, . . . , are you seeing the pattern yet? Most of these jobs are held by women.
There has been a vast campaign to privatize public-schooling (charter schools, vouchers, etc.) to the point Wall Street is now offering seminars on how to cash in on the “charter school revolution.” Of course they can do better and pay a profit at the same time; what a silly question. This, of course, is with full knowledge that these new schools are doing no better that the ones they replaced (yes, some actually did better, but an equal number did worse, with the bulk having done about the same).
Obviously it is beneath Republican dignity to declare a war on the poor, but Republican state houses are cutting unemployment benefits, calling the working poor dependent and lazy, etc. And, oh, the food stamps program just got lopped off.
The U.S. economy is roughly 70% domestic, that is we sell about 70% of the goods we produce to ourselves. But the Republican policies are creating an American public that has to scramble for food and shelter and which has very little disposable income (next to none if borrowing were to be cut off). Just how are we to “buy” the economy’s output if our wages and benefits are suppressed, our educations are devalued, etc.? (Remember when George W. Bush urged us to go out and “spend” to boost the economy, actually providing us with a miniscule tax refund to do just that?)
Where does this end?
Why are they doing this?
Aren’t most Republicans in safe districts? Why do they need to suck the dicks of their wealthy masters and grind the poor and middle class under their heels?
If we don’t rise up, we are doomed to a pale existence and the way it has always been done is through redistribution of wealth. Don’t blanch at the term. The 1% got where they are today by redistributing wealth (ours became theirs) by bribing politicians to pass laws making us pay most of the taxes and not their corporations, to allow them to ship our jobs overseas at a profit, to make sure that billionaire hedge fund managers pay no more than 15% in federal taxes, to make sure that corporate welfare was lucrative and that anything with the word “defense” or “security” on it got passed with extra funds, even though we spend more that the next thirteen richest states, all of whom are allies!
The rules need to be changed back more in our favor. They have the money. We have people power. Rise up or we are doomed.