Friday, September 20, 2013

An Angry Letter about Food Stamps

Dear House Republicans,

I am writing this letter to let you know that I am unhappy with you. We both know this a normal thing, I generally disagree with a lot of things you do, but this time you have gone too far. Your recent decision to cut $40 billion from the food stamp budget shows just how ignorant you are about the needs of anyone who is not in the upper middle class.

When I was growing up my mother would not have been able to afford any food at all if we had not had food stamps. She didn't have a job, and no, she wasn't interested in finding one (a decision which I don't agree with, trust me). The only way she could afford food was to use food stamps. Without food stamps me and my three brothers would have starved, which honestly, since we already got such little money we almost nearly did, wouldn't have taken much. I know from experience how invaluable resources like food stamps are to people who don't have any money to buy food with.

And what irritates me the most is imagining the 16 million children who live in households that are below the poverty line that are going to go hungry if the Senate passes this bill. How are we, the supposed richest nation able to justify allowing that? Furthermore, 210,000 students will lose free lunch, which parents who can't afford school lunch rely on to make sure their students can get three meals a day. For me, lunch was the only guaranteed meal for many years.

And why is this cut happening? "Too many people are abusing the system" says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. But why not push for a reform? Why not work to create a system that can't be abused versus taking away an invaluable system altogether? And then they rush in and cry "it's the hard working middle class that has to pay for your abuse!" but here's the thing. 2.1 MILLION people, a number which consists mainly of low income seniors will end up not being able to buy food. Seniors who probably contributed to the working class for most of their lives.

And furthermore, cutting money from SNAP (food stamps) doesn't even make freaking sense because the program basically pays for itself, jerk faces. The Center on Budget Priorities has been quoted as saying "Economists consider SNAP one of the most effective forms of economic a weak economy every dollar increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 economic activity." AND!!! Get this. Only 1 out of every 100 dollars is actually trafficked (abused) so the argument that the program needs cuts because of abuse is a giant lie.

House Republicans, why you gotta play a low class like that? And the fact that you think that everyone on food stamps is sitting on their couches expecting a middle class citizen to fund their food expenses is complete crap, considering for every three unemployed adults there is one job opening. Want to help out the economy? Work on creating more jobs, not punishing those who can't find one.

If you don't want SNAP around anymore, why not raise minimum wage? Oh wait. You had the chance to do that back in March, but unanimously voted it down, even suggesting the idea of eliminating minimum wage altogether! This is what happens when there is such a large disconnect in socio-economic classes between the people and those who are chosen to represent them. House Republicans, you need to learn what it is like to live in a low class neighborhood from paycheck to paycheck PRAYING you can afford more than a package of top ramen after bills are paid.

Here's some other facts: The new bill would limit the amount of time one could receive food stamps to three months. So good luck, you can work a minimum wage job for three months and feed your family but then you have to miraculously become qualified enough to work a better job. And again, this bill will hurt children, more than anyone.

Yes our economy is unstable. Yes, we have budget problems, but my 11 year old sister, my 9 year old brother, my 7 year old self, we didn't cause those problems and we don't deserve to be punished for them. And when children are not getting proper nutrition, they aren't able to grow mentally or physically like they should. If the bill is passed, the four million kept above the poverty line because of assistance from food stamps, and the millions kept from falling deeper into poverty would be screwed.

Here's the thing, I don't know how to fix our economy, and I don't know how to balance things out so that we don't have to punish CHILDREN for our country's budget problems. But what I do know is that starving the roughly 14 million people that would be cut from food stamps in order to provide a solution is wrong. And you should all be ashamed of yourselves for even thinking that this would be okay.



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