While the news is all up in arms about the fact that many middle class families will have to change health insurance companies and might have to pay more for it, there is very little noise being made about the fact that SNAP (aka, food stamps) funds are being cut effective this Friday.

There are 49 million Americans, 21 million of whom are children, who are “food insecure” and receive Food Stamps.  These are often families with a parent or parents working full-time jobs and/or multiple jobs in order to keep their heads above water and they STILL don’t make enough to adequately feed their families.  We interact with these people every day of our lives.   They work their asses off at McDonald’s, behind the deli counter at your supermarket, and they watch your kids at the daycare center.  They aren’t sitting on street corners begging for food.  They smile at us, exchange pleasantries and do their best to provide good customer service. Then they go home at night and forgo the asthma inhaler they desperately need and skip eating dinner so their kids can have a little more food. They are the working poor.

The cuts are significant.   Starting this Friday (just in time for the Holidays) a family of three will be getting 16 meals less a month–that’s about a week’s worth of food.  Could you cut back 16 meals a month?  How little food can you live off of and still maintain a pleasant demeanor while you clean up some other person’s kid’s vomit over at “Tutor Time” or serve up a family-sized bucket of chicken to some fat middle class jerk who probably voted for the Congressman who cut your food stamps?

Congressman Paul Ryan, who is sure to be a 2016 Presidential candidate, said just a few months ago that Republicans need to “do more listening to people who are in the trenches fighting poverty”.  Except that he didn’t listen to them during committee hearings on this budget issue and he and his party aren’t listening to them now.  The public isn’t seeing or listening to the plight of the working and hungry poor either because all they are seeing on TV and reading online are stories about middle class families and their tribulations.  The woes of having to choose among a variety of health care plans, or having the new Toyota recalled, or having to eat healthier as we age.  How about some stories on people who don’t get to eat?  How loud do the working poor have to be to get attention?  How long can they work so hard and eat so little before they just decide they’ve had enough?  How many more millions of hungry people will it take before this country wakes up?  Food pantry’s across the country are already saying there is no way they can make up the meal shortages.

It’s basically immoral to let hard working people and their innocent children go hungry.  It’s also impractical.  For every $1 of taxpayer money invested in food stamps the economy gets $1.70 into it on the other end.  That’s a damn good investment.  It’s long past time for us to stop punishing the poor as if they’ve done something wrong and time to invest in our fellow citizens.  Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

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