Monday, August 16, 2010

Obama’s Gallop Numbers now at 49% Negative – Congress to Cut State Future Aid to State Food Stamp Programs to Fund Mrs. Obama’s Program.

Blue State Food Aid Programs - image McClatchy

The Hill Blog is reporting that the Congress is ready to cut state aid in the form of the food stamp program, in order to fund a pet project of Mrs. Obama’s, her health initiative (a laudable project, whereby children are taught exercise and the tenants of eating right.) The aid, which according to the Hill blog, is actually an increase in aid to states that would have been phased in over a period of time, (2014), will vote to take back that chunk of change and give it to this program. The cost of the program: $8 billion.
Also noted is that the Food Stamp program is the Democrats favorite fund-cutting measure used to finance other areas because simply, there’s not many options of places to cut. The AP is reporting that the bill, which passed the Senate earlier, notes that hunger advocates who had supported the bill prior to finding out the cuts were going to affect the food stamp program, are now opposed.

Meanwhile, over at Gallop, Obama’s numbers declined again showing a 42% approval with 49% disapproval ranking going into the November mid-terms.
That said, the latest news regarding the cut in state aid has had little traction in the news (yet, if at all) and Food Stamps, in cash-strapped blue states, are a staple. The First Lady, is being made out by some media outlets to be somewhat callous : The Examiner Headline for example reads: As First Lady returns from Luxury Vacation, Obama cuts Food Stamps to Nations Poor the blogs have elaborated on that theme. Is it fair, however, to attack Mr. Obama whose intentions are in the right place? (Regardless of the 20 some odd vacations the family has taken since August? (Exaggeration and sarcasm).

The reality is that blue state Food Stamp programs need to be overhauled. One might say, even, on a Canadian model (shocking!). In Massachusetts (and most likely elsewhere) those that receive food stamps are given a debit card, which is good for a number of items, including, lobster (no kidding), and are salable on the “open market”. This sets the state system up for possible fraud and waste of the taxpayers’ dollars.

A few years back, an acquaintance had fallen on hard times, living in Canada (It may have changed since, but he idea is valid), those who could not afford food, would go to the nearest church (this could fall under faith based initiatives), where their needs would be assessed, they would be given a list of what to buy, and provided with exactly that – at a grocer who was aware of what the needs were. This type of program allowed for individual dignity and a much needed hand up – while eliminating fraud.

One must be fairly certain that states offering this type of food stamp credit card assistance, have an ability to track purchases, - however, that said, fraud is able to continue. In almost every community in the nation, a food pantry exists, therefore, a better use of funds would be to stock the food pantries, (working with the local grocery chains), allowing for better monitoring of purchases – this would actually serve two purposes. 1) The First Lady could insist that no donuts be made available on the shelves of these pantries and write ht guidelines, and secondly, one can bet that less abuse might take place, cutting the costs of the program.

It should also be noted, that eventually, an inability to borrow and print money at will have to come to an end, and after signing a Bill supporting teachers unions (financially) that according to an article in the Hawaii Reporter,(Blue State) will end up cutting out social programs such as food stamps, one sees the writing on the wall.

As more social programs are cut, the onus will be on the American people to stock these pantries and to make sure those in need do not go without. The choices made regarding the teachers union bailout and the cuts in Food Stamps, may have been held off, until the nation was in a state of recovery – not rushed through a Congress about to change overseers in November. It does nothing but erode support for the Presidents’ 2012 reported comeback and move to the middle. Hillary, 2012, is looking more attractive by the minute.

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