We know that government is paying a lot more for food assistance (food stamps) due to the Great Recession and decades of failed trickle-down economic policy. But Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer think there is something much more nefarious going on:
from The O’Reilly Factor:
Bill O’Reilly: I mean, you know, the Obama administration is going to say “bad economic times, the recession kicks in, people need the food,” but, you know, going from $17 billion to $76 billion, come on, something’s in play here, what is it?
Charles Krauthammer: Well, we have a political ideology in power in Washington of liberalism, which believes that a measure of success of government is how many people it “helps,” or to look at it another way, how many people it makes dependent on it’s administrations. And therefore, for them this is a great success. They want to see this sort of natural American aversion to taking a hand-out, you know, sort of whittled down, and that people aren’t so proud, I guess that’s a word they would use, to take aid.
This is a disgustingly cynical way to look at people in need, people who are starving, people who want to put food on the table for their children. Shame on Republicans and conservatives who view fellow Americans with such disdain and negativity.
I can’t say I’ve done exhaustive research on poverty and food stamps but because I know I’m not an expert on the topic, I’m going to error on the side of compassion. I’m not going to default to a position of cynicism. I’m not going to assume the worst in people. You know that O’Reilly and Krauthammer are no experts either, but they have convinced themselves and are trying to convince their audience that they do understand and that they know people are taking advantage of government, that people are freeloaders, and if only we cut back on the federal assistance we would have a more productive society. Sorry Bill, sorry Charles, if you can’t offer proof of your claims then you both are cynical assholes.
A couple of guests on today’s Up with Chris Hayes offer their critiques of O’Reilly and Krauthammer:
Joel Berg (NYC Coalition Against Hunger): I just gotta say, the very conservatives that sunk our economic ship now want to take away the life preservers from the drowning. Food stamps are a life preserver. The only reason we don’t have massive starvation today, like they do in North Korea, or Somalia, or Haiti, is because the food stamps program works. And by the way, most of those numbers they cited about the large increase in the program happened under President George W. Bush.
And let’s not forget the race baiting about this. For the last 40 years, people who have opposed low income, struggling families getting some help from the government…imply it’s non-white people, when throughout American history and today, the majority of people poor, the majority of people hungry, the majority of people on food stamps, the majority of people on welfare have been and always are going to be in the near future, white.
Mark Bittman (Author, “Food Matters”): I think it’s worth noting that we’re talking about, we’re not talking about a couple million people here, we’re talking about 45 million people, which is 1 in 6, 1 in 7 Americans. It’s really a big, big minority of people, and to say, you know that, that chunk of America is looking for hand-outs…is really cynical and insulting.
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