Glenn Beck, Fox News, and the Right Wing media have jumped all over the Democrats and Obama cutting aid to the food stamp program. Many of these same people who refer to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme and unemployment benefits as welfare are expressing phony outrage over a benefit cut that will not occur until 2014.
Here is the audio of Beck courtesy of Media Matters:
Beck was weaving an Obama conspiracy theory, where the President is trying to incite left wing violence in the streets by attacking them, when he said, “So on the same night that Robert Gibbs comes out and says hey by the way the people on the Left, you stink. Shave your armpits ladies, or whatever he said, and he went after them with an anvil. Why would you do that? When Van Jones and everybody else is trying to heal, he goes and do that. Now it could be that he is stupid. Now on the same day, they go after the food stamp program, which is a scam by the way, but they go after the food stamp program.”
After listening to Beck’s comments I read several conservative blog posts and stories, and including one on the Fox News website, but they all left one important detail from their stories. According to Democracy Now! “To advance the bill, Democratic leaders agreed to cut $12 billion in spending on food stamps. The Food Research and Action Center says the cuts will impact some 40 million people when they take effect in 2014. A family of four that receives food stamps stands to lose $59 in monthly benefits.”
According to Beck, Obama is out to provoke wing violence by cutting food stamp benefits four years from now. Wow, that ought to really get some blood on the streets in 2014, when people remember that Obama signed a cut in food stamp benefits in 2010. CBS News, and Politico mentioned that the cuts don’t kick in until 2014, but Human Events didn’t mention it. Fox News dedicated six paragraphs to the Democratic outrage over the cuts before mentioning that they won’t occur until 2014. (Mentioning the cuts any sooner would have taken the drama out of the story and destroyed the Fox narrative).
I am sure that there are countless other examples of blogs on the Right who are leaving out that small but critical detail. The political reality is that Congress was playing a budgetary shell game. I would bet anything that the funding will be restored to the food stamp program long before 2014 rolls around. Congress was juggling some numbers so that it looked like the $26 billion in aid to states was paid for.
Glenn Beck can keep peddling his nonsense about Obama, “going after food stamps,” but the truth is that cut was nothing more than election year stunt designed to make Congress look like they care about spending and the deficit. Obama and Congress are banking on the idea that by 2014 the economy will be robust again, and there will be less demand for the food stamp program, with fewer recipients in the program, funding will fall, so what looks like a cut during the recession, will really be a return to the funding level of regular economic times.
If the Right really believes that food stamps are a scam, along with Social Security, unemployment benefits, and school lunches, then why aren’t they praising Obama for these cuts? Isn’t it a good thing that Obama is getting rid of this “scam?” Everyone knows that the program itself is not a scam, but with Republicans out to divide America along class and racial lines, and with the poor being the easiest targets, people like Glenn Beck see a benefit in attacking the most defenseless people in our society. Beneath the fake outrage is an attempt to further divide America. It is a cynical ploy to win votes in November. Such is the current dynamic that shapes conservative political thought.