MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
So last week the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut food stamps by about $40 billion over a few years. That compares to a proposed $4 billion cut in the senate.
BuzzFlash at Truthout has written on Food Stamps many times and pointed out how they actually stimulate the economy. Studies on Food Stamps have shown that up to $1.70 goes back into the economy through the food distribution change for every dollar spent. And given the continued decrease in wages and joblessness for many Americans, the need for Food Stamps is rising.
But Food Stamps have been up there with Ronald Reagan's "welfare Mom in a pink Cadillac" stereotype for acceptable symbols of the white racist tribal identity edge of the social wing of the GOP. This is the wing whose base prejudices are manipulated by the likes of the Koch Brothers' organizing groups to blame poor minorities for the increasing economic woes of the white working and middle class -- instead of where blame belongs on the upward distribution of money to the wealthiest in America.
You may think equating GOPers (no Democrats voted for the bill) who vote for food stamp cuts as closet Aryan Nations members a bit over the top (and it maybe), but beating a person to death and starving them is a fine line of moral iniquity. And what the GOP in the House wants to do is basically starve minorities because they are gaining too much voting power, and the GOP doesn't -- and hasn't -- ever wanted to split the wealth of America with the descendants of slaves or contemporary de facto slaves: Mexicans working in the US for barely survivable wages.
Whatever one thinks of Obama's Wall Street financial policies, his neo-liberal global worldview, and his general failure to lead against neanderthal policies, he's been hampered by the Grand Canyon of American politics: a very large percentage of white Americans are tribalists who don't want a black man in charge, and think blacks are somehow inferior to whites (the very whites who vote against their own economic interests: think Food Stamps, Medicare, Social Security and Veterans Benefits, for example). In short, even if a black man offers a better financial deal to many whites, they will go with the white GOP leadership that is pickpocketing them purely due to white identity politics.
To illustrate how race triumphs economic self interest on an issue such as food stamps, The Root ran an article, "Poor White Cash: GOP and Food Stamps. Republicans have become so deluded that they're engaged in class warfare against their own loyal voters":
House Republicans passed a nutrition bill that eliminates $39 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as food stamps. Nearly 47 million Americans currently rely on SNAP -- roughly 15 percent of the population -- and 17.6 million U.S. households are considered food insecure, which means they aren't sure where their next meal will come from. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 17 million of these people are children, 5 million are seniors and 300,000 are elderly veterans.
And despite prevailing racial stereotypes, which first became mainstream during President Ronald Reagan's tenure and his propagation of the myth of a "welfare queen" from the South Side of Chicago, the overwhelming majority of food stamp recipients are white. And curiously, many of them are Republicans. USDA data show that in 2011, 37 percent of food stamp users (pdf) were from white, non-Hispanic households.
And of the 254 counties where the number of food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011, Republican candidate Mitt Romney won 213 in last year's presidential election. Bloomberg's John McCormick and Greg Giroux compiled research revealing that Kentucky's Owsley County -- which backed Romney with 81 percent of its vote -- had the largest proportion of food stamp recipients of all the communities where Romney won.
Read that last paragraph again: "Of the 254 counties where the number of food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011 ....Mitt Romney won 213 in last year's election." That translates to more than 80% of the counties in which food stamps doubled voting for Romney, the anti-47% moocher crusader.
The Root (owned by the Washington Post Company), further provides this astonishing analysis of the House vote on cutting Food Stamps:
According to the Bloomberg research, more than half of Owsley County's population -- 52 percent -- received food stamps in 2011 alone. The county's racial makeup is 97.6 percent white, and it has a median household income of $19,344 -- in comparison with the national median household income of $52,762. In fact, 4 in 10 of the country's residents live below the poverty line, based on U.S. census statistics.
Republican Rep. Hal Rogers, who represents Owsley County and won his 16th term in the House of Representatives last year, boldly joined the GOP majority that voted to cut billions from food stamp services. It seems mind-boggling that Rogers also won 84 percent of the vote, yet in matters that most concern the economic interests of his constituents, he acts with impunity.
And Rogers isn't alone.
Two-thirds of the 39 legislators who represent America's 100 hungriest counties voted "yea" on behalf of the measure, which eventually passed 217-210.
So, if you again think it is sensational to compare white Republicans (or Democrats, or independents) who avidly support candidates who vote to cut their own food supply because of racist stereotypes, then you should think again.
This is the battle of America now, whether racism is going to see a lot whites chewing off their own legs just to make sure a black president fails and minorities get their legs cut off too.
Because when it comes to racism, a resident of Owsley County (see above) rather be legless and feel superior as white than let blacks (and Latinos) have the Food Stamps the whites also need to survive.
That's toxic racism: leaving the rasicts and the targets of racism both starving.