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Stop the Cruelest Cuts!

Thursday, 31 October 2013 14:54 By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
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 (Image: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/truthout/4278800753/in/set-72157628843920995" target="_blank"> Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: skez, JoesSistah</a>)(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: skez, JoesSistah)America is a mess – and Republicans are to blame.

In fact, Republican policies and actions have tarnished America so much that the leader of the strongest country in the world is no longer the most powerful.

At least that's according to Forbes new list of the most powerful people in the world. 

President Obama has fallen to number two on their list, while Russian President Vladimir has taken over the number one spot.

As Forbes puts it, "Putin has solidified his control over Russia while Obama's lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president..." 

That "lame duck period" that Forbes is referring to is thanks in large part to the constant Republican obstructionism that we're seeing on Capitol Hill.

Instead of focusing on moving our country forward, Republicans have voted a staggering 47 times to defund or repeal Obamacare.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate have staged 400 filibusters to delay votes on bills or Obama administration confirmations.

To put that in comparison, I met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last year in Las Vegas, and he told me that when Lyndon Johnson was Senate Majority Leader for the same 6-year period as he has been the Senate Majority Leader, he faced just one filibuster. One.

But it's not just Republican obstructionism that's caused our nation's monumental decline; it's Republican policies too.

Thanks to Republicans and their money-first democracy-second mentality, Wall Street executives are making millions of dollars each year, while honest hard-working Americans are struggling to survive day-to-day.

Giant transnational corporations are making billion dollar windfalls and paying next to nothing in taxes, while working-class Americans are making less than ever before, a terrible symptom of the state of the American economy after 32 years of Reaganomics.

And it's these policies that are driving America's income inequality epidemic too.

Today, the 400 wealthiest Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined, and over the past 15 year, the annual income of the typical American household has fallen 9%

And we can't forget about the Conservative justices on the Supreme Court who made the disastrous Citizen's United decision, that's flooded our political system and democracy with billions in corporate cash, and taken power away from We The People.

Meanwhile, Republican war hawks lied America into over a decade of unjust wars, which claimed the lives of thousands of American soldiers and civilians and cost us six trillion dollars.

If you need even more proof that our country is a mess, and that Republicans are to blame, look no further than the number of Americans who rely on federal food stamps to survive: 50 million.

Right now, 50 million Americans, including 7 million children, rely on food stamps for survival.

We are the richest country on the planet – and yet 50 million Americans need federal help just to eat.

And tomorrow, millions of them could lose access to that vital lifeline.

That's because the House is expected to vote on a plan that would slash $5 billion from SNAP - the federal food stamps program.

This drastic cut in funding would leave nearly 47 million American children, veterans, retirees and struggling families with reduced access to a program that's helping them to survive.

Republicans would rather pad the wallets of the wealthy elite than put food on the tables of America's most needy and vulnerable.

And in their rush to condemn and slash funding to the food stamps program, Republicans constantly fail to put a human face on the staggering cuts that they're fighting for.

Consider the story of Joshua, a father of two who works 60+ hours a week at a bakery to provide for his family. 

His wife used to work full-time, but was forced to leave her job, and care for the couple's youngest child, who was born with a heart condition.

Right now, Joshua and his wife are relying on food stamps to get by, as they care for their ailing son.

And then there's the story of Judy, a disabled grandmother who is the primary caregiver for her grandchildren. 

Judy worked for over 30 years, but was forced to retire early because of a chronic illness.

Before Judy began receiving disability benefits, she was forced to use up most of her life savings, including her 401K.

So, she had to rely on the SNAP program to put food on the table for herself and her grandchildren.

It's a disgrace that any American, veteran, child, or otherwise, doesn't have enough to eat in the richest nation on the planet.

And now Republicans want to take what little access they have to food away from them.

It's time to put an end to the devastating Republican policies that are causing this nation's rapid and historic decline.

It's time to get back to the values that our founders fought and died for, and that George Washington had three horses shot out from under him to help create.

Call Congress right now and tell them to stop the devastating cuts to food stamps and to start looking out for the needs and well-being of all Americans.

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.

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