Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Drastically Cutting Food Stamps Brings in $33 billion; Buffet Rule Brings in $46.7 billion. Republicans Choose Food Stamps.

It’s almost impossible for me to imagine any political party vying for votes by cutting food stamps. In a normal world, such a choice would be suicidal. But…
Newsletter from Ezra Klein: House Republicans think the Pentagon is in trouble. Under current law --it's scheduled to take more than $500 billion in cuts over the next 10 years. Republicans are desperately trying to find alternative savings. And, on Monday, they named one of them: Cuts to food stamps.
Oddly, voters aren’t completely appalled by the suggestion. Well then maybe the way the Republicans are proposing to cut food stamps will rile you up…
"An average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help," reports David Rogers. "This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, who would be forced off the rolls until they have spent down their savings to less than $2,000 in many cases."
As outrageous as that might be, the unintended consequences would be even worse. Employers would have a field day. With desperate families looking for work, there’s nothing to stop employers from taking full advantage of the publics dire circumstances.
(Never mind that)“the food stamp program has been expanded because the economy crashed, and, by the way, the Pentagon's budget has grown by far more than the food stamp program in recent decades. To achieve the spending paths envisioned in Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, Republicans will have to find cuts that are many orders of magnitude larger.”
Ezra Klein continues:
The alternative to higher taxes is savage cuts to the Pentagon, and to food stamps, and to Medicaid, and to Medicare. Indeed, even with higher taxes, all those programs are going to come in for cuts. Oh, and one more thing: There's a line you occasionally hear about how 60 percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes. But those Americans do pay payroll taxes, and state sales taxes, and local taxes.
But just as interesting, food stamp cuts are estimated to bring in $33.2 billion in 10-year savings.

Remember, Republicans criticized the Buffet Rule because it “would bring in about $46.7 billion over 10 years. Other estimates yielded higher estimates.”

So why is cutting food stamps considered a savings, when the Buffet Rule can significantly bring so much more money...but not enough to implement?

Pure ruthless ideology, and really, really bad fiscal policy.
Some of the fastest economic growth of the post-war period came in the 1950s, when the top tax rate was above 80 percent. The slowest growth came in the 2000s, when the top tax rate was 35 percent. So the fastest income growth for the top 1 percent has come under the low-tax regimes, while the fastest income growth for the median American came when taxes on the richest Americans rose."

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