The Norman Transcript

Opinion

September 22, 2013

GOP’s misguided attack

NORMAN — Unable to push a $20-billion cut in food stamps through the House in June, Republicans are now seeking to cut $40 billion over 10 years by tightening eligibility and cutting off able-bodied adults who don’t find or train for jobs.

Far too many Americans are on food stamps, and parts of the GOP proposal have a patina of reasonableness. But while it may motivate some idle adults to get to work, it would also punish those who simply can’t find jobs at a time when there are three applicants for every opening.

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps buy food for those who earn up to 30 percent more than the federal poverty level. The amount is modest — an average of $5.10 per day for a single adult — and it’s reduced as the beneficiary’s income grows.

The program has skyrocketed in cost, however, because so many people are on it: about 47 million. The fastest-growing group may be able-bodied adults without dependents, which increased from 1.7 million in 2007 to 4.5 million in 2011. That happened in part because of the surge in unemployment, particularly among younger adults, and in part because the government waived the requirement that such recipients lose their benefits after three months unless they work at least 20 hours a week or attend a training program.

The House proposal would reinstate that cutoff, on the dubious theory that the availability of a few dollars in food aid per day is enough to persuade people not to work.

Proponents say they’re simply trying to restore the work requirements that were the hallmark of the 1996 welfare reform act, but they’re overlooking two key differences. While the 1996 law sought to help those in poverty overcome the barriers to employment, the House bill would let states cut off food aid without offering recipients opportunities to work, get job training or perform community service. And the welfare reforms were aided by a booming economy. The economy today is sputtering, causing stiff competition.

The real solution to the high demand for food stamps is to get the economy growing faster, not to force more Americans to go hungry.

— Los Angeles Times

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Marijuana a gateway for new OK voters

    A poll this past year showed significant Oklahoma support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The poll showed that more than 71 percent of those surveyed thought medical marijuana was appropriate for patients who ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Expansion effect evaluated

    Editor, The Transcript: The effect of the Medicaid expansion rejection and acceptance on hospitals’ uncompensated costs are now being evaluated....

    July 31, 2014

  • America paying the piper

    Every third American you pass on the street has debts that have been turned over to a collection agency whose 140,000 workers are keeping the phones ringing....

    July 31, 2014

  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Action mostly closed due to cutbacks

    Editor, The Transcript: The Community Action, at 1155 E Main St. in Norman, for decades has served Cleveland County with the following everyday services: a food pantry, short-term housing for the homeless, providing rides for those without ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • Nutritional article should be accurate

    I read with interest the July 13 article “Are low-carb diets really healthy?” by Cassidie Day. Unfortunately, a number of statements in this article were incorrect. The first problematic statement was, “Carbs are an essential nutrient ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Hospital story headline was too sensationalized

    Editor, The Transcript: On July 18, The Transcript ran a front page article with the headline “Lawsuit filed against Norman Regional — Civil suit alleges improper billing practices by NRH and contracted physicians groups.” As a first page ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014