Republicans are fixated on cutting food stamps, heedless of the consequences. Democrats signal their willingness to compromise on the farm bill.

The deal would slash food stamps by $90 a month for nearly 850,000 poor families. That is not a compromise. It’s a betrayal of needy families and a lamentable instance of political opportunism.

The deal is unprincipled because it callously disregards the effect this would have on vulnerable people who possess relatively little power. The winners in this compromise are powerful agribusiness interests that are addicted to corporate welfare.

The losers are already enduring food insecurity. A setback of this magnitude will push some into a level of hardship that would devastate families and result in even greater cost to society.

Cutting food stamps makes no economic sense. It is also simply wrong. If we really believe that all one needs to do to get by is get a job, why do we tolerate an economy that continually reproduces unemployment, underemployment and low-wage jobs?

The best way to reduce or eliminate subsidies is not to make poor people hungry. Far better, isn’t it, to create jobs paying wages that need no supplement?

The real question we should be asking is not, “Are the poor deserving of food stamps?” Rather, we might ask, “Can capitalism produce enough good-paying jobs to afford everyone a life of dignity?” The evidence supports a strong “yes” to the first question and a resounding “no” to the second.

Chris McKinnon


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