Republicans Think People Aren't Entitled to Food

I'm sure many of you who've been around these parts for a long time recall that, during the 2012 election, when Mitt Romney's "47 Percent" video was made public, I teased out what I thought was the most overlooked part of it: That Romney, a U.S. presidential candidate, believed people aren't entitled to food.

At the time, I got the usual pushback: I was being hyperbolic, it was just inelegant wording, surely he didn't actually believe that, etc.

No, he did. And so did his party.

This alarmist spent the next few years collecting receipts under the label: "Republicans Think People Aren't Entitled to Food."

Over the course of the last five years, what's evident in that series is that the Republican Party has become less inclined to hide that this is indeed their position. Like, for example, in May, when Nebraska Representative Adrian Smith refused to directly answer "a question on whether all Americans are entitled to eat." An elected Republican simply could not say "yes" to the very simple question about whether Americans are entitled to food.

In July, Iowa Rep. Steve King [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] suggested that Donald Trump's big, beautiful border wall should be paid for by fund currently allocated to Planned Parenthood and food stamps. Said King: "I would find half a billion of that from right out of Planned Parenthood's budget. And the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people who haven't worked in three generations."

(The only people of whom I've ever heard who haven't worked in three generations are the Trumps.)

In a must-read piece at the New Food Economy, Tovin Lapan details how Trump's proposed budget cuts stand to increase hunger among schoolchildren who depend on federally-funded food programs — which could have a lasting impact for the rest of their lives.
In March, [Donald] Trump revealed his "skinny budget," a rough sketch of the nascent administration's fiscal priorities and objectives that included deep cuts to education and nutrition programs. Budget chief Mick Mulvaney defended the move. "[The programs] are supposed to help kids who don't get fed at home so they do better in school," Mulvaney said at a press conference on the day of the announcement. "Guess what? There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually doing that. There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually helping results, helping kids do better in school."

In Greenville, Mississippi, a town on the Blues Highway in the Mississippi Delta where every public school student receives free breakfast and lunch, Joan Rowe, director of the local Boys and Girls Club, heard that comment and immediately thought: "They should come down here."

Rowe and her colleagues across the Delta are watching with keen attention as the federal government aims to slash vital programs and relax school meal standards that have helped combat pervasive community health concerns and poor academic performance in one of the nation's neediest states.

The Trump administration's proposed budget would nix the Greenville afterschool program and impose deep cuts in other areas that impact school meals and nutrition. The USDA, which administers numerous grants and programs that help feed needy children, is facing a budget cut of $4.7 billion, or 21 percent of its discretionary spending, while the Department of Education's budget could fall by more than $9 billion. Even if Trump's budget never passes, the administration has already put its stamp on school meals. Newly installed Department of Agriculture chief, Sonny Perdue, is rolling back school lunch nutrition standards.

The moves befuddle researchers, who cite a growing body of evidence demonstrating that more meals for school children, and specifically more nutritious meals, benefit kids in a myriad of ways, not only in the short term, but throughout their lives. Recent studies indicate the impact of healthier meals is even greater on low-income children.

"I think there is a disconnect between the policy makers and the reality in many places," said Michele Leardo, assistant director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy at New York University. "They haven't experienced what it's like to go home and not get a meal. Some of these students are getting all three meals of the day at school — free breakfast, free lunch, and an afterschool meal. I think they are out of touch with what these kids face, and how vital these programs really are."

...Rowe would also like to offer a lesson to the federal budget experts like Mulvaney. "I'd tell them to come out here and see what the children are faced with," Rowe said "Not everyone is privileged. I remember I walked the kids over to the bank a while back to give them a lesson on banking. We walked in and the kids were amazed by the elevator — they'd never seen one before."
Emphases mine. There is much, much more at the link.

We are being governed by a cruel party comprised of people who tell demonstrable lies about the efficacy of healthy meals for profoundly impoverished children.

And the reason they tell such lies is to justify policies of starvation, because they think people aren't entitled to food.

This is something we all must understand about the Republican Party — and speak it loudly and often, every time we see evidence of its ugly existence. Republicans think people aren't entitled to food. And anyone who holds such a gruesome belief should never be empowered with governance of a nation. Never.

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