NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

September 18, 2013

No money for food stamps, plenty for farm aid

To the editor:

I cannot help but comment on Barbara Anderson’s Labor Day greetings to the working poor, underemployed and disadvantaged. “Get a job!” How sweet …

She would have us believe it’s food stamps and Section 8 housing ruining our country along with overly generous Social Security and Medicare. I’m always amazed how all the “trickle-down economy” folks believe giving money to rich stimulates the economy and giving money to poor folks is a waste.

In fact, money given to the needy repeatedly circulates very quickly, genuinely stimulating the economy. Food stamps sell food, supporting farmers, store owners and other service providers. Section 8 helps landlords and the housing market.

Money given to rich — they don’t need to spend it. Likely it goes into some Wall Street scheme or is exported to one of the world’s fast-growing economies, all of which are in Africa or Asia — not really creating any jobs here.

I see no sign of concern over the $100 billion giant corporations get in direct payments, loan guarantees and subsidies. Much of this is the farm aid, which Republicans insist on passing, while they refuse to fund food stamps. With the average farmer making about $90,000/year and most of this money going to large agribusiness, I find it hard to see the urgency. Part of our tax money we pay to the industry not to grow certain crops so that when we go to the store to buy food the price will be higher.

A typical example of this twisted thinking is Tea Party Republican Stephen Fincher of Tennessee. As an opponent of food stamps, in a congressional debate he quoted the Bible: “The one who is unwilling to work, shall not eat.” Fincher himself personally has in recent years collected $3.5 million in farm subsidies. Not working, you starve. Not growing crops, you’re handsomely rewarded.

I recommend we look at corporate welfare and fraud as we wonder where all those tax dollars go. Happy Labor Day!

Bruce Georgian

Amesbury

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