DR. AUDRA SPICER: Partisan games on financing food stamps
In a cynical bid to present an unacceptable budget to the Senate in order to force a government shutdown, the House of Representatives proposes to strip $40 billion from SNAP, the food stamp program.
When we realize the number of children in Pennsylvania who live every day with poverty and food insecurity, we can understand the cruelty and arrogance behind this ploy. Out of 2,760,914 children in this state, 531,993 live below the poverty line — nearly 20 percent of all our children, rural and urban.
Children living in poverty do not fund election campaigns or contribute to politicians’ lifestyle perks in D.C., but shouldn’t our elected representatives, in the name of morality, have a thought about the welfare of our most vulnerable fellow citizens before they play politics?
Poverty affects us all: It ruins purchasing power, so local businesses suffer; it drains incentive from people when they can’t find jobs that let them get ahead; it perpetuates dependency on the same social welfare system that our district’s politicians want to dismantle.
And poverty is overwhelming millions of people in Pennsylvania. Over the past three years, 80 percent of Pennsylvania’s working poor received food stamps. That’s right, 80 percent of people who go out to work every day also get food stamps.
How can anyone, in good conscience, play politics with the food on children’s tables? Perhaps it’s time for politicians to apply ethics and a sense of the public good to their votes on the Hill; perhaps it’s time for us citizens to keep track of officials’ votes and hold them accountable every time their plans hurt the foundations of society while they play their short-sighted, partisan games.
Dr. Audra Spicer