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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > Wrong Clients Cut from Welfare Rolls

The so-called welfare reform for poor Americans and legal immigrants that Congress and Clinton enacted last year is starting to go into cruel effect. The first cutoffs started on February 22nd for Food stamps.

Here is the Washington Post’s description: “Tens of thousands of unemployed adults will begin losing food stamps today, the result of one of the most controversial provisions of the nation’s new welfare law. By years’ end, an estimated 1 million people will have been affected by the measure, marking the largest cut in the 35-year history of the food stamp program.”

“Under the new policy, able-bodied adults without children or jobs can receive food stamps for just three months in any three-year period,” the Post declared.

Well, well, well. Here is the federal government, giving billions of dollars in the past decade to the likes of the giant Cargill or ADM corporations for storing surplus food in warehouses or other corporate welfare subsidies, deciding to put the wood to people’s $120 a month food stamps. Strange, isn’t it, that no right-wing politician in Congress has yet recommended work requirements and five year cutoffs for these billion dollar corporate freeloaders.

Last November, Hillary Clinton told Time Magazine that she would consider a “formal role” in shaping and promoting the Administration’s welfare policy changes. She obviously did not mean the $200 billion in annual corporate welfare handouts of various sorts.

Well, Hillary has her work cut out for her in the poverty welfare arenas. A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said that the Department is “encouraging people not to panic, but this is extremely serious and they need to take advantage of every opportunity to work that is available.”

So if you can find a job, you qualify for workfare slots for food stamp recipients.

DuWayne Jones has been out of work since last summer when he broke a finger working in a factory in Duluth, Minnesota. He can’t find a job that he is qualified for.

The welfare law allows states to request exemptions for areas of high unemployment. Thirty one states are applying for regions in their states. More paperwork, more bureaucracy, more jobs in government to determine who can or cannot receive food stamps because there are no jobs to provide for workfare.

In the meantime, General Electric received recently a nice plush welfare grant from the state of Wisconsin. A Conagra meat packing plant in Nebraska received the tax dollars that its employees pay to the state government as an incentive (aka corporate welfare).

The top executives of the Martin-Marietta-Lockheed corporate merger maneuvered the Pentagon to provide them with some $30 million in compensation bonuses (aka corporate welfare) as part of a larger $1.5 billion in subsidies that you taxpayers paid for two companies becoming one.

Sounds crazy? It’s more than that, it is an allocation of

tax dollars that is stir crazy. And people are entitled to be indignant enough to protest.

Eula Brown is a 47 year old woman who has just been released from a mental hospital in Washington, D.C. She was suffering from depression. She has no job. She wonders what she is going to do.

Drug resistant tuberculosis is on the rise in the U.S. and poverty is that deadly disease’s best friend. TB is contagious through the air. If this Gingrich–Lott–Clinton government in Washington is not going to provide job opportunities, where there are none, poverty will increase, get more desperate in the streets, and produce more infectious disease epidemics. The poor will yet be heard from.

Final irony. Guess what company is helping private food charities in New York City to pick up unused food from restaurants, hotels and other places for the poor? The largest cancer-causing seller of tobacco — Philip Morris!