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The Republican Party's Dickensian fantasy made real in Age of Obama America continues forward. Their "War on the Poor" is turning into a route.

The crass and naked cruelty of the Republican Party's efforts to cut food stamps, make the poor take drug tests in order to eat, and Scarlet Letter-like plan to make former felons ineligible for food assistance stinks of social irresponsibility. However, when a person can live in isolation and luxury from others in gated communities, all the while destroying the public commons and the social safety net, such complaints seem, for lack of a better word, "quaint."

In all, the Austerity politics of the Tea Party GOP is a freakish and fascinating blend of moral turpitude wrapped in the language of Christian charity.

As such, the Christian ethic of men such as Tennessee Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher demands that we take from the least among us in order to fatten the coffers and bellies of the rich. Plans to cut food stamps quite literally take food out of the stomachs of children and the elderly.

The Dickensian policies of the Republican Party (aided and supported by cowardly Democrats who surrendered this territory decades ago under Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council) also involve moral hazards and rent-seeking behavior by its agents.

This fact is little discussed by the pundit class and the mass media.

Congress people and Senators are members of an elite class: 47 percent of them are millionaires.

The policies which Republicans in Congress advocate for (under the lie of "deficit reduction") largely involve transferring resources from the poor and the working class and putting those "savings" into tax cuts for the rich--or in the coffers of the military, defense or banking industries. These supposed representatives of the public interest are actually enriching their own pocketbooks and protecting the class interests of people like themselves. Such conflicts of interest are legal and do the work of theft in plain sight.

Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher's assault on the poor is a classic example of these dynamics. As the website Alternet details:

He is a seventh generation millionaire agri-businessman. He raked in $3.5 million in federal farm subsidies from 1999 to 2012. That averages out to $269,000 a year in farm welfare. It makes him one of the largest farm welfare recipients in Tennessee history as well as among members of Congress.

This politician, who thrived on the government dole, raking in $738 a day in farm welfare over the past 13 years, is among the loudest advocates for increasing subsidies to agribusiness by about $10 billion and slashing food stamps by $20 billion.
That would take food from 2 million poor people. They get an average of $133 a month in food stamps. That’s less than $5 a day for the poor – not the $738 a day that Fincher got.

Excluding the rich, the American people are suffering because of the failed policies which brought us The Great Recession, and a broken government which has embraced Austerity. The solution to the structural unemployment and the wreckage wrought by casino capitalism is not to be found by starving the poor. Nevertheless, the Republican Party and its allies doggedly pursue such a strategy.

Republicans like Stephen Fincher want the poor "to eat cake." Under the Draconian cuts to food stamps and nutrition programs proposed by the Republican Party such a meal is a luxury.

What would the Republican Party suggest that the poor eat instead? Soylent green powder, sandwiches made from recycled human waste, rock soup, sawdust burgers, or mud pies?

When the people's bellies are empty they turn to fatten themselves by eating the rich. Food stamps and other anti-hunger programs are an investment in social stability and have a positive net gain for American society.

Ironically, enlightened self-interest would suggest that Republicans and conservatives should support such programs and not oppose them.

Originally posted to chaunceydevega on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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