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Group of Navy people.
Military families used nearly $104 million in food stamps at military grocery stores last year, a five percent increase from the previous year:
Some of the growth in soldiers' redemption of food stamps reflects the weak economic recovery, especially for spouses looking for jobs. In 2012, there was a 30% unemployment rate among spouses off active-duty military who were 18 to 24 years old, according to the Military Officers Association of America, which released the survey last week. [...]

During the recession, some states lowered eligibility for food stamps, making it easier to qualify. That could account for some of the growth in use by active-duty military, said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association.

That means military families, right at the edge of food stamp eligibility, would have been hit especially hard by eligibility cuts sought by House Republicans. And Alan Pyke notes that:
Retired military servicemen and women who joined up after 9/11 have a 10 percent unemployment rate, which also contributes to the elevated food stamp figures at DOD commissaries, and nearly a million working-age veterans lived in poverty in 2010.

Despite elevated need, veterans have not been spared from the successive waves of food stamp cuts imposed by Congress in recent months. The automatic cuts that came into effect in November took a bite out of the food budgets for 900,000 U.S. veterans. Over 486,000 of those veteran food stamp recipients live in states affected by the most recent cut to the program enacted as part of the farm bill, according to figures from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Military families are not different from other families in their need to eat, but the contrast between the $104 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits we know these families—so celebrated by Republicans when it's time to send people to war—used in 2013 and the stories Republicans tell about the supposed moochers they're trying to cut from food stamps is telling. And you shouldn't have to join the military for Republicans to give lip service to the idea that you deserve to have enough to eat.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, chimene

    has repeated voted to cut SNAP as part of her "bipartisan" "No Labels" approach to governing.  I confronted her last summer in Galesburg, Illinois about her vote then and I explained her how that would impact military families.  She answered back about the importance of increasing federal support to crop insurers.  Yes, you read that correctly.

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:46:53 AM PST

    •  Maybe she has a yellow ribbon magnet (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksuwildkat, Aquarius40, Dodgerdog1

      on her car and considers that sufficient support for the troops as so many Americans do. And military families on food stamps can't send the big bucks that a vote in their favor seems to require. They've been outspent by the agricultural lobby in the pay-to-play system.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:51:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Saturday, Feb. 16 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    President Barack Obama on Saturday signed separate measures into law to lift the federal debt limit and restore benefits that had been cut for younger military retirees.

    Separate legislation passed in December would have held annual cost-of-living increases for veterans age 62 and younger to 1 percentage point below the rate of inflation, beginning in 2015. The measure was designed to hold the line on the soaring cost of government benefit programs, which have largely escaped trillions of dollars in deficit cuts over the past three years.

    Veterans groups and some lawmakers said the cut was a mistake, and they began campaigning to have the benefits restored.

    The cut to veterans does seem to have been a mistake. Not only veteran's groups but also lobby groups for those who endure good scarcity acknowledge this.

    Getting the mistake fixed took entirely too long though. Heck, more than 24 hours to fix a mistake is too long in my book.

    But it was fixed by Congress. The President signed it immediately.

    © grover

    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:00:39 AM PST

  •  All I can say is...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    MOOCHERS!  Why don't they just go out and get jobs, and stop relying on handouts?  Geez.  Stop being lazy!


    (Have the Rs said this yet?  I'd be surprised if they haven't)

  •  It is disgraceful that anyone in the military (5+ / 0-)

    is not paid a living wage.

    No military family should have to depend on food stamps to  make ends meet.

    •  Not many people realize that enlisted (4+ / 0-)

      military members couldn't feed their families without food stamps. But then other working Americans in minimum wage jobs have the same problem. No working American should have to rely on food stamps. An honest day's work deserves a living wage.

      We are all in this together. I support my fellow military families being paid a decent wage and then the retirement they earned. I also support raising the minimum wage so that people can see that their children are properly nourished, housed and clothed.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:00:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some enlisted (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        SOME.  Not all, not even most.  Some.  And some junior officers are in the same boat.  Some.

        The service members who can't afford to feed their families are in that situation because their family size is not appropriate to their point in their career.  

        We don't pay our newest soldiers much.  Its called entry level.  But they still get paid a ton more than entry level gets anywhere else.  

        Appropriate time to get married and support a wife = E-5
        Base pay = $2440.20

        Appropriate time to have a second child = E-6
        Base Pay = $2964.90

        Inappropriate time to have a wife and 2 (or more) kids = E-2
        Base pay = $1716.90

        The military is structured like a giant life lesson.  We use explicit and subliminal messaging to drive people toward a certain path.  Follow the path and you will be successful.  Stray from the path and here there be dragons.  Everything about being a junior enlisted member E-1 through E-4 says "don't get married, don't have kids."  Become and NCO at E-5 and its "get married, no kids."  Why?  Because you have passed the first decision point in either staying in past your first enlistment or reuping for another go.  Make E-6 and its time to have kids.  Why?  Because you are coming up on your second decision point - stay till retirement or punch before I have too much invested.  Our differed compensation is massive compared to our current pay.  The lesson?  Work hard now, work less hard later.  Live within your means now and you can relax and REALLY retire.  By the time I retire my retirement check will be a pay raise because I live on less than what it will pay.  

        I feel for every military member who need assistance and I have helped every one of my soldiers who needed it to get every dime they were allowed.  But in 27 years I have not seen a single financial problem in the military that was not tied to an individual choice that was either bad or questionable considering their career progression.  

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:48:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually they are (0+ / 0-)

      The lowest paid enlisted person in the military receives $1531.50 a month.  That pay is limited to the lowest grade - E-1 and only for the first 4 months.  Very few soldiers actually get paid that little.  After 4 months pay jumps to $1716.90 and after 6 months anyone who has not managed to get in trouble in some way will be promoted to E-2 and get paid $1805.40.  That is just base pay.  If the service member lives in housing that is free.  If they eat at the dining facility, that is free.  All medical and dental is free and you pay into retirement with years of your life not dollars from your paycheck.  After paying pretty modest income tax what is left is disposable income.  Additional benefits include 100% tuition assistance and upon discharge or after 3 years they can receive the GI BIll.  

      The problem comes when you have an E-1 with a wife and 4 kids.  They can still live in housing - if available - free but the food allowance  - $357.55 for enlisted personnel - is a fixed amount and not designed to support a large family.

      Military pay is actually quite generous.  But like any other career we pay "entry level" an entry level wage.  Fighting is a young man's game and we expect our entry level to be 18 and single, not 25 with kids stretched from diapers to middle school.  In the past we required enlisted personnel below the grade of E-6 to get PERMISSION from their commanders to get married.  Junior personnel are not known for their great decision making as evidenced by the numerous pawn shops and payday loan stores that populate the strip malls around every military post.  Much of the financial distress, no make that 100% of the financial distress, of junior military personnel is self imposed.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:21:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  correction (0+ / 0-)

        E-1 under 4 is $1416.30.  E-1 over 4 months is $1531.50 and stays that way until making E-2.

        Thats what I get for reading a Navy pay chart!!!

        GO Army!

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 05:49:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Geez..they already get... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady

    ..a government check, now they want FOOD too??

    I wonder if Repugnantcans believe these folks have any "skin in the game"?

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:36:06 PM PST

    •  Those who have lost limbs have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mokislab, CanisMaximus

      less skin than most. Maybe that's the problem? The 1% are squeezing us dry, and try to distract us with what they other guy is getting. As they said the in second Hunger Games movies, we have to remember who we're fighting.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:03:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I broached this subject (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady

    with my Crazy Uncle Father-in-law who is retired military and his response was "The army issues you a rifle. not a family"
    Bush's recent statements that his legacy project is to try and make Umercan's appreciate the veterans he created with his bogus wars makes me want to puke.
    I believe anyone who fights in our wars should be provided for in perpetuity. No questions asked. Members of Congress are and they serve no one.

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:44:24 PM PST

    •  Tell him that isn't true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I met my wife in the Army.  Had no desire to get married previously.  The Army issues me a wife.  Both children born in Army hospitals.  Army issued kids.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:09:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The thing is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He is a fucking idiot. He is retired military and he votes Republican. Republicans constantly vote to cut benefits to the military, including his pension and medical benefits. I would have better luck speaking to my cat about these issues. Most Republican voters vote against their best interests. Go figure?  

        “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

        by Mokislab on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 07:45:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How about including our military (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in with that Government contactors pay increase?

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:45:32 PM PST

  •  No more deployments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not talked about is the loss of deployment income.  

    For me deploying increased my pay by more than 20%.  Most of that is from not having to pay taxes on income earned in a war zone so sadly it is not much help to those who qualify for food stamps.  Of course you get $7.50 a DAY in extra pay if someone is actively trying to kill you and $8.33 MORE if you are married or have children and someone is trying to kill you.

    As sad as it might sound, soldiers are fighting over the few remaining chances to deploy so they can get that extra $15.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:07:44 PM PST

  •  FOX posted this yesterday (0+ / 0-)

    of course, the banner headline was written so their faithful would blame it all on  the President.

    "The devil can quote Scripture to serve his own purposes."

    by SpringHopeCarolina on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:53:59 PM PST

  •  I used to teach at a college near a base (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fayetteville St. U. near Ft.Bragg/Pope Air Force Base to be precise.

    I had a number of soldier's wives (and one soldier's husband), retirees, and a handful of active duty people in my classroom. I was frankly appalled at what they were paid, even more so as I gained a better understanding of what they and their families were expected to do (and this was mostly pre 9/11). I came away with much more respect for military personnel than I had before, and also a realization that many of their issues were fundamentally issues of the working classes. I think the Democratic Party and the American left more broadly needs to think of the military in this light, and need to champion their causes. This is a natural for folks on our side of the fence, if we just pay attention.

    Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

    by tcorse on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 08:03:58 PM PST

  •  Military food stamp usage... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Retired military servicemen and women who joined up after 9/11..."

     Haven't retired yet.

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