Fox and Friends was glowing with praise this morning for Paul Ryan’s plan to “fix a food stamp nation,” or as I read it — “make The Poors go hungry.” And to top it all off, they even found time to lament the fact that kids who have no money are receiving free lunch at school. The audacity!
Varney: Here’s what Paul Ryan wants to do. Number one, he wants to return the work requirement and the time limit. In other words, you can’t just sit back take the food forever. Can’t do that. Got to get out there and work for it. Number two, he would give block grants to the States. And say here, you run the food stamp program. Here’s how much money you’re going to get and here’s what — do with it what you like. I think, number three, most important, he would return morality to the food stamp program because he would use it as a way to get people out of poverty as opposed to locking them in. I think that’s a very moral position to take.
Doocy: I saw something this morning that one in three students in the United States [are] on free lunch.
Varney: That’s a separate free food program. 18.7 million students get totally free lunch. Roughly one in three. And that costs us 10.4 billion dollars per year. That’s added on to the food stamp program.
Straight from the spokesman of the Ministry of Truth — kicking people off the SNAP program is “moral” and good. And the money spent each year to feed poor children would clearly be better spent on new tax breaks for men like Steve Doocy who could spend the money on new rims for his douche-mobile or to surgically remove the kick-me sign permanently fused to Brian Kilmeade’s posterior.
And as Media Matters points out, a study conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the SNAP program in its current incarnation kept 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011.
A CBPP analysis using the government’s new Supplemental Poverty Measure, which counts SNAP as income, found that SNAP kept 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011, including 2.1 million children. SNAP lifted 1.5 million children above 50 percent of the poverty line in 2011, more than any other benefit program.
SNAP has also been found to be effective in reducing extreme poverty. A study by the National Poverty Center estimated the number of households in the United Stations earning less than $2 per person per day, which the World Bank defines as “extreme poverty, a classification used in developing nations.” The study found that counting SNAP benefits as income reduced the number of extremely poor families with children in 2011 from 1.46 million to 800,000, and reduced the number of children in extreme poverty in 2011 by half — from 2.8 million to 1.4 million.
Additionally, the study also found that fewer than “fewer than 2 percent of SNAP benefits are issued to households that do not meet all of the program’s eligibility requirements.”
It’s very easy for Fox and Friends to speak of kicking families off the SNAP program in an abstract, nonchalant way because very few of their viewers are minorities, and as you’re probably aware, minorities are disproportionately served by the SNAP program and free school lunches. But they are disproportionately served the these programs because they are disproportionately poor, not because they are disproportionately lazy.
A proportionately less but far greater number of white people participate in these programs, but because Fox viewers will typically associate any discussion of food stamps with The Blacks and The Browns, Fox and Friends is directly pandering to an audience that would love to see those people kicked off of the program. Because they’re taking our tax dollars!
A rebuttal on Fox’s behalf would probably deny that the hosts ever implied that minorities are content to “just sit back take the food forever,” but that would be intellectually dishonest at best. The stereotypical lazy Welfare queen is rarely, if ever, associated with average white Joes, and certainly not with Fox’s audience.
What is repeated on Fox is invariably repeated in the halls of congress and inside our state houses and, whether they know it or not, the Fox Faithful will repeat the same racially-tinged talking points dispensed by the likes of Stuart Varney and Brian Kilmeade on this supposed “news” channel where partisan smut is passed off as news.
The Republican party can’t deal with its outreach problem until it deals with its Fox problem.
(H/T Media Matters)