The Ebenezer Scrooge Awards of 2013

November 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

We now have a handy test for establishing a meanness quotient for members of Congress.  A large contingent of our elected officials have emerged from behind their occasional claims of concern for the general welfare of their fellow citizens.  The rising political power of the Tea Party has apparently encouraged these class warriors to cast aside any shyness about the identity of their enemy and call a spade a spade.  They have decided to stop coddling the men, women and children of this country who want to eat without working.  Their enemies are Americans who are poor.

To graphically illustrate just how these poverty stricken families are luxuriating at the expense of the taxpayers, here is a link to a list of the benefits they now enjoy.   SNAP benefits   These Enenezer Scrooge Award winners, worthy successors to Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney, are offended that a family of four can receive $668 to buy food for a month without working.  They have identified that as prime target for the elimination of “waste and abuse”.

So  they can be appropriately recognized for their patriotic nobility and fiscal responsibility, here  is a link to a list of the Congressmen who voted to cut 40 billion dollars from the SNAP program.  Ebenezer Scrooges   Every single one of them is entitled to that recognition.   And, as a bonus, this test has a sub-test:  Every voter who chooses to vote for them over any opponent, unless they are running against a child-molesting ax murderer,  is also entitled to the Ebenezer Scrooge Auxiliary Award.

The demographic makeup of those who receive food stamps is interesting.  They way the data is presented is also interesting.  For example, the Pew Research firm published this breakdown, stated as percentages.  Pew Report  The percentages appear to reflect that blacks are the largest recipient group.

Here are a series of charts posted by a blogger that show that more whites than blacks receive food stamps.  This is an example of how misleading percentages can be.  The difference, of course, is that there are many more whites than blacks in the total population.  The second series of charts are based on percentages of the total population.  The Pew percentages are percentages of the different segments of that population.

I know you all understand this and I don’t mean to be condescending.  I just find these arithmetic games cropping up frequently in political rhetoric and this is a good example.

Finally, with some sadness, I add the following comment.

The way this abomination began was with the stupid sequester deal.  Our leader and his advisers assumed that if they loaded enough stupid, unfair and irrational items into a bomb timed to go off if the Congress failed to come up with a more rational and fair deal, it would force the negotiation of a rational and fair deal.

Not!

There has been no deal and the prospects of one seems to me unlikely unless the advocates for economic justice cave once again.   It does not look like that will happen.  And, Paul Ryan is the lead negotiator for the Scrooge/Crazy/Ayn Rand coalition.  So, the first part of the sequester bomb exploded this week and those depending on food stamps to avoid starvation saw their pittance shrink.

So, who is to blame?  Those who have no compassion or those who have compassion but were willing to bet the welfare of poor families that a fair deal could be negotiated with heartless politicians?  Poker players know better than to bet the rent money, especially on filling an inside straight.   Obama has not proved to be a very good judge of the other players in his political game.

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