Cutting SNAP and requiring work ain’t that simple

WWJD, What Would Jesus Do?  How do you balance a governmental budget?

Apparently I’m really at odds with a number of people who refer to themselves as Christians like I tend to refer to myself in terms of religious leanings, and people who insist that quantitative reasoning is the only rationale that should be applied in making policy.

First some background for context:

I don’t know enough about bisphenol A, BPA, and have not read either the European or American studies concerning the chemicals effects in baby bottles. I know that this plasticizer has been used in the US since the late 1950s. Many European countries banned its use between 2008 and 2009, and the United States followed suit beginning in 2012 for baby bottles and sippy cups.

Governor Paul LePage of Maine felt differently in his desire for rolling back of environmental laws in his state. As for potential ramifications from BPA, at worst “some women may have little beards.”

Need we wonder who benefitted from such actions taken by the governor? Back home in Louisiana, we once had old Uncle Earl Long and Socks on a Rooster, but Maine apparently has lobbyists in the henhouse.

Obviously the way to deal with such freedom of speech is to deny that right as Governor LePage did to members of his administration.  Of course that was fair since neither the Governor nor his official spokespeople would speak or release public records to 3 newspapers: Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel.

Of course some like Governor LePage argue that certain people in his state “give it to the people without providing Vaseline,” when it should be about providing for the people of Maine. It’s real. It’s not a game that federal government wants to play with the people.

Now why in the heck is a Louisiana Boy writing about Maine politics?

I have never stepped into the state and apart from regaling certain history students with aspects of the political career of James Blaine, I would likely place 3rd in a Maine trivia contest if competing against a choupique and nutria rat

I’m writing because someone asked me a WWJD question and pointed me toward some “conservative rags” and Allen West praising Governor LePage for the “Christian” idea of “if one won’t work, one doesn’t eat” measures being taken in Maine.

You can compare and contrast the opposing ideological sides in these articles from “Young Conservatives” and the Huffington Post.

On the surface working at minimum 20 hours a week, participating in a work training program, or doing approximately 1 hour of volunteer work per day may seem reasonable for “Abawds,” able-bodied adults without dependents to receive SNAP benefits. After all it is our tax dollars being used, right?

Well financially just think of how much money Maine has saved for the taxpayer. Let’s keep the math really simple, and just round up in the number of SNAP recipients (the actual number is between 9 and 10 thousand) cut to 10,000 individuals. The average monthly benefit per individual is $144 and the maximum is $194.  Again just to make math in head simpler, I’m rounding up to $200 a month so $2400 a year. What is that about $24 million?

To me $24 million is a substantial amount. If I had half that, no a quarter of that, shucks just let me have $1 million in liquid assets, it would be quite a spell before I’d have any legitimate financial worries. Still author Stephen King paid $1.4 million in state taxes to Maine in 2013, and he and his wife give on average about $4 million a year in assorted grants to Mainers.

LePage signed a $150 million tax cut in 2011 which not only lowered the tax rate for the highest incomes but also doubled the estate tax exemption from $1 million to $2 million.

In other words, people with substantial incomes have saved many times what would have been spent to provide the SNAP benefits.

Here though is the thing that riled my gut when it came to the “Christian” reaction. In some areas neither jobs nor volunteer activities are available within a walking distance of 5 miles. That applies to many living out in the sticks or rural areas. In your urban areas some just don’t have the job openings available for certain people. Yes I’m stating that discrimination exists. Appearance and lack of transportation, communication devices, or a permanent address do make some people undesirable for many no matter how bad one individual needs to hire workers or how willing an individual is to work for nothing beyond room and board.

Volunteering is often dependent upon need. A legitimate organization is not going to have 100s of volunteers sitting around doing nothing because when they actually need volunteers they may have already poisoned the well. I can recall multiple occasions where I was dressed in my Sunday go to meeting clothing, buzz cut looking sharp, smell good under the pits, spit shined shoes, well scrubbed face, looking sharp enough to feel confident walking up to the most beautiful and popular woman in any setting and introducing myself, but still being told thank you for your interest but we currently have enough volunteers for our reading to kids program, spending time with a senior citizen at a retirement home, packing care packages, picking up trash, power washing and scrubbing off graffiti, and even cleaning out horse stalls.

ABC affiliate WMTW of Westbrook, ME, expands on some of these lacking elements in this feature.

WWJD?  If he were going to provide for the rich while cutting the poor regardless of reason, I would argue that he would at the least point the poor in the direction of an available job or hook them up to volunteer for some organization in need.  That’s quite a bit over yonder from the “Christian conservative” of today who simply dismisses the people because the reality does not fit into the simple soundbite that people like LePage, Jindal, West, Cruz, Palin, Gowdy, and others are yelling louder than the music played for Noriega sitting in an embassy in Panama before surrendering.

Quantitatively that $24 million saved here ain’t even half a piece of the whole pie given to those benefitting from raising the estate tax exemption from $1 million to $2 million.

Folks think about what it’s like……


2 thoughts on “Cutting SNAP and requiring work ain’t that simple

  1. Reblogged this on sachemspeaks and commented:
    Not to worry Christian Politicians, Jesus was/is not a Christian Politician!
    Maybe, just Maybe
    Allow you to fit yourself up to your own cross?
    Thank you LAB Louisiana Boy

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