Jose Tolson: Weaker food assistance programs not right for country
PELHAM — I was shocked and ashamed to read an column by Paul Krugman titled “From the Mouths Of Babes” in the New York Times concerning congressional Republicans’ efforts to defund and eventually eliminate the food stamp program.
I take a dim view of the mean and selfish solutions Republicans have put forward in recent years to address the needs of the country. But to go after a program that, according to Krugman, “provides modest but crucial aid to families in need ... and played an especially useful ... role in recent years,” is reason to be angry.
Congressional politicians should all spend more time figuring out why one in seven families in this country needs food stamp assistance to begin with. How is it that we are all surrounded by food but not all of us can reach it?
Perhaps if politicians focused on job creation instead of trying to balance the federal budget on the backs of the poor, we wouldn’t need food stamps at all.
Maybe if Congress stopped kissing up to Wall Street and spent more time walking down Main Street its members would see that regular people only want an opportunity to make a living.
The economic meltdown and subsequent recession, whose effects are still being felt, were not caused by food stamps recipients. They were caused by runaway bankers and investors who were aided by congressional policymakers, many of whom are still making laws for the country.
And just maybe, if the Republicans would stop their knee-jerk opposition to every economic suggestion of the Obama administration, we could make some headway on the economy without even thinking about taking food off the tables of hungry children and families.
Cutting programs that temporarily help the poor and middle class live normal lives, while people strive for more permanent solutions, will not solve the economic crisis. Obstructing every policy initiative of President Obama will not make the country any safer or more prosperous.
Denying nutritional aid to generations of children will only weaken the United States.
Jose Tolson of Pelham is living this year in New York City.