House cuts only remaining part of the welfare state

9/20/2013 03:07:00 PM
Republicans in the House of Representatives just passed a bill cutting $40 million from the food stamp program. Food stamps are administered by the states through the county infrastructure just like most other means-tested welfare, but unlike any other means-tested welfare, it is entirely federally funded through the inappropriately named SNAP. That means that food stamps, unlike the rest of the Johnson-era War on Poverty, has managed so far to escape the relentless state-level campaign to systematically disembowel the welfare state.

Here's a point that has been passed over in the commentary of the House's latest move. Suppose you are a poverty-level working childless adult in a state that won't be participating in the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid. That means food stamps are, quite literally, the only form of government assistance you qualify for. You don't get refundable tax credits. You don't get a TANF. You don't get medical coverage. You aren't eligible for disability. No checks of any kind will be coming in the mail to help you pay the rent. No free cell phones. No heat assistance. Nothing. Nothing, that is, except for your state-issued food stamp card. No one, no matter how poor, will ever go hungry.

Until now. The House Republicans have just decided to let you starve.