Tag: Mick Mulvaney

Let food stamp recipients eat socialism

Let food stamp recipients eat socialism

Who knew that President Trump and some in his Cabinet were closet Socialists.
How else to explain their plan to slash a partnership between government and private industry that provides food for the poorest Americans and partially replace it with a program fresh from Cold War Bulgaria.
Since the 1960s, low-income Americans have received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, and used them to buy food at about 260,000 retailers from Wal-Mart to corner groceries to farmers’ markets.
Under Trump’s proposed budget, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would purchase food with its bulk buying power, put in containers called “America’s Harvest Boxes,” and somehow get them to 16.4 million households across the country.
Just how, no one has explained.
That will be a problem for the states.
Never mind that this would require a gigantic bureaucracy to store food, assemble boxes, deliver the boxes to states, let people pick up their boxes or distribute boxes to recipients, keep track of the addresses and moves of millions of Americans, track who get the boxes and who doesn’t, and find a speedy way to replace boxes that are late or stolen so people don’t go hungry.
All this so recipients who now choose what they eat and buy fresh, nutritious food at local stores with what amounts to a debit card can instead get a “Harvest Box” filled with pastas, cereals and other non-perishables.
And there’s this: The boxes would provide only half of the monthly allotment, so the government would still be distributing debit cards.
The SNAP benefit for each person in a single-parent household with children is about $1.40 per meal — not exactly fancy recipe resources.

SNAP cuts could hurt Montanans, groups say

SNAP cuts could hurt Montanans, groups say

And, it serves more than 56,000 households in Montana.
She said decreasing funds given for food would mean people would have to use money from elsewhere, such as housing. “Sometimes people have a view of how many people it will affect and it’s not accurate.” Opportunities Inc., a private nonprofit help agency, helped 3,941 people in 2017 with food, Seaman said.
That’s a tremendous cost savings.” Kottel criticized that proposal as well.
“I support putting the ‘nutrition’ back into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, by emphasizing healthy foods like the Trump administration proposed for the healthy boxes program,” he said via email Thursday.
He said over the past few years, he has asked scores of grocery and convenience store clerks if they think Red Bull belongs in the food stamp program.
She said the proposal would require a government system to source and purchase foods, pack food boxes on a monthly basis, and then distribute those boxes to millions of American homes.
“SNAP allows participants to shop at their local grocery store and choose the foods that meet their family’s needs,” she said.
“Did they notice the other 10 people who bought hamburger to feed their family?
“I am closely reviewing the president’s budget proposal, but at the end of the day, the appropriate place to address SNAP and other important nutrition programs is through the Farm Bill,” he said.

The real story of food stamps

The real story of food stamps

President Donald Trump wants to radically overhaul a critical safety net program that covers more than 42 million people — or roughly one in eight Americans.
They argue that the program is too large and rife with fraud.
How many people receive them?
More than 42.2 million Americans participated in the food stamp program last year.
What’s the average monthly benefit?
Food stamps often don’t cover an entire month’s worth of food, but the program was always meant to be used as a supplement to a family’s budget.
What can’t recipients buy?
Are recipients required to work?
Adults without minor children can only receive benefits for three months out of every 36-month period, unless they are working or participating in training programs 20 hours a week.
The Trump administration’s budget calls for requiring more people to work, in part by limiting states’ use of waivers.

White House wants to deliver food to the poor, Blue Apron-style

White House wants to deliver food to the poor, Blue Apron-style

Think of it as Blue Apron for food stamp recipients. “USDA America’s Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families — and all of it is homegrown by American farmers and producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement. “It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers.”
Part of the president’s fiscal 2019 budget blueprint, the idea immediately sparked concerns and questions among consumer advocates and food retailers.
They feared it would upend a much-needed benefit for more than 80% of those in the program.
Here’s how it would work: Instead of receiving all their food stamp funds, households would get a box of food that the government describes as nutritious and 100% grown and produced in the U.S.
The box would be valued at about half of the SNAP recipient’s monthly benefit.
The administration didn’t detail exactly how families would receive the food boxes, saying states could distribute them through existing infrastructure, partnerships or directly to residences through delivery services.
The proposal would save nearly $130 billion over 10 years, as well as improve the nutritional value of the program and reduce the potential for fraud, according to the administration.
Plus, it could be difficult for families to pick up the box, especially if they don’t have a car.

The Most Important Thing the State of the Union Speech Left Out
Social Security Disability

The Most Important Thing the State of the Union Speech Left Out

President Trump gave his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Amid all of these issues, there’s one thing the State of the Union address left out, and its absence was notable in light of all the other things the speech covered.
From outspoken to silent The failure of the State of the Union address to mention Social Security stands in stark contrast to the views that the president expressed before the 2016 election.
Other lawmakers have sought to raise the full retirement age and make changes to benefit formulas that would result in less extreme price increases.
Mick Mulvaney, who heads the Office of Management and Budget, argued that the president’s comments about Social Security referred to the old age and survivors portion of the program, saying, “If you ask 999 people out of 1,000, [they] would tell you that Social Security disability is not part of Social Security.”
It’s possible that the president’s decision not to mention Social Security in the State of the Union address simply means that he is standing by his previous comments not to cut Social Security.
Indeed, although Ryan has vigorously urged making Social Security and Medicare reform a priority in the coming year, especially in light of the desire to reduce budget deficits created by the tax reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has suggested that entitlement programs are unlikely to make it onto the legislative agenda in the near future.
Skeptics are still nervous.
Tax reform included provisions that would use an alternative cost-of-living adjustment method known as the chained CPI to make future-year increases to tax brackets and other inflation-indexed tax provisions.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the president to task for including the disability cuts into the White House budget proposal, and went further in criticizing proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well as substantial staffing and funding cuts for the Social Security Administration.

You Should Not Need a Job to Get Help

You Should Not Need a Job to Get Help

This is particularly obvious when it comes to demanding work for health care, yet it’s true as well for other programs on which Republicans want to impose work requirements.
But many of the people who receive Medicaid and don’t work all the time have good reason not to.
“I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all.
Republicans have already targeted food stamps.
“There’s a necessity to work to help the country succeed.” Housing assistance is also, apparently, included in the welfare umbrella.
In the 1990s, as part of that original effort to change cash assistance, a strict work requirement was included under the idea that it would get people “off welfare and into work,” in President Bill Clinton’s words.
But many people who were shoved off cash assistance didn’t land in paid employment.
In Maryland, over a third of people had no job at all within five years of losing enrollment.
Even if someone who can do it won’t work, does that mean he deserves poor health?
Is denying food to a poor, starving person all that different?

Higher Fuel Prices And Cold Weather Will Squeeze Heating Assistance
Social Security Disability

Higher Fuel Prices And Cold Weather Will Squeeze Heating Assistance

“Families in the Northeast are also facing heating fuel prices that are significantly higher than last winter.” Since the early 1980s, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program has helped millions of households heat their homes in winter and cool them in summer.
Partly because of higher fuel costs, Congress boosted the program’s funding to $5 billion for 2009 and 2010, then started paring it back after the Obama administration signaled it was willing to sacrifice social spending to cut deals with Republicans.
“We’re now at a price level that’s close to where we were before that increase.” Energy prices subsequently increased again, bottomed out in early 2016 and are now on the rise once more, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Several relatively mild winters have alleviated the impact of the higher prices in recent years, but 2018 started out unusually cold across most of the U.S. Wolfe said heating oil price increases will effectively reduce the value of federal assistance for home heating costs from 61 percent two years ago to 52 percent today for households that benefit from the program.
(Most of the budget was a nonstarter on the Hill.)
Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney called heating assistance wasteful and cited a Government Accountability Office report from 2010 that found 9 percent of beneficiary households had incorrect information on their applications, including 11,000 Social Security numbers belonging to dead people.
Wilson said it’s been so cold that a pipe froze and burst in his basement last week.
The 61-year-old disabled woodworker faulted himself for not keeping the heat high enough in the basement, but said he’s been scraping by on Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
“I had to take out a loan to get a tooth fixed,” he said.
Arthur Delaney co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast:

A Vote For The GOP Tax Bill Is A Vote To Cut Medicare
Social Security Disability

A Vote For The GOP Tax Bill Is A Vote To Cut Medicare

To be clear: If the tax bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Donald Trump, nothing more needs to be done to cut Medicare.
These Medicare cuts could be waived if a majority of the House and 60 Senators vote to do so.
The head of that office is Mulvaney, a self-described “right-wing nutjob” and anti-government zealot who shares Ryan’s desire to cut and destroy Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (as well as just about every other non-defense government program).
Passing this tax bill gives him the power to decide how to cut Medicare.
That accountability starts by putting relentless pressure on Senators ahead of their vote on the bill, which is scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving.
And those tax giveaways trigger automatic cuts to Medicare.
When health care premiums go up, when Medicare gets cut, and when Medicaid gets cut, they will blame Obamacare – even though that is a shameless lie.
Since last January, Trump and his Congressional allies have engaged in a nonstop war.
It is a war on people with disabilities.
Indeed, it is a war on everyone but the plutocrats.

The Mitch McConnell Sinkhole

The Mitch McConnell Sinkhole

A plurality, 41 percent, of Medicaid recipients, are white; 22 percent are black; 25 percent are Hispanic; and 12 percent are other ethnicities, including Asian-American.
In 18 states, at least 60 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries are white: ranging from 98 percent in Idaho and 93 percent in West Virginia to 60 percent in Minnesota and Nebraska.
Significantly, while 41 percent of beneficiaries of Medicaid are white, whites receive 51.8 percent of all dollars spent in the program, $149.5 billion out of a total of $288.9 billion in 2012, the most recent year for which such data is available.
Fifty-seven percent of the working-age disabled covered by Medicaid are white.
More than half, 56 percent, are white.
How is it possible, then, that Senate Republicans are continuing to weigh the consequences of passing health care legislation that would inflict harm on millions of low- to middle-income white voters essential to the conservative coalition?
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the health care bill currently before the Senate would result in 22 million more people without coverage by 2026.
A majority of Republicans, 52 percent, said that Medicaid was a welfare program, and a minority, 46 percent, said it was a health insurance program.
In 2014, 78 percent of the 1.4 million nursing home residents in America were white.
Thievery is what folks like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are proposing to inflict on their fellow Americans, a massive reduction in what has become a crucial source of support for those faced with impossibly high costs and impossible personal demands as caregivers.

South Carolina Democrat Slams GOP Opponent’s Support For Social Security Cuts
Social Security Disability

South Carolina Democrat Slams GOP Opponent’s Support For Social Security Cuts

South Carolina Democrat Slams GOP Opponent’s Support For Social Security Cuts.
The Democratic candidate for an open House seat in South Carolina criticized his Republican rival for supporting Social Security benefit cuts, highlighting a potential vulnerability for the GOP in a district it’s favored to win.
Republican Ralph Norman, 63, a real estate developer and former state representative seeking to fill the seat that White House budget director Mick Mulvaney vacated, has called for raising Social Security’s retirement age and reducing benefits for the top 10 percent of earners.
Norman’s Democratic opponent, Archie Parnell, a 66-year-old tax attorney, is against any Social Security benefit cuts, including through an increase in the retirement age.
Ralph Norman for Congress Although polls consistently show that Social Security is popular among Republican and independent voters, it is not clear if Parnell’s tactic will resonate in the solid red district.
Earlier this week, his campaign released a poll it commissioned showing that Parnell had narrowed Norman’s lead from 16 percentage points to 10.
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, associate chair and former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten kicked off the DNC’s “Resistance Summer” party-building initiative on Saturday by campaigning with Parnell in the Rock Hill area.
“Congress needs a loud wake-up call, and we believe that electing Archie would put President Trump, Speaker Ryan, and their ilk on notice.” Perez will be fundraising for Parnell as well while in South Carolina, and spoke at the South Carolina Democratic Party state dinner in May to raise money for him as well, according to the DNC.
The party has elicited criticism from progressive activists for not financing every Democratic candidate in a congressional special election earlier and more aggressively.
Democrats are hoping to flip Georgia’s 6th congressional on the same day as Parnell’s election in South Carolina.