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Republican Policies Are More And More Frequently Hurting Republican Voters


Welcome to East Palestine, Ohio-- the heart of MAGAville

I hope this doesn’t come off too much like victim-blaming but Columbiana County, Ohio— home of the East Palestine railroad disaster— is a red hellhole. Most voters there have bought into Republican/Fox/Christian nationalist lies & bigotry in a big way. Hillary & Biden each got an identical, pathetic 26.74% of the vote in that godforsaken county. In 2020, 71.51% of the voters picked Trump, who deregulated railroad safety in a way— as in letting railroads hauling dangerous freight get away without using electronically controlled pneumatic brakes— that presaged the East Palestine catastrophe. Lobbyists for Norfolk Southern persuaded Trump to repeal the Obama regulations that would have prevented the disaster. “Documents show,” wrote David Sirota and his team, “that when current transportation safety rules were first created, a federal agency sided with industry lobbyists and limited regulations governing the transport of hazardous compounds. The decision effectively exempted many trains hauling dangerous materials— including the one in Ohio— from the ‘high-hazard’ classification and its more stringent safety requirements. Amid the lobbying blitz against stronger transportation safety regulations, Norfolk Southern paid executives millions and spent billions on stock buybacks— all while the company shed thousands of employees despite warnings that understaffing is intensifying safety risks. Norfolk Southern officials also fought off a shareholder initiative that could have required company executives to ‘assess, review, and mitigate risks of hazardous material transportation.’”


Ohio’s rate of COVID vaccination is 60%— 8 points below the national average… and nowhere near the over 80% rates in blue states like Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Hawaii. But not all of Ohio has rejected sane medical advice. 14 of the state’s 88 counties are above the national average, including Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Franklin (Columbus), Hamilton (Cincinnati) and Summit (Akron)… but not Columbiana County, which is 10 points below the state average. MAGA politics and Republican policies have proven catastrophic for rural, red counties, where education attainment is low, health stats are poor, religiosity, Fox News viewership and poverty rates are high and life expectancy is at the low end of the spectrum. These kinds of counties are the bedrock of GOP victories on every level— and they are also the counties where conservatism has made life short and brutish, where things like mass shootings, environmental disasters and spiking suicide rates are a part of life.


There are almost 15,000 people in Columbiana County who use food stamps. When Republicans take aim at the SNAP program— as House Republicans are now— they think they’re targeting Democratic voters in inner cities and either don’t realize they are hurting their own voters… or, more likely, don’t care.


And now that wealthier and better educated voters have gravitated towards the Democratic Party in greater numbers, the old anti-working class GOP agenda is hurting their own base voters. Trump understands this even while most of them don’t— and he’s warned them that the party will go up in flames if they try to diminish Social Security or Medicare. Republican hostility to those programs were premised on the fact that wealthy people didn’t want to underwrite them and that those people were overwhelmingly Republicans while the beneficiaries were overwhelmingly Democrats. Things have changed, even if GOP lunkheads in Congress haven’t figured it out yet.


Yesterday, Tony Romm reported that “Top House Republicans are exploring significant changes to the nation’s food stamps program, including benefit cuts and stricter work requirements” and plan to threaten shoving the country off the fiscal cliff if the Democrats don’t agree to shove millions of families off their own fiscal cliff. “[T]heir policy decisions could carry great consequences for the roughly 41 million people who receive monthly food aid— and find themselves scrounging in the face of high bills.”


Formally known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, food stamps provide lower-income households with an average of over $230 each month for groceries. Federal officials administer the aid, but states set additional rules and manage the payments, often provided through a debit card.
Anti-poverty experts have long described the money as critical, yet insufficient at times, in subsidizing families’ food needs over the course of a month. But Democrats’ efforts to expand SNAP aid have been met with steep and intensifying Republican opposition, as GOP lawmakers argue that food stamps and other government benefit programs cost too much and deter millions of Americans from entering the workforce.
Since winning control of the House, some GOP leaders have started to explore ways to translate their criticisms into federal policy. They have attacked the Biden administration for its recent benefit increases. They have called for limiting aid to entire categories of recipients, including poor adults without children. And they have raised the potential they could seek even tougher work requirements.
“We need to go back to the Clinton-era welfare-to-work reforms,” Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), the leader of the House Budget Committee, said in a recent interview. He referred to GOP-led efforts in the 1990s— backed by the White House at the time— that imposed a raft of limitations on federal benefit programs.
Arrington, who will lead House Republicans’ work to craft a balanced budget, included SNAP as a source for potential savings in a cost-cutting memo issued last week. His panel said work requirements would “save tens of billions and spur economic growth,” while strict verification processes from applicants would cut down on waste, fraud and abuse.
Such changes could open the door to debilitating cuts, according to food policy experts, who fear it could worsen an existing hunger crisis. Adding to their concerns, the debate arrives only two months after Congress agreed to terminate a pandemic-era initiative that boosted benefits in some states. The move could send some SNAP recipients’ monthly allotments plummeting by an average of $82 each month starting in March, according to the Food Research and Action Center, an anti-hunger advocacy group. The looming cut stands in stark contrast to federal inflation indicators released this week showing that food prices remain on the rise.


The problem stems from Republican tax cuts for the wealthy. That’s it; it’s that simple. There is no other reason for the problem and the solution is just as simple— and something the GOP refuses to consider. If voters in Columbiana County and if voters in Jodey Arrington’s district (where over 34,000 households are using food stamps and where 72.4% of the voters went for Trump) decided to stand up for their families and neighbors, these problems could be instantly solved in one election cycle. “In recent weeks,” noted Romm, “Republicans have signaled they are willing to wager the country’s credit— and a fight over its ability to borrow, known as the debt ceiling— to secure significant reductions in federal spending. The result has inched the nation close to the fiscal brink, threatening the government with default as soon as this summer.”


Oh, and speaking of rural Republican voters who should be voting blue but generally don’t, there’s another aspect to this program. Romm pointed out that the GOP slime-buckets “face another looming deadline regardless of the debt limit: A key federal law that authorizes agricultural subsidies and nutrition programs including SNAP is set to expire at the end of September. Lawmakers must approve some sort of extension before Oct. 1, or enact a newer version of the measure, known colloquially in the Capitol as the ‘farm bill.’ Otherwise, millions of farmers and families alike could experience significant economic disruptions this fall. That process— mired in political bickering and fierce industry lobbying— has opened the door for resurgent Republicans to weigh significant changes to a food stamp program that paid more than $119 billion in benefits last year.”


Matt Gaetz's backward Panhandle district, which voted 65.3% for Trump, has over 36,000 households using food stamps. “Firing an early warning shot, a group of five conservatives led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) last week cited the country’s ‘untenable’ debt levels as they called for new ‘work requirements as a feature of welfare reform.’ They specifically pointed to the need to make ‘structural reforms of SNAP,’ saying such rules would restore ‘dignity’ for beneficiaries. ‘Breaking this poverty trap will help future generations avoid welfare programs altogether,’ wrote Gaetz and others, including Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO).”


Gaetz grew up in a wealthy crime family. Bigg’s district has around 18,000 households on food stamps and Boebert’s district includes 34,000 households using food stamps.


In general, SNAP beneficiaries between ages 16 and 59 must register for work, participate in any required state-based training programs and take a job if offered, with exceptions for some categories of Americans, including those who are disabled and parents of kids under age 6. Federal law grants vast latitude to local officials to make training programs voluntary or mandatory.
SNAP beneficiaries who have no children and other dependents, meanwhile, may only collect aid for three months in a three-year period unless they obtain employment. But states may also waive some of these rules temporarily to enroll people in high-unemployment areas.
Republicans have faulted that approach as insufficient, seizing on, in particular, the waivers.
“I grew up very poor, I’ve seen the impact of just continually giving out food stamps without any requirement to ever get off them,” said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), the leader of the Republican Study Committee, the largest bloc of House GOP lawmakers.
Offering its own budget road map last year, the RSC proposed to end those waivers while suggesting other significant changes to SNAP, which included new limits on how long families could collect benefits and stricter financial eligibility rules.
Hern, meanwhile, personally penned letters to federal leaders pushing for work requirements and warning against expanding benefits. In a recent interview, he said the food stamp program needed to help poor Americans become “liberated by a job, get into the workforce, learn a skill set and become more profitable and more productive for the economy.”

Hern is one of the 5 wealthiest people in the House. He became rich as a McDonald’s franchisee paying his employees starvation wages that forced them to survive on food stamps. Over 38,000 households in his deep red district are currently using food stamps to get by. “Democratic lawmakers— and top advocates for SNAP— say the RSC’s proposed changes could force millions of Americans off food stamps, leaving them vulnerable to hunger. Ty Jones Cox, the vice president for food assistance at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning group, said there can be ‘multiple layers of barriers to employment,’ including a lack of available jobs. And she noted the focus of SNAP is not labor but hunger, adding there are other avenues to help people return to the workforce. ‘It doesn’t have to be built off the back of a food program,’ Cox said.”


John Boozman (R-AR) is the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Over 280,000 households in his state (9% of the population) use food stamps.



Glenn GT Thompson (R-PA) is the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. His district voted 67.8% for Trump. There are 30,000 households using food stamps. He’s supposed to be crafting a compromise. “Publicly,” wrote Romm, “Thompson has sought to distance himself from some in his party who have linked new work requirements to the debate around the debt ceiling. But a Republican aide, who requested anonymity to describe the panel’s early deliberations, said some elements of existing law are worth review— including states’ use of waivers to exempt adults without children from some SNAP rules.


Thompson and Boozman have “blasted the Biden administration for recently increasing SNAP benefit amounts. They specifically targeted the administration’s tweaks to the Thrifty Food Plan, which helps determine average grocery costs for the purposes of setting food stamp amounts. Thompson, in particular, faulted USDA in a statement for failing ‘to sufficiently analyze the impacts of its choices, leaving taxpayers to foot the $256 billion bill.’ His office declined a request for comment. Democrats, meanwhile, have pledged to stand firm against changes to SNAP that cut into its beneficiaries’ financial and physical well-being. The White House pointed this week to President Biden’s past calls instead to expand SNAP eligibility. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, stressed in a statement that she would ‘not support bureaucratic requirements that only serve as obstacles to people getting the help they need to get back on their feet.’ Her panel is set to hold a hearing on federal nutrition programs Thursday.”


In many ways, the emerging fight is a familiar one in Washington. Five years ago, a GOP House and Democratic Senate similarly forged ahead on a renewal of the farm bill— and found themselves sparring over federal nutrition programs.
At the time, Republicans aimed to subject a wider array of SNAP recipients to work requirements, including older Americans. Along with other policy changes, the GOP plan could have slashed benefits for roughly 1 million households, according to contested estimates at the time.
Ultimately, Democrats battled back those changes, but Republicans did not relent. A frequent critic of food stamps, President Donald Trump tried repeatedly to slash the program, including an unsuccessful attempt to terminate benefits for unemployed Americans, which would have affected about 700,000 people during the pandemic.

3 Comments


dcrapguy
dcrapguy
Feb 18, 2023

not just telling them (and you). proving to all that it is true.

if you don't want to be dumber than shit... GET SMARTER! Quit doing stupid things.

And for fuckssakes, quit voting for your abusers.

no. not working. but nothing your side is doing is working either.


After 3 decades of democrap perfidy and refusal to *do*... I tried explaining the sitchie. didn't work.

After another decade (the 2008 crash happened), your democraps kept proving it. I pointed that out. didn't work.

so after another decade-ish, bernie got "graysoned", $hillbillary (the great whore of wall street) lost to trump and the shithole really started taking the shape of a nazi reich.

I figured it was time to tell y'all…


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crapper, Interesting "oratory" technique you have- Convincing people by abusing them and telling them how "dumber than shit" they are. How's it working? Being in a relationship with you would be a real picnic.

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dcrapguy
dcrapguy
Feb 17, 2023

nazi party policy has been ratfucking everyone, except the monied, for over 150 years... ever since reconstruction. The thing was that back then southern white racists were Democrats because Lincoln (who freed the slaves) was Republican, and the pillage of the south called "reconstruction" was administered by Republicans just after Lincoln was snuffed.


All was forgiven in about 1967 after LBJ and Democrats passed VRA and CRA, however.

At that point, the white racists everywhere started sprinting toward the Republican/nazi party... all because of racism.


You see, white racists care ONLY about their hate. They'll even forgive 150+ years of abuse because those who abuse them share the same hatreds.


Not all that weird. YOU, also, don't seem to giv…


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