RICH BULEY: Too bad you’re not in the 1%

It sure has been an interesting week. On Monday, Sept. 16th, Forbes Magazine released the Forbes 400, the list of the 400 richest people in America. They seem to be doing pretty well since their average net worth rose $800 million over the year to an average net worth of $5 billion.

On Tuesday, Sept. 17th, The Census Bureau released a report describing how the rest of us are doing. We’re not doing quite so well. the typical middle class family has seen its income decrease $5000 from that of 1999. The average male worker earned $283 less than he did 44 years ago.

The news wasn’t bad just for the middle, it was worse for those at the opposite end of the Forbes 400. A new record was set with 46.5 million people living in poverty. 21.8% of children, or 16 million, live in poverty. A higher percentage of seniors are living in poverty than at any time since 1972.

It was on Thursday, Sept. 19th that the Republicans in Congress decided to leap into action. With record numbers of Americans living in poverty, the Republican House voted to cut the food stamp program by $4 billion per year. Not a single Democrat voted with the Republicans.

Among those Republicans who voted to deny food to starving children and elderly was Montana’s Congressman, Steve Daines. Of course, Daines doesn’t have much empathy since his net worth is between $5 million and $23 million. Another Republican, Phil Gingery of Georgia voted to cut food stamps while complaining that he only makes $172,000 as a Congressman. Yep, Congressmen have it tough. On a 6 day junket to Russia that was paid for by taxpayers, Rep. Steve King (R.IA) spent $3,588 on food and lodging. Of course, that’s about $600 a day. Meanwhile, food stamp recipients get $4.50 a day. The amount King spent for food in Russia would have paid a person 881 days of food stamps.

The Republican party is working tirelessly for the 1%. Problem is, you aren’t in the 1%.

RICH BULEY: 23% of children in this nation in poverty

On May, 21, I wrote about the House Agricultural Committee  coming up with a new farm bill that included slashing the food stamp program by $20.5 billion. I noted that this would deny food stamp assistance to 2 million people, most of them elderly and children.

Then, on June 4, I write again about the proposed farm bill and cited a just released study showing that the number of Americans living in poverty had increased. I suggested that given the increase in poverty, it probably isn’t a good time to be cutting the ability of people to eat.

On June 20, the House voted on the farm bill which, in the face of rising poverty, cut food stamps by $20.5 billion. But, the bill was defeated by the Republican controlled House. Democrats voted against it because of the draconian cuts to food stamps. The far right wing of the Republicans voted against it, because they wanted even more cuts to food stamps. Steve Daines, Montana’s Congressman, voted for the bill and the $20.5 billion in cuts of food to hungry kids.

On June 24, another study was released showing that the number of children living in poverty has increased to 23% I would think that most people would think that having almost one quarter of the children in this nation live in poverty is a disgrace. But, to Daines and the rest of the Republicans in Congress, childhood poverty isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.