Archive for March 2011

Note to fellow Liberal Bloggers: Just Because You’ve Heard About Something for the First Time Doesn’t Make It News.

Now, a group of House Republicans is launching a new stealth attack against union workers. GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Tim Scott (SC), Scott Garrett (NJ), Dan Burton (IN), and Louie Gohmert (TX) have introduced H.R. 1135, which states that it is designed to “provide information on total spending on means-tested welfare programs, to provide additional work requirements, and to provide an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs.”

Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer

Sounds pretty bad.

Atrios wonders if, DUH, “It’s Almost As If This Was Part of A Grand Plan”, and links to Think Progress.

the Daily Kos takes note too:

So cut off federal food stamps for an entire family if one person in that family strikes a private corporation, company, business?

Forward – to the 19th Century. RepublicSCUMS are the most evil, wicked fuckers on the face of the earth.

Sponsors of this bill, H.R. 1135, include, GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Tim Scott (SC), Scott Garrett (NJ), Dan Burton (IN), and Louie Gohmert (TX).

Susie Madrak takes aim, and so does John walker at FDL. All of them describe this as an attack by the GOP on organized labor, by making it more difficult to strike. And how cruel the GOP is, cutting off whole families from food stamps if even one member strikes. That is just so terrible and awful of them.

The problem with all of this is that it’s not news. I know because I work at a hunger-relief organization, and part of what we do is help individuals and families sign up for food stamps (now known as SNAP). It has now been confirmed to me, by three people who work here, including our policy manager, that this has been the case dating back to about 1996. In fact, it’s in the training materials I was given when I first got hired: “Strikers: make a whole household ineligible.” That’s because of a 1988 court decision abstracted here: “THE wives and children of men who are on strike lost one of their rights on March 23rd, when the Supreme Court upheld, by five votes to three, Congress’s decision in 1981 that they could be denied food stamps.” here’s the policy as it pertains to Pennsylvania.

But furthermore, while the language is offensive, it’s largely unworkable if the idea is to kick people already receiving SNAP off the program. When you apply, there’s a requirement to report if you’re on strike. If you’re already receiving SNAP, it’s a lot harder to determine that, simply due to the fact that the welfare offices where the majority of SNAP cases are handled are overworked, understaffed, inefficient, and in general swamped. That’s the reason my employers screen applicants and do case management. County assistance has enough trouble handling their already huge workload: no one has the time (or for that matter the resources) to go through every applicant’s files to see which ones belong to unions and which unions are on strike at any given time. The only way this “policy” (and I’m using the term charitably) could work is if a striker went into the county assistance office and said “hey guys, those food stamps i’m getting? Cancel them, I’m on strike”. So if that’s the case and it’s not simply a repeat of legislation that was passed by House Democrats and Senate Republicans in 1981 and upheld in 1988, it’s ludicrous, empty posturing to make the GOP look tough to their foaming-at-the-mouth, mentally ill, right-wing retards (”cognitively challenged” is too kind a term for the thickwitted GOP base).

But this has not stopped my friends in left blogistan from acting like the hysterics on the right. Not one single poster, except for Think Progress, has amended their claims. Not one.

hey guys? I thought we were the honest, thoughtful, level-headed, reality-based community. Just because you’ve only just now heard about this policy, which I agree is an unfair thumb on the scale that makes it more difficult for people fighting for better working conditions to strike. But that’s policy for both the hated Republicans and our so-called “friends” the Democrats