The Food Stamp program barely scratches the surface of the overall unmet hunger need in America today. See my post at the One America Committee about this subject. An excerpt:
The food stamp rolls had decreased from 1994 (27.5 million participants) to 1999 (18.2 million participants) because of a robust economy and changes in eligibility for the program at the state and federal levels. We are currently living in an economy that appears to be expanding only for only the richest. Need is increasing in our communities. According to Results.com, a website dedicated to Hunger issues, the Food Stamp program served 25.4 million people in March 2005. That amounts to 7.2 million more people than in 1999. Even with this increased need in our communities, the House Agriculture Committee passed a bill on October 28, 2005 to cut about 300,000 people off the Food Stamp program. Food Stamp cuts would account for $844 million over five years, impacting 300,000 low-income families, of the $3.7 billion of cuts in the Agriculture Committee package. See this analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
Hunger is up, and the House leaders have cut the budget, taking assistance away from the hungry. Maybe the House leadership just doesn't get it, or perhaps they care more about the lobbyists and special interests that pamper them and contribute to their campaigns. Take a look at the leadership in the state of Mississippi, the poorest state in the Union. Governor Haley Barbour wants to keep the cigarette taxes low and the tax on groceries high, claiming that food stamps are already "taking care" of the poor and the working poor in his state. Jackson Clarion Ledger editor Sid Salter reveals the irresponsible nature of the political myth being perpetuated by Mississippi's misleading governor with a list of statistics that cry out for moral action.
"In our view Mr. Rumsfeld's failures should have led to his departure long ago. But he should not be driven out by a revolt of generals, retired or not." [WaPo editorial 4-18-06]
While I understand the concerns laid out in today's Washington Post editorial about the Generals' public revolt in pressuring Donald Rumsfeld to step down, I strongly disagree with them. It seems that anyone who has any prescience, especially after all the arrogance and dangerous ignorance we have seen from the Bush administration that has placed our nation and our military in an embarrassingly weakened position, would understand that the Generals' speaking out is the only way to move Mr. Rumsfeld closer to the "out" door. Bush will never do it unless his hand is forced. Public polls mean nothing to him. The media have been very weak in making effective arguments and Bush does not pay a lick of attention or respect to them, either. To my way of thinking, Bush's blind stubbornness and fear of political damage for making necessary changes of course in Iraq makes him the worst leader - the most dangerous leader - that this nation has ever seen. The Washington Post has said it themselves. There are myriad glaring reasons why Rumsfeld should have stepped down long ago. The startling fact that he has not done so causes their concluding argument to hold no water for me or for most Americans, I would suspect. In this case, we see the Generals as our champions - their first concern and priority being the Constitution and our country. This is an unusual circumstance and I wholly support and respect the Generals for speaking out courageously. May their one concerted voice make the difference. I'm with David Broder. Listen to the brass.
Rumsfeld thinks he'll go on and on. At least that's what he told Rush Limbaugh.
E.J. Dionne knows that Rumsfeld's departure wouldn't touch the ones who were most accountable for the unconscionable errors made in Iraq. But do we expect that Bush or Cheney would offer to step down? Of course not. Mr. Dionne is simply pointing out that these Generals are not people that Bush can easily dismiss as crybaby liberals. They don't fit the mold...and either someone is going to have to fall on their sword for the mistakes in Iraq or we will go on making the mistakes. Mr. Dionne has written:
For all his mistakes, Rumsfeld is not some alien creature operating as a loner sabotaging the otherwise reasonable policies of his bosses. President Bush is the commander in chief. Vice President Cheney is on record as having made outlandishly optimistic predictions before the war started about how swimmingly everything would go. Rumsfeld is Bush's guy, which is why the president resists firing him. Letting Rumsfeld go would amount to acknowledging how badly the administration has botched Iraq.
see Buzztracker at Real Clear Politics for more comments.