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This week: Too Many Hungry People; Democratic Party "Reckless"; and Working People Commit "Mass Economic Suicide"

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Too Many Hungry People

Earlier this week, Sens. Brown and Kerry proved that it is possible for Republicans and Democrats to rise above partisan politics to protect our most vulnerable citizens—children, elders and people with disabilities—from hunger and the risk of it due to no fault of their own during these troubling times. Both senators voted against harmful amendments to the Farm Bill that would cut essential SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits, formerly called food stamps. Two of these amendments were defeated, but unfortunately, one passed which will have the effect of cutting SNAP benefits by as much as $70 a month for about 100,000 people across Massachusetts.

More than 40 million people nationally, and 800,000 in Massachusetts, rely on SNAP benefits to put food on their tables. Food banks were never designed to meet such persistent, chronic need for emergency food on the parts of so many people in our region and across the country. More than 110,000 people in Western Massachusetts depend on federal and state emergency food as well as food donated from the food industry and local farmers. As it stands now, food provided to the Food Bank from the federal government is down 50 percent in our region compared to last year.

No one should go hungry in Massachusetts or America. Yet far too many children go to school hungry, far too many elders are forced to choose between paying for prescription medicine or food, and increasing numbers of working families can't afford basic household expenses like paying for heat and food in the same month.

It takes an entire community to ensure that everyone has nutritious food regardless of circumstances. Fortunately, we have thousands of volunteers and food and fund donors who make it possible for us to get more than 6 million meals a year into the hands of our neighbors in need through our region's network of local pantries, meal sites, shelters and other partners. Nevertheless we must protect smart government programs like SNAP and other nutrition and farm programs in the Farm Bill that have been proven effective at keeping hunger at bay and promoting food security for households and communities. Our senators showed us and others in Congress that preventing hunger takes political will.

Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Inc.
Hatfield

*

Democratic Party "Reckless"

We in the private sector are exhausted and nearly broke trying to keep up with ever-increasing public sector demands on our paychecks. Juan Williams in "The Truman Show" [June 14, 2012] is trying to sell us on the idea that the number of public sector jobs should be continually increased until a desired quota is reached. Juan's Democratic logic does not ponder whether these public sector jobs are necessary; nor does he reveal that his ultimate desire is to see public sector jobs increased to the limitless, Marxist hilt on the backs of the private sector in order to get as many people as possible dependent on the Democrat Party.

Obama is doing just that, but in a different area: President Obama has earned the title of being "the most successful food stamp president in American history" in order to buy votes. Those among us who consistently vote Democrat out of blind tradition regardless of how reckless that political party is are destroying our country.

It was sad, so very, very sad this past Memorial Day to gather together to pay homage to local military personnel who sacrificed so much to preserve our nation, knowing that many who walk the streets of our community cling to the Democratic Party, which is systematically and successfully undoing everything our fallen heroes have died to preserve.

William Santy
Chicopee

*

Working People Commit "Mass Economic Suicide"

The outcome of the Wisconsin election was distressing indeed. It's hard to watch as working people in this country commit mass economic suicide. Divide and conquer, as Scott Walker would say.

Have people absolutely no idea that the history of the "free market," which the Tea Party is so fond of touting, is one of huge corporations and feudal plantations dominating the marketplace and finding new and creative ways to exploit workers? If left to themselves, the invisible hand squeezes labor out of workers for as little as possible and even nothing. The history of the world is one of workers earning minuscule wages and then having to pay them back for food and housing. The only reason slavery ended was because the "work-providing" landowners and businessmen found subsistence wages were more cost-effective than slavery.

It depresses me to see the Tea Party folk out there with their "snake in the grass" flags rallying against all the things their grandparents fought so valiantly for, all the things they were willing to risk or even give up their lives for. When I was young, teachers made $4,500 a year. Nonunion schools don't fire incompetent teachers; they fire experienced, older teachers and replace them with younger and cheaper ones, leaving the older ones having start anew and having to spend down their nest eggs to pay the bills while unemployed.

The very clever "jobs providers," with their smart, carefully orchestrated Madison Avenue propaganda, have convinced the average person to fight against his own self-interest. "Why should we young folks have to have money taken out of our paychecks for Social Security for these greedy geezers when we could use that money to make a killing on the stock market ourselves?"—as if any of them would. And what happens when one gets sick and has lousy or no health benefits and has to spend his life savings on medical costs?

"Why should we pay for the lavish benefits of state workers when we're making chump change for the big box stores?" Why don't they unionize and insist on decent wages and benefits for themselves? Why is Reagan so beloved when it was his "revolution" that set the course of this country's downward spiral with his ideology of union busting, privatization, free trade and globalization?

For a brief, shining moment, workers in this country had it pretty good. What folks don't realize is that this was an anomaly, a rare, rare occurrence. If ordinary people want a comfortable way of life, they have to fight like heck for it, and fight to keep it, because the invisible hand of the "free market" will strangle us every time.

Charlotte Burns
Palmer

 

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