Thursday, September 19, 2013

Enough with the "Gutting" Demagoguery Already!

Precisely 38 minutes after the first news alert -- "House approves GOP plan to slash food stamp funding" -- hit my inbox, the inevitable follow-up arrived, from Paul Hogarth of Daily Kos (yeah, I'm on a lot of email lists): "Republicans just gutted food stamps."

Well, no, they didn't.

First of all, this was a vote in the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives. Unless the Senate also passes the bill (unlikely) and the president also signs it (almost no chance at all), it will either be changed or there will be one of those little "government shutdown" melodramas in which the government does not, unfortunately, shut down.

Secondly, even if the measure DOES make it through the mill, it's a 5% cut, set to phase in over the course of a decade.

Granted, that's a larger cut than the defense "cuts" the Republicans call "draconian" -- those "cuts" are just tiny reductions in projected future spending increases -- but even a real 5% cut isn't anything close to "gutting."

If you want to argue that food stamps shouldn't be cut, argue that food stamps shouldn't be cut. Opening up with a blatant lie like this "gutting" stuff isn't a good start.

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