• Greens call poverty a national crisis that needs solutions like the Green New Deal instead of Republican punishment of the poor and Democratic compromises
WASHINGTON, DC — The plan passed by House Republicans on Sept. 19 to cut $40 billion from food aid would, if enacted, result in deepening poverty and hunger, said Green Party leaders.
“The GOP proposal for the Farm Bill comes five years after an economic meltdown that widened the gap between the nation’s rich and poor. Instead of measures designed to punish the poor for being poor, we need solutions to end poverty, unemployment, and homelessness, with special attention to child poverty and hunger,” said Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee and co-founder of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (http://greenshadowcabinet.us/member-profile/8581).
Greens said that, while the budget reduction in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) was unlikely to survive the Senate and a White House veto, the demand for food stamp cuts may result in bipartisan compromises between Congress and the Obama Administration that reduce assistance for America’s neediest.
“The vote by the House to cut $40 billion in SNAP funding is a sad day for America. While we can be heartened by the fact that such cuts will never be approved by the Senate or the President, it is still immoral that in a country as rich as the U.S. so many elected officials are willing to take food away from vulnerable citizens at a time of high unemployment and poverty, especially among children and senior citizens,” said Mark Dunlea of the Hunger Action Network of New York State and a member of the Executive Committee of the Green Party of New York.
Greens said that current poverty rates and the sustained assault on the social safety net are part of larger trend that includes opposition to living-wage legislation at a time when new jobs are paying poverty-level wages, skyrocketing medical costs and lack of health coverage (for which Obamacare provides inadequate remedies), support for slashing Social Security, and erosion of the middle class. Bipartisan austerity measures and sequestration have shifted the burden for economic recovery onto working people and the poor, and away from the financial sector, whose criminal recklessness triggered the 2008 meltdown.
Green candidates have promoted the Green New Deal, a plan to put Americans back to work through programs that create millions of jobs in new technologies, conservation, and other efforts to solve the global climate crisis (http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal
). The Green New Deal would strengthen the social safety net and expand Medicare to cover all Americans.
“We call it a crisis when 16% of Americans, most of them children, depend on public assistance to survive, even when family members work at full-time or multiple jobs. The Green New Deal is the only plan that addresses this crisis. The obstacle to ideas like the Green New Deal is a political establishment dominated by Democrats and Republicans who act as a front for powerful corporations and the wealthy who don’t want to pay their fair share to maintain a country that’s prosperous for everyone,” said Drew Langdon, Green candidate for City Council in Rochester, New York (http://www.greenrochester.org/drewlangdon
During the 2012 presidential race, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney avoided discussion of poverty. In contrast, Green presidential candidate Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested at a Philadelphia bank for protesting home foreclosures.
“New Census Figures on Poverty Show ‘Crisis of Democracy’: Report shows 46.5 million people lived at or near poverty level while 48 million people had no healthcare coverage in 2012″
By Andrea Germanos, September 17, 2013
“Life on $2 a Day: US Extreme Poverty on the Rise”
By Gilbert Mercier, News Junkie Post, August 21, 2013
“Rising Extreme Poverty in the United States and the Response of Federal Means-Tested Transfer Programs”
By H. Luke Shaefer, University of Michigan, and Kathryn Edin, Harvard University, National Poverty Center Working Paper Series #13 – 06, May 2013
“Republicans: We Were Too Nice to the Hungry, But We’ve Fixed That”
By Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine
“RIP, the Middle Class: 1946-2013: The 1 percent hollowed out the middle class and our industrial base. And Washington just let it happen”
By Edward McClelland, Salon.com, September 20, 2013