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Old 02-11-2006, 02:22 PM   #1
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Bush Wants To End Seniors Food Program

This certainly isn't the only program for the needy being cut, I read a few articles this week about that subject-it was quite depressing. Yes indeed, how do you justify doing something like this while giving rich people huge tax cuts?


By Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press | February 11, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The boxes arrive every month at churches, senior citizen centers, and other sites for distribution to nearly a half-million poor elderly people. Each is stocked with a mix of foods such as cereal, peanut butter, fruit, vegetables, and pasta. Sometimes volunteers deliver them to seniors' homes.

Now President Bush wants to eliminate the program, one of 141 federal initiatives that his proposed new budget would scrap or cut dramatically. He is proposing to shift people in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program over to food stamps.

Defenders of the nutrition-in-a-box program say many elderly people are reluctant to sign up for food stamps, and, in any event, the commodity program often provides a more generous package.

''It really does come under the category, in the most extreme way, of balancing the budget on the backs of those who are most needy," said Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations agriculture subcommittee. ''And in this case we're not even balancing the budget.

''I call it misplaced priorities. How do you justify doing something like this, while at the same time giving people like Herb Kohl huge tax cuts?" said Kohl, a multimillionaire.


The commodity program, run by the Agriculture Department, benefits mainly senior citizens, although some new mothers and children also participate. The department wants to move recipients to food stamps in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The program cost about $111 million this fiscal year, including a $4 million supplement for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The program, which dates to 1968, operates in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Its lack of national reach is one reason that the administration wants to eliminate it, according to USDA officials.

Kate Coler, the USDA's deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, said the department thinks it can serve people more efficiently through food stamps and the Women, Infants, and Children program, which are both nationwide.

''It's really a duplicative program," she said of the commodity program.

But Tim Robertson, president of the National CSFP Association, which represents state and local organizations that administer the commodity program, challenged the USDA's premise that people will switch to food stamps.

''Seniors have repeatedly said they don't want to be on that program," Robertson said, because of the perceived stigma of using food stamps as well as the paperwork hassles.

USDA statistics indicate that just 28 percent of seniors eligible for food stamps participate in the program.

Sherrie Tussler, executive director of the Hunger Task Force, which administers the program in Milwaukee, said the commodity program helps seniors stretch their food-buying budget.

''Sometimes seniors are choosing between utility bills and prescription drugs and whether they get to eat," she said.

The Bush administration is proposing to provide commodity program beneficiaries with transitional food stamp benefits of $20 a month for six months, or until they are deemed eligible for food stamps, whichever comes first.

Sarah Mayek, 75, of Milwaukee, receives the commodity box as well as $10 a month for food stamps.

''You try to stretch your budget a little bit," Mayek said. Without the commodity box, she said, ''I would have to adjust. But I raised 11 children. I know how to cut corners."

Jean Daniel, a spokeswoman for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, said her agency is working to remove the perceived stigma. For example, she said, the agency is getting the word out that food stamp payments are now made through an electronic transfer card, not actual stamps.

''We try to make the point that this is not a welfare program; this is a nutritional assistance program," she said.
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:52 PM   #2
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For shame. This is a disgrace.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:03 PM   #3
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I'm sorry, but a government should NOT have programs that feed, educate, or help people if it means that people with money are going to have to help their fellow man.... A "big" government is bad, especially if it helps people......



EDIT-- I'm kidding, btw...
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:10 PM   #4
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When is a cut to such a program ever deemed acceptable?
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:22 PM   #5
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A program like this should never exist on a federal level paid for by federal dollars. Food programs should be run on State by State status to better address the needs of each individual state.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by theblazer
A program like this should never exist on a federal level
government money should be given to churches

faith based charities are best

that way if people need to be fed
there is a chance spiritual needs can be met also
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by theblazer
A program like this should never exist on a federal level paid for by federal dollars. Food programs should be run on State by State status to better address the needs of each individual state.
I don't know. Ideally, if states and the federal gov't work well together, then each state would essentially be able to assert its own needs anyway---a state could go to the fed & say "We need this much for this." If the program is run smartly, then each state would have its own needs addressed. I would hope that that's how this program was run anyway---I doubt each state got the same amount of money--especially when you have a state like Florida that's chock-full of seniors. Where the money comes from in that case wouldn't really matter, as each state would get what it needs whether it's from the state itself or from the fed. The reason it should be from the federal gov't to start with is to ensure that every state has a program like it, instead of having some random dumbass state not recognize its usefulness and not have something in place to help its seniors.

In the end, though, the fact is this: The program was there, and now it's not. Worse yet, the reason it's not there isn't to balance the budget, nor to affect the trade deficit, nor to make way for some other good program---instead, this program isn't there because people with the most money in the country are being given yet another tax break. That's the disappointing issue behind this.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep


government money should be given to churches

faith based charities are best

that way if people need to be fed
there is a chance spiritual needs can be met also
Seriously? (I'm hoping I just missed your sarcasm...) The head priest at my church at home in NJ was let go when he was caught embezzling. Another church I've been to in NJ is pretty much plastered in gold. At the church closest to me here in DC, they have 8 new Lincoln Towncars for the priests to drive.

Let's not forget what's happened when Bush made our AIDS programs in Africa "faith-based"------prohibiting the distribution of condoms. Whatever spiritual need in a person is satisfied by that now has maybe an 8-year lifespan once that person's 'abstinence' fails and he/she develops AIDS..............
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep


government money should be given to churches

faith based charities are best

that way if people need to be fed
there is a chance spiritual needs can be met also
theblazer said nothing about faith-based charities...isn't there a chance that he has a legitimate point?
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:46 PM   #10
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and......WHERE.....may I ask.....will these "tax cuts" go?................

{cut & paste} {cut & paste} {cut & paste}......what a scrapbook!

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Old 02-11-2006, 08:12 PM   #11
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Typical...I often find myself wondering if Bush and many of his "Evangelicals" are indeed Anti-Christ or certainly a prelude to the real one!!! Almost everything they do and say goes directly AGAINST the teachings of Christ.
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:45 AM   #12
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What does Bush care about anything he cuts? His family is wealthy and has ties with all kinds of organizations so he is guaranteed a safe and comfy life until he takes his last breath, not wanting for anything or going without. People like that have NO idea what it is like to go without, to not have the creature comforts. Their callous decisions to simply cut programs have HUGE effect on millions of people and in some cases the benefit Bush is cutting may mean the different between life or death. What an asshole we have as President. Pathetic.
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:57 AM   #13
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The food stamp program should be renamed to the Nutritional Assistance Program, or NAP. Maybe that would remove the stigma. Every senior likes a good n.a.p.
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Old 02-12-2006, 07:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
When is a cut to such a program ever deemed acceptable?
I'm confused by your question. Are you agreeing that it isn't acceptable?
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by BostonAnne
I'm confused by your question. Are you agreeing that it isn't acceptable?
You didn't pose this to me, but I'll take a stab at it

One man's idea of a "cut" is another man's idea of a "consolidation." I don't have a strong opinion on this particular plan because I don't have the nitty gritty details, maybe both plans should remain in place. But it's not simply a cut, it's a transfer from one program to another. In general, though, I'm in favor of eliminating redundancies.

Big picture, it's much cheaper to the taxpayer to keep a senior fed well rather than have him/her take multiple trips to the hospital for conditions related to malnutrition.
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