Friday, April 27, 2012

The Hungry Children plan


Should we really have to say that feeding children is a good thing?

After all, who in their right mind would not want to do that, especially in the richest nation in history? Amazingly, it does seem to be necessary.

Tea party partisans, who brought Republicans to the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010, have gone gaga over reducing the federal deficit. The hatchet of the moment is the Ryan budget.

Without the slightest sense of shame, in fact with full-throated enthusiasm, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., has proposed tax breaks for the wealthy while slashing social safety nets—programs like free or low-cost school lunches, food stamps and Medicaid.

The Ryan budget should more correctly be referred to as the Hungry Children Plan. Food stamp cuts attempt to balance the federal budget by making it harder for poor families to feed their children. This is not fiscal responsibility. It is simply cruel.

There have been times when caring for the least of our neighbors was a hallmark of American exceptionalism. Apparently, this is not one of those times.

Times are tough, so it's easier to go after the powerless than to delve into and solve thorny budget issues that affect Wall Street and the wealthy. After all, what's a few more hungry kids?

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week decried the Hungry Children Plan, reminding us that cuts to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will hurt poor families and their hungry children. As the bishops wisely said, "These cuts are unjustified and wrong-headed." And just plain cruel.




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