May 16, 2018

In Congressional Republicans' valiant effort to "Make America Great Again," they are hoping to pass a FARM bill that imposes a work requirement for Medicaid recipients, and kick millions of hungry people off food stamps. 97 million people are on Medicaid: 2 in 5 children use it, 6 million seniors use it, and half of all U.S. births are paid for by Medicaid.

As for the Medicaid work requirements, they're claiming they'll consider an exemption for people living in counties with high rates of unemployment. Care to take a wild guess as to who that benefits?

*loud whisper* WHITE PEOPLE.

This is because exemptions would generally happen to apply to rural white counties, not urban centers with large Black populations. I like to call it the "triple W." "White Work Waiver."

In Michigan, the disparities are particularly stark. If the waiver were approved, black residents would make up just 1.2 percent of the people eligible for an exemption, though they are 23 percent of the state’s Medicaid population. White people, who are would make up 57 percent of Medicaid enrollees, would constitute 85 percent of those exempt from the work requirement.

Guess who suffers from getting kicked off SNAP (or, if you're old like me, food stamps?) Women and kids. Interestingly, wait staff (usually women) are especially penalized because their minimum wage is not even one-third what a regular job's minimum wage is. Thereby placing the people who serve you your food in the most dire need of assistance for being able to afford food. But by all means...let's remove their ability to eat and feed their own children.

For tipped workers, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a lifeline. Unlike other minimum wage workers, tipped workers haven't seen their federally mandated wage increase since 1991 when it was increased by a meager 4 cents to $2.13 an hour.

In fact, tipped restaurant workers are twice as likely to need the support of SNAP as other working adults with one in seven restaurant workers using the program to help put food on the table.

The modest support of just $1.40 per person per meal that SNAP provides makes a real difference in the lives of millions. It is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs we have in this country, lifting 8 million Americans out of poverty every year, including 4 million children.

Republicans can try all they want to distance themselves from Trump, but those of us who have been watching and listening know the truth. This is what they've wanted, who they have been all along. They are the true elitists, and they love dishing out a heaping serving of racism along with their cruelty to the working class. Family values, my ass.

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