Tuesday, November 12, 2013

the real danger will come from the government clampdown


activistpost | The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spent $80M to fortify federal buildings in New York apparently in preparation for civil disturbances and possible food riots on November 1st. The DHS plans included armed private guards who would protect IRS and other buildings against attack by fellow Americans.

Other officials joined in ringing an alarm bell. Margarette Purvis, head of New York City's Food Bank – the largest one in the nation – also suggested that food riots were likely to break out in NYC. In a well-timed interview with Salon (10/29/13), Purvis hinted she might not even be averse to unrest. Salon reported, “Rather than 'trying to raise a dollar' to avert disaster privately, she [Purvis] said, a solution will require Americans to 'raise their voices', because 'the avenue has to be activism'.”

The proximate cause of the expected unrest was November 1st cuts to the food stamp program, which resulted from the expiration of a 2009 stimulus bill. The New York Times estimated that benefits for a family of four will fall $36 a month; for a single adult, it will fall $11. The most current data available (July) indicates that nearly 48 million Americans are on food stamps, or approximately one-seventh of the population. More reductions are expected over coming months as a result of Congressional renegotiations on a farm bill.

It is difficult to know how seriously to take the fact that the term “food riots” has entered the vocabulary of the American media and its bureaucrats. Both parties have a vested interest in creating panics. The media wants ratings and government wants an excuse for more social control. But a few aspects of the food riot talk seem clear enough.

The government seems to have been shaken by a glitch that occurred last month, bringing down part of the Electronic Benefits Transfer System (EBT); the system enables electronic food stamps. When recipients were not allowed to 'purchase' food, they flooded twitter with threats of rioting. When two Wal-Marts in Louisiana allowed purchases even though they could not verify the e-balance on the EBT cards, the stores were “legally looted”; that is, people with next to no balance stripped them of hundreds of dollars in goods. One woman with a balance of .49 cents tried to 'buy' $700 worth but was thwarted when EBT reconnected.

In short, a limited and temporary breakdown in EBT caused looting to break out and riots to be threatened. What would have emerged from a nationwide and permanent disruption?

But the real danger is more likely to come from a government clamp down rather than from rioting. The cut backs have not been severe. Heritage Foundation policy analyst Rachel Sheffield explained that food stamps is “one of 80 federal means-tested programs that provide food, housing, medical care to poor and low income Americans.” And the government certainly continues to promote the program. An October 16th, 2013 Cato study entitled “The Food Stamp Program Needs Reform” found that over $41.3 million was being spent annually to market food stamps to prospective recipients. Nevertheless, the government is not likely to waste a good crisis. Fist tap Dale.

2 comments:

ken said...

Wendy Mcelroy, she is the one with the ifeminists site. It's actually anti modern feminist, I guess I am pleasantly surprised her political views got posted here.

http://www.ifeminists.net/e107_plugins/enews/enews.php

ken said...

"If all this sounds familiar to American readers, it should. U.S. fiscal scolds turn out, almost invariably, to be much more interested in slashing Medicare and Social Security than they are in actually cutting deficits. "


It might have something to do with our unfunded liabilities of medicare, prescription drug, and social security, tallying at this moment 126.5 trillion dollars while our total national assets, that's household, small business and corporate assets, is at 105. 7 trillion dollars. I don't think you have to be much of a fiscal scold to figure to understand medicare and social security are going to have to be changed.

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