Parents teach children the importance being healthy, eating good foods, doing the right thing, and fighting fair. We teach them the Golden Rule, not to be bullies, not to say mean things, and to “be nice”. Then why is it that so many adults forget that fighting fair also occurs in the ways that we talk about others, in who we decide to vote for, and in what we decide should be our national budget priorities?
Attacking poor families seems back in vogue. We know that hunger and malnutrition have devastating consequences for children because their developmental well-being depends on adequate nutrition. It is well documented that food stamp, or SNAP, programs make a huge difference in keeping kids healthy. Over three-quarters of SNAP recipients are families with children, and the program has lifted 5.2 million Americans above the poverty line in 2010, more than any other benefit program. Just one dollar of SNAP benefits creates a “ripple effect” through the economy – each $5 of federal SNAP benefits generates twice that amount in economic activity. But Congress has plans to cut two million people off from food stamps completely, millions more would have reduced benefits, hundreds of thousands of children would lose free school meals, and the Ryan budget for 2013 would turn it into a block grant program that would make it harder to be eligible for help, have longer waiting lists, and reduce or end benefits for millions of children and families still struggling to recover from the recession (The Children’s Defense Fund – http://www.childrensdefense.org/newsroom/child-watch-columns/child-watch-documents/snap-cutting-what-works.html).
Fighting fair should mean that cuts should also be shared by the wealthy. Despite the Occupy movement’s fighting for the 1% to pay more taxes, take a look at the chart below that compares 10 safety-net programs slated for deep cuts with the cost of the tax breaks that should also be considered for reduction or elimination to bring the budget into balance. The column on the left is a list of safety-net programs that have already been targets of the House leadership’s budget ax. The column on the right is the cost to specified tax breaks (by Donna Cooper @ http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/02/tax_breaks_infographic.html)
Playing fair is a good value to teach children. It is also one that ought not be forgotten by adults, eh?