John Sherman, Moorhead, Published October 12 2013
Letter: Cramer’s biblical views are flawedAccording to reports, when a constituent criticized Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., for his vote to cut nearly $40 billion from the SNAP program (food stamps) by citing biblical passages requiring care for the poor, Cramer responded by citing 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”
The budget Cramer voted for would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, cut off about 3.8 million people with 1.7 million being unemployed, childless adults in areas of high unemployment. Nationwide, there are three job seekers for every job, but in some places the ratio is probably four times that. Yet the Republican budget does nothing to provide jobs or training.
Nor did Republicans support stimulus measures that would have put people to work rebuilding infrastructure or sent money back to states and local governments to rehire the 610,000 police officers, firefighters, teachers and other government employees laid off during the recession.
The remaining 2.1 million are “mostly low-income working families and low-income seniors, who have gross incomes or assets modestly above the federal SNAP limits, but disposable income – the income that a family actually has available to spend on food and other needs – is below the poverty line.” About 80 percent of the SNAP households have, or have recently had, a member working. The problem is not a willingness to work, but a living wage, and that’s an issue Republicans have shown no interest in tackling.
Inevitably in households there are children, so some of the slackers Cramer complains about are kids; what does he have in mind for them? Two centuries ago, English chimney sweeps sent children into the flues to clean them out; our heating systems have changed, but maybe Cramer could get them jobs cleaning out culverts. And the seniors? They used to beg; they can do it again in Cramer’s world.
As for the budgetary necessity of the cuts, they equal 0.086 percent of the projected federal spending over the next decade.