Readers React

Fight over food stamps

In some political circles, food stamp recipients are portrayed as prone to fraud, too entitled to work or living too comfortably at taxpayers' expense.

Some Times readers couldn't disagree more.

Those who sent us letters to the editor this week were almost unanimous in their opposition to the Republican-controlled House's vote to pass a spending cut that would remove nearly 4 million Americans from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which provides aid to families and individuals who, for a variety of reasons, have significant trouble paying for food.

Many said this action amounted to an attack on those who could least afford it; others called it immoral and unprecedented.

Here is a selection of those letters.

-- Paul Thornton, letters editor

Altadena resident J.H. Benson questions the GOP's morality:

"House Republicans are badly in need of a moral compass. Their hypocrisy is only surpassed by their cruelty.

"The GOP says that the 4 million Americans who will be kicked off SNAP are capable of helping themselves. I hope that our very capable farmers aren't being subsidized while this assistance to the poor is deemed too expensive."

Long Beach resident Matthew Black points out more pressing spending concerns:

"The GOP has truly hit a new low. After increasing annual defense spending by more than $300 billion since 2001, spending $2 trillion on unnecessary wars and passing $1.7 trillion in tax cuts between 2001 and 2003 that primarily went to the wealthiest Americans, Republicans need to save $40 billion on food stamps.

"Way to go. Why do I feel I'm reading a Charles Dickens novel?

"And for those who might reply that Democrats should put their money where their mouths are, this week I donated another $250 to a local food bank. I contribute 5% of my disposable income to food banks."

Frances Terrell Lippman of Sherman Oaks picks up on the Dickens reference:

"I guess those Scrooge-like, coldhearted House Republicans thought of an early holiday surprise. How generous of them to think it would be appropriate just to remind people who are hungry and struggling that it would get a little more impossible for them to feed their families. Their apathy is only exceeded by their cruelty.

"Being hungry and homeless in America is this country's greatest shame, and yet our so-called leaders in Washington couldn't care less and only serve to exacerbate this terrible and fixable situation. Watch out for that karma."

Oxnard resident Steve Binder says The Times should give this issue more attention:

"Friday morning, I couldn't wait to read The Times' article about the Republican-led House voting to cut off food stamps for children, senior citizens, the disabled and especially our veterans. Too bad it was buried inside the paper.

"This deserved front-page coverage. I suppose I was thinking wishfully."

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