This past Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden presented (Former) Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) with the World Food Program USA’s George McGovern and Bob Dole Leadership Award for his efforts, along with (Former) Senator McGovern (D-SD), to make it easier for people to get Food Stamps. In essence, Bob Dole won The Bob Dole Award. (No, that’s not the ironic part.)
McGovern and Dole teamed-up to lobby Congress to push the Legislation through. Combining Farm Subsidies (which rural representatives like) along with Food Stamps for the Poor (which is championed by urban Representatives) made passage of the Farm Bill much easier with support from “Both Sides of the Aisle”. Since then, many needy Families have been able to gain access to subsistence nourishment to help them get by in Hard Times. It also tightened-up on fraud and provided food to millions of poor people overseas, as well.
Surely, there might have been some fraud in the Food Stamp (now called S. N. A. P.) Program; but, that’s nothing when compared to much of the Pork Barrel activity going-on on Capital Hill today, which could be thought of as broaching Fraud, as well. The real irony here is that Senator Dole was honored in the same week that the current Congress is stripping some $40 Billion from Food Stamps in the current (re-authorization) Farm Bill.
The Government has been spending Millions of Dollars every year to help finance the John Mirtha Regional Airport, in Johnstown, Pa. It was named after (Former) Congressman John Mirtha (D-PA). The fact that Johnstown is located just 67 miles from Pittsburgh didn’t appear to be a disadvantage in pushing-through financial support for this barely-used Airport. So, Pork Barrel Politics certainly works on both sides of the Congressional Aisles.
Back some thirty years or so ago, when oil was only valued at $14 per barrel, Congress decided to relieve the Oil Companies from paying royalties on oil that they extract from Federal Land. Now, that Legislation was necessary at that time, perhaps, to keep the Oil Industry operating during a period when it was more cost-effective to just cap the wells, rather than drill for oil. But, with Oil currently trading at $97.50 per barrel on World Markets, it is long-past time to re-institute those royalties. During, 2012, Exxon-Mobil generated $65.8 Billion of Operating, on Gross Revenue of $482.3 Billion. So, I guess that XON wouldn’t qualify for S. N. A. P., huh?
So, the New Farm Bill excludes much-needed Food Support for many hard-working (e.g. think McDonald’s and Wal-Mart) Americans with Families, almost half with Children, and the Disabled and Elderly. That same Legislation, however, provides somewhat of a free-pass to corporations however, to market Genetically Engineered (or Modified) Food.
The linked article from the Washington Post describes this issue in more detail, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bob-dole-honored-for-work-in-helping-to-feed-the-poor/2013/12/12/667b36ac-635c-11e3-aa81-e1dab1360323_print.html. Also, the linked article from AlterNet, http://www.alternet.org/print/food/who-should-you-believe-when-it-comes-safety-genetically-engineered-foods, points-out that a French study, in 2011, found that laboratory rats, which were fed a constant diet of Monsanto’s GE Corn were more likely to develop tumors.
So, as it turns-out, in Congress’ ever-vigilant search to rein-in costs, the Poor don’t have a chance; but, Political Cronies, Big Oil and Big Agriculture are afforded their privileges right and left (no political pun intended). I guess that that just shows the value of a “Good” Lobby, which the Poor certainly don’t have access to.