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Proposed cuts in SNAP program have some concerned

September 24, 2013

MARSHALL — Western Community Action anticipates increasing service at the food shelf as a result of projected food stamp program cuts but remains confident of their ability to serve their clients....

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Oct-02-13 6:15 PM

Where are you getting your numbers, Al? For one thing, the deficit is $759B, not $650B.

The IRS collected $2.4T in 2013, hardly a record. In 2007 they collected $2.7 trillion, the equivalent of $3.06T now. In 2000, the last time we had a surplus, the IRS collected $2.1T, or $2.8T in today's $$. $2.4T is hardly a record.

In $2007 the budget was $3.24T (adjusted for inflation) vs. $3.159T now. If we had the income we had in 2007, prior to the Wall Street fiasco, the deficit would be a mere $9B.

You're always bragging about how much you know about economics... so how come you don't know about inflation?

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Sep-27-13 4:50 PM

There are over 80 federal needs based programs to help the poor. None of the other programs are being cut, so the minor cut in food stamps works out to be less than 1% of all the money spent on needy people. My guess is that there is more than 1% fraud alone in these programs. Want to increase funding - then eliminate fraud, waste and duplication in this program and others. That's as basic as you can get in discussing how economics works.

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Sep-27-13 4:39 PM

Well said Crunchy. I understand the point you were making with regard to your quote: 1)to help poor families, Govt program X is necessary 2)Govt program X isn't being supported Conclusion: Therefore, poor families aren't being helped."

I think we all agree the majority of issues facing our local and national political representatives are complex and should allow for input from both sides. Although I may not always concur with the views expressed by conservatives, I'd like to believe both they and liberals have the best interest of citizens and our Nation in mind when proposing policy. Unfortunately, the role special interest groups play in our political process has produced more cynicism than cohesion. Because of that, both sides are suspect. You last line sums it up perfectly.

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Sep-27-13 11:07 AM

FWIW I share many of the same criticisms of laissez-faire capitalism that you do (I'd be barred from the door at a tea party convention!). But the benefits of the free market should NOT be overlooked or suppressed either. It's a good and just thing that a person who has a good idea, takes a risk, and works hard can benefit handsomely. And that process *does* give opportunities to others as well. I live a comfortable middle-class life today because 125 years ago a guy had an idea and followed through on it, and got rich in the process. Current troubles notwithstanding, the same could be said for every employee of Schwan. Obviously, though, greed is a real human factor that needs to be accounted for & you are 100% correct when you point that out. We are better off when we ALL prosper, not when a small number of us do.

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Sep-27-13 11:06 AM

My thanks to Hartman & SEL for the responses. And SEL - your 11:50AM comment is *exactly* the kind of substantive analysis that I think we need more of. Do understand, though, that those claims of correlation are open to rational critique as well. How does one exclude the possibility that the correlation is not a delayed effect of a previous set of policies - or even the possibility that they are not directly related *at all* ("Correlation does not guarantee causality" and all that..). There are at least as many input variables in an economic system as there are people, and it's horribly difficult to sort out the actual result of policies through all that.

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Sep-26-13 4:31 PM

I don't receive public assistance but I do receive social security and Medicare, for which I paid for each any every year for over 45 years, for many years at the maximum.

Back to you - what are you doing to improve the environment - and I don't mean the hot air coming out of you, which I believe contributes to global warming.

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Sep-26-13 2:21 PM

We still have a $650 billion deficit because the record revenues only covered ONE quarter. We can't make up the financial hole the Republicans put us in based on one quarters worth of revenue.

rangeral, since you receive government assistance and are so concerned with government spending, what are you doing to save the government money?

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Sep-26-13 12:02 PM

SEL - the gist of this article is the slowdown in spending so why are you out on another tangent? Just give m a response to the question I raised with hartman - record tax revenues, $650 deficit.

Te problem is spending not revenue.

If the economy would grow 5% tax revenue would be off the charts and not require a class war as you are proposing.

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Sep-26-13 11:51 AM

Ack! Why doesn't this forum have an edit button?? That should have been "economics ISN'T black or white". Sorry...

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Sep-26-13 11:50 AM

Crunchy, you're correct, of course, that economics is black or white, right or left, conservative or liberal. It's all shades of grey. But a quick study of the last 6 decades shows that on average the economy has faired better during democratic majorities than it has during republican ones.

That is not to say that every republican majority has resulted in a recession or slower growth. What we do see during republican majorities is that the beneficiaries of that growth has become an increasingly smaller group. Just consider: something like one quarter of the wealth in this country is controlled by the top 1%, and over 50% of the wealth is in the hands of a mere 400 people, whose combined wealth is equal to the GDP of Russia. Time was that when America prospered, everyone prospered, but no more. The myth that giving the ultra rich tax breaks spurs investment ignores the reality that they no longer invest in this country.

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Sep-25-13 6:11 PM

hartman - you didn't explain in your plain economic style how we can have collected record tax revenue but still have a $650 billion deficit at the current spending rate, not the much higher spending that the Dems are pushing for.

Is this how you manage your money at home?

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Sep-25-13 5:39 PM

"...sounds like you have never read or watched the fable of the ant and grasshopper."

Let me guess rangeral, you are the self-righteous ant!

What better way to address the issue of lowering health care costs and making it available to those with pre-existing conditions than a fable.

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Sep-25-13 3:05 PM

You requested “a little more humility in the argumentation.” I would ask for more that same humility from our policy makers as we address the growing problem of those in need.

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Sep-25-13 3:05 PM

It is a fact Crunchy, there is little direct evidence that ascertains what economic benefits are derived from providing financial assistance to those in need. In society’s attempts to provide a solution, have we created a cycle of dependence? There is a financial (and social) cost associated with doing nothing as well. It’s easy to gauge the immediate benefits of basic human needs such as food and shelter but what benefit does financial assistance offer in the ability of the poor to advance their station in life. IMO, I would prefer public funds be used to create programs providing additional education, job skills and entry level jobs. Many individuals, not just the poor, have inadequate budgeting skills. While we may not all agree on the specific methods or levels of assistance, there must be at least a minimum level of aid that allows those in need to retain their dignity. (cont)

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Sep-25-13 11:50 AM

my 11:39 post is missing a word at the end too: "aren't?"

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Sep-25-13 11:43 AM


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Sep-25-13 11:43 AM

Many do reject premise #1. Why? Well, its certainly possible they've been sniffing too much Fox News. But maybe - just maybe - they've studied Austrian economic theory and actually find the arguments persuasive. One can be well-educated & lambast "failed liberal economic policies" every bit as strongly as SEL does conservative ones. Is that "ignorance"? Or - more likely - is that simply a reflection of the fact that economic theory is difficult to prove, being, as it is, unable to be studied in a lab. (academic "consensus" is nonexistent - put an Austrian and Keynesian in the same room & watch the sparks fly!). Nothing you've said here would convince ANYONE affiliated with either the Austrian or Chicago schools of thought.

I'm not an economist, but I'm always amazed at the dogmatic certainty liberals and conservatives (most whom aren't economists either) attach to their pet theory, as if it's completely immune to critique. Is it really j

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Sep-25-13 11:39 AM

Let me parse one example from hartman: "but you must admit, [Republicans] don’t seem to be doing much to help either...neither side [has] the desire to provide programs...". That right there - that equivocation between "help" and "programs" & the perception that the right programs are not being supported - reveals a basic train of logic. To put it in traditional "modus tollens" form, the argument seems to be: 1)to help poor families, Govt program X is necessary 2)Govt program X isn't being supported Conclusion: Therefore, poor families aren't being helped.

The conclusion clearly follows from the premises. But is it true? Only if both 1&2 are. A conservative could very easily reply, "they ARE being helped - just in a better way" (see OIOOHH's 10:28 comment). Who's right? With #1, you are making a big assumption that "family values" and "conservative fiscal policy" are necessarily opposed. What if they

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Sep-25-13 11:38 AM

Thanks for the compliment, Hartman! & apologies to SEL if I came across a bit strong. (I've enjoyed sparring with both of you in the past) But the fact is, though I haven't checked this forum as much lately, it seems like the "discussion" these days tends mostly to be conservatives harping on perceived liberal ineptitude ("Owe’bummer"? WTF?) and liberals responding with condescension. Neither, I think, is justified, though I'm honestly not sure which bothers me more.

Unfortunately, though, you both sort of reinforced the original point I was making, which is that your conclusions are 100% dependent upon the assumptions/premises you start with (Deductive Logic 101), and it seems to me you are overly confident about the strength of those premises. In any event, reasonable people might disagree about them so it doesn't make sense to assert them as self-evident. Really, I'm just looking for a little more humility in the argumentation.

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Sep-25-13 9:38 AM

All right hartman, I'll play seeing as you never want to respond to basic questions that you bring up in your posts. Obviously you agree with my prior post about how inept the Obama regime is.

Still waiting on your environmental actions. Can only conclude you don't have any.

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Sep-25-13 9:25 AM

rangeral, you have posted your comments to the wrong article again. Nothing in your last post has anything to do with the Farm Bill or the likelihood SNAP funding will be cut or even reality, for that matter.

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Sep-24-13 6:58 PM

Hartman covered a lot of what I was going to say. I don't mind criticism, Crunchy, but to paraphrase Hartman, live by the sword, die by the sword. If the GOP wants to tout itself as the family values party then they have to accept the fallout when they do something that is decidedly not in the best interest of families. I'm sure you're right about them not doing a Monty Burns "excellent" after the vote (well, most of them), but if it isn't willful malfeasance then it is certainly ignorant malfeasance.

OIIOHH, I don't recall the POTUS saying everything was fixed. He pointed out that we're recovering, but we're not anywhere close to the pre-Bush economy. The 7.5 million jobs add aren't the same as the jobs that were lost. On the whole the jobs that are being offered now are for lower pay, fewer benefits, and fewer hours (unless your salaried, in which case it's longer hours).

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Sep-24-13 6:52 PM

hartman - please list your donations last year - to whom and how much. Or are you cheap like Biden?

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Sep-24-13 6:49 PM

SEL and hartman - where are the jobs that Obama promised? Where is his sound economic plan?

Obama is inept at managing, has no economic sense and has brought the standards in government management to new lows. Hundreds of millions on conferences, waste that seems to have no end, no fraud convictions despite billions being syphoned off - where is the Obama plan to fix ANY of these shortfalls?

There are many more Democratic millionaires in Congress than GOP - and they belong to the most expensive country clubs in this country. What people are they watching out for?

Under Obama, more people owe back taxes in Congress, the Executive Branch and federal employees than at any point in history. Plenty of time to play games with conservative non-profits but no time to collect taxes due.

This year will mark the largest amount for federal income tax ever collected - and that is still short of what the Dems want to spend - by $650 billion.

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Sep-24-13 4:49 PM

Palan described volunteering and donations in the area as "over-the-top."

That is a testament to the compassion and respect for humanity that is often displayed by residents of this area and especially those in our community. It's what makes this area a great place to live.

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