Let Them Eat, Well Nothing

In a recent display of aristocratic ignorance and apathy President Trump did an imitation of Marie Antoinette. As a result hundreds of thousands of Americans will go hungry in this land of plenty. The saddest part is that this story has hardly broken through in the news because of the abundance of Trump scandals. Let’s explore.

The SNAP program (commonly called Food Stamps) is one of the greatest American political success stories in that it helps all sorts of constituencies and is perhaps our greatest example of political compromise. It helps feed the poor. It provides another market with buying power for our farmers. It brings money into the poorest areas of our country, primarily the inner city and rural areas. Since the people receiving the aid are poor they quickly spend their benefits helping the overall economy. In recent decades generally the Democrats have considered the poor their constituency. Likewise the Republicans have considered farmers and business people their constituency. Everybody gets a bit of help and thereby everybody wins.

The way the story goes when Marie Antoinette was French King Louie XVI’s queen, the people were starving when a servant came to her and informed her that the people lacked bread. Her reply is reported to have been, “Let them eat cake.” Desperate times led to desperate measures. The French Revolution followed and eventually Marie met her fate at the guillotine.

I’m not saying the state of food availability in today’s United States resembles that of France in the run-up to the French Revolution. I am certainly not advocating overthrowing the government or even the forceful removal of Trump! I am saying that Trump is acting as arrogantly and with equal ignorance as Marie Antoinette.

When Congress negotiated and passed the latest version of SNAP they specifically and purposefully excluded the provisions the Trump administration is now adding that the USDA estimates will remove 775,000 people from SNAP eligibility. It is not like the benefits are some bonanza that lazy people are enjoying and thereby milking hard working Americans. The average benefit is $161 per month. In simply math that is $40 per week. I forget exactly what a Big Mac meal costs me when I visit a McDonald’s but I know it is more than $5 a copy. You do the math. Nobody is eating a daily diet of surf and turf on Food Stamps.

I will get no further into the economic absurdity (let along defiance of Congress) that Trump’s policy illustrates. I could write a lengthy essay on the economic repercussions and absurdities alone.

However as in France I think it will ultimately fall to the people to remove Trump from power. Fortunately unlike 18th century France 21st century America is a representative democracy and we have elections. If all the people Trump is hurting – and it is many, many more than the 775,000 in the USDA’s estimate – realize what he is doing to them he will lose in a landslide in 2020. My concern is whether enough of the American electorate has sufficient enemy identification skills. Trump, not the legitimate press, is the enemy of the people.

This is the last “live blog” of 2020. Tellthetruthonthem.com will be published on its normal schedule but for the next few weeks it will contain articles written well ahead of their publishing date. Among the significant events that should transpire in the interim is today’s UK election. “See” you shortly after the New Year.

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