We are two short years away from the 2016 presidential election, and potential Republican candidates are already taking every opportunity to prove how much they detest the poor.
For those planning to run for president, the primary aim of governing now is proving to a small percentage of right-wing primary voters that they strongly oppose the interests of poor people and minorities. (Let's not beat around the bush.) Here is one way that this is already manifesting itself in these United States: Bloomberg reports that the Republican governors of Michigan, New Jersey, and Wisconsin have turned down federal food aid that "gives $54 in federal money for every $1 the state spends." The only possible way in which a candidate like, oh, Chris Christie or Scott Walker could justify such an absurd rejection of financial common sense is if they were appealing to a group of voters that would look approvingly on, I don't know, a pledge to reject raising taxes by $1 even if it would save $10 in spending. Republican primary voters, in other words.
The program in question is one that gives poor state residents extra food stamps if they receive even a tiny bit of home-heating assistance from the state. It costs states a very small amount of money in order to get a large amount of food stamp assistance for their poorest citizens. Chris Christie and Scott Walker will say that their rejection of this program is proof of their credentials as fiscal conservatives. Bloomberg reporter Alan Bjerga got a sterling quote to serve as a counterpoint:
Fred Bruker, a 72-year-old resident of Point Pleasant Borough, New Jersey, previously received extra food-stamp benefits although, as a renter in a rooming house, he had no direct utility bill. In recent months, he's seen his monthly assistance fall from $138 a month to $15.
To compensate, he said he's eating less. In the past month he's lost 5 pounds.
Perhaps the weight loss of poor people on starvation diets will solve America's obesity crisis and save our health care system billions? Compassionate conservatism is indeed alive and well.