Friday, April 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Food stamp cuts hurt the weakest

House Republicans overplayed their hand last month by adopting huge tax subsidies for farmers while proposing to slash food stamps for Americans who are too poor to eat. Now a new report puts in stark terms the human and financial impact of driving millions of Americans — most of them children and the elderly — deeper into poverty. President Barack Obama and the Senate should insist on better.

Food stamps have long been part of an omnibus farm bill, the cost of earning urban support for farm subsidies to rural states. But the House stripped food stamps from the legislation it passed in July, and Republicans vowed to take up the issue in separate legislation. But the move is a callous attempt to increase the House's leverage with the Democratic-controlled Senate in making wholesale cuts to the food stamp program. The House would cut $20 billion from food stamps over the next decade, five times the $4 billion reduction already adopted by the Senate.

The Health Impact Project, a collaboration between the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a report released Tuesday that the House plan would eliminate more than 5 million people from the program, or 10 percent of the 48 million people who receive the benefits every year. Roughly half of those would be children and older adults. Four of five who would lose eligibility already live below the poverty line even with their food stamps counted as income.

The impact would go beyond more empty stomachs. The scarcity of food and worsening poverty, the study said, will lead to an increase in health problems and force the elderly and sick into making more desperate choices on how to spend their limited household incomes. In treating diabetes alone, the medical costs to the public and private sectors could reach $15 billion over 10 years, wiping out the bulk of the House's food stamps savings on this single treatment alone. Seniors on fixed incomes would have trouble keeping pace with rising rents and energy prices, and with less coming in, would face the prospect of rationing medicines, heat, doctor's visits and other routine expenses. The cuts would hurt the weakest and reverberate across the economy. It is a mean-spirited approach that serves no worthwhile end.

The House should adopt a food stamp bill and attach the measure to the farm legislation. The Senate cuts are significant enough, and taking $20 billion from the program should be a nonstarter. Obama sent the right message by threatening to veto any stand-alone farm bill. Senators should stand firm and demand House leaders put a viable food stamp budget on the table. If playing to their conservative base was the goal all along, House Republicans have accomplished their partisan goal. Now it's time to help put supper on the table for those who would otherwise go without.

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Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18