Friday, June 22, 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: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18