Friday, December 28, 2012

Teabilly Cow Tipping: Put Them Out To Pasture

Or Stop Crying Over Unspilt Milk

In terms of our safety net, and what we need to repair and prepare for the coming effects of climate change, the Teabilly response other than the ostrich syndrome has been you don't need social insurance if there's no such thing as "society", and if you can't buy it, or sell it, how do you know it's really there? This needs to change now.

"The monthly SNAP allotment is based on the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which USDA defends as “a national standard for a nutritious diet at a minimal cost.”  The TFP has its origins in the 1930s. At the time, USDA developed a Restricted Food Plan for Emergency Use and the Minimum-Cost Food Plan, both of which were used in programs for low-income families during the Depression.  These two plans were replaced by the Low-Cost Food Plan in the 1940s. In 1961, USDA developed the Economy Food Plan for short-term or emergency use at a price lower than the Low-Cost Food Plan. The Economy Food Plan was replaced with the TFP in 1975, and – like earlier food plans – was updated to reflect new consumption behaviors, food price data, and dietary recommendations. However, the updating was constrained by cost: the TFP had to maintain the same minimal cost as the Economy Food Plan. In other words, the assignment was to fit the new square peg into the same size round hole." (Food Research and Action Center,  December 2012 )

With more than half of United State's counties declared disaster areas as of the first of August (Muskal 2012), Congress went home on the sixth of August for an entire month, also leaving millions of people in need of food stamps in the lurch when the present Farm Bill expires (Abrams 2012). The House Teapublicans are obstructing again by inaction, in favor of deep cuts to those that need the help the most in the SNAP progam, as well as leaving be the necessary negotiations to reconcile the House farm aid version with the Senate version of the bill. If they were firefighters, this would be the equivalent of returning to the station and shutting the door to have dinner while the bells are going off.

 We would have much preferred they pass the House bill,’ said Michael Held, the chief executive of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. ‘I think the attitude here is this is typical Washington, D.C., not getting its work done” (Steinhauer 2012).

"The Senate, however, is unlikely to take up the House’s bill because it pays its $383 million price tag by gutting $650 million from two environmental conservation programs. The point is moot, anyway, because the Senate has also closed down for the rest of August. The drought will continue, but Washington can’t be bothered" (Leonard 2012).

(Leonard 2012) "The dysfunction doesn’t end there. Conservative activist groups also opposed the House bill, on the grounds that 'farmers and livestock owners should have known better'{Wasson 2012}"

“The bill was not listed in the most recent summer legislative agenda sent out in May by Eric Cantor, the house majority leader and a Republican of Virginia. The bill cuts projected spending in farm and nutrition programs by $35 billion over the next 10 years. The Senate passed a similar bill last month, cutting spending by $23 billion” (Nixon 2012).

(Nixon 2012) “On more than a few committee votes, Representative Frank D. Lucas, the Oklahoma Republican who is chairman of the committee, sided with Democrats and a few Republicans in defeating amendments to cut food stamps even more deeply, including one by Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas, that would have doubled the cuts in food stamps to $33 billion. Much of the savings in the House farm bill comes from cutting food stamps.”

(Nixon 2012) “The food stamp program would take a $16.5 billion cut over the next 10 years. The bill also makes changes to eligibility requirements, and the Congressional Budget Office said two million to three million people would lose their food stamp benefits. Nearly 300,000 children would also be ineligible for the free lunch program under the new bill, the budget office found. Farm programs are not spared. If Congress does not pass a farm bill by Sept. 30, more than 100 farm programs would expire.”

Meanwhile back at the ranch, which is in danger of being incinerated by wildfires in the west, our Teapublican frogs are as resistant as ever to be willing to understand that changes in climate are one of the most important components of the present drought and wildfire severities. These changes require immediate action to protect our critical infrastructure and fix what is broken. Also essential is the need to find the corresponding political will. So apparently the American people will have to set a fire under these recalcitrants to get moving on these issues now. And the R & R crew needs to stop playing budgeteer with that proposed 25% cut in infrastructure spending, or the heartland is not going to want to save any Teabillies in the next midterms. 

Scenarios for higher heat-trapping gas emissions producing climate changes affecting national ability to produce food, feed, and livestock products have already come to be seen this year. "Increased heat, disease, and weather extremes are likely to reduce livestock productivity...{and} swine, beef, and milk production are all projected to decline in a warmer world". The foraging availability has already been seen to decline because of the effect of increasing carbon dioxide on plant nitrogen and protein content, whereas weeds and pests benefit. "Fruits, vegetables, and grains can suffer even under well-watered conditions if temperatures exceed the maximum level for pollen viability in a particular plant; if temperatures exceed the threshold for that plant, it won't produce seed....and....reproduce." (US Global Change Research Program Impacts 2011)

The US Senate was considering an amendment (H.R.1 Latest Title: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) "to extend certain supplemental agriculture disaster assistance programs," but quite a bit of monkeying around by Sen. McCain about DOD issues may have contributed to it's demise on 12/19/2012.

  The deficit posturing  needs to stop, since if you don't fix the ability to have any demand, how are you going to pay off any deficit in the future ? Timid insecure capitalists are simply not what made this country great. Both they and consumers need to be more secure in their decisions to be able to spend that hoarded cash to grow resultant from the inevitable need to hire. Plainly the Republicans are just feeding that poor attitude by either inability, inaction, or plain obstruction and hardening their ideological positions.

"We actually have until about Jan. 1 before we run into a lot of administrative problems with this bill reverting to some very high prices," says Mary Kay Thatcher, director of congressional affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation.".(Rovner 2012)

(Rovner 2012)"That's because while the date on the law matches the federal fiscal year, the 2008 measure covers all of 2012's crops. So even if they haven't been harvested yet, things growing now are covered by the 2008 legislation. The first crop that would be affected by the new price supports 'would be next spring when we harvest winter wheat,' Thatcher says."

  And finally, the Red states must stop degrading the labor force, because those laborers are the real job creators, not the 1% at the top collecting the rent and living off the interest in the new "financialzed" economy.
It's time to get your heads out of the sand boys, before your backside burns.


Muskal 2012,0,2541774.story

Abrams 2012

Steinhauer 2012

Leonard 2012

Wasson 2012

Nixon 2012

US Global Change Research Program Impacts 2011

Rovner 2012

Senate Amendment CR S8143-8144 (SA 3367)


2012 Farm Bill

FRAC Action Council

Policy Basics: Introduction to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Deep Cuts for SNAP Benefits Already Planned for 2013

Extreme 2012 weather:

Summer 2012 Drought


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