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Letting People Starve Just The Christian Thing To Do
It's the Republican way.
This week, in order to avoid defaulting on our debt, (some) Democrats in Congress and the Senate had to give Republicans a thing they've been thirsting after for years — expanded work requirements for those receiving SNAP and TANF benefits. The new measure would raise the age for which one is required to work a certain amount to receive benefits from 49 to 54. It would also, however, provide exceptions to the work requirements for unhoused people, veterans and 18-24 year-olds who aged out of foster care.
“If it passes, this plan would be the first major deficit-reducing budget agreement in almost a dozen years and would signal Washington is serious about making progress in addressing our mounting national debt,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said after Congress approved the measure on Wednesday.
Except it won't be! In fact, it will cost more than what we're doing now. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would actually increase the amount we are currently spending by $2.1 billion over the 2023–2033 period, due to the increase in the number of people who will now qualify for assistance and the administrative burden the work requirements put on those operating the program, who will now have to verify that even more people who receive assistance are working or actively looking for work.
The increase doesn't mean that it won't hurt vulnerable people, because it absolutely will. Overburdening the system, increasing the amount of hoops people have to jump through in order to qualify will absolutely hurt people.
Republicans are obsessed with work requirements because they are haunted by the idea that there are just loads of people out there who don't even bother getting jobs because they have been kept so very comfortable by the United States government. This is not a thing. People are working. In January of this year, the unemployment rate hit 3.4 percent, the lowest rate in 50 years, and right now it's 3.7, which is also very low.
Two-thirds of SNAP participants are children, the elderly, and people with disabilities who cannot work. Three-quarters of the working-age adults who participate in SNAP either have a job currently or have had one in the last year. This should not be terribly surprising given that 32 percent of the American workforce makes under $15 an hour. Somehow it doesn't occur to Republicans that the real drain on the system are the businesses they want to allow to pay their workers less than they need to live on, rather than all the imaginary people out there who have been "disincentivized" from working thanks to government assistance.
Sometimes, when I hear about things like this, I think "Why don't they just come right out and say they hate poor people and want them to starve?"
Well, this week, someone did. In an op-ed for the Standing For Freedom Center, whatever the hell that is, a fella named Jason Mattera literally wrote an op-ed titled "Some People Deserve to Starve: A Biblical View of Work and Welfare" — the thesis of which is that Jesus would want "indolent bums" to starve.
Christians are supposed to be at the tip of the spear in alleviating poverty, especially when it comes to other believers. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are under any obligation to help indolent bums.
Such people are not entitled to our generosity.
They have chosen the path of poverty, to paraphrase Proverbs 10: 4.
There is another reason, though, why Christians should promote a culture of work : Work is central to man’s makeup.
There’s a misconception that humanity is required to work because of sin.
Yet that’s not true.
Work is now a labor-intensive grind due to the curse of sin, yes, but prior to the fall, God “took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2: 15).
Work, it turns out, was always part of the original plan . Indeed, the very first commission given to man was to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1: 28).
Christians, then, should be vocal proponents of fostering a culture of work in civil society. Not only are we charged biblically to “earn our own living,” as Paul put it, but the ritual of work is the method by which God intended for us to cultivate His creation.
It’s part of our DNA.
Just to recap — poor people are lazy and choose to be poor and therefore it is cool to let them starve to death. Also, work is supposed to be "a labor-intensive grind" because some lady ate an apple, and therefore it is important to foster a "culture of work," in order to please God. That is ... well, very stupid.
It does, however, explain a little bit about why Republicans are so willing to pay more to ensure that others have less. It's not just that they are ignorant bastards with no actual idea about how social programs work in this country, but that this is a religious conviction for them. They are just trying to be more Christlike! Because if they can just make being poor a miserable-enough experience for people, the poor will all pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get jobs that pay them enough to live on, so that they can get into heaven.
Sure, our entire society will collapse because we literally cannot function without people doing the jobs that currently pay less than people need to live on, but God will be very excited about it, and isn't that what really matters?
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