Sorry About The Food Stamps, Puerto Rico. If Only You'd Been Born American!

If Puerto Rico were a state, its residents wouldn't be second class citizens. They'd have five House seats and two senators. With representation, they'd be able to fight for their fair share of federal dollars, rather than relying on the good graces of other states' congressmen and the whims of the Toddler in Chief. And the islanders wouldn't be facing starvation because President Pettyshits got his knickers in a twist because a brown lady was mean to him after Hurricane Maria.

The ingratitude of that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, and after the president flew all the way across BIG WATER to throw paper towels at her constituents! Well, Trump will show her what's what! He's going to block disaster funds for the island and cut food stamps so that poor, bedridden adults have to sit for hours in their own filth because they can't afford diapers. So there!

The Washington Postreports:

At the Casa Ismael clinic for HIV-positive men with severe health complications, the staff used to immediately change patients' diapers after they were soiled.

But last week, clinic administrator Myrna Izquierdo told the nurses that had to stop. To save money, the nonprofit clinic, which relies on its patients' food-stamp money for funding, will ask patients to sit in diapers in which they have repeatedly urinated, sometimes for hours.

The Casa Ismael clinic is short on funds in part because of cuts in food stamps that hit about 1.3 million residents of Puerto Rico this month — a new crisis for an island still struggling from the effects of Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

The cruelty is the point! And also the racism. Despite the fact that they are American citizens, Trump considers Puerto Ricans backward residents of a shithole country.

Trump sees the island as fundamentally broken and has told advisers that no amount of money will ever fix its systemic problems.

He describes in meetings that large swaths of the island never had power to begin with and that it is "ridiculous" how much money is going to Puerto Rico in food-stamp aid, according to the senior official. He has occasionally groused about how ungrateful political officials in Puerto Rico were for the administration's help, the official said.

President Reading Comprehension has also decided -- based on a Wall Street Journal article which said nothing of the sort -- that federal funding for disaster relief is just going to line the pockets of bondholders. So, probably better they should starve in the dark?

As of now, the 1.3 million Puerto Ricans who rely on food stamps -- 55 percent of whom are children, elderly, or disabled -- have seen their benefits slashed by 25 percent. Because if there's one thing Republicans care about, it's the sanctity of human life. If PR were a state, its food stamp program would be indexed to need. But in 1981, Ronald Reagan and his GOP henchmen in the House put the island on a block grant diet, later known as the Commonwealth's Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP). (Which is a thing you can do to people who have no representation in their own government.) The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports:

[T]o operate within the capped funding level, NAP sets income limits and benefit levels well below those in SNAP. Further, because of its funding structure, SNAP serves all applicants that meet the program's eligibility criteria; this enables it to respond to changes in demand, including those due to natural disasters or recessions. NAP, with its limited funding, cannot.

Moreover, Puerto Rico receives fewer federal resources to support low-income families through NAP than it would under SNAP, even though its poverty rate is over three times the national average and its cost of living exceeds many other areas of the country. Over 43 percent of Puerto Ricans live below the poverty line, compared to a national average of 14 percent, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. And, the Puerto Rican Institute of Statistics estimates that the San Juan metropolitan area ranks 51st of 296 American metropolitan areas in cost of living and 15th in cost of grocery items.

All men are created equal, but some men are created equal enough to eat. And some ... not so much.

Trump has also privately signaled he will not approve any additional help for Puerto Rico beyond the food-stamp money, setting up a congressional showdown with Democrats who have pushed for more expansive help for the island.

A senior administration official with direct knowledge of the meeting described Trump's stance: "He doesn't want another single dollar going to the island."

Is this that fabled GREAT AGAIN we've been hearing so much about? Because it kind of feels like the opposite, TBH.

[WaPo / CBPP]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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