Late last week, Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) and his Republican opponent and retired Marine Nick Popaditch debated a variety of issues at the Imperial Valley Expo. Highlights from the debate include Popaditch’s view that all of the Bush tax cuts should be extended, even those for the wealthiest Americans.
At one point during the debate, a questioner asked Popaditch what he would do to make sure there “no further cuts are made to the food stamp benefits.” The Republican candidate responded by saying that, while he believes “in a safety net,” he certainly doesn’t think “we need to make it too darn comfortable down there on that safety net. I’m not a cruel man, but I think we need to make these systems not as comfortable as they are now”:
QUESTIONER: What would you do to make sure there are no further cuts are made to the food stamp benefits?
POPADITCH: What would I do to make sure no further cuts are made to food stamp benefits? Wow. Once again, I recognize there’s a difference between an entitlement and a promise. Now that would fall under the category of an entitlement. Now I believe in a safety net, but I certainly don’t think we need to make it too darn comfortable down there on that safety net. I’m not a cruel man, but I think we absolutely need to make these systems not as comfortable as they are now.
While food stamp benefits — administered through the federal SNAP program — are distributed on a sliding scale, they generally average out to $3 a day or $21 a week, hardly an amount that most Americans would consider “too comfortable.” It is worth noting that the United States has among the least generous social safety nets in the industrialized world, lagging well behind its neighbors in Western Europe in access to quality health care, child care, jobless benefits, and other welfare state features.
Belac writes, “Why doesn’t he volunteer to live on that budget for a month, to show the poor how it’s done, ya know?”