NOW, CLEARLY, IS NO TIME TO GO SOFT ON BIG POOR
The debate is over: According to the Census Bureau, the number of poor people in America held relatively steady for the sixth straight year. About 15 percent of America’s population is stuck in poverty, or 46.2 million Americans, up just slightly from 2011, when 46.2 percent fell below the official poverty line of $23,492 for a family of four.
So now, clearly, is no time to let up in the war on poverty. Republicans led the way last week with a 217 to 210 vote to cut $4 billion per year from the federal food stamp program. (Nevada’s own Republican Reps. Mark Amodei and Joe Heck voted aye, with Democrats Steven Horsford and Dina Titus saying no.) Apparently, there’s just too much money in being poor. Cut some of those fat benefits and people will scramble up that golden ladder into the ranks of the lower-middle-class, right?
Republicans constantly rail at the number of people on food stamps (about 47 million Americans) and decry President Barack Obama as “the food stamp president.” Hmmm, was there any kind of social or economic phenemneon that occured during the last six years that might account for this? Of course! Shiftlessness. That’s why new work requirements and drug testing are part of the Republican food stamp bill. It’s headed to the Senate where a few people who still have souls will kill it.
THEN AGAIN, WE’LL ALL BE POOR SOON
When not busy trying literally to take food from the mouths of poor people, congressional Republicans (again, aided by Amodei and Heck) are busy trying to shut down the government and/or default on America’s well-worn credit card, all in the name of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The House passed another bill (230-189) that will only continue funding for government programs if Obamacare is not funded. House Speaker John Boeher called the bill “a victory for the American people and a victory for common sense.” Because, yes, when one is an adult and one does not get one’s way, one takes one’s ball (or, in this case, the ability of the United States government to function) and goes home.
BUT BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT
Relatively new Pope Francis said in an interview with Jesuit publications (our favorite, in case anybody was wondering) that the church shouldn’t become obsessed with small-minded rules, and should stress compassion over condemnation when dealing with wayward sinners. Some church folk have pushed back, saying the pope should stress the church’s traditional stands against abortion, gay marriage and contraceptives. But Francis — who does mention those topics on occasion — said getting back to basics means something else. “The most important thing is the first proclaimation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.” Speaking of Jesus, somebody’s bucking for the title! Oh, yeah, right…
DEMOCRATS HAVE TIME MANAGEMENT ISSUES?
We know its a busy world out there, what with hungry poor people roaming the streets, an impending government shutdown and the rapture imminent. It’s just so hard for a stressed-out elected official to take the time to think about stuff. That’s probably why Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis didn’t really live up to his title when asked by the Las Vegas Sun how he’d vote on The Education Initiative, the 2 percent margins tax proposed by an initiative backed by the Nevada State Education Association. “I’ve got so much going on right now,” Denis replied to explain why he couldn’t answer the question. “I will get to that.” Hey, teachers: If any Democrat comes to your door asking for your vote this cycle, ask about The Education Initiative. If they give a bullshit answer — the way Denis did — tell them you’re so busy, you’ll have to make up your mind later, or just as soon as you find a candidate with balls, whichever comes first.
HEY, LOOK, MONEY!
The county Government Center was all atwitter over an “extra” $9 million found in the Metro Police budget, thanks to some unanticipated income. (The Review-Journal says it came from things such as insurance settlements, people paying back property taxes, selling old radios to other departments and so forth.) Now, who among us hasn’t experienced this? How many of us have made the mortgage payment by using inheritance money, winnings from a small-claims lawsuit and holding a garage sale? Hey! We may have just found a way for those 47 million food-stamp receipients to eat! Now that’s a victory for the American people and for common sense!
Once more, Las Vegas Sun Editor Brian Greenspun has filed a lawsuit against Stephens Media LLC (our corporate overlords) in an attempt to stop the ending of the joint-operating agreement that has kept two newspapers publishing in Las Vegas since 1989. Stephens has proposed ending the deal in exchange for turning over the “lasvegas.com” domain name to the Greenspun family, a move that would likely mean the end of a printed Las Vegas Sun. A federal judge on Sept. 6 ruled the lawsuit was not “ripe,” since a final deal had not been struck and thus, there was no actual controversy required under the Constitution before a lawsuit can proceed. Since then, Stephens and three-quarters of the Greenspun family have signed a letter of intent, but again, no final deal has been struck. So Greenspun’s renewed efforts — filed Sept. 19 — will most likely have to wait until the final deal is struck (on Sept. 30) before he gets his day in court. In the meantime, we hear he’s thinking of holding a garage sale to raise money to buy the Sun.