may deliver newspapers, perform in radio, television, movie, or theatrical productions, work in businesses owned by their parents (except in mining, manufacturing or hazardous jobs), and perform babysitting or perform minor chores around a private home.”
Republicans have a record of railing against welfare, labor unions and the poor as part of their political strategy. During his 1976 presidential campaign, for example, Ronald Reagan told the story of a woman from Chicago’s South Side who had 80 aliases, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, collected veteran’s benefits on four non-existent husbands, received Medicaid, got food stamps and collected welfare under each of her fake names, netting her tax-free income of more than $150,000. It was later determined that the woman resided only in Reagan’s head.
Like Reagan, Gingrich has sought to eliminate many federal programs that assist poor people.
In 1994, he proposed kicking young mothers off of welfare and using that money to create Boys Town-like orphanages. The New York Times observed in an editorial, “The party that professes to support family values seems excessively eager to yank poor children away from their mothers and dump them in institutions.”
He also opposes extending unemployment benefits for those unable to find a job.
In an Aug. 12, 2011, e-mail to supporters, Gingrich claimed “the extension of unemployment benefits has given people a perverse incentive to stay on unemployment rather than accept a job.”
The only thing perverse is Gingrich’s inability to understand that most people do not choose to be either poor or unemployed.
In an attempt to smear President Obama, Gingrich has repeatedly called him “the most successful food stamp president in American history.”
Gingrich asserted, “We have people who take their food stamp money and use it to go to Hawaii.”
First, what was known as food stamps has been called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, since October 2008. Instead of using old paper food stamps, recipients are issued a plastic card similar to a bank debit card to make grocery purchases. Second, the program has specific limitations of what can be bought with the funds, excluding such items as beer, liquor and wine.
The average monthly “food stamp” benefit is $133.49. That’s not enough to purchase an airline ticket to Hawaii on Southwest, Jet Blue or any other cheap carrier.
We should not be surprised by anything Gingrich says. This is the same person who claimed he “helped balance the federal budget for four straight years [1998 to 2001].” He wasn’t even in office those last two years.
Gingrich will say anything, even if he knows it is a lie.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his website, http://www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at http://www.twitter.com/currygeorge.