Could Mike Pence be any more embarrassing?
Federal SNAP benefits–food stamps, in everyday parlance–average about 1.40 per meal. Not exactly filet mignon level benefits. But Indiana’s delusional Governor (who is running for President and who will be eviscerated by a national spotlight that doesn’t suffer fools gladly) has announced that he plans to “ennoble” SNAP recipients by cutting off those who can work. As he explained to Faux News
“I’m someone that believes there’s nothing more ennobling to a person than a job,” Pence insisted. “And to make sure that able-bodied adults without dependents at home know that here in the state of Indiana, we want to partner with them in their success.”
“You know, it’s the old story,” he continued. “Give someone a fish, and they’ll eat for a day. Teach them to fish, they’ll eat for a lifetime.”
Where to start?
First of all, SNAP recipients who are “able-bodied adults without dependents at home” are a small percentage of the total. I’m sure the Governor’s rhetoric plays well with the GOP base he is targeting, but the vast majority of SNAP recipients are elderly, disabled or children–not the “welfare queens” of the Right’s fetid imaginings.
Second, there aren’t jobs available in low-wage Indiana that allow people to put food on the table. If our Pastor Governor wants to “ennoble” Hoosiers, he might consider changing his economic development efforts to concentrate on bringing good jobs to the state, rather than boasting over the poverty-level ones he actually attracts. As the United Ways’ ALICE report (more on that tomorrow) documents, basic household expenses in Indiana cost more than most Hoosier jobs can support.
Third, even poverty-level jobs aren’t widely available. Things are better than they were–thanks primarily to President Obama, not the Governor or our do-nothing Congress–but they’re far from good.
Tell you what, Mike: if you really want to “ennoble” struggling Hoosiers, stay out of Iowa, pass up the cozy get-togethers with the Koch brothers, and start doing the job you were (barely) elected to do. And just as a reminder–that job didn’t include suing the President, harassing the Superintendent of Public Instruction, marginalizing LGBT folks, preaching against reproductive choice or pontificating about the “nobility” of going hungry.