It’s not a Contradiction. Really, it’s not.
The House of Representatives is poised to pass a bill to save the Defense Department from budget cuts about to be imposed by last year’s debt ceiling bill. The bill would avoid the defense cuts by throwing 1,800,000 people off of food stamps, 280,000 kids off of school lunch subsidies, and 300,000 more off of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It would reduce federal funding for Medicaid, child abuse prevention, Meals on Wheels, and child care. It would cut back the federal child tax credit for working poor families.
Justifying the bill, Republican Representative Paul Ryan said, “We shouldn’t be taking more from hard-working Americans to fix Washington’s mistakes.”
Representative Ryan is in la-la-land, right? How else could he say that slashing Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches, and the federal child tax credit is not “taking more from hard-working Americans”?
But his statement and his support for the bill are not at odds, as mainstream Republicans see the world. “Hard-working Americans” are the “job creators,” which is Republicanese for the one percent on whom the Democrats would raise taxes to avoid the same defense cuts. The working poor who benefit from food stamps and the federal child tax credit are loafers, certainly not “hard-working Americans.” And children don’t work at all, so obviously they’re not “hard-working Americans.” They can be asked to pay to maintain our defense spending levels. The “hard-working Americans” who are the top one percent, on the other hand, should most certainly not be asked to pay more.
The Senate remains in Democratic hands, and the presidential veto pen still rests in Barack Obama’s left hand. So at least until next Inauguration Day, children will not go hungry so the United States can continue to make up more than 40 percent of the world’s defense spending.