Eric Cantor Has to Go... or... How the Grinch Stole Congress
The Free Dictionary by Farlex (and yeah, I use free things because I’m poor. And because I’m poor, I just can’t get me enough free things!) defines pander: To cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses.
So is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor pandering to his rich buddies when he suggests that poor people who can’t prove that they work 20 hours a week should lose their food stamps? Considering that for the 2013-14 campaign cycle Cantor has already raised in excess of $2.3 million, Cantor must have an awful lot of rich people to listen to. I looked up his contributors but I don’t want to do all the research on the way some of the lesser known fat cats might feel about the poor (yeah we poor folks are lazy that way, and besides I’m running late for my part time job with no benefits and I need to get this written so I don’t get fired. Unemployment’s still pretty high and well, as a part time employee I don’t qualify for those benefits anyway).
So we’ll just talk about rich people in general.
You know, rich people like mining tycoon, Gina Rinehart, who said that poor people should, “spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working." Or former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who explained to a jewelry store clerk that she was a clerk because she made minimum wage and Rice was a customer because Rice makes, “considerably more.” Too bad the former secretary couldn’t have been so clear about our intentions with some of the world leaders back when she was National Security Chief, things might not have turned out so badly 12 years ago Wednesday.
But Cantor seems to be taking some of his legislative cues from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. And it was Gingrich who said that poor kids didn’t have any role models with, “habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash' unless it's illegal.”
I could go on and on quoting the rich “I got mine’s,” but I won’t. I think I’ve made my point that many of Cantor’s rich supporters would prefer representation by a character so conservative that he or she would not even leave a crumb, “Much too small for the other Whos’ mouses.”
But this time even majority leader “Grinch” Cantor has outdone himself. According to Al Jazeera, Cantor – whose own net worth is estimated at $2.97 million – has proposed denying food stamps to folks who aren’t working enough and can’t prove that they are unable to work. Al Jazeera writes, “Cantor's bill is the first step in a push by House Republicans and conservative think tanks to complete the unfinished business of Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract With America, the 10-point plan for conservative reform that envisioned "promoting individual responsibility" by attaching expanded work requirements, time limits and other restrictions not only to welfare — which Gingrich and others succeeded in passing in 1996 — but to food stamps, SSI and other government benefit programs.”
Individual responsibility from a man who buys – let me rephrase that: authorizes tax payer funded purchases of – $2,971 worth of bottled water and snacks each week for his congressional staff. Considering the average food stamp benefit per person per day in Cantor’s home state of Virginia is $4.23 and Cantor’s staff spends $594 per day on fancy water and tasty treats, perhaps the staff would be willing to forego their snacks – or buy them themselves – so that a few more Virginia 5 years olds could augment their daily food plan. I mean buying your own snacks when you already have a taxpayer-funded paycheck sounds a lot more personally responsible.