Why Dick Cheney is Wrong About Food Stamps….and Our Troops
A few days ago former-Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show blasting President Obama’s plans to cut the Defense Department’s spending. In his efforts to cast the President as out-of-touch and dangerous to our troops, Vice President Cheney stated, “He'd much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”
What Mr. Cheney fails to realize is supporting the food stamp program IS supporting our troops. When almost $104 million worth of food stamps was redeemed at military commissaries in 2013 and 900,000 struggling veterans and low-paid enlisted active duty military families receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) each month then food stamps become a military support program.
Supporting our troops doesn’t just mean funding expensive fighter jets and invasions overseas. It means making sure their families back home can eat nutritious meals three times a day and that their children go to school with full bellies. Active-duty military families and veterans have struggled along side every other American in this floundering economy. In January 2014 the unemployment rate among Gulf War-era II veterans (what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls our most recent group of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) was 7.9% or 189,000 veterans without work. Clearly our troops are not receiving the type of monetary support they need back home since so many members of the military rely on SNAP to make ends meet. And thank God that program is there for them when they need it! A soldier in Afghanistan can’t focus on their military job if they are worried their family back home is unable to put food on the table.
If Vice President Cheney really wanted to support the troops he would get on board with many policies proposed by Congress and the Obama Administration, including support for early childhood education programs, affordable child care, stricter laws around military sexual assault cases, and of course, protection of the food stamp program.