House Republicans reportedly plan to remove food stamp funding from the federal farm bill, a move that stands to further jeopardize the survival of the critical anti-poverty program. This move comes after years of right-wing media figures demonizing food stamp recipients as lazy or dependent, with Rush Limbaugh going so far as to propose dumpster diving as an alternative.
Here's a look back at some of the most egregious right-wing attacks on food stamps:
In a Fox News Latino op-ed, regular Fox News guest Michelle Fields slammed what she called Ann Coulter's focus on "offensive stereotypes" to argue against immigration reform. Fields wrote that Coulter's comments that Latinos are "the bottom of the barrel" and that "it's impossible to 'turn Mexico's underclass into Republicans'" are "insulting" and makes it "clear that she doesn't know very much about the Latino community or immigration."
Coulter, who regularly appears on Fox to decry immigration reform, has indeed said many of those things Fields accuses her of. But so has Fields.
Fields, who is now a correspondent for NextGeneration.TV -- whose director of programming is the virulently anti-immigrant former Rep. Allen West (a Fox News contributor) -- has her own history of making derogatory claims about immigrants.
In her op-ed, Fields criticized Coulter's claim that immigration reform "will turn America into a 'dumping ground for the world's welfare cases' because Latino immigrants are reliant on welfare," noting that a study by the Cato Institute found that immigrants don't use government benefits at higher rates than native-born citizens.
Right-wing media figures are urging Republicans to refuse to compromise on budget and taxes, action that would induce automatic government budget cuts and broad tax increases and herald another recession. But economists agree that a budget deal needs to include some tax increases, which would significantly raise revenue, and that more revenue must be part of a balanced solution to lowering the deficit.
A Fox News segment highlighting the fact that more Americans are benefitting from food stamps advanced the misleading notion that the United States has become a "food stamp nation" thanks in large part to the Obama administration's supposed comfort with having more people in poverty.
But the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is an antipoverty program -- it's designed to keep people out of poverty. And it closely tracks with the economic situation: As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, enrollment in the program "expands when the economy weakens and contracts when the economy recovers."
During a discussion about the increase in food stamp enrollment with Fox host Neil Cavuto, conservative pundit Michelle Fields said the increase "has a lot to do with eligibility. They've expanded who can get food stamps, so we're seeing so many more people on them." She added: "That's really what this administration is all about, right, is making people feel more comfortable living in poverty because that's what food stamps are."
Though Cavuto noted that the economic situation is the cause of much of the increase in SNAP enrollment, he nevertheless suggested that spending on the program would continue at current high levels.
In fact, SNAP is an antipoverty program, designed to keep people out of poverty and lessen the extent and severity of poverty and unemployment. In 2011, for example, the program kept nearly 5 million people out of poverty, more than 2 million of them children:
Conservative media have claimed that the Obama administration is waging a "war" on "cheap," "clean" coal that will cause blackouts and massive layoffs. In fact, the Obama administration has simply implemented long overdue and legally required clean air regulations to protect public health without hurting electric reliability or employment, and much of the transition away from coal is due to the rise of cheaper, cleaner natural gas.
From the July 11 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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The Metropolitan State College of Denver recently decided to offer a special rate to undocumented students effective this fall -- a rate that is 150 percent of the resident in-state tuition -- provided students meet a series of conditions, including attending for at least three years, and graduating from, a Colorado high school. But Fox's Neil Cavuto, who repeatedly slurred these students as "illegals," and the Daily Caller's Michelle Fields argued that they are being treated better than American students.
Today, Fox's Eric Bolling hyped legislation that would deny tax credits to families with American citizen children and misrepresented the position of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on the issue.
There have been some reports of people fraudulently claiming the tax credit based on children who do not live in the United States. But rather than pushing for a solution to the fraud, Bolling hyped legislation that would stop all undocumented immigrant parents from claiming any portion of the tax credit for their children, even if those children are American citizens.
Undocumented immigrants are required to pay federal income taxes, just as citizens and other immigrants must do. Federal tax law currently allows families that earn below a certain income level to take a Child Tax Credit for each citizen or resident alien child in the family, and at some income levels, the tax credit is refundable, meaning that some taxpayers claiming the Child Tax Credit will receive a refund check from the government that is greater than the amount of tax that was withheld from their paychecks.
Undocumented immigrants also can -- and often do -- have U.S. citizen children. This is due to the fact that the Constitution states that all people born in the United States are automatically entitled to citizenship regardless of the immigration status of their parents.
The legislation at issue, introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), would require anyone claiming the Child Tax Credit to have a valid Social Security number, which is unavailable to undocumented immigrants. It contains no exception for immigrants with American citizen children. And it blocks undocumented immigrants from claiming any part of the Child Tax Credit, not merely the part that is refundable.
During the segment, Bolling falsely claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who recently objected to Vitter's attempt to have the Senate pass the bill by unanimous consent, "wants to block efforts" to make it illegal for people to commit Child Tax Credit fraud.
In fact, Reid actually noted that the tax code is already very clear that "the child tax credit is not available for children living outside the United States" and that the legislation in question "takes a sledgehammer to a problem that deserves some very fine tuning and a scalpel." Reid added that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) is working with the IRS "to determine if its procedures are strong enough to stop" Child Tax Credit fraud, and said that if the procedures are not strong enough, "then it is up to Congress to plug any loopholes that may exist."
From the April 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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