Ah, progress.

In the 2012 elections, Republicans cast themselves as budget-balancers by promising to whack welfare programs for the poor, snarling that such people are “takers” and “moochers.”

subsidized business lunch


Such vindictive sourness didn’t play too well with voters, and Republicans may have learned their lesson. Oh, they’re still going after food stamps, school lunches, etc. with a vengeance. But this time, the GOP has a gentle, even loving tone.

Its official message-massagers have their members saying that they want to “help the poor” by scrapping those programs.

Huh? Well, Republicans are referring to these safety net essentials as soulless giveaways that sap poor folks’ initiative and tether people to the cold, uncaring hand of government.

Here’s the GOP’s message: We’re doing this for the poor people’s own good. Their chief budgeteer, Rep. Paul Ryan, trotted this theme out at a recent right-wing rally where he condemned school lunches as unloving “Obamafare” plopped on plates by unsmiling cafeteria personnel.

“What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul,” oozed the Wisconsin Republican who served as Mitt Romney’s presidential running mate.

If that doesn’t make you gag, consider another subsidized lunch program that tender-hearted GOP budget whackers never mention, much less demand that it be cut. It’s the tax subsidy for corporate meals, drinks, and entertainment.

Multimillionaire CEOs can go wining and dining on your and my dime, writing off their lavish lunches, cocktails, dinners, and club-hopping as a business expense. And expensive it is for us taxpayers — this subsidy adds up to more than $12 billion a year.

We ought to be subsidizing healthy meals for poor people with that money.

Besides, just think about all that executive initiative being sapped by this giveaway. Paul Ryan should start doing something to end the culture of dependency in the CEO community.

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org

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