The bipartisan word war is on again. Republicans are in defensive mode and the Democrats are savoring every moment of it. This is bigger than Obama’s “you did not build that” and “clinging to guns and religion” controversy. This is about Mitt Romney’s candid narrative of his disdain for almost half of the American voters. Among those voters may be some of our own military members, veterans, and their families.
Here is the excerpt from the video that fuels the tempest from Mother Jones:
“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That, that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that contrary to the “Entitlement Society” rhetoric, over nine tenths of entitlement benefits go to the elderly, disabled and working households. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2010 report, shows that there are 10.5 million Americans who are among the working poor. Though the U.S. poverty line is different in each of the U.S. states, the average for a family of three is about $18,530.00 per annum as of 2011.
I used to volunteer as a financial counselor for the Navy Marine relief Society, a social service organization that specifically helps military families with financial difficulties. I have seen families whose income needed to be supplemented by government aid for these families to survive between paydays. I personally assisted these families in filling out applications for the food stamps program, which is now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to the 2012 active duty military basic pay chart, a military family of three in the E1 and E2 rank may qualify for government nutrition assistance.
I know for a fact that the military members have taxes withheld from their paychecks because pay stubs are some of the documents I need to qualify them for financial assistance. Though the Department of Defense will not disclose the number of veterans and military families receiving SNAP benefits, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have this on their website:
“Military and Veterans Families. Benefits You Have Earned. You serve our country proudly and honorably, and we want to inform you that through our nutrition program, you may be eligible to ensure you, your family, and fellow veterans have the assistance to ensure you have nutritious meals.”
Romney claims that he respects military members and veterans. He declares that he want to restore the faith of the veterans in our government by providing them with more benefits. He promised the military that he would not cut the defense budget because “it’s bad for jobs and it’s bad for national security.”
Does he know that some of our veterans and military members are part of the 47% he disparages? Does he care that he looks like a two-faced politician?