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Marc Dion
Marc Dion
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$136 in Food Stamps


I know woman, an old worn-out woman who married her soldier when he got back from World War II, and she had a child and was, for 40 years, what she called, "One of the girls in the office."

And she gets his Social Security and a pension of a little less than $300 a month and she gets $136 every month in food stamps, which with about $60 of her own money, is her food budget for the month.

Her country had a use for her when she could still work. She worked in a defense plant at 16, making tires for Jeeps and she got a job in the office of a garment manufacturer and in a couple other offices along the way, insurance offices, like that, one of the girls in the office.

She gets $136 a month in food stamps. It was more, but they cut it a little while back. She lost about $11 a month, which equals about five packages of cookies or a pound and three quarters of the ham she uses to make her lunchtime sandwiches.

Congressional budget champion and starvation advocate Paul Ryan, R-Shame, figures she won't miss the cookies, or at least she shouldn't. They're luxuries, like cocaine.

Ryan and some of his fiscally responsible buddies have a budget that believes soldiers need better guns and no one back at home needs anything to eat. If you're bombing the hell out of a rustic village in East Carbombistan, Ryan wants you to have a couple more missiles under your belt. If you're gumming cookies in a rocking chair, in an apartment full of your 60-year-old wedding pictures, he wants you to shut up and watch Chips Ahoy! commercials on television, preferably without cable.

Cable television is a luxury, like crystal meth.

And you, you're humping 14-hour shifts on an oil rig, steel-toed boots digging into the flooring, or you're working in accounting doing payroll, or you're making coffee and shoving it over the counter at young lawyers with clear skin.

You figure, as do a lot of people who aren't worn out yet, that cuts in food stamps mean some project rat and her five children of various fathers won't be eating lobster and steak this week with your money. The skin color of this imaginary project rat goes without saying.

But those steel-toed boots won't hold the decking forever. The boots will go in the closet. And the other folks in accounting will give you a party when you retire, a party with a sheet cake, probably chocolate. Someone else will get your job tending the coffee pot.

At that point, and possibly for 30 years after that, you will become, not a strong working man or woman, but a straw-stuffed doll that can be kicked and punched by any pass-the-ammunition Paul Ryan with a head full of slogans and no grip at all on what five boxes of cookies can mean.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit A collection of Dion's Pultizer Prize-nominated columns, "Between Wealth and Welfare: A liberal Curmudgeon in America,"  is available on



11 Comments | Post Comment
Wait!~ A democrat is in the oval office, been there 5 years or so

The Senate is controlled by democrats...

And this poor woman is starving? Ryan ain't in power. He's a numbers guy, and no one likes a numbers guy. But aren't the people in power NOW responsible for the plight this poor friend of Dion's finds herself in?

"She gets $136 a month in food stamps. It was more, but they cut it a little while back."

Who cut it a little while back? Seems to me the people currently in office are doing terrible things to this women. A proposed budget not in effect yet is not denying her cable TV, it's the guys in office RIGHT NOW. She is being kicked and punched right now by Barack Obama.

Go save her, Marc.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:08 PM
Re: Tom;... Why bring up the fact of who controls the White House and Senate unless to point out how much the gerrymandered House as stalemated them???
I know if you are good republican, that you hate the poor, and blame them for their own troubles... When society does not work for the poor, it does not work for the rich; but as long as the rich think it does, nothing will get better because the rich will not let it, and that means only revolution will dump them off their golden thrones...They will live more full lives down on the farm anyway...People seem to appreciate seeing their own survival growing out of the ends of their fingers... It is one reason the working poor put up with sooo much crap, because their act of creation is their recreation...Once they have wished their lives away, and find they have nothing except four walls to stare at if they are lucky, they have plenty of time to wonder what it was all for...
I know what it was for... It was to make rich people richer, and coincidentaly, to make the poor poorer still...We have to wonder, but only if we are human, if the joy, the thrill, the envy, the admiration so many feel for the rich is really worth the contempt we must reserve for the poor who never had a chance, in part because they believed in the System...America was always a rigged game, but it still took the rich some time to win it all...
You know; I think Mr. Ryan is a Catholic; and that is what I like as a Catholic... People think we act so superior that when you see a Catholic acting like the scum of the earth, heaping coals on the backs of people in hell like a wannabee devil, then you can say: Catholics are not one bit better than any other Christian, and there is the proof positive...
It is a lie, really... People all bow to some sort of God, and to some it is hate, and to others it is wealth, and to others it is power... Seldom it is that people devote themselves to love and caring, and even the kindest of us must calculate the cost of doing so... It is hell growing old, and worse to poor; but to be old and poor is a special kind of hell reserved for those who believed...
Comment: #2
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:02 PM
"I know if you are good republican, that you hate the poor"

You don't know anything about me or anything else, Do you know why?

Because you are a stupid angry old man.

Stupid Sweeney.

Comment: #3
Posted by: Tom
Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:07 PM
Re: Tom... I am stupid, and I am old; and you may be asking, since I am not all that poor, why I am not a republican... It is because I do not let my ideas and principals blind me to the reality that is obvious in this country with a lot of people hurting, and all the social mechanism meant to help them robbed of their money and potency, -on principal... Wanting those who evidence the failure of your economy to go away or drop dead is not a solution...More war is not the solution... Depriving the population of rights as the churches and court advocate is not a solution... Ever more blind cruelty toward people who are already the victims of a failing society is not a solution...It looks to this stupid old man that the republicans are not part of the solution, but are the problem, and if the democrats had any new ideas they could be removed from the problem catagory too... The only thing I like about the democrats is that they at least recognize the pain and the problems, but what is that to the Walrus and the Carpenter??? They all take a share of us, and after the privilaged classes finish, there is nothing left for us...
Comment: #4
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:15 AM
You are stupid because you neither read or comprehend replies to you posts. Christians, Republicans and rich people do not hate anybody. You may have read all kinds of books but you understand nothing. You certainly have not read the people you inhabit this planet and country with if all you can do is call them haters and ascribe evil purpose to them.

Try to understand one point; Stirring up hate against certain groups historically leads to death. Look at the bile directed at Jews Hitler used to stir up a whole nation. Look at Stalin and the kulaks, he condemned them as rich. They were farmers. By making no attempt to understand the Republican point of view, to help people become independent of government through jobs and thriving economies, you bespeak that you are merely an ideologue.

Republicans stink, but right now Democrats stink to high heaven. That you will accept a President that LIES to American citizens says more about your ideology and lack of basic morals.

And don't call this a Republican economy. Your man has been in office for 5+ years, it is his economy. Look at your city of Detroit, run by Democrats for over 50 years. Don't tell me about new ideas when the old ideas have been smashingly successful only at increasing grief and misery and dependence.

When you are willing to grant that people who disagree with you do so with principle and reason, I will withdraw my assessment of you.

But you won't be able to grant that, because you, sir, are the hater you claim everyone else to be.

I know you stopped comprehending at the fifth word, and stopped reading at the tenth, but I say once more that scapegoating others, calling them haters and bad people, will NEVER bring about good for this nation. All that history you read should tell you this one thing. Knock off the hate.

Comment: #5
Posted by: Tom
Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:10 AM
Re: Tom;... I think rich people are very nice, but as you can imagine, I have only few to judge by...
Sitting back and taking it from people like the religious gangs who have shown historically and in our own time a propensity for violence will lead to death too, and this happens every time people pray for a result that is within their power to make certain...When the religious say they have God given rights they are denying the fact that human beings have provided for their privilages, to which I would reply: Give back the legal privilages we all support, and live on the very rights you so often assail from your positions of privilage...
Today the rich have the power to buy our democracy... Equality so essential to democracy has been made meaningless, and as long as people can be denied the vote, and the rich cannot be denied the power of their money to warp legislation or turn elections they are running this show, and they have been, but now the mailed glove has fallen from their rapacious claws...These people to have wars in defense of their economy which is little more than organized crime have slaughtered American by the thousands and incidentally, many other peoples as well... Not contented with seeing any of our working people have the fair fruits of their labor they contrive to work as many as possible into old age and stupidity, right up to death's door, and then they seek to nag the old to death with constant anxiety about their future... I am certain they are all wonderful people, as nice as those few I have met, but collectively they are vermin, anti human, and anti American, blind to any future but their own...We have all seen small businesses on the margins, and it is very often they rather than big corporations which are brutal because the competition demands brutality... What is successful for one must be copied by all until working people are driven into an animal state barely above slavery...
I do not ask for blood shed... Without reforming our society and disempowering the rich and their religious judas goats; you could kill them all and there would be more tomorrow...And the fact is that we should all be like those few I have met, educated and cultured... We will not reach that state while kept in constant poverty...As I said; they are nice, and we should all be so nice... Well, lice are nice too, one at a time...More than one and you may be in trouble, and these rich are ganging up on us just as the chruches have been ganing up on us for ever...
Comment: #6
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:58 AM
Didn't really read my post, did you? Just went off on your merry way. Closed minded = stupid.

Comment: #7
Posted by: Tom
Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:41 AM
An how about those disciples of your friend Karl? How many millions have died at the hands of the philosophy you embrace? Has the church killed more? Have wars started by governments killed more?

Add 'em up, your cherished philosophy is the real killer. The cradle of poverty and moral bankruptcy.

Comment: #8
Posted by: Tom
Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:00 PM
Re: Tom;... Karl is my friend, I read his book, and he taught me a lot about economics and a fair deal about history; but I subscribe to no idealist philosophies, and I am not in the least idealistic...
While capitalism worked it was because of certain practical necessities that in America were plentiful... Cheap labor and abundent resources near at hand made this place a gold mind for the capitalist class... But it is a ponzi because once the wealth is cornered there is nothing left to fund a great society, if I may rob a term.... Soon all progress is abandoned, and the worthless democracy we have so long struggled with is left to die, and we become Feudal all over again with lords and bishops and pawns, and no one in between...
Do you read enough of history to grasp how Napoleon, and later the generals of WWI would hurl their troops into the mouths of cannons like they were so much trash??? How different were the Japenese of WWII with their suicide charges??? You see what sort of life this contempt of the common man buys you; but they will likely make special rules for all the Toms...
Sir; I am not telling anyone what will work or must work... People will cut their own deals regardless, because that is something almost everyone does...Even under Stalin people cut their own deals...When people had socialism, and all of humanity has had socialism, and we have it even here in America; in those societies people craved honor like we crave wealth... That did not stop them from squirreling away wealth when they had the chance...
Sir; modern capitalism grew out of raiding societies, and wealth gradually supplanted honor as a mark of status, and yet, even today among some people, the show of honor is essential to their status... We can see in the Trojan War a society midpoint between wealth societies and honor societies... Every man was there because of an oath, on his honor, and while Agamemnon helped himself to the larger share, he could not take what was Achilles' without dishonoring him, and it begins with an invocation to the Godess to sing of the wrath of Achilles, because dishonored Achilles refused to fight, but it would have been a greater dishonor still to leave, so he went down by the ships and cried like a child...
When money is honor, people do not so quickly kill each other for the slight of it... In that sense at least the world has become more peaceful, but a people too long deprived of their honor and justice are good only for mass slaughter like we saw with the nazis or the communists... People need justice, and just as here, when we know we have lost it with our commonwealth there is a strong desire to export our injustice in the hopes of importing justice, but what we find is more and more people around the world used up and crapped out by capitalism... Look at the great conquerors... Most had already been taken over themselves...Mr. Bush was right that democracies do not attack their neighbors, and he was wrong to consider us a democracy...
Sir;... There is no substitute for everyone having their own justice... The churches have sold us out, and are trying to force us into slavery like themselves because their ticket has been punched to eternity...Now the courts have put the government up for sale as if it was not before...If enough people find their honor and their morality we can change this society against the will of the rich and their religious turncoats... Then; what ever works is fine with me, because what we have does not work... One size fitzall government does not work... Government for the rich does not work... The religious monkey wrench in the gears of government does not work...But I am not telling people what would work... Freed of the past, people can make up their own minds...You should try to understand that the change of forms you find inconceivable is historically and prehistorically the most obvious fact...Every change of forms takes a change of mind, a shift of paradigm... Some Toms are not up to it...
Comment: #9
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:30 PM
Tom, you're an a-hole.
Comment: #10
Posted by: steveM
Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:13 PM
Re: steveM;... Why the incivility... We are in their world, and they are not in ours, so in their house trying to change their minds, what does civility hurt...
If the situation with Tom is as you say, then what can he do about it??? Have you ever known one who could ever help himself??? For a mudderfugger there is some hope, but essholes are unconscious... Still; we are in a terrible situation together, and we can only get to the promised land together, and if telling the truth is essential to that process, still we need all of the Toms to feel differently about life, themselves, and all things because that is all that has ever changed a mind... Reason is only powerful to the reasonable mind, and where is that??? We are almost all more irrational that rational, and most only use reason to reach irrational goals...
Tom is certainly right in saying I am stupid... I will never know enough, and certainly do not know enough to drag the unwilling out of the childhood of mankind, that stage of religion and magic that most people give up as adults, and that some make the guidepost of their lives...I am part Irish, and it hurts to think of how the Celts once showed great promise of developing their own civilization until their awe of the Druids and fear of magic stopped them in their tacks... Even in Ireland, the Christian Cursing of Tara, made organized government impossible which in all likelyhood made blood feuds and death by violence more common instead of less so... People can believe as they wish, though it is certain people are captured by religion when their minds are all ready on that plane of childhood... That is not the problem so much as the same reality as in old England- that the government, the lords, and the church conspire against the rights of suffering humanity and keep the whole of society down...Why they cannot see the possibility in a reach to the stars, and want only to be the kings of a world dung hill is beyond me; but that is their choice, and it cannot be denied...
Comment: #11
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:39 PM
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