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 www.creators.com. A collection of Dion's Pultizer Prize-nominated columns, "Between Wealth and Welfare: A liberal Curmudgeon in America," is available on Amazon.com.
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