Letter: Food stamp program helps the hungry and Mid-Columbia's farmers

May 22, 2013 

As I leafed through the Herald's excellent supplement, "State of Ag," in the May 3 edition, I found an interesting item titled, "Fiscal Year 2013 Farm Bill spending." It showed an $82 billion federal expenditure for food stamps, which to my mind was great because it demonstrated a classic win-win situation in which we not only feed America's poor but concurrently support a vital sector of our economy by creating a huge market for America's farm products.

Then I noticed that this was not a news item; it was a paid advertisement by a group called the "SBC Republican Staff." The ad was not boasting; it was complaining. "Why are we spending all this money to indulge a bunch of slackers feeding at the public trough?" was the essential message. I was, to say the least, disappointed but not surprised by this example of Republican cold-heartedness.

Our region's farmers have been the beneficiaries of a federal bet -- construction of Grand Coulee Dam -- that has paid off the equivalent of thousands of Solyndras. Spare me your self-righteous rebuttals with anecdotal tales of food stamp abuse; I might match you with tales of abuse in every corner of every public, private and religious organization.

MARTIN BENSKY, Richland

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