North Carolina Newspapers

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Politics Of The Food Stamp Program
- — By Hoyle H. Martin, Sr.
Post Staff Writer
There are 41,500 individuals --
12,000 families -- in Mecklenburg
County that face the possibility of
having considerably less food on
their dinner tables in the near fu
ture. This will be the direct result of
a two-fold attack upon the food
stamp program based on real and
alleged abuses.
President Ford plans to change
the food stamp program legislation
by executive order effective on or
about June 1. He has ordered the
- Secretary of Agriculture to prepare
regulations that would eliminate 5.3
million people from the program
and cut out the benefits of an addi
tional 5 to 6 million more.
Futhermore, the President’s regu
’ations call for ending all emergency
. food stamps which will result in a
minimum waiting period of 45 days;
requiring all recipients to pay 30 per
cent of their income (currently 24"
per cent) for food stamps; and
reducing the eligibility income level
to the poverty level of $5,050 for a
family of four. The latter two regu
lations will be particularly damag
ing to the program because recipi
ents will have less income for other
necessities and the poverty income
level is a poor eligibility basis be
cause it neither allows for the 12 to 24
lag in inflation nor the needs of those
lUSt above the nnvortv inrnmo lino
While the President is making
these moves, the Senate Agriculture
Committee is preparing to send to
the Senate floor new food stamp
legislation that is also punitive but
not as harsh as Ford’s new regu
lations. These nearly simultaneous
moves by the executive and legisla
tive branches of the federal gover
nment could result in two major
(program-changes within a few
■months. Such a callous lack of coor
dination on their part will lead to
massive mismanagement and con
fusion. Such a situation would cer
tainly have political overtones and
in no way relate to truly serving the
interest of those in need.
Futhermore, if the intent of these
curbs on the food stamp program by
our law makers is to give the impre
ssion in this election year that the
government is seriously attempting
to cut the federal budget, reduce
waste, and halt abuses, then a new
milestone in good government will
have been reached; however, there.
is little reason to believe that this
has happened. The facts, in effect,
do not agree with what the President
and other politicians want the voters
to believe. For example, a historic
study (1972) conducted by Senator
William Proxmire’s (D-Wis.) Joint
Economic Committee concluded by
preliminary data that more than $63
billion'is subsidies (welfare capi
talism) flows irom the tederal gov
ernment into private hands each
year-about V4 of the total federal
budget. It is important to note that
THIS SUM DOES NOT INCLUDE
SOCIAL WELFARE PAYMENTS
OF ANY KIND NOR KNOWN
COSTS FOR WASTE.
We could note numerous examples
to illustrate the attitude of the Ni
xon-Ford administration on waste
and abuse. A case in point was Ernie
Fitzgerald, a cost analyst in the
office of the Secretary of the Air
Force. An efficiency expert, Fitzge
rald testified before Senator Prox
mire’s committee that the taxpay
ers’ money was being wasted by
billions of dollars on a number of
large military weapons and the cost
overruns were shocking high and
needless. His testimony caused Sen
ator Proxmire to note that the U.S.
weapons acquisition system is “a
kind of welfare system for the mili
tary brass and the Department of
Defense bureaucracy..., and the top
aerospace and munitions manufac
turers...” Fitzgerald’s reward for
his concern with efficiency in gove
rnment was to have his job abolished
by the Secretary of the Air Force
and be made a target for character
assassination. An even greater trag
edy is that such waste and abuses
continue to occur in our nation’s
capital.
A fourth reason for concern about
these proposals to significantly alter
the existing food stamp program is
the fact that the program is conside
rably more than charity. Food
stamps have in effect been a prime
motivator in boosting our sagging
economy. An Agriculture Depart
ment study reveals that every dollar
in food stamps given to the people in
need produces over $6 in new busi
ness activity. Department econo
mists calculate that the “multiplier
effect” of $2.7 billion in food stamp
bonuses given in 1974 produced $16.8
billion in new business activity.
The Ford Administration has refu
sed to-date to make this report
public because it refutes his politi
cally motivated arguments for tam
pering with the food stamp program
and his masquerade about efficiency
in government.
Finally, while we do not condone
the exploiting of the food stamp
program by recipients or potential
recipients, evidence appears to indi
cate that the degree of such exploi
tation is quite insignificant when
compared with the needs of those
who would be affected by any sub
stantial change in the existing leg
islation as currently planned.
President Ford and the Congress
need to get on with the business of
improving services to the poor in
stead of playing political games with
the hungry in exchange for votes
from those who may not be so
hungry.
Talk Abouth Community ControL...
REPORT FROM i.
J^j^V/oshingtqn^,
An Energy Crisis Forewarned
by Jim Martin
9th District, N.C.
The Shah of Iran is
trying to tell this coun
try something about it
self. Many people have
forgotten that this coun
try is still heavily de
pendent on foreign en
ergy sources to main
tain a healthy economy
and the way of life many
of us enjoy. His Emin
ence, the Shah has not
forgotten.
The Shah says if the
United States Congress
imposes an embargo on
arms sales to his coun
try, “we can hurt you as
badly if not more so
than you can hurt us.”
The same is true with
other Oil Producing and
Exporting Countries
(O.P.E.C.). We all rec
ognize he is talking a
bout imported oil which
makes up 40 percent of
what we use each day.
The Shah selis us a sub
stantial portion of that
imported oil. It is im
portant to remember
that the bulk of the im
ported oil comes from
the Middle East. The
Shah said action by his
country against the U
nited States could go
beyond using oil as a
weapon. In an interview
with U.S. News and
World Report, the Shah
said “We can create
trouble for you in this
region (Middle East).”
He added what many of
us already know, “A
merica’s credibility is
not too high. You look
rather like a crippled
giant.”
£ I hope the Shah’s stra
2 Ifeht forward remarks
serve as a reminder to
the Congress that the
energy crisis and long
gas lines are not just a
thing of the past, but
could become the fut
ure. With conditions in
the Mid East constant
ly simmering, we will be
faced with the prospect
of another oil embargo
as long as oil is a wea
pon that can be used
against us. The Shah
has reminded us that oil
can be a potent weapon.
Yet, we are hardly any
closer to energy inde
pendence than we were
in the winter of 1973-74.
Congress has had 2V4
years to decide how to
meet this country’s fu
ture energy needs. Yet,
little progress has been
made. If anything, Con
gress has set a course
that will cut oil produc
tion in America, leaving
us more dependent on
O.P.E.C.
We are told Saudi A
rabia will ask the Or
ganization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries
(OPEC) for a freeze on
world oil prices. The
Saudis say any price
increase now would im
pede world-wide eco
nomic recovery and
would reduce demand
for oil. However, they
have stressed their de
sire to work within OP
EC and warned their
pricing position could
change over “political
matters”. We can as
sume they are talking
about any new Arab-Is
raeli conflict.
The oil picture is not
food. After a brief de
cline oil imports have
risen to a higher level
than before the 1973 em
bargo. Our domestic
price and tax policy dis
courages any increase
in exportation and drill
ing for oil and natural
gas in our own country
and off our coasts. Nat
ural gas exploration has
all but come to a halt as
our supplies dwindle
more each year. In con
trast to the profitable
1974 period, when drill
ing rigs could not be
built fast enough for oil
companies.
TO
BE
EQUAL
\ KK\ON K. JORII \\ JR j
The South’s New Face
I recently spoke to the Joint Session of the.
South Carolina General Assembly. It was the
first such invitation to a leader of a civil rights
organization.
It seems that every monemt that day was filled
with symbolic meaning.
I left my room at a hotel named for Wade
Hampton. Hampton was the leader of the white
Redeemer faction that wrested control of the
state from its integrated leadership in Recon
struction times and helped build the post-Civil
War era of white supremacy.
Across the street, on the grounds of the
Capitol, I saw a statue of “Pitchfork” Ben
Tillman, leader of the segregationists in Con
gress and long-time U.S. Senator from South
Carolina.
The first thing I noticed once inside the lobby
of the CaDitol was a statue of John C. Calhoun,
The South Carolinian who has the leader of the
pro-slavery forces in the country before the Civil
U/or
To my left, was an inscription in the marble
facade of the side wall of the lobby. It was the
declaration of secession that took South Carolina
out of the Union in 1960 and ignited the Civil War.
I gave my address standing under three flags
- the state flag, the U.S. flag, and the flag of the
Confederacy!
In the audience, made up of members of both
houses of the legislature, were thirteen black
representatives, more than at any time since
Reconstruction days.
Aslo in that body were many legislators whose
service dates back to the bitter days of the fifties
and sixties, among them men who cried “Nev
er,” and who tried in every way possible to
retain the old segregation system of that oppres
sed black people.
And in the gallery were citizens viewing the
preceeding, including some integrated classes
of school children.
All of this is significant, but perhaps even more
significant was the warm reception I received, a
reception that went well beyond traditional
southern gracioufeness and hospitality. There'
was a willingness to listen to views that not too
long ago would have landed a black person in a
lot of trnuhlo
The session was followed by lunch at the
Governor’s mansion - an integrated affair that
led me to reflect on the fact that at one time no
black person would be allowed into the mansion,
much less to sit down and break bread with the
white power structure. And I thought too, that at
one time it would be unthinkable that the Gover
nor of South Carolina would be a Republican.
I next visited an industrial plant in Columbia
that had an integrated workforce, blacks in
managerial and professional positions, and a
policy of sharing the work in the recession
instead of just laying off the most recently hired
workers.
»
Whether it does in fact do so depends largely
on whether it can root out the vestiges of racism
and whether white people in the region can
overcome their past prejudices to cooperate with
blacks in winning programs beneficial to both
races.
It’s a long, long road to racial equality and
we’re nowhere near its end, but a good start has
been made in the very region that once was :
locked into the worst traditions of racism. That >
in itself, represents progress.
THE CHARLOTTE POST
“THE PEOPLES NEWSPAPER”
Established 1918
Published Every Thursday
By The Charlotte Post Publishing Co., Inc.
2606B West Blvd.-Charlotte, N.C. 28208
Telephones (704) 392-1306, 392-1307
__Circulation 11,000
” 1 .
57 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE
Bill Johnson .Editor-Publisher
Gerald O. Johnson , .Business Manager
Rex Hovey ...Circulation Manager
""* ~ ■
Second Class Postage Paid at
Charlotte, N.C. under the Act of March 3,1878
Member National Mpumanor PuKi;
by Gerald O. Johnson
President Ford in an at
tempt to correct the inade
quacies of the food stamp
program, will more than like
ly cause more harm than
good.
The President proposes to
put into law his program by
this summer. The program
has proposed as part of its
stipulations that (l) No one
with income above the official
poverty line will receive food
stamps. (2) 33 percent of an
individual's income must go
towards payments for food
stamps,
Individuals currently in the
food stamp program pay 22
percent of their incomes for
food stamps. The President's
program while attempting to
exclude those individuals ar
busing the current food stamp
program will also exclude
many individuals in dire need
of food stamps.
, Association
North C arolina Black Publishers Association
Deadline for all news copy and photos is 5 p.m
Monday. The Post is not responsible for any
photos or news copies submitted for publication.
National Advertising Representative
Amalgamated Publishers, Inc.
45 W. 5th, Suite 1403 v- 2400 S. Michigan Ave.
New York, N Y. 10036 Chicago, 111. 60616
(212 ) 489-1220 Calumet 5-0200
l * 1 *
Ford Jeopardizes Food Stamp Program
By stipulating that no one
with income over the official
poverty level will receive food
stamps the President has cat
egorized an entire income
bracket. Two people with sim
ilar incomes have quite dis
similar budgets. Furthermore
the poverty line M merely an
economic yard stick and has
little to do with reality. To try
to use such a measurement as
a means of affecting peopled
lives is hardly characteristic
of a national leader.
As if this isn't enough the
President also proposes to rai
se the cost of food stamps for
those eligible to receive them
by 11 prcent. The elderly,
minorities, poor whites, and
unemployed will suffer from
these measures drastically.
The President should re-as
sess his program from a peo
ple point-of-view instead of the
dollar point-of-view.
Because this is an election
year it is understandable that
my bases we have around the
country. Instead of pouring
billions into something for not
hing, why not re-channel this
money.
Moreover, why not re vamp
the fall-out program we cur
rently have for emergencies.
Millions of dollars are spent
yearly to keep up fall out
shelters for a Hydrogen bomb
attack, while the next war is
guaranteed to be a nuclear
one No fall out shelter will
help you in a nuclear war.
Or, why not re-establish the
medicaid program where bil
lions of dollars are being mis
handled by fraudulent labora
tories.
Even better, why not do
away with un-needed bureau
cracies that remain in Wash
ington. It has been officially
reported that there are more
obsolete government depart
ments then there are function
al departments There are de
partments that duplicate fun
Gerald O. Johnson
the President is going all out
to do deeds to win votes But I
think he has gone out on a limb
that is bound to break with this
absurd program
If he was so all keyed up on
saving the country money,
why not start by closing the
several hundred obsolete ar
I
ctions.
Why not give the President
and the Congress ,a pay cut
instead of a pay raise. If we
paid them what they were
worth we could balance the
budget.
The government is the big
gest problem this country now
faces. This massive body of do
nothings introduces programs
to help the taxpayers but nev
er organzies the program well
enough for proper administra
tion. Hence, people who
shouldn’t benefit from such
programs do benefit.
Then when an election year
Comes around the President in
order to be impressive, ends
up hurting the do gooderv
If President Ford really
wanted to save money, he
needn’t look far beyond his
White House Gates.
CONGRATULATIONS UNCC
BASKETBALLTEAM
Nothing could be finer than
being a 49er about now. Espec
ially if you are a basketball
fan. The well disciplined well
coached UNCC Basketball
Team has captured the hearts
and souls of Charlotteans as
well as much of the country.
Though the team has cost
me a lot of money by doing as
well as they did I must say l
was quite proud of their cali
bre of play.
This should prove to those
that I have argued with before
that the way to get publicity to
your schoo I is through a good
sports program. Money inves
ted properly in this area will
go a long way In promoting
other programs.'
Again, I would like to take :
the time to congratulate the ..
UNCC Basketball team from
the entire Post staff. I must go
and practice my free throwing .
now...Rock Easy,
i
    

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