Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, April 1, 2016

President Barack Obama hosts the Nuclear Security Summit working dinner with the heads of delegations in the East Room of the White House, March 31, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama hosts the Nuclear Security Summit working dinner with the heads of delegations in the East Room of the White House, March 31, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Not a huge news day, but let’s see what we can put together. Sorry to say that none of these are April Fool’s jokes:

  1. Obama warns of terrorist nuclear attack (BBC) — This is more like a storm watch than a storm warning, but the threat is real. And presumably, POTUS considers this to be worse than the bathtub threat to the country, which is encouraging. Why lead with this story? Because I’m a Cold War guy. How close we are to nuclear midnight is important. And I was inspired by our exchange about the Triad earlier today.
  2. U.S. Economy Showed Broad Strength in March (WSJ) — You can’t really tell it by me, but I’m glad to hear it. The Journal is leading with this on this slow news day.
  3. Tens of thousands of Americans just lost their food stamps (WashPost) — Something that, if you’re fortunate enough to still be in the middle class, you might have missed. The Post is leading with it.
  4. Here’s Why Mississippi’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Is So Controversial (NPR) — It’s narrower in its focus than the others.
  5. Trump manager Lewandowski: poster boy of a brash new politics (The Guardian) — This guy is very Trump — just as clueless, but he’s winning. I’m thinking this guy (Mikey Palmice) from the Sopranos) would be good to play him in the movie.
  6. Severe weather moves east toward Carolinas after tornadoes (The State) — Not huge news, but we need something local, and I don’t see the flag thing as worthy of the front. Besides, it’s a day old.

17 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, April 1, 2016

  1. Howard

    The ones who are “losing” their food stamps are the same people who should not have been receiving them in the first place. Able bodied 18 to 50 year olds. I have no sympathy for those who are kicked out the program. The abuse of this program is incredible.

    1. Mark Stewart

      There are no shortage of ways people try to get on, and stay on, the public dole.

      Who’s to decide which ones are more pernicious?

  2. Burl Burlingame

    McDonalds advises their employees to go on food stamps to supplement their income for food essentials.

    1. Howard

      I’d say that depends on where you life. In SC I don’t think that’s the case, in HI it may be true.

      I don’t know how McDonald’s works but I was under the impression that most restaurants offered one meal per shift.

    2. Lynn Teague

      And so does WalMart. As a matter of corporate business strategy , we aren’t subsidizing deadbeats with these programs, we are subsidizing low income workers. In doing so, the real subsidy is to the corporate owners who profit handsomely while taxpayers pick up the tab to keep their workers alive. The Walton family is the biggest bunch of welfare deadbeats in our country. They make massive profits because we pick up the tab to run their business. That said, leaving low income working families without food isn’t an acceptable option. Raising the minimum wage (guaranteed to benefit workers rather than non-workers) would compel the Waltons and others like them to pay the real cost of running their businesses.

    3. Bob Amundson

      The “working poor” is a term not heard enough in our country. A tough policy decision is whether to increase the minimum wage or to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); either would benefit only those that work. Being a balance person, I’d like to see a little of both.

      1. Howard

        Will all of you agree that the welfare system in general is horribly abused in this country? Go back two generations and view who received handouts, people who were either unable to work or the very poor. In my generation, food stamps were used by maybe 5% of my small home town. There were poor people who didn’t use them because being on welfare was considered an embarrassment to your family. I knew mothers and fathers who would work 2-3 jobs to put food on their table. Kids would work to help. My neighbors can’t even get their kids to mow their lawns. In fact I don’t know one kid in my neighborhood who has a job of any kind.

        Not too long ago, government subsidies consisted of cheese, butter, powdered milk and a few other food staples. Today you go to the grocery store on the first of the month and you see shopping carts full of junk food (microwave meals and sodas or high sugar content “juices”) that have little to no nutritional value. Frozen pizzas feed two people and cost $5.00. With some creative cooking you could make a meal that would feed a family of four people for $5.00. Soft drinks and candy should never be allowed to be purchased with food stamps. I’ve been in convenience stores and seen healthy, able bodied men purchase snacks, candy and sodas with their EBT card. I’ve even witnessed a clerk ring up a 12 pack of soda on an EBT card and the guy walked out with a 12 pack of beer. This is where the system is today.

        1. Bob Amundson

          Not horribly abused, at times abused. Part of our system is transfer payments, and although most people believe the transfer is from rich to poor, data clearly show it is from young to old.

          Medicaid (of which about two third goes to the elderly and disabled), Medicare and Social Security (i.e., entitlements) are a much bigger burden on our economy than transfer payments to the poor.

  3. bud

    On a broader note there is growing evidence that the economy is finally working to increase wages even in the absence of an increase in the the federal minimum wage. The labor participation rate is moving up after a decade of steady decline. This suggests more workers find working an attractive option compared to retirement or staying home as a homemaker. The annual budget deficit is also down , a reflection of lower federal outlays for programs like SNAP.

    I’m not really a huge proponent of raising the minimum wage. There is a downside. Rather a better approach is for the federal government to spend much more on infrastructure and pay a respectable wage to do so. This would provide an incentive to the private sector. Competition is a powerful motivator. Why not use it.

  4. Karen Pearson

    I don’t happen to know anyone who is abusing food stamps. The few people I know personally who are using them are also working. Does anyone of you know someone who is abusing food stamps? Surely with such rampant abuse one of us does.

    1. Doug Ross

      I don’t happen to know anyone who has had an abortion or is racist, so I’m not sure either exists.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        You’ve led a sheltered life. I certainly know people who’ve had abortions and people who are racist. I don’t know of anyone who is abusing food stamps. (I mean, how would I know? Perform an audit?)

        1. Claus

          Brad have you been behind someone who used food stamps and looked at what they were buying? Should taxpayer dollars (that’s how the system is ultimately funded) be used to provide free sodas and snacks to SNAP users? Or should the money be used for items that have some nutritional value? If we’re giving away free food, why not have them go to food banks instead of convenience stores? I don’t see SNAP users having trouble finding money to use for purchasing cigarettes. My view is if they have money for cigarettes they shouldn’t need taxpayer money for food.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I find it enough of a hassle to think about what I eat, without noticing what others are buying. Oh, I occasionally think, “that person eats a lot of junk food,” or (rarely, but this happened once within the past week), “she’s really being careful to eat healthy.”

            But that’s about it. And I don’t pay attention to how someone is paying normally — although I did notice the other day when someone spent a minute or two exchanging $50 and $100 bills with the cashier, for reasons I didn’t fully get. Basically, I notice such things when they cause delays that MAKE ME WAIT.

            On another topic: Why did you switch from calling yourself “Howard” to “Claus”?

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