FROM Robert Rector
Despite Tough Times, Is There a War on Food Stamps? Federal money for food stamps has almost doubled since the start of the Great Recession, now covering 48 million people. The Census Bureau says that's kept four million people out of poverty. But Republicans in Congress say it's increased dependency on hand-outs. They want to cut $40 billion in food stamp money over the next 10 years. Federal action is not very likely, but Kansas, Ohio and other states will be doing it on their own. Is it tough love to encourage personal responsibility, or is it "draconian, heartless and cruel" in an era of high unemployment and an economic recovery that's leaving more and more people behind?
Hunger in America The Agriculture Department says that 49 million Americans did not get enough to eat last year. Scholars at Cornell and Washington Universities report that half America's children will be on food stamps before they grow up. President Obama has renewed his campaign promise to reduce the “trend of rising hunger.”
Americans Are Too Fat and Too Hungry President Obama has repeated his campaign pledge to reduce "the trend of rising hunger," which recent reports call worse than ever. They contend that 49 million people struggled to get enough food last year, and that 50% of American children will be on food stamps before they grow up. We hear what the Obama Administration is trying to do, and hear from a skeptic who says "food insecurity" is not as bad as it's made out to be. How can there be hunger and obesity at the same time? Can charities solve the problem? Is "food insecurity" about politics as well as economic necessity?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.