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Arkansas's Four Horsemen v. 500,000


Paraphrasing Grantland Rice: "In dramatic lore, the Four Horsemen are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Crawford, Griffin, Womack and Cotton."

Arkansas's four congressmen stood like stone walls against food stamps last week, and in the process against half a million of their own constituents. None of this feed-the-hungry business for these merciless equestrians, none of your tired old "morality" malarkey.

All four voted to cut spending on food stamps by nearly $4 billion annually nationwide. They'll let the underprivileged dine on knuckle sandwiches instead.

As of last January, 509,000 Arkansans — one in six — received food stamps. Three-quarters of those recipients are in families with children; nearly half are children themselves. One-third of the recipients are in families with elderly or disabled members; 12 percent are disabled themselves, six percent are elderly. Nineteen percent of the Arkansas population lives below the poverty line, including 26 percent of all children, and 11 percent of all elderly. Nineteen percent of Arkansas households struggle to afford a nutritionally adequate diet. The average monthly benefit for each Arkansas household receiving food stamps is $122. The average benefit per person per meal is $1.35. Think what $1.35 buys at the supermarket these days.

There was a time when even Republicans voted for food stamps, finding it difficult to oppose sustenance for the needy. Today's Republicans, like Arkansas's congressmen, are made of sterner stuff.

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