Less than a week after the folks in Cleveland tipped Ohio’s presidential election to incumbent Barack Obama they now find out that the federal government will be cutting funding for state welfare programs and the end result will average out to about a $50 across the board reduction of food assistance per client per month.
The changes were just announced and are to take effect this coming January (yeah, 6 short weeks from now when the snow is only a foot deep if we’re lucky). The “standard utility allowance” — the amount deducted from a person’s income when the state determines his or her eligibility for the food stamp program — will decrease by $166 for 2013, translating to about $50 less per household in food assistance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The decrease in federal support is believed to stem from a milder-than-most winter last year coupled with a lower price for natural gas – which in the eyes of the persistently inhumane machine we refer to as Washington DC, means people should need less support this winter, which in all likelihood will be one of the worst on record.
Executive director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Directors’ Association, Joel Potts, says that the changes are dictated by federal allowances and are not cuts passed by the state of Ohio:
“This is a federal issue. It is what it is. They have a formula. … We just think it is going to be really hard on families and individuals. They will see significantly less money starting in January.”
The irony rests in the vector image of Ohio’s presidential election 2012 to the right – while the state is shaded nearly completely red, with the exception of a few counties – the home county of Cleveland, Ohio, the county of Cuyahoga – the most lop-sided county in the entire state to favor Obama so heavily – is shaded in light blue with Cleveland represented by the white dot. The people there went for Obama more than 4 to 2 over Romney voting 421k Obama(69%) to 184k Romney(30%). A difference of approx 237,000 votes. With Romney losing Ohio by only 105,000 votes total it’s very apparent that the voters that belong to the nations second most impoverished city(just behind Detroit) is who threw the state of Ohio’s 18 electoral votes to President Obama. Had the two candidates split the vote evenly in Cuyahoga, or even if Obama would have taken the county by a margin of just 60%-40% Romney would have been victorious in Ohio.
This lesson in geography is also a lesson in demography. The people of Cleveland did exactly what Mitt Romney claimed that 47% of people in America would do: vote for more benefits, and that’s exactly why the second poorest city in the country decided the entire state of Ohio. I suspect closer evaluations of other states would turn up similar results.
Ben Johnson, a spokesman for the state Department of Job and Family Services agency said 869,000 households enrolled in the program for the poorest Ohioans should expect a letter this month explaining the changes.