On a network that is focused so intensely on opposing every policy initiative of the Obama administration, it can lead to some rather fiery outbursts by its fiercely partisan pundits. However, for Fox News that sort of unfettered rage can severely impair mental acuity, particularly amongst FoxPods who are already starting out with diminished capacity.
An example of this rage-fueled mind-numbing occurred yesterday on Your World with Neil Cavuto. During a segment with Fox Business contributor Charles Payne, the discussion took a turn for the weird (video below). Cavuto and Payne were merrily trashing social safety net programs, or as they call them, “entitlements,” when Payne slipped off the conservative mantle.
Cavuto: Whether it’s addressing a hike in the minimum wage or getting health care coverage, as long as Uncle Sam’s got my back I can lay back. [...]
Payne: A lot of people are trying to convince the average person that there’s no way you can climb and reach the top. Although this morning, [yelling] there was a deal of a guy who sold a company for $19 billion. The guy came here from Russia. His family was on food stamps. He didn’t stay there. He didn’t stay there, Neil. The guy went out and started a business from the bottom. He was on food stamps. So the American dream is alive and well.
Exactly! The guy was on food stamps. The guy was able to feed himself and his family during a time of financial hardship and, as a result, he was able to lift himself out of poverty and achieve enormous success. That’s the American dream. And in this case it was made possible in part by America’s compassion for people who may temporarily have difficulty making ends meet. Whether it’s an immigrant, or a laid off worker, or a recent divorcee with children, this nation provides for them so that they can put the pieces of their lives back together and prosper.
Fox News has been a relentless opponent of things like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), characterizing them as handouts for the lazy moochers who refuse to work. Conservatives have been working tirelessly to reduce benefits for food, housing, unemployment, and health care, while simultaneously advocating on behalf of the wealthy for more tax cuts and higher corporate subsidies.
Now along comes a Fox News pundit who inadvertently makes an argument for precisely why food stamps, and other social safety net programs, are so necessary and beneficial. The right-wing myth that food stamp recipients are perennially dependent on benefits is contradicted by the facts:
“SNAP supports households as they get back on their feet, supplying them with needed nutrition and encouraging work. The average amount of time a new participant spends on SNAP is 8 to 10 months, and the SNAP benefit formula is structured to provide a strong work incentive.”
It’s too bad that Cavuto and Payne fail to recognize the role that food stamps play in lifting families out of poverty, and even paving a path to success as illustrated in their own example. They concluded the segment with the same lamentations about government programs coddling the lazy. Their predictable obliviousness is reminiscent of the time when actor Craig T. Nelson appeared on Glenn Beck’s Fox program bragging that when his family was poor and on welfare and food stamps they never got any government handouts (except for the welfare and food stamps).