Marissa Fretes: Don’t touch our welfare benefits

The American welfare program took a hit this election.

There was that time Newt Gingrich called President Barack Obama the “most effective food stamp president in history” last January, and then there was Mitt Romney’s advertisement lambasting Obama for “taking the work out of welfare” in August.

And we can’t forget Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comment, in which he said almost half of the electorate considers themselves “victims” of a broken system, and that he’ll “never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The GOP has worked tirelessly to portray impoverished welfare recipients as entitled and lazy.

Republicans have demonized welfare programs and dehumanized welfare recipients, to the point that people forget how destructive the effects of the party’s policies would be.

The budget proposal put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., would cut more than $3 billion dollars from programs that help low-income Americans – like Pell Grants and food stamps – cuts that make up nearly two-thirds of his proposal. And Romney’s ideas aren’t much better. In an interview with Fortune Magazine, he stated his plan to send the food stamp program back to the states, at a time when they are already struggling to afford services like education and public safety.

All in all, these plans would affect millions of impoverished Americans, injuring the safety net they rely on – not out of a sense of laziness, but out of need. Poverty is undoubtedly a problem in America today, but cutting funding to integral programs is not a solution.

There’s no denying the fact that, as GW students, many of us are incredibly fortunate. We’re intelligent, educated and creating opportunities for our futures. Some of us have even received help through student loans and financial aid packages just to go here.

But that’s why it’s so critical come election time that we think about more than just ourselves.

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