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Starve a kid, stuff a fat cat 

LowDown

Ah, progress! In the 2012 elections, Republicans cast themselves as budget balancers by promising to whack welfare programs for the poor, snarling that such people are "takers" and "moochers."

Such vindictive sourness didn't play too well with voters, and Republicans now seem to have learned their lesson. Oh, they're still going after food stamps, school lunches, etc., with a vengeance — but this time with a gentle, even loving, tone.

The GOP's official message massagers now have their members saying that they want to "help the poor" by eliminating those programs, referring to them as soulless giveaways that sap their initiative and tether them to the cold, uncaring hand of government. The message is: We're doing this for the poor people's own good.

Their chief budgeteer, Rep. Paul Ryan, trotted this theme out at a recent right-wing rally, condemning school lunches as unloving "Obamafare" plopped on plates by unsmiling cafeteria personnel: "What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul," he oozed.

If that doesn't make you gag, try another subsidized lunch program that tender-hearted GOP budget whackers never mention, much less demand that it be eliminated.

It's the tax subsidy for corporate meals, drinks and entertainment. Multimillionaire CEOs can go wining and dining on your and my dime, writing off their high-dollar lunches, cocktails, dinners and club hopping as a business expense.

And expensive it is for us taxpayers — this subsidy adds up to more than $12 billion a year, which doesn't even count the human cost of executive initiative that is sapped by this giveaway and the lack of love a CEO feels from being dependent on unsmiling taxpayers.

We ought to be subsidizing healthy meals for poor people, but not a dime for fat cat CEOs dining out at Chez Gourmand.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

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