food stamps https://scienceblogs.com/ en Food stamps, Medicaid, and erring on the side of compassion https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/07/10/food-stamps-medicaid-and-erring-on-the-side-of-compassion <span>Food stamps, Medicaid, and erring on the side of compassion</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>While much public attention is (appropriately) focused on the Senate bill that would <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2017/07/05/by-2036-senate-bill-would-cut-medicaid-by-more-than-one-third/">shred the Medicaid program</a>, House Freedom Caucus members are pushing a proposal to shred other parts of the social safety net: welfare, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and food stamps, or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Both the Senate BCRA and the Freedom Caucus budget proposal aim to cut spending on these crucial assistance programs while granting large tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.</p> <p>Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has put forward a budget proposal to cut $200 billion from SNAP and TANF over the next decade, and claims it will be painless because additional work requirements will spur people to get jobs. But <a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/7/15894168/conservative-cut-food-stamp-evidence">University of Michigan poverty expert Luke Shaefer stresses to Vox’s Tara Golshan</a>, “The single thing we can be absolutely sure about with a bill like this is that it would increase hardship significantly for struggling families.”</p> <p><strong>Rhetoric vs. evidence on public assistance</strong></p> <p>A common argument for cutting safety-net programs is that people who could be working are instead taking advantage of public assistance, and that if you take that assistance away, they’ll get jobs. One big problem with this that the majority of non-elderly families getting <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-work-requirement-would-limit-health-care-access-without-significantly">Medicaid</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/05/24/529831472/trump-wants-families-on-food-stamps-to-get-jobs-the-majority-already-work">SNAP</a> include at least person who’s working – but their wages simply aren’t enough to cover their families’ needs.</p> <p>Proposals to slash spending on safety net programs tend to rely on two methods: Changing eligibility requirements and/or making beneficiaries jump through more hoops to get the benefits. This can include mandating that beneficiaries re-verify their income, employment, or other situations several times a year, and kicking them out if all the paperwork isn’t in place at each point.</p> <p>For instance, Texas has started requiring financial eligibility verifications for children receiving Medicaid at months five, six, seven, and eight of their enrollment. Many of those who are kicked out of the program temporarily regain coverage within a few months, but in the meantime lack the health coverage that can play such an important roll in their development. The number of Texas children experiencing gaps in their Medicaid coverage more than doubled since this practice began, <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/14/532816157/in-texas-people-with-fluctuating-incomes-risk-being-cut-off-from-medicaid">NPR’s Shefali Luthra reports</a>.</p> <p>We have national data on what happens when a safety-net program adds strict work requirements, because “welfare reform” under President Clinton imposed both work requirements and time limits on families seeking cash assistance. The idea was that making cash benefits conditional on employment or qualified educational activities would lead to better employment outcomes for parents living in poverty, but that’s <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2016/08/29/two-decades-after-welfare-reform-more-deep-poverty-and-fewer-college-degrees/">not how it has turned out</a>. In a policy brief summarizing evidence that accumulated in the two decades since that policy change, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ LaDonna Pavetti concludes “<a href="http://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/work-requirements-dont-cut-poverty-evidence-shows#finding2">Stable employment among recipients subject to work requirements proved the exception, not the norm</a>” and “<a href="http://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/work-requirements-dont-cut-poverty-evidence-shows#finding5">The large majority of individuals subject to work requirements remained poor, and some became poorer</a>.”</p> <p>Tighter eligibility requirements and more-burdensome (re)verification increases demands on beneficiaries and the agencies administering the program. Enrollment will fall, but many of the people losing benefits won’t be losing them because they no longer need the assistance, but because they lack the resources to meet all the requirements. Cutting benefits might look like short-term savings, but children unable to concentrate on schoolwork because they’re hungry or adults unable to manage their diabetes are likely to require more assistance in the future, not less. Researchers have found that <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20130375">access to food stamps is associated with increased economic self-sufficiency for women</a>, and that <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w22118.pdf">adults with access to Medicaid are more likely to improve their employment situations</a>.</p> <p><strong>Erring on the side of compassion</strong></p> <p>I don’t doubt that a small number of Medicaid and food stamp recipients have made a conscious choice to opt out of working and receive public benefits instead. This number, however, is dwarfed by the number who might seem on paper to be freeloading but who would much rather be working – and are more likely to reach that goal with continued assistance.</p> <p>At healthinsurance.org, <a href="https://www.healthinsurance.org/blog/2017/07/05/clawing-back-coverage-from-the-poor/">Steve Anderson works through the numbers on the adults covered by the Medicaid expansion</a>. Of those without disabilities, many are already working or in school, others are caring for family members, and others are looking for work. That leaves 3.2% of Medicaid expansion adults who, on paper, are “able-bodied” and don’t have one of the above accepted reasons for not working (though, as Anderson points out, many of them were working but have been laid off). Anderson concludes, “This nation desperately needs a healthcare ‘fix’ – but it needs one that incorporates compassion and humanity, and not vilification.”</p> <p>If the choice is between a) accepting a small number of freeloaders and allowing millions of families to keep Medicaid and food stamps and b) taking benefits from millions in order to decrease the likelihood of freeloading, I’ll err on the side of compassion and argue for people to keep the benefits that allow them access to food and medical care. Better yet would be to increase the supports, like skills training and childcare assistance, that can put work within reach for more beneficiaries.</p> <p>From an economic perspective, making it harder for people to get SNAP and Medicaid will cost states money and limit future economic growth. From a perspective of compassion, it’s more important for people in need of benefits to receive them than to prevent those who might not need them from getting them. From a moral perspective, it’s more important to preserve the safety net than to cut taxes. The bottom line is that such a wealthy nation ought to be able to assure its poorest families can get food and medical care.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/lborkowski" lang="" about="/author/lborkowski" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">lborkowski</a></span> <span>Mon, 07/10/2017 - 06:13</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/affordable-care-act" hreflang="en">Affordable Care Act</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/healthcare" hreflang="en">healthcare</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/bcra" hreflang="en">BCRA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/medicaid" hreflang="en">Medicaid</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/snap" hreflang="en">SNAP</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/affordable-care-act" hreflang="en">Affordable Care Act</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/healthcare" hreflang="en">healthcare</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Categories</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/channel/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="71" id="comment-1874358" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1499682899"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Great post, Liz.<br /> Facts about TANF and SNAP recipients are dismissed and ignored by Jim Jordan and his ultra-right conservatives. Perhaps some experiential learning----living with a low-wage working family for a couple of weeks---might be the kind of lesson he needs.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1874358&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="oUuJRqCQ9NvQ3x3uRRHJNhNq5L5r0P0BOu4fGp6Qc9Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/cmonforton" lang="" about="/author/cmonforton" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cmonforton</a> on 10 Jul 2017 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1874358">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/cmonforton"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/cmonforton" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/pictures/Celeste_Monforton-120x120.jpg?itok=3LJGQoNV" width="100" height="100" alt="Profile picture for user cmonforton" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1874359" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1499933364"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>What often gets overlooked or ignored by conservatives on this issue is that children are major beneficiaries of these safety net programs. Even if the parent is "freeloading", the child has nothing to do with that. It is immoral to punish children for the actions of their parents.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1874359&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="mtbT7JIZ60rvYDN_lgaRWg-6cmOz4oYfoiWpxkiHRoA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">David S Munson (not verified)</span> on 13 Jul 2017 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1874359">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2017/07/10/food-stamps-medicaid-and-erring-on-the-side-of-compassion%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:13:23 +0000 lborkowski 62887 at https://scienceblogs.com Pulitzer Prizes and public health https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2014/04/16/pulitzer-prizes-and-public-health <span>Pulitzer Prizes and public health</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The list of 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners announced earlier this week includes several journalists whose award-winning work addresses public health issues.</p> <p><a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-Breaking-News-Reporting"><strong>The Boston Globe Staff</strong> won the Breaking News prize</a> for “exhaustive and empathetic coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt that enveloped the city, using photography and a range of digital tools to capture the full impact of the tragedy.” Among the many articles in <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/specials/boston-marathon-explosions">the Globe’s extensive coverage</a> of the April 15, 2013 attack and its aftermath are pieces on the <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/06/04/navy-honors-boston-marathon-bombing-first-responders-with-cruise-old-ironsides/YYTZ8uAd9aPVaKUZfjZ6xO/story.html">first responders</a>, <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/05/05/hospitals-help-caregivers-cope-with-emotional-aftermath-treating-bombing-patients/oibrvxDMtBC8XjJSoyoiQN/story.html">hospital workers</a>, and <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/06/08/caregivers-become-confidantes-marathon-survivors-heal/y70Ai8Gt9GapCaI989wQLK/story.html">therapists</a> who helped bombing victims – and on the drills and planning that <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/17/after-years-drills-hospitals-put-test/o2JBWKMXtPV62CRBvBirrO/story.html">prepared hospitals</a> to deal with such an event.</p> <p><a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-Investigative-Reporting"><strong>Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity</strong> won the Investigative Reporting prize</a> for his “<a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/environment/breathless-and-burdened">Breathless and Burdened</a>” series, which “examines how doctors and lawyers, working at the behest of the coal industry, have helped defeat the benefits claims of miners sick and dying of black lung, even as disease rates are on the rise and an increasing number of miners are turning to a system that was supposed to help alleviate their suffering.” Hamby conducted a year-long investigation, reviewing thousands of pages of previously hidden legal filings and creating original databases. <a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/04/14/14593/center-wins-first-pulitzer-prize">The Center notes on its website</a> that the series got results:</p> <blockquote><p>Following the reports, Johns Hopkins suspended its black lung program, U.S. senators began crafting reform legislation, and members of Congress asked for a federal investigation. In addition, the Department of Labor announced procedural changes in the federal benefits system that deals with black lung claims, changes that could help miners navigate the complex benefits system.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-Explanatory-Reporting"><strong>Eli Saslow of the Washington Post</strong> won the Explanatory Journalism prize </a>for “his unsettling and nuanced reporting on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America, forcing readers to grapple with issues of poverty and dependency.” <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/pr/wp/2014/04/14/the-washington-post-wins-two-pulitzer-prizes/">The Washington Post summarizes</a> and links to the stories in the series:</p> <blockquote><p>Saslow’s explanatory reporting on food stamps spanned six stories. The first begins with a look at <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/food-stamps-put-rhode-island-town-on-monthly-boom-and-bust-cycle/2013/03/16/08ace07c-8ce1-11e2-b63f-f53fb9f2fcb4_story.html">Woonsocket, R.I.</a>, where one-third of the residents receive food stamps, detailing the astonishing transformation of a despairing town on the day each month when those food stamps arrive. Saslow’s subsequent stories focused on <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-florida-a-food-stamp-recruiter-deals-with-wrenching-choices/2013/04/23/b3d6b41c-a3a4-11e2-9c03-6952ff305f35_story.html">hungry senior citizens in Florida</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/in-rural-tennessee-a-new-way-to-help-hungry-children-a-bus-turned-bread-truck/2013/07/06/c93c5eec-e292-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html">needy children in rural Tennessee</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/09/24/hard-work/">a Florida Congressman’s push</a> for an historic overhaul of the food stamp program, the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/11/09/too-much-of-too-little/">effects of a government feeding program</a> in Hidalgo County, TX, and finally, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/12/15/waiting-for-the-8th/">a 41-year-old mother</a> of six in Washington, D.C., who has been on food stamps her entire life.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-Local-Reporting"><strong>Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times</strong> won the Local Reporting prize</a> for "their relentless investigation into the squalid conditions that marked housing for the city’s substantial homeless population, leading to swift reforms." In a <a href="http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/tampa-bay-times-wins-pulitzer-for-hillsborough-homeless-recovery/2175035">Tampa Bay Times piece about the prize</a>, Peter Jamison explains the work that went to <a href="http://www.tampabay.com/topics/specials/homeless-recovery-program.page">the series</a> and its impact:</p> <blockquote><p>The Times' coverage of Hillsborough County Homeless Recovery represented a joint effort of the newspaper's Tampa newsroom and its investigative team. Bolstered by sophisticated analysis of government records and vivid, first-hand observation, the stories led to the most significant reform of the county's social-service programs in 20 years.</p> <p>... Several ranking county employees resigned or were fired in the wake of the Times' stories, which eventually led to the permanent dissolution of the Homeless Recovery program and the outsourcing of homeless services to local nonprofit groups.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-National-Reporting"><strong>David Philipps of The Gazette</strong> (Colorado Springs) won the National Reporting prize</a> "for expanding the examination of how wounded combat veterans are mistreated, focusing on loss of benefits for life after discharge by the Army for minor offenses, stories augmented with digital tools and stirring congressional action." <a href="http://gazette.com/gazette-reporter-dave-philipps-wins-pulitzer-prize/article/1518222">Rich Laden writes in The Gazette</a> about the "<a href="http://cdn.csgazette.biz/soldiers/">Other than Honorable</a>" series:</p> <blockquote><p>The Gazette published “Other than Honorable” from May 19-21 in print and on gazette.com. The series used Army data to show that the number of soldiers being discharged for misconduct annually had surged to its highest level since 2009 at posts with the most combat troops.</p> <p>Some of those soldiers who were discharged had come home from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, then committed offenses that likely were linked to those “invisible injuries.” They then were denied benefits because their misconduct resulted in them receiving “other-than-honorable” discharges.</p> <p>... The series prompted a call for action among some members of Congress. After the publication of “Other than Honorable,” Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Mike Coffman, both of Colorado, introduced amendments to study the surge of troops discharged from the Army for minor misconduct. However, those amendments were stripped out of the National Defense Authorization Act in December.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-General-Nonfiction"><strong>Author Dan Fagin</strong> won the General Nonfiction prize</a> for his book <a href="http://danfagin.com/website/books/"><em>Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation</em></a>, which "deftly combines investigative reporting and historical research to probe a New Jersey seashore town’s cluster of childhood cancers linked to water and air pollution." <a href="http://blog.longreads.com/post/this-book-is-now-a-pulitzer-prize-winner-an-excerpt-from-toms-river-by-dan-fagin/">Longreads has posted an excerpt of the book</a>, and <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2013/04/08/trying-to-make-the-unacceptable-acceptable-new-books-by-dan-fagin-and-sarah-vogel-illuminate-our-flawed-history-of-controlling-chemical-hazards/">Elizabeth Grossman wrote about it</a> for us last year.</p> <p>Journalists, news organizations, and book authors and publishers play an essential role in advancing public health. They expose public-health problems while connecting readers with the people who face them, whichoften strengthens the push for change. They can also highlight the important work of the first responders, hospital workers, volunteers, and others who save lives when disasters strike. At a time when many news organizations are shrinking their reporting staffs, it's wonderful to see so many examples of top-notch work on issues that matter for public health.</p> <p>Congratulations to all of the Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists, and to their colleagues and organizations. You can view them all <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/awards/2014">here</a>.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/lborkowski" lang="" about="/author/lborkowski" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">lborkowski</a></span> <span>Wed, 04/16/2014 - 07:20</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/black-lung" hreflang="en">black lung</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/occupational-health-safety" hreflang="en">Occupational Health &amp; Safety</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/homelessness" hreflang="en">homelessness</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/journalism" hreflang="en">Journalism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/preparedness" hreflang="en">preparedness</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/pulitzer-prize" hreflang="en">Pulitzer Prize</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/veterans-health" hreflang="en">veterans&#039; health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/black-lung" hreflang="en">black lung</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="75" id="comment-1872786" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1397831958"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I read that ABC News is taking exception that they were not named as part of the Pulitzer Prize for Chris Hamby's remarkable reporting. I watched the ABC News piece. They simply reported on Hamby's findings. I didn't see much, if any, original reporting. The Center for Public Integrity and Chris Hamby are deserving of the sole recognition. Sorry ABC News.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1872786&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="VRzhiL-zxl-Q8dZzMNXdraijlYrzrYu1h1ePsIXDplQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/garrettbrown" lang="" about="/author/garrettbrown" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">garrettbrown</a> on 18 Apr 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1872786">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/garrettbrown"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/garrettbrown" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1872787" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1398427904"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Chris Hamby and The Center for Public Integrity are my heroes.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1872787&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="P65PFmyH6EcMGBzsH7i33JUTuNJaYHBlQ1GGtVxqMCI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Industrial Hygienist (not verified)</span> on 25 Apr 2014 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1872787">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2014/04/16/pulitzer-prizes-and-public-health%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:20:01 +0000 lborkowski 62073 at https://scienceblogs.com Why I Won't Do the Food Stamp Challenge https://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2013/11/18/why-i-wont-do-the-food-stamp-challenge <span>Why I Won&#039;t Do the Food Stamp Challenge</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In the last few years, a number of political leaders have tried to live on a food stamps budget.  Among others Newark Mayor and political heir-apparent Cory Booker and current and former governors of Colorado and Oregon.  Some have done so to draw attention to the limitations of food stamps, others with the intent of proving that their benefit is sufficient.  A number of writers have done so too, as have celebrity chefs and others.  A number of people have asked me to do it as well, and I've always refused.</p> <p>This isn't because I don't think I can - it is because frankly, I know for a fact that the reality of living on food stamps is rather different than making a week or a month long shift.  To know this, all I have to do is ask some of my kids.</p> <p>Consider two of my former foster sons'account of life with food stamps as their primary income, something  they experienced  living in a motel room with their mother.  At the beginning of the month their mother buys them treats - not because she was stupid or foolish or doesn't understand that if she didn't buy them she could buy more healthy food, but to make up for the end of the previou month when there was little or nothing to eat, and she watched her sons go hungry.</p> <p>By the end of each month, no matter how carefully she tried, they are out of food, and have to go in desperation to the food pantries, or if they have used up their food pantry visits for the month, around to various agencies.  Or, often enough, they go hungry.  Yes, if their mother didn't buy junk at the beginning of the month, they'd have a bit more at the end, but because it is never enough, and she feels guilty and ashamed, she wants to give them something to make up for those weeks when there was nothing but peanut butter and bread, and not much of that.</p> <p>So they start the month already behind in that respect.  Hungry from a week or more of under-eating, seeking comfort, they eat extra and indulge because they can and they need to.  But they start the month behind in other ways too.</p> <p>You see they have almost no income - like six million Americans, their entire household income consists largely of food stamps.  The mother has used up her TANF payments, and so they are living on food stamps.  But food stamps don't pay for tampons, soap, shoes, toilet paper, cleaning fluid, roach killer, school supplies, or anything else you need living in a motel.  So their mother trades a portion of her food stamps to get a percent on the dollar to buy those things - she can lose her kids for sending them to school dirty, for not having shoes for them.  Her older teen daughter misses a good chunk of school every month because they don't usually have menstrual supplies, but she can lose custody for not sending her to school either.</p> <p>So she owes the convenience store owner some of her food stamps for last month, when she bought toilet paper and tampons.  Is what she's doing technically ethical?  No, but she doesn't have a choice.  Sometimes she can get those supplies from the shelter or food pantry or anti-poverty agencies, but she has to take multiple buses with little ones to stand in line - and often they don't have them.</p> <p>When politicians and bloggers do these challenges, they start with a kitchen full of spices and seasonings to make food palatable.  They don't start with a week or two of hunger, depression and misery behind them in which there wasn't food, so they don't understand why poor people who finally can eat what they want might consume bad choices.  They have a bathroom full of supplies, so they don't need to use their food stamps to get things like soap.</p> <p>They also have a kitchen.  Many of my foster kids come after living in shelters or motels with a microwave only - no cooking facilities at all.  Or after living in rental apartments where gas and electric are regularly turned off for non-payment.  Or after squatting in buildings with no services whatsoever.  They may have technical kitchen access, but only under limited circumstances - for example, adults only are allowed to cook, so during the long hours when my kids are home alone after school in their motel room, there is no way to heat up a can of soup.  Or perhaps like with two of my children, a 6 year old cares for her 18 month old brother after school alone every day and all day on weekends while her mother works - her food options are limited to what her mother feels she can safely prepare - microwave popcorn, microwave hot dogs, cereal, canned soup.</p> <p>I can buy enough brown rice, cabbage and dried beans to live cheaply and on food stamps - but what I can't do is mimic the circumstances and realities that accompany life on food stamps.  What I'd like to see as so many contemplate cutting food stamp subsidies is a realistic food stamp diet.  I think that experience would be truly salutary for governors, mayors, leaders, writers and chefs.</p> <p>How well will you do in school or at work with a week of living on two slices of bread a day with peanut butter - all that is left of the food stamp budget?  Or the days when it is bread with ketchup packets lifted from McDonalds on it?  How will you do lying in your bed smelling food from other people's use of the communal kitchen and crying because there's nothing to eat?  How will you feel when after three hours in the cold in line at the food pantry you come away with nothing, because there was only food for the first 200 people, and you were number 239?  How will you feel when you have to choose between letting your kids go dirty to school and letting them go hungry?</p> <p>Doing the food stamp diet for a week or a month won't give you a sense of how depressing, humiliating, exhausting and frustrating it is to be poor in our society.  It won't let you experience the ways poor diet and the grinding suffering of poverty degrade your health and your energy to keep going.    It won't give you a sense of what it is like to live on food stamps month after month, what it is like to be ashamed of yourself and your inability to give your children and family what they need.  It won't let you experience what it is like to feel that you can never catch up, so what's the point of even trying?  The truth is that all it can teach you is how challenging it is to start on second base and have to get to third with very limited means - but it cannot give you a real picture of what it is like to stand swinging at the ball and never even get near it, month after dreary month.</p> <p>Not everyone who receives food stamps starts as far back as my kids do - but the truth is for the one in four children in America who depends on food stamps for their family's basic food security, the conversations we are having about cutting the food stamp budget, about the farm bill and about poverty don't even begin to cover critical ground.</p> <p>Sharon</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/sastyk" lang="" about="/author/sastyk" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sastyk</a></span> <span>Mon, 11/18/2013 - 04:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888490" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384770677"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>+10. My spouse and I are entirely food-secure (if on a budget), but many years ago we and a friend living with us were so poor that we occasionally ate at soup kitchens or visited a food bank. We'd live for days on baloney sandwiches, trying to eat the baloney within a couple of days if the power was turned off and there was no refrigerator. When someone brought in a little more money than usual, we'd often get dinner from the nearby fried chicken chain and a can apiece of cheap beer from the corner store - exactly the sorts of tiny luxuries that the Mitt Romneys of the world think the 47-percenters don't ever deserve to enjoy. If we had never bought fried chicken, sure, we might have afforded a little more baloney and processed cheese food substitute later, but the tradeoff would have been that we never, ever got to enjoy a "nice", hot, tasty meal. [Boy, do perspectives change - now you could hardly pay me to eat that artery-clogging, chicken-abusing crud.] The fact is that if you are poor, foregoing such little pleasures will not allow you to save up enough money to stop being poor, and it's entirely rational to feel that you'd rather be very poor with an occasional treat than slightly less poor with no treats ever.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888490&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="sFdeqifMsyY_qu9PuKOLXaMKtS89EZALLOrLGom6cs0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jane (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888490">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888491" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384775575"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Exactly! Things have been so tight for us for the past 3 years that our food budget has been what we'd get if we were on food stamps. Sure we can do it - full kitchen, started with some of all baking goods, still had food in the freezer, my son and I drive to our job and work within 3 miles of 5 competing grocery stores, we'd already moved towards eating more beans/ethnic recipes, etc - we started AHEAD in every possible way. On top of that, we are three adults, all of whom can cook, and one and one-half of us work out of the house (I work at our home business full time, and have a just-above-minimum wage restaurant job about 24 hours a week) so baking our own bread is typical and 98% of the time at least one of us has energy to cook.</p> <p>We have a free standing freezer, too - it's 34 years old, but being able to buy meat that the grocers mark down (sometimes twice!) on the last day it's supposed to be sold and freezing it for use later makes a huge difference. Pressure cookers, slow cookers ... STUFF and ROOM for the stuff and to store things bought in bulk on sale makes it immensely easier for us.</p> <p>And when family wants to send us a gift for the holidays, we aren't about to ask them to send us rice and beans, tho' that would help us get thru' a month. You BET we ask for chocolates!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888491&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="aKNoub9RqLKMb9cTEf8yAzwGufVchTsgc2T7lzCvRck"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fern (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888491">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888492" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384778837"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I totally agree with most of what you are saying, having lived on the street in the past, and currently on "food stamps" due to cancer recovery making it hard for me to resume full time work. What I never quite understand is when people talk about "trading" food stamps for non food goods... food stamps are not paper, like cash, they are an EBT card like a debit card, with a pin number, and the cash register recognises what is allowed and what is not... I can buy ingredients for a sandwich but cannot buy hot food from a store deli, I cannot buy personal care needs with that card, so how is it possible to trade for things not allowed? I apologise if this is a stupid question... but I have heard this assertion made in many places and while I am sure it is true, in the past, when food stamps were actual pieces of paper it would be easy, but I just don't understand how this could be possible electronically . But then, much to my shame, I am the only one in my circle of friends and family that have had to go on public assistance for food, and it is only when I think about that I have been paying income tax since I started working at 16, more than forty years ago, that I can live with having to ask for help...</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888492&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="FrYBFpU-0h6MXg8Tl3HKSGEzhvqY5HgvCL3jGB77P7w"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">indigotiger (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888492">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888493" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384780717"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@Indigotiger - the store clerk rings up a fake food purchase (no food is bought) and gives the person some lesser amount of money out of the drawer. That money is used to buy non-food items.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888493&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="XLn-2MH3mmdoHPrZK6iqyLORA1SGQUNiElf7OniQ3u0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fern (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888493">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888494" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384792536"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>you brought me back vividly to my days of living in a motel with my dad. I was fourteen. We were lucky; we had a toaster oven and a fairly well-stocked urban grocery/convenience store nearby where we could buy things like potatoes, onions, and bananas. In the hotel, the rate of exchange was $0.50 on the dollar for food stamps. We didn't get food stamps - we would have qualified, but my dad never bothered - so we were buyers of food stamps. That way we got a 50% discount on our food groceries. Nonetheless, a lot of our monthly food came from the food bank, where we would go twice a month and get government cheese and bread - good supplies for the toaster oven. For a long time now, I've been meaning to write a "cookbook" for people on the street or in situations where they have no kitchens - a kind of handbook for how to eat as cheaply and nutritiously as possible when your resources are extremely limited. You reminded me of that today.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888494&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="jt7XkMR4xEjgqkrEAW6boiY53LPAk_2SKsKOuqXhfiA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">aimee (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888494">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888495" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384792620"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>indigotiger - I think it is probably no longer possible, without making a deal where two people go shopping together. My memories are of the days of paper stamps.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888495&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="uyiwLlv-hbH1c1tbp7cHMycS6x6CsbT9xkka2-Av1CM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">aimee (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888495">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888496" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384793037"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>One more thing: this time of year, now that I can do it, I buy food for the food bank, as I'm sure do many of you. I don't buy dry beans and brown rice or canned tuna. I take my kids with me and have them pick out things they'd like to get in their stockings - fancy candy, tangerines, etc. For the grownups I buy butter, hot cocoa, and luxury ingredients like pecans or extra virgin olive oil. Truth to tell, if the food bank would accept it, I'd buy airplane bottles! Everyone deserves a little treat now and then.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888496&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="pxpoAJAtaOsN8H4MuZk8h5yHYiROtLyzU4hbhiAABUs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">aimee (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888496">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888497" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384798048"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@Indigotiger Often the person with food stamps will buy food for others who will pay cash.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888497&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="wNiXvwvCcKkKDkdJQVvSk-wtTNFRut2usZ4MLR2DDa4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Sarah Policastro (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888497">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888498" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384799026"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>An important and thought-provoking view. Thanks for sharing with all of us.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888498&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Gwi0hAFSF6yjRI5QYIz4N0cy2yizZozyPbAQrDyVuEE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Scott Burau (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888498">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888499" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384800272"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I have seen many articles about taking away food stamps from all of those "lazy" people because they buy junk food and other things that some people feel they should not be allowed to buy. This is by far the best explanation of how many people on food stamps truly live! Thank you for putting it out there! I was there was a way to send people healthy good tasting meals like Jenny Craig does instead of food stamps. People wouldn't have to drive to get food. Their food would be delivered weekly. Older people would really appreciate that. No shortage at the end of the month. And if I understand correctly the food is cooked. It just needs to be heated.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888499&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="SUgV5TeJBx-sxf7m7on6Xc7aXg-dXZ6qp6nzLteAARw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cindy k Elton (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888499">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888500" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384805067"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I know poverty firsthand and this article does a great job of explaining it but there's a serious lack of personal responsibility on the writer's part. A 6 yr old should not be watching an 18 mo old baby and using a microwave esp if home alone. There's also no excuse for a teenager to miss school due to her period, pads at any store are very cheap. Soap is cheap and any mother who cares will hand wash her kids' clothes EVERY NIGHT instead of sending them to school dirty. I'm all for helping the poor as long as they accept some level of personal responsibility.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888500&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Agac47QzGzmXgV_Wv5toOT_Dlec3EqvTiohEwxvvgl0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Joslyn (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888500">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888501" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384805796"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It is Lazy when you don't have FS or food at the end of the month. I was on FS when my kids were young and I divorced and never received child support and I did work full time the major expense was day care. We always had food and guess what I always had plenty of FS at the end of the month. Bottom line is we ate very well better than when we didn't have them. We went off of them 11 months later I still had about 600.00 dollars in paper FS. I bought in bulk and cooked fresh veggies and fruit and who could forget the free cheese. We didn't buy soda frozen food or trashy cereal. Still always laugh when people complain ......just look in the shopping cart and see what's going on. I would love the FS program to be like the wic program only nutritional foods and be required to take a nutritional class every 6 months I learned a lot from them :)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888501&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="KnI0G-QA7epw6mHeTfSZDIwEXnEJpSXhmvHYaXpeIVg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Angie (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888501">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888502" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384805847"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The person with the EBT card sells it to someone (typically not on assistance) for pennies on the dollar. Say the card has $100.00 on it they sell it for say $50.00. They also give the person buying it the PIN number. That person can go in and buy groceries that are approved, even though they can afford all their own groceries and double the value of their money. The person selling the card now has cash, which they can use to buy items, grocery or not, that are not eligible on the card, or for cigarettes or alcohol or drugs or McDonalds or whatever they want.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888502&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="cKKdFSGhpdRe6eZs724UGGyFaJZoN8OH_woL6ETSuDE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Khristi (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888502">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888503" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384806523"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Actually, you can borrow someones card and go get food. They dont ID you or anything, so anyones can use someone elses card.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888503&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="KckxE5CWyyf9-TkfEdM8daNR5Hs0DVsm6cCHQbBOTV8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">lisa wilson (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888503">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888504" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384806765"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Thank you for this thought provoking article. There are many things about the realities of being poor that people who have a little extra at the end of the month will never think about unless someone points it out. I remember those days of returning to the current house or apartment and there being no power, no lights, no heat, no refrigeration, no stove. I can remember when there were no clean clothes to wear and our shoes had holes and we would cut pieces of cardboard to stick in the soles so our feet weren't on the ground. It didn't keep the wet out, but it did help some with the cold. I remember staying in bed and under as many covers as were available just to keep slightly warmer than being up. No not every penny was spent as it maybe could have or should have been spent. Made me understand the value of money much better and taught me that I never want to be in that situation again and when I got out I'd do anything to stay out. Even though some things are very "cheap" or at least they are "cheap" to a person who has money, sometimes there isn't even money for those things. Try taking a bath in a service station bathroom and using only the soap in there if there is any. You can't get it with food stamps and you can't get laundry detergent either. Just because you know that some things have happened in the past does not make your responsible for it when you expose it in an article. Yes I can even remember my older sister being told to watch me and my younger sister and I can remember me watching my younger sister (7 years younger) I would have been 7 not 6, when there was no one else and mom had to go to work. Sad but true. Do not wish this on any child. Help where you can and when you can. It's the kids that suffer the most. They are kids and they can't make the adults "responsible".</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888504&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="_YRKUEjKj2_g3Z4oE3gHj00WAVkiFqgTpVQ0YaK1r28"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Anna (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888504">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888505" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384808030"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I have a job, it pays okay, but as a single parent of a teenage boy, I never seem to be able to have enough food. Last nights dinner was Hamburger Helper with no hamburger. We joked and called it just 'helper'. The food bank here in our small town only distributes every other month and when I go I get 2 can of a vegy, a package of beans, a package of noodles and a couple of cans of generic soup. It's rough, but we always seem to manage. Oddly enough, my son runs the food bank at the high school, but does not get food there himself. He figures we always have just enough and there are people worse off than us. I have never utilized food stamps or SNAP, even though some times I could have used it! When payday comes around, I stock up on belly fillers, like beans and such. I get quite creative at times! I wish I had more money for fresh fruits and vegy's, but our 1 local grocery store prices them so high that I can't afford them ($2.98/head of lettuce). I have been on the food stamp diet for about 30 years now...without even knowing it!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888505&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="I5s8RV0QCWU5hPpfCcYrS7JAXQqoAg2PCd4_s7wczB4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Randi Anderson (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888505">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888506" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384808875"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@indigotiger - most of the time, a person with food stamps will come to an agreement with someone that they will purchase x dollars of fs funds on that person's grocery list if they will give them x amount of money in exchange.. or they go to a mom and pop type convenience store and convince the clerk to accept the stamps for their items (not all cash registers read bar codes, so the amount is manually entered)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888506&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="OIdMqvgc9aQJAkSZ-mGjEN-FISBNbMvR2AS9wa6TtFE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MrsWJAA (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888506">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888507" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384813854"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>So Sharon, this year we had a pretty fantastic and fairly large garden at our school and treatment center. Though we continue to get patchy support at best from our main office, our site leader thought it best to move me from the milieu to the facilities department where she thought (correctly) that I could do a better job of managing the farming operation, not only for our teens, but for the younger kids (5 to 11 yo) that joined our campus after a new building addition project late last year. Only now our site leader has left and other voices in facilities have (for now) decided that facilities people should *not* spend time with kids because they don't want to waste facilities dollars doing child care's job. (My suggestions that we perhaps look for child care workers that enjoy working with kids in a holistic, outdoor, field, forest and farm setting continue to go nowhere, so for now, the farming all falls to me.) </p> <p>With the idea that my department wasn’t supposed to work with kids bearing in mind, I had pretty much already decided that I wouldn't be sugaring this coming season. Last year, we tapped about 30 trees or so and made about 5 gallons on a stove top which I've been using in the school kitchen, but also giving out as half-pint freebees to various kids that ask. Earlier today, in fact, I gave a half pint of our *** Farm syrup to a kid that commutes to our school from one of our agency's group homes in Boston. He had been residing with us at our residential school location and thought he was going to get reunited with Mom in Boston and commute to us from there, but for a variety of reasons dealing with her inability to care for him and his younger sister, he ended up in one of our group homes in Boston as I say. His situation could have been like any of your foster kids before coming into our care and now he is very dejected about living in a group home "in the hood" as he says (It's in Mission Hill.) Last Friday he was doing particularly poor in school here and after being redirected, ended up putting a coworker in a head lock. Physical restraint followed along with all the unhappiness that follows such critical incidents. He is still very unhappy about the dream of reunification with Mom and Sis falling apart. I had lunch with him about 2 hours after last Friday's assault/restraint and proceeded to watch him put about 15 packets of mayo and mustard on *one* burger before I finally said enough is enough.</p> <p>Some people would think it obscene that today I gave him a jar of precious, home-made syrup after his criminal behavior last Friday, but I know what life is like in our group homes in Boston. While we have decent quantities of food there, it's still pretty institutional. Thus, l fully understand why a mom on SNAP would want to give her kids a treat when the payment credit hits the card.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888507&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="nK0pk7AFjhiC8oDXLOmAHXEJ9INCHcGajl6a2v7RArk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Stephen B. (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888507">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888508" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384814202"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That is a kind of poor, rambling 2nd to last paragraph of mine. I should have composed it outside of the tiny blog window, but my additional point was that I have also changed my mind and *will* somehow tap all those maples this coming season because if I want to give out "treats", damn it, it's going to be farm-school tapped maple syrup.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888508&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="A3BePye6q-Of_uPFtUvT2pPCmxkusqGKKTYSVCziX2o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Stephen B. (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888508">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888509" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384832113"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@indigotiger: the way you sell your foodstamps is that you take the person with you're selling them to to the store with you, they pick their groceries, you buy em, they give you the cash or the other item(s) you want in trade.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888509&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="3LkDTkJti1pGuiXQzpZga536KBrA9iXkqpD8pqwuaFo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">courtney (not verified)</span> on 18 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888509">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888510" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384843809"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Of course a month on food stamps can't replicate the experience of poverty. But isn't that the point? If even a month is this hard for people who come into it strong, knowing they'll soon be done, that gives us a small window onto the greater hardships of people who've been there longer with no end in sight. </p> <p>If politicians who wanted to cut food stamps were required to take this challenge (a month living on them), that might well be the end of their attempt to cut food stamps. It's not just about claiming empathy: it's about experiencing empathy. It's also about highlighting a reality. A small window is better than no window.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888510&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="0DHbVPTvL_Pwte9bay8egew5e8nHJVfj0EqwFF8aHeQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">LucyMB (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888510">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888511" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384853414"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This is a wonderful article. If you want to do something to help these hungry kids who are in this situation through no fault of their own, please try to find a "Backpack Buddies" program in your area. This program provides several nutritional snacks for students to eat over the weekend when the school cafeterias are not open to serve them breakfast and lunch.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888511&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="opceE1CT-iS9u5tHWMgihJTJ1XH2iOV4IvCc8rFk2ZU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Wendy Cohen (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888511">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888512" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384858043"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I think that this is a very thought provoking article and as a mother of four, who has had to be on food stamps to survive, this article is very accurate. When my husband lost his job a year ago while I was in college, we lived exactly like this. We only had the motel microwave and a small refrigerator. It was hard to get foods that could be cooked and it was hard to save enough money to get a place to live because we still had to buy groceries. The amount of Food Stamps people receive is based on income. At that time, we were getting the maximum amount and it still wasn't enough because we couldn't buy inexpensive items to store or freeze. Since then, we have gotten a house to rent and my husband has a job again. It doesn't pay what his previous jobs did, but it's a job. I purchase a lot of marked down meats and breads. I buy dry beans and rice. Most of the time, the inexpensive items are the starchy foods like potatoes and cheap bread. It goes a long way and we can make it till the end of the month. I have been buying a spice per month so I can make a wider variety of foods so it's not always the same thing. It's hard, but it's possible once you have a place to store food and to cook to buy healthy foods and make healthy meals. Still, the first two weeks, we have fresh vegetables and fruits. I splurge on a few boxes of cake mix, cookie mix or some other item for baking because I want the kids to have a special treat. I don't think that's lazy. I don't think it's wrong. I can't provide them with Christmas gifts, or birthday parties other than some special treats because I can't afford it. I can't take them to Six Flags or Disney even though it's only a 45 min ride from where I live. I can't even afford to treat them to an ice cream from the Dairy Queen down the road. My daughter is in the Orchestra and when she was invited to see a performance at my college, I couldn't afford the $10 for her to go. My 18 month old son has never owned a pair of shoes and my children know what it's like to have to use a rag instead of toilet paper. I make sure my teenage daughter has pads, but I don't use them so I can make sure she has them. That means that I have to be resourceful in other ways. I can make a box of laundry detergent last 6 months, I don't buy household cleaning supplies, because I make my own from items I can buy with my food stamps like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. There are ways to make it, but it's not easy and you have to be resourceful. It's a lot of sacrifice and many people don't know how to make it like we are. I search for recipes online that are inexpensive to make and include vegetables and some meat. Soups are great, but if a woman has worked all day, is a single mother, and she has to get the children from school or daycare and help them with homework and get ready for school, she has limited time to plan meals and do what I am doing. Being in college has allowed me more freedom and more time to plan ways of stretching the budget and making the food stamps last longer. It's not easy, but I'm in a better place than where I was a year ago living in our van and in and out of motels through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once you are at the bottom, it's hard to work your way back up and if you are on food stamps and your income is that low, then you are living on the edge of collapse at all times. If the vehicle needs a repair, you have to choose between the repair or paying the light bill. If the children need school clothes, there is a choice between clothes and bills. Every month, there are choices that have to be made between what you have to have and what you can go without. I still have two years of college and I'm thankful for where we are right now, but I am always waiting for disaster to strike. If a single piece of paperwork is not turned in by mistake and my food stamps are cut off, the choice becomes food for my family or rent. That decision had to be made several months ago and fortunately, my landlady gave me an extension on paying and a friend loaned us the money. Unless you live like this, day to day struggling to survive and knowing that you are on the brink of homelessness at all times, you just can't understand this life. I'm on my way up and out of this. I'm looking forward to a time when my children will have new clothes and a pair of dress shoes or a trip down the road for a big ice cream cone and not have to worry about whether that is going to mean that my lights will be turned off at the end of the month. It's sad to me though that there will be many people who will spend their whole lives like this because they won't find a way out of their situation...</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888512&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="UL3x_qhjAtx1diSAx2YHC899MnIPo-DXRmkau0GNZUw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Hannah Durrance (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888512">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888513" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384861073"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>To Angie above: You do know that those things that you did, like buying in bulk, buying fresh vegetables and the like are actually luxuries for many people living at this poverty level? No, it seems by your comments that you actually don't. Having the storage space for bulk food, having the capability to cook meals like that, hell, having access to a store that sells the stuff...none of that is assured when you're that poor. It's almost like some of these issues were actually brought up in the very article that you just read! (Reading is Fundamental!)<br /> But people are just so desperate to demonize the poor that things like facts and empathy all get tossed in the trash.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888513&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="laD2pgXJWyjjlJpqGdPHfDXxV1pgrwUv-OJq0tNketo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Erik D. (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888513">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888514" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384869942"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>As Hannah pointed out, " Most of the time, the inexpensive items are the starchy foods like potatoes and cheap bread. It goes a long way and we can make it till the end of the month." These are also the foods we're told to avoid if verging on diabetes. Living in this kind of poverty for years also can mean living with worsening health, exacerbating the situation.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888514&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="z4qK_1awSZLamobKN_6rKntEvWREQjKxBFznWGFS3vM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Harriett (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888514">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888515" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384872694"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Let's add to that the working poor. It is, perhaps, easy to live off of dried beans, rice, and cabbage when you are home to cook. When you are working two jobs, often including a night shift, it's very, very different than being a SAHM. The rich take this for granted, with healthy take-out and premade stuff at Whole Foods when there are two working parents. For the rest, premade foods are not necessarily a way of dealing with lack of space to cook but a way to deal with lack of TIME. </p> <p>For so many reasons, you are a gem for NOT taking on this particular challenge.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888515&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="KKYvaN2gXyq5dhGrhbZJgBtoRkKZ82C4bkehvF4FRpE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">SeattleGirl (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888515">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888516" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384878038"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The problems that you have described are beyond the scope of food stamps, and beyond the problems that the SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program was designed to address. There was a time when food stamps could be used to purchase alcohol and tobacco products. I do not believe that people, no matter how dire their circumstances, have the right to use other people's money to buy alcohol and cigarettes when the monies are designated for food. I agree that it is a shame that there are no programs designed to provide those non-food essentials like soap, tampons, and diapers (which is why those are the primary items I donate to food pantries). The situation you describe does not negate the fact that there are abuses in the system, and that other people's money is being wasted and spent foolishly.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888516&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="ZIMO7e7M8q7Yc5fV2hqCdZiTeykrIkDb6QCNp-SJStg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JustMe (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888516">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888517" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384888392"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Yes! Thank you Angie! Seriously, a family of 4 can qualify for over $600 a month in food stamps and they're complaining? I feed 2 adults on and average of $60 a week. I'm so tired of hearing about people buying energy drinks, cake, lobster and shrimp, and other luxuries with tax payer money. It's easy to be irresponsible with money when it's handed to you. Why else would college kids buckle down in college when parents decide to stop paying the bill? I'm sure it sucks to be poor. There are also days it sucks to have to get up and go to work everyday, but I make that choice so I can pay my bills. Perhaps if people were less irresponsible with public assistance, more people would want to help them</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888517&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="qolTXh5l1330hr0bRJip-3ypsUfD0x4wyog3Mw383Og"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Workforaliving (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888517">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888518" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384889819"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>And JustMe you make a good point...it is a supplemental program. I think it's an issue of natural selection, really. I'<br /> If you're dumb enough to spend what little $$ you have on junk and beer when you KNOW you'll run out of food at the end of the month, perhaps your genes weren't meant to survive another generation. Perhaps that's why so many welfare recipients have 3,4,5 or more kids despite their financial handicaps? In hopes that one might survive? And I'd really like to know how the woman with the long post above bought cake and cookie mix to "bake" if all she had was the motel microwave? If there's a way to bake cookies in a microwave, I'd like to know</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888518&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="BZop6uqG7VSlNTIa67HYKx-aB7wSYWzmdYJ7mwX6st8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Workforaliving (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888518">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888519" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384895317"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>To Joslyn who commented in #11 by lambasting the writer's description of a teen-aged girl skipping school due to a lack of feminine supplies. You know what? Your claim that "pads at any store are very cheap" is patently false. The price of two pads in the public machine near my apartment is equal to the cost of my one-way train ride to school. If all I have is money for the train (which is the situation when you're on food stamps) it means very simply - those pads cost too much.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888519&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Xkgd6kaFFqckZolPhrwh2QCOcZUwN40vaQ8vlcqmyNk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Sarah Smithy (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888519">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888520" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384895478"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sincerely Yours,I saw your blogs named "Why I Won’t Do the Food Stamp Challenge – Casaubon's Book" on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is bravo, keep up the good work! And you can look my website about 偷拍.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888520&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="YhiTTr8vHLkqhY0fSTDLFvYKUkw0AC7PzpxBZ399iME"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">偷拍 (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888520">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888521" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384900779"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I cannot comment on the American system as I am Australian but when i buy or give to our church's food bank I tend choose the things that are not easily available via other food banks. Therefore I do give sanitary supplies or money for the bank leader to buy what she knows they will need. For many years I have lived on a very low income but am privileged to have a kitchen etc so I can store for times ahead. i have eaten the food bank food in desperate times and most of it was rotten or junk. No one really needs 50 plus cakes when they need fruit, veg etc.</p> <p>Thank you for raising a very important point of view.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888521&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="aDjZrtgVIazmI2SPXyAdloehafifYOtXZ9u-xlEBtvQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Suzan (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888521">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888522" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384901821"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I make less than 5000.00 a year and applied for food stamps. I was given 200.00 in Food Stamps to spend while they investigated whether or not i qualified for public assistance. It was decided that as a single person without children I earned too much money.<br /> The truth is that during that one month- I ate like a queen on 200.00. That is a very large shopping trip. If not selling off your food stamps-a person can eat very well.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888522&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="pwCeCg03XScPAkqLyqyedkqcRQhk5qiOzWBsJIdo0vk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Joy-Marie Arico (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888522">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888523" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384913303"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A fantastic article! I am often amazed at the lack of compassion so many people have toward those in need and grateful for those that do what they can to help.</p> <p>I do feel that 'free' handouts often lead to frivolous use. Instead of cuts, I think we should rise to the challenge and figure out how to move people beyond the sense of irresponsibility that accompanies the 'freebee' and evoke gratitude and responsibility for the valuable gift of high quality food. </p> <p>Community gardens are a starting point, most people lucky enough to participate in a community garden experiences both the gift and enjoyment of sustenance and connection to community. While only part of a larger solution, it is the kind of thing I would be happy to see supported by public funding. </p> <p>Who has experienced the disconnect of genuinely not knowing or unable to act on what is good for themselves in the moment and instead turning toward what tastes or feels good? In the extreme, this difficult human situation becomes addiction, violence and other dissociative behavior. People in acute stages of this need help. Period. Those that can control it should count themselves blessed, not self-righteous, or more fit. </p> <p> "Survival of the fittest' is a fragment of a biological scientific premise, used to justify all kinds of foul social, economic and political activities to which it does not apply. Natural selection occurs at the genetic level (as was pointed out), not the level of the specific organism, so genes that produce more offspring create more of themselves to survive. </p> <p>The more accurate statement is: 'survival of the most adaptable and procreative gene'. Also, intense stress increases the urge to reproduce as in: "I might die, I better reproduce!" You know the scene... its the end of the world, man and woman are in an elevator... what do they do? The simplest way to address overpopulation is to help people feel sheltered, safe, fed and relaxed...but that's a different issue. </p> <p>As a nation we have 3.5 million homeless and 18.5 million empty homes. Enough food is wasted to feed everyone twice. How about connecting the dots instead of cutting the page in half? I understand and applaud the deeply self-reliant "Do it yourself." American ethic, and yet the world is no longer a wide-open frontier. There are people everywhere, the question is: do we throw others under the bus or expand and work hard to figure out models that actually help people?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888523&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="d_n1EnVzojSqeUlBukhbSwXWa4D0GUj9pUkIess6VHo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">AJ (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888523">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888524" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384917777"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@workingforaliving a family of four could easily qualify for $600 a month????? How about you talk to the state of NC about that! I have three children and I get $136 a month. It's ALL I have for the month. My income pays for basic necessities. I'm supposed to get $271 a month in child support &amp; back support of $27 a month. I haven't seen a dime of that so far this month. I can't even budget for it because it's so sporadic when I do get it. If my kids need shoes, socks, or a coat for winter I have to not pay my light bill or telephone bill just so they can have it. Fact of the matter is, benefits are determined on a state level and NC recently cut benefits. Before that cut 85% of my county residents were working poor like me. It's gotten worse since the cuts. My kids have yet to be embarrassed about being on public assistance (a first for them and the eldest is 13) because they don't know of ANY child whose family isn't receiving assistance.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888524&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="vIbOHGi0s5_6zGTgBAuUwBhSdqHLHT7vLskoPBZCvbg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Angela (not verified)</span> on 19 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888524">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888525" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384969234"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@ Angela: <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/01/deep-cuts-to-country-food-stamp-program-start-friday/">http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/01/deep-cuts-to-country-food-st…</a></p> <p>Also a problem: why is it that when someone chooses to have multiple kids with an irresponsible (or more often, with multiple irresponsible) men, it becomes society's burden to step in and care for those kids? If you want big government to step in and solve your problems, then the government ought to have the option to sterilize you so you STOP perpetuating the problem.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888525&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="OUBgY2kRuNTiOmeV0BCndLmur_F04bcF--7WYEcpDKA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Workforaliving (not verified)</span> on 20 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888525">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888526" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1384976532"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Recently, the local news ran a story about food stamp fraud. Reporters interviewed people who trade cash for food stamps. One such person was asked what he THINKS people use the cash for. He said, predictably, "booze, drugs, prostitutes." So now that's what people in Seattle are likely to think, even thought there isn't really a factual basis to it. Thank you for alerting people to the real circumstances of people living on food stamps.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888526&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="c-8hV0Rok-0JIr7tuvYqUC-9-dOiQKE06CJ3tOjG8VI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Andy (not verified)</span> on 20 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888526">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888527" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385030565"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Workforaliving - most folks on food stamps are working families. Not JUST working - but with one of more of the adults working more than one job. Hell, a significant percent of active US military families get SNAP benefits. Are you accusing the members of the US Military of not working?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888527&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="71KOGWOmSz-yj57Q9y2vnNUkBc4KHH4ku5LZfERODoU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fern (not verified)</span> on 21 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888527">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888528" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385039192"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It seems to me that when a person working the best job she can get - whether in the military or in the Mall-Wart or a fast-food restaurant after they have wiped out all the local businesses - can't feed her kids without SNAP, it is the rest of us who are expecting big government to solve our problems, by feeding the kids of the people who must be paid slave wages so that we can have the super-cheap consumer goods, or the endless warmongering without need of supporting tax increases, that many Americans feel entitled to. The true costs of these things include the costs of feeding and sheltering the people whose toil provides them, and their families as well, because letting it be impossible for workers to feed their kids has both short- and long-term repercussions you wouldn't like. Some of the irresponsibility here is yours, for believing that you deserve to have things you want without paying their true costs. Or have you said or done anything to convey the message to Wal-Mart that you would willingly pay higher prices to have workers and suppliers better remunerated?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888528&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="xOVA7Adr3hkUynbRk-p-spxXQHE6FcrsG3Wuva16YrU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jane (not verified)</span> on 21 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888528">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888529" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385039483"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Oh, and noting Fern's comment in particular: based on historical evidence, it's an ESPECIALLY bad idea to let soldiers' families go hungry.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888529&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="dyWVSoPbwYeY5xex6MlALY0MLsE7zs8fa2I8hya06y0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jane (not verified)</span> on 21 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888529">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888530" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385068530"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Wanted to get animal ingredients free products! You can get animal ingredients free products. These products make you nice-looking and handsome.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888530&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="qJQSHETW2fzyd-TP7aN6O9Sk0QEkRHVou5vTey3gzkE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Omar_40 (not verified)</span> on 21 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888530">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888531" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385070864"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I don't get it, I worked minimum wage jobs, sometimes 2 minimum wage jobs and picked up odd jobs to make ends meet. I have always been able to put food on the table. and pay the rent. I was unemployed after I left the service and was still able to put food on the table for my children.<br /> I think folks could learn how to budget. Do I feel politicians are out of touch with the common, minimum wage worker? YES! Do Ifeel like folks that live on constant government are out of touch? YES!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888531&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="djalwx_ssNYhAJguwikXWlHa9gLbgQtEN2QtJo2QoDI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">brian (not verified)</span> on 21 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888531">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888532" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385142730"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Our grandmothers were able to make their own menstrual supplies from rags or cloth. This does sound so appealing today but it was sufficient for thousands of years. A trip to the dollar store for laundry soap, toothpaste, toilet paper etc would be worthwhile instead of loosing foodstamps every month to a con store.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888532&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="dCNz819SgR62MA2P0YbkzGCWHoBdizc2JwCSgbP9sz8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Jay Melo (not verified)</span> on 22 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888532">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888533" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385147338"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@ Brian-_I agree!! </p> <p>And re:military families being on SNAP: there are PLENTY of military families who have more kids than is (1) beyond their means to care for and (2) than is responsible given the state of our resources. Do you know how many E-4s and E-5s are in my unit who have 4-5 kids?? Look up an E-4s salary! Jesus, people!! Grow up and live within your means! And, yes, living within your means also means not having kids you can't afford. If you've never watched Idiocracy, you should. Our world is screwed as long as the irresponsible and/or unintelligent folks out-produce the responsible and/or intelligent folks.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888533&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="FK1-d3sPANfai5sMOUnDCK5D0OyIrN9eVIcOpGkpRrQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Workforaliving (not verified)</span> on 22 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888533">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888534" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385147426"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>That should read "out-reproduce"</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888534&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Jc2bjjFPP0wJ9SdohR7IFpmo1MOQSBh_F8mANnjPno4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Workforaliving (not verified)</span> on 22 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888534">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888535" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385196438"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In 2001, I became pregnant with my son. I was 25 and had been married 5 years. My husband was a fast food manager. So was I, until my doctor told me I had to quit working or risk death for myself and my son (I had placenta previa, which carries a high risk of bleeding out before you even know something is wrong). I applied for help, and was told to go find a job. When I explained my medical issue, I was told to go apply for disability. For anyone who doesn't understand the disability process, people are usually turned down the first time they apply and must appeal, and it usually takes at least a year or 2 to get approved, if you're lucky. Pregnancy only lasts 9 months. I was approved for medicaid and WIC, but nothing else. We moved into a trailer with cheap rent, but it had issues with the gas lines, so for the first 3 months I had to rely on a microwave and an electric skillet to cook. Our first few electric bills were outrageous, until we figured out that the ductwork under the trailer was torn up, and had a friend crawl under there with trash bags and duct tape to "fix" it (you cannot survive in a Florida trailer without a/c, especially when half of the windows won't open and there are no screens on the rest). The food pantries in my area allowed me to come pick up one bag of food once every 3 months. Several residents of the park got creative, and we would pool our food at least once a week for a meal-usually a soup of some sort. I ended up taking a job as a seamstress, making costumes for the local theater. My boss was also my midwife, and she paid me by the piece. She fed me healthy snacks and had a comfy couch at the warehouse where she would tell me to take naps. After my son was born, she had a playpen set up and I was able to bring him with me so that I could nurse him throughout the day. After I lost my car insurance (and my license because of it) she picked me up and brought me to work every day. She couldn't afford to pay me much, but she gave me things like food, toiletries, transportation, and most of all, kindness. We eventually pulled out of the hole we were in, but it took time. My son was 2 when we were finally able to get insurance for the car again and straighten out my drivers license, and that chunk of money came as a disbursement from student loans, as I had gone back to college to finish my degree. My husband and I were both working as fast food managers again, 60-70 hours a week each, opposite shifts so one of us could be home with our son when our roommate had to be at work.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888535&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="B6CV3eXK0KzWTzI4Helwx6_LDPFydw2ZPvlBtGoplGU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Sandy (not verified)</span> on 23 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888535">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888536" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385305197"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Wonderful to see that you are back creating thoughtful and controversial columns, Sharon! Having the right appliances makes a huge difference in one's ability to feel a family cheaply. Also, one argument that wasn't aired in the comments is that states have wildly different standards concerning eligibility for assistance. Access to reasonably priced markets enables many of us to feed our families on a limited budget - another variable. I can easily understand why you have opted out of taking the "food stamp challenge."</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888536&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="7C8mu9e7jXBNiIpmkd1HVN17OQR_BFypQ1Yg4j2_ZLM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">janine (not verified)</span> on 24 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888536">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888537" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385347721"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Why I Won’t Do the Food Stamp Challenge – Casaubon's Book mulberry outlet <a href="http://www.motleyandhope.co.uk/p7ap/linkss.php?module=list&amp;brand=mulberry-outlet&amp;page=1">http://www.motleyandhope.co.uk/p7ap/linkss.php?module=list&amp;brand=mulber…</a></p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888537&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Npwa3A6AJk6CC8Hj1G6NuXbg9FqdwHLjCnRLGOX6S34"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">mulberry outlet (not verified)</span> on 24 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888537">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888538" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385380010"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Many years ago when my husband got out of the military and we had 2 children - and few job prospects, we got food stamps. Coming from what I would consider an upper middle class home, this was embarrassing. But . . we managed, I got work, so did my husband, and because I grew up (one of 7) and my mother knew how to take a cut of meat, some rice,beans, potatoes etc. and make great meals (dad worked and brought in an adequate income) and we were never hungry. I never realized the issue of spices or lack of them - and yes, too often the fruits and vegetables that are healthier than just bread and mac/cheese are too expensive. I don't regularly buy chips and soda, cookies or box mixes - because of the useless calories (and GMO's and additives) in them. We live on a food-stamp budget - and have done so for over 40 years. But we also have the luxury of a freezer, and the knowledge and tools for canning vegetables and meat when it is on sale and a place to store it in. A vacation to Disney - what a waste of my time and money. A trip to a nature preserve - is more satisfying - at least to me and my family. Those who do buy that stuff have been misled into what is truly good - though a "treat" once in a while - is just what is needed. I remember birthdays and esp. christmas - when the kids were younger, I made do with what I bought at the local thrift store, cleaned up - or made myself. (My kids still treasure and remember those things) Also . . I have wondered about the number of vacant homes in this country and the numbers of homeless people there are. What a waste of resources. These days, we have turned our lawn into gardens and grow tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, garlic, onions, herbs, spinach, lettuce, beans, peas, We have planted apple trees, pick berries, have a pear tree and this year I am competing with the squirrels to gather the black walnuts. I'm reading the latest Mother Earth News magazine where they always have some neat DIY stuff. Crock Pots were invented for slow cooking and in a motel with nothing but a microwave, it would allow for some good cooking while mom and the rest are at work. Urban gardens, growing herbs for healing now that antibiotics are not doing the trick. Thanks for all the great ideas that people are sharing here. I also saw somewhere that great happiness comes from sharing with others - NOT having it all to yourself.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888538&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="_7EsyYT51J_T8OctwivG6gdJXzV9dmv1ZucYotxRtn0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Sibyllas Stuff (not verified)</span> on 25 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888538">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888539" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385398662"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Jay, women may very well have made their own menstrual supplies out of rags for thousand of years, but societal pressures and expectations were different then. If you're at home all day, then sure, you can rinse out a rag in the sink and grab another one. Or you can throw it out and find another rag. For that matter if you're in the kind of office with one-person bathrooms. But if you're using a public bathroom, you can't rinse out a rag in the sink without risking the ridicule of your peers and the panicked intervention of the school nurse, because schools freak out about bodily fluids these days. (Blood-borne pathogens are scary, etc.) I can't imagine asking a teenage girl to do this; as a teacher, shared bathrooms are a reason I haven't even considered the Diva cup.</p> <p>Or I guess you throw the rag in the sanitary napkin box and get a new rag, but it's not like rags are free. Or you could stick it in a ziploc and bring it home, but ziplocs cost money too. Maybe a tupperware?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888539&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="fuzwnmxrMUGle_iYFX_aTfnS5RiCqmqJEoTy5SBXoZI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">mortalcity (not verified)</span> on 25 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888539">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888540" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385475403"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>What if you had to live on $600 a month part of which you sold to get basic needs met and what if these children Sharon talks about were your children and you had live with their hunger, their homelessness, their worries and fears. Would people be so quick to judge if they had to live this struggle? What if you had to come up with all the answers with no one to turn to? I work with these families and every day the number grows higher of americans living in poverty current numbers are that 3 out of 4 adults with live at or below the poverty line at least once in their lives so the probability is that this could be any one of us without someone to turn to for assistance at some point in our lives. If people can't see it, perhaps they haven't looked beyond their own current circumstances.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888540&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="y9r-dYlkoPur2XnjZ01cskIS_uIHTGCNIABfObOSw3o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Nena (not verified)</span> on 26 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888540">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888541" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385488012"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I was a high school drop out, single mother with only 45 dollars a week in child support. I never ever took welfare or food stamps even though there were days I had to go with out eating so my son would have dinner. And I managed to work my ass off, put myself through college, with very little or no pell grants since I was a drop out. Get a good job, go back to school get a masters degree and then a better job! I do not want to hear excuses from anyone....Ever!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888541&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="DDyusPus4Jz5gGCChsDzQKNWWSkOiX--hLlsgmUAOGM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Lee (not verified)</span> on 26 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888541">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888542" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385531808"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Good for you, Lee. But going hungry could have resulted in illness, leading to foster care for your kid, and either a reliance on assistance or death for you. Hope you realize that.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888542&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="zDnbqNRTcU5xsJPspG7VIQsraziKbXG2pz-hP2RgU6A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Isis (not verified)</span> on 27 Nov 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888542">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888543" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1385878468"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Growing up we had foster children in our home. The stories they told in many cases were haunting. Many times our home was the first home they lived in that had 3 meals a day and one could eat until full. Many of the children were malnourished, underweight and chronically ill and it took a lot of time for them to adjust to what most people would consider normal.</p> <p>My job takes me to the neighborhoods that these children are most likely to call home. To the person who said the dollar store was the answer drive to a major city, go to a poverty stricken area and find a dollar store or a true grocery store where the conditions are such that you would purchase your food. Then make sure they are a walkable distance from "home" as it is hard to do anything without a car. In our area ALL of the major chains have pulled out of the recessed areas of the city. There is no dollar store, Kroger or Publix. You have mini marts that are not brands one would find near the interstate No 7-Eleven here either. </p> <p>We talk easily of "pulling ourselves up", of "making it on our own' and "personal responsibility". But how many of us who believe we have done that began with a drug addicted parent, generational poverty, no education past 10th grade, abuse in the childhood home, schools to which most Americans would be ashamed to send any children - not just their own. How many of us have lost everything due to medical bills, job loss, old age or the death of the wage earner? How many of us are forced to live on the streets, in a car or in a shelter? Losing a job when you have savings is one thing. Losing a job when you have no car, no savings and are trying you hardest to survive is something else. </p> <p>I could survive on the Food Stamp challenge- it would suck but it is doable. That, however, does not mean I now have the ability to bash everyone who uses food stamps and tell them what they can and cannot purchase. </p> <p>Just my 2 cents.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888543&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="OfZ2a45Fac-jqzalT2dqVtzbsMwoIsWcAYJ9NxNO5oI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Jo (not verified)</span> on 01 Dec 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888543">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888544" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1386004715"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Shop for Nike nfl Jerseys from china best Nike nfl jerseys factory with the wholesale price and fast free shipping.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888544&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="YXEnsjgwzh4z5W0CK3ChJpJR94_d1Bvcj-fdkDMK1OI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Authentic Trent Richardson Jersey">Authentic Tren… (not verified)</span> on 02 Dec 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888544">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888545" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1386006534"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Good, bad ,or indifferent all of these people above are talking about hunger in America because of the food stamp challenge and I believe that is really the point. Hopefully next steps are concrete solutions...</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888545&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="tyt1FElp-lTVASEcBjN3W6WQ_MEZ0-ZtX02_GHYKofs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Artrese Morrison (not verified)</span> on 02 Dec 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888545">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1888546" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1387658537"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Thank you for this knowledgeable essay. That and many of the comments really make one think. I was especially intrigued by #5 Aimee mentioning her idea about writing recipe ideas for making cheap nutritious food without access to a kitchen. Also, AJ talking about community gardening. Aimee, if you haven't completed it, I'd love to work on it with you! And AJ, I totally agree that gardening, if at all possible, can be a wonderful resource for food security. Education about food growing and cooking/preserving is something we all need. When I was raising three children after divorce, we went through some very difficult times. If I had to do it over again, I would apply for Food Stamps. Instead. I worked two jobs--a night job and a day job, not getting anywhere near enough sleep. After doing this for more than a ye ar, my immune system broke down, and I almost died from a massive infection and sepsis, leaving me crippled and in great pain for 15 years. It's only in the last year that I have finally recovered. I know that sounds like a dramatic horror story, but it truly is important to take care of oneself, and sometimes asking for help makes sense.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1888546&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="tMj45FTmb6jcxCp99IymSwXpi2MQ9i3D9A6Mn0J14lE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Margit Van Schaick (not verified)</span> on 21 Dec 2013 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1888546">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/casaubonsbook/2013/11/18/why-i-wont-do-the-food-stamp-challenge%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 09:22:24 +0000 sastyk 63995 at https://scienceblogs.com Despite poverty’s persistence, food stamp benefits drop https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2013/11/08/despite-povertys-persistence-food-stamp-benefits-drop <span>Despite poverty’s persistence, food stamp benefits drop</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>According to the latest figures from the Census Bureau, <a href="http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2012/highlights.html">15% of the US population lives in poverty</a>. The figure’s even worse for children: 22% of those under 18 are living in households with incomes below the federal poverty level. The US economy is officially out of the recession, but <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/09/10/some-95-of-2009-2012-income-gains-went-to-wealthiest-1/">an estimated 95% of all the income gains</a> since 2009 have gone to the 1% of the US population with the highest incomes. For millions of people, food stamps (technically, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) make the difference between buying groceries and going hungry. Yet Congress has allowed the larger food-stamp allotments contained in the 2009 economic stimulus package to expire, which means poor families across the US will struggle even more than usual to keep themselves fed.</p> <p>SNAP helps one in seven Americans. The $5 billion in cuts to the SNAP program over the next year <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&amp;id=3899">will reduce the maximum monthly benefit for a four-person household by $36</a> – which may not seem like a big deal to those of us who spend freely on groceries, but will mean hunger at the end of the month for many who rely on SNAP. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/19/heres-how-the-house-gop-would-cut-39-billion-from-food-stamps/">The House has passed a bill that will slash another $39 billion from the program over the next ten years</a>, largely by making 3.8 million current food-stamp recipients ineligible for benefits. These cuts will not only harm the families who rely on SNAP, but cause strains on local grocery stores and food banks.  <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/us/cut-in-food-stamps-forces-hard-choices-on-poor.html?pagewanted=all">In the New York Times, Kim Severson and Winnie Hu report</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>The cuts are also hurting stores in poor neighborhoods. The average food stamps household receives $272 a month, which then passes into the local economy.</p> <p>At a Food Lion in Charleston where as many as 75 percent of the shoppers use food stamps, managers were bracing for lower receipts as the month wore on.</p> <p>At a Met Foodmarket in the Bronx, where 80 percent of the 7,000 weekly customers use food stamps, overall food sales have already dropped by as much as 10 percent.</p> <p>“I wasn’t expecting it to be that fast,” said Abraham Gomez, the manager. Losing that much revenue could mean cutting back hours for employees, he said.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/feeding-families-made-more-hungry-by-congress/2013/11/07/7cb15ee8-47c2-11e3-b6f8-3782ff6cb769_story.html">Alexandra Ashbrook and Patty Stonesifer write in a Washington Post opinion piece</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>At this time of year, many fortunate Americans recognize and respond to hunger with generous donations to food drives, including Thanksgiving turkey drives. This generosity is wonderful, and the nation’s network of pantries and food banks is a precious resource, but we need to keep its reach in perspective. The SNAP program provides about 20 times as much help as the entire charitable food network. That means when SNAP benefits are cut by 5 percent, charitable organizations have to double their contributions across the nation to keep up.</p> <p>In reality, there is no way that charitable efforts can quell the ongoing hunger of Americans who are now expected to live on SNAP benefits averaging less than $1.40 per person per meal. Churches and food banks will be the first to say that they simply cannot cover recent and proposed cuts. In the District, Martha’s Table’s food budget is $1 million for the entire year. We cannot possibly make up for $15 million in cuts.</p></blockquote> <p>We’ve written before about the <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2012/07/13/hunger-games-congress-targets-food-assistance-for-the-most-vulnerable-despite-the-nations-growing-food-insecurity-problem/">SNAP Challenge</a> / <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2008/11/04/feeding-a-family-on-food-stamps/">Food Stamp Challenge</a>, in which people accustomed to spending more than $189 a month on groceries (the maximum benefit for a one-person household without the added stimulus amount) try to live on a food-stamp budget. People who take the challenge report difficulties affording fresh fruits and vegetables and frequent feelings of hunger and irritability. It can be hard to focus at work, and hard to get in the recommended amounts of exercise. People used to picking up a prepared meal on the way home from work can have a hard time finding time to cook dried beans and rice into a modest dinner. US Representative Barbara Lee organized fellow members of Congress and others to take the challenge over the summer, when the House was considering legislation cutting SNAP. P<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/snap-challenge-hill-democrats-92825.html?hp=r6">olitico’s Tal Kopan covered their effort</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>“Doing this challenge is something that I choose to do … but for millions of Americans, this is how they get by, this is how they work to avoid being hungry, and often, that’s a challenge that they’re not even able to meet,” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said. “Standing in line at the grocery store, it’s relatively few items in my cart, and calculating how much I think they’ll cost only to learn that I was off by a little bit, which necessitated putting back a couple of items and leaving with even less — it’s just really difficult to do once, I can only imagine how excruciatingly difficult it must be to that every single week.”</p> <p>The campaign is being led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a former SNAP recipient herself who is doing her third year of the challenge. Other high-profile SNAP challenge participants have included New Jersey Senate hopeful Cory Booker, who did his week last winter.</p> <p>Lee says she hopes the effort will call attention to the necessity of SNAP.</p> <p>“I was on food stamps for many years raising two boys, trying to go to college,” Lee said. “I would not have been in congress if it were not for that bridge over troubled waters, so to speak.”</p> <p>The issue goes beyond a moral issue, participants say. Lee points out that for every $1 spent with SNAP, $1.70 is returned to the economy.</p></blockquote> <p>In addition to the immediate suffering and economic losses from a reduction in SNAP benefits, the cuts will likely do long-term damage. <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/BuildingHealthyAmerica.pdf">More than 70% of SNAP benefits go to households with children</a>, so it’s inevitable that cuts to the program will affect children. <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&amp;id=3805">Inadequate nutrition</a> stunts children's growth and development, and food insecurity is associated with decreased school achievement, which affects long-term earning potential and overall wellbeing.</p> <p>Cuts to food stamps don’t produce true savings. They fall most heavily on our country’s most vulnerable people, many of them children. If we want health and prosperity for all, we have assure people have enough to eat – but right now, Congress is doing the opposite.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/lborkowski" lang="" about="/author/lborkowski" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">lborkowski</a></span> <span>Fri, 11/08/2013 - 11:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/children" hreflang="en">children</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-insecurity" hreflang="en">food insecurity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/hunger" hreflang="en">hunger</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety-net" hreflang="en">safety net</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/snap" hreflang="en">SNAP</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2013/11/08/despite-povertys-persistence-food-stamp-benefits-drop%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:22:16 +0000 lborkowski 61962 at https://scienceblogs.com Homelessness, housing, and the safety net https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2013/10/25/homelessness-housing-and-the-safety-net <span>Homelessness, housing, and the safety net</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/10/28/131028fa_fact_frazier?printable=true&amp;currentPage=all">Ian Frazier's in-depth New Yorker article on homelessness in New York</a> seems especially timely, coming after a government shutdown that demonstrated how quickly low-income workers can fall into homelessness if their paychecks suddenly stop. (The shutdown also demonstrated some things about Congress, but I won't get into that here.) Here in DC, contract employees who serve food and clean offices in federal buildings were abruptly out of work. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/17/the-government-shutdown-wasnt-that-bad-for-the-politicians-it-was-terrible-for-this-guy/">John Anderson, a line cook at a Smithsonian Museum, told the Washington Post's Jim Tankersley</a> he had to work out a deal with his landlord because he couldn't pay the rent when his paycheck stopped coming. In his case, he was able to go back to work after the shutdown ended, although he wasn't sure how he'd feed himself and his son while waiting for his next paycheck to arrive. And Anderson's struggle is not unusual: A recent Bankrate.com survey found that <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/">half of respondents had less than three months of living expenses saved</a>, which means that a layoff or serious medical problem could easily lead to homelessness.</p> <p>Here's Frazier's summary of how hard it is for low-income workers to live in New York:</p> <blockquote><p>Manhattan is now America’s most expensive urban area to live in, and Brooklyn is the second most expensive. Meanwhile, more than one in five New York City residents live below the poverty line. Nearly one in five experiences times of “food insecurity” in the course of a year—i.e., sometimes does not have enough safe and nutritious food to eat. One-fifth of 8.3 million New Yorkers equals 1.66 million New Yorkers. For people at the lower-middle and at the bottom, incomes have gone down. The median household income in the Bronx is about thirty-three thousand dollars a year; Brooklyn’s is about forty-four thousand. Meanwhile, rents go steadily up. A person working at a minimum-wage job would need 3.1 such jobs to pay the median rent for an apartment in the city without spending more than thirty per cent of her income. If you multiply 3.1 by eight hours a day by five days a week, you get a hundred and twenty-four hours; a week only has a hundred and sixty-eight hours.</p> <p>The number of market-rate rental apartments available to those of low income is extremely small. A metaphor one often hears about the homeless is that of the musical chairs: with such a small number of low-income-affordable apartments, the players who are less able to compete, for whatever reason, don’t get the chairs when the music stops. Every year, more and more chairs are taken away. The existence of so many people who are homeless indicates that a very large number of renters are close to that condition. Housing advocates in the Bronx report that some of the people they try to help are paying seventy per cent of their income in rent and that others are living doubled up and tripled up and in unimproved basements and in furnace rooms—conditions that recall the days of Jacob Riis.</p> <p>Patrick Markee [of Coalition for the Homeless] has said that any real attempt to take on these problems will involve the restoration of Section 8 and public-housing priority, creating a new rent-subsidy program, passing living-wage laws, and building more low-income and rent-supported housing.</p></blockquote> <p>New York may be the least affordable city to live in, but according to the <a href="http://nlihc.org/oor/2013">National Low Income Housing Coalition</a>, nowhere in America can a low-wage worker afford a market-rate two-bedroom apartment.</p> <p>Diana, one of the homeless women Frazier met while writing his article, told him this:</p> <blockquote><p>“Every month, I get a paper from Welfare saying how much they just paid for me and my two kids to stay in our one room in this shelter, and I can tell you the exact amount,” Diana said. “Three thousand four hundred and forty-four dollars! Every month! Give me nine hundred dollars of that every month and I’ll find me and my kids an apartment, I promise you.”</p></blockquote> <p>Spending upwards of three thousand dollars per homeless family each month for temporary shelter is not an efficient use of tax dollars. Investing to create more affordable housing is one obvious solution, but that's a<a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/10/grim-math-working-class-housing-crisis/7321/">n uphill struggle and can't happen overnight</a>. A minimum-wage increase would certainly help, but I'm not seeing much action on that at the federal level. Lucky for us, there are safety-net programs like unemployment and food stamps that can be scaled up quickly to ease the financial strain on families who can easily slide into homelessness if they miss a paycheck or face an emergency.</p> <p>Actually, at this point it'll probably be a struggle just to maintain the safety net in its current state, let alone expand it. The increase in food stamp benefits passed as part of the 2009 stimulus legislation is scheduled to <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&amp;id=3899">end on November 1</a>, and meanwhile <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/19/heres-how-the-house-gop-would-cut-39-billion-from-food-stamps/">the House has passed a $39 billion cut to food stamps over the next 10 years</a>. The temporary federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, also established in response to the fiscal downturn, has <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&amp;id=3646">allowed laid-off workers to receive unemployment benefits for longer than they normally would</a>, but its funds have been <a href="http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/sequester-hits-the-long-term-unemployed/?_r=0">reduced by sequestration budget cuts</a>.</p> <p>Healthcare and homelessness have a few things in common. As a country, we're not comfortable saying an uninsured heart attack victim should be denied emergency medical care or a homeless family be denied shelter when it's freezing outside -- and I'm glad that's the case. But we respond by requiring our city governments to provide shelter to homeless people while under-investing in the things that could prevent a great deal of homelessness in the first place. Reading <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/10/28/131028fa_fact_frazier?printable=true&amp;currentPage=all">Ian Frazier's article</a> is a reminder of what a bad idea that is.</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/lborkowski" lang="" about="/author/lborkowski" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">lborkowski</a></span> <span>Fri, 10/25/2013 - 07:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/government" hreflang="en">government</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/homelessness" hreflang="en">homelessness</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/housing" hreflang="en">Housing</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/safety-net" hreflang="en">safety net</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/unemployment" hreflang="en">Unemployment</a></div> </div> </div> <section> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2013/10/25/homelessness-housing-and-the-safety-net%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 11:54:47 +0000 lborkowski 61951 at https://scienceblogs.com Hunger games: Congress targets food assistance for the most vulnerable, despite the nation's growing food insecurity problem https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2012/07/13/hunger-games-congress-targets-food-assistance-for-the-most-vulnerable-despite-the-nations-growing-food-insecurity-problem <span>Hunger games: Congress targets food assistance for the most vulnerable, despite the nation&#039;s growing food insecurity problem</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>by Kim Krisberg</p> <p>Hunger in America can be hard to see. It doesn't look like the image of hunger we usually see on our TVs: the wrenching impoverishment and emaciation. Talking about American hunger is hard because, well, there's food all around us. Everywhere you look, there's food — people eating food, people selling food, people advertising food, people wasting food, people dying of eating <em>too</em> <em>much</em> food. The obesity epidemic alone is getting so big that it's slowly swallowing the health care system in billions of dollars of care.</p> <p>We have a food problem.</p> <p>But food cost money. So for some people, the problem is access to <em>enough</em> food. And in the aftermath of a recession, the foreclosure crisis and high unemployment, many more Americans need help putting food on the table. Specifically, many more families are seeking help through the <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/">Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program</a>, commonly known as SNAP and previously referred to as the food stamp program.</p> <p>The food assistance program has found itself in the middle of the frenzy to reduce government spending, with a whirlwind of votes on ways to cut food assistance. Last month, the Senate passed a spending bill that would cut SNAP funds by $4.5 billion over the next 10 years. And yesterday, the House Agriculture Committee went further, passing a proposal with cuts of $16 billion. According to the <a href="http://frac.org/">Food Research and Action Center</a>, the House cut would mean up to 3 million people could lose food assistance and about 280,000 school-age children would no longer be eligible for free school meals.</p> <p>The proposed cuts come at a time when the need for food assistance has been on the rise. SNAP enrollment went up by more than 1.5 million from April 2011 to April 2012; the program has grown by more than 29 million since July 2000, when it reached its lowest point in the previous decade. Among the people who need food assistance are older adults — about 3 million older adults are currently enrolled in SNAP, and 80 percent of them live alone, reports the <a href="http://www.ncoa.org/">National Council on Aging</a>. Only one in three seniors who qualify for SNAP receives the benefit.</p> <p>"People who think they know what it's like (to be hungry), should try it themselves," said Lura Barber, senior policy analyst at the National Council on Aging. "They should put their money where their mouth is. Walk a mile in their neighbor's shoes. It opened my eyes and it would do that for other people as well."</p> <p>Barber speaks from experience. She took the official <a href="http://frac.org/initiatives/snapfood-stamp-challenges/">SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge</a>, limiting herself to $5 of food per day for a week.</p> <p>"You kind of start to get it at a gut level, literally," she told me. "It was hard...I felt very hungry the first day. I was consuming enough calories but the balance of calories was a bit off. If I was a kid running around all day or if I had a hard, physical labor job, I would have really felt it."</p> <p>Barber's co-worker Marci Phillips, the council's director of public policy and advocacy, also took the challenge. She said it was pretty difficult to afford fresh produce and it took a lot planning to make sure the food didn't run out.</p> <p>"It really made it very personal as to how difficult it is to make it through the day with a limited calorie count," Phillips said. "I'd be sitting in an afternoon meeting and wouldn't be able to focus because all I could think of was 'I can't wait for dinner.' It made a lot of what you hear much more personal."</p> <p>Phillips said that while the debate on Capitol Hill is about spending, what the issue really reflects is that more and more Americans have incomes so low that they now qualify for food assistance. Phillips added that cutting off seniors from food assistance will likely only shift costs to the health care system instead.</p> <p>"Older adults by far are dealing with multiple chronic conditions...so nutrition is really an essential component to keeping them healthy," she said.</p> <p>Rev. Michael Livingston also lived on a SNAP budget for a week. Livingston, who serves as director of the <a href="http://www.nccendpoverty.org/index.html">National Council of Churches' Poverty Initiative</a>, took the SNAP challenge as part of the council's Fighting Poverty with Faith effort, which last year focused on hunger. The council challenged members of Congress to take the challenge as well — "we wanted to demonstrate what it means for a person to live off of $31.50 a week," he said.</p> <p>"We have to look at more than just the struggle of individuals, but also at the structural deficits that make it necessary for people to ask for help," Livingston told me. "There aren't visible, vocal and powerful advocates giving voice to opposing (these cuts). The poor are easy targets. It's just a big political circus, to be kind. And lost in that is the devastating effects this has on the people who are most vulnerable."</p> <p><strong>State(s) of hunger</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx">Minnesota</a>: In 2010, more than 608,000 residents faced food insecurity, including more than 212,000 children.</strong></p> <p>During the last few years, Diana Cutts has watched more and more of her patients fall into food insecurity, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns due to a lack of money or other resources for food. Cutts, who is assistant chief of pediatrics at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, said she's watched the stress on families increase during the recession — a lot of jobs have been lost and work hours cut. Along with that trend, she's seen hunger grow as well.</p> <p>She and her colleagues have been surveying families who visit the center's pediatric clinic. Using USDA's food insecurity scale, they've recorded food insecurity rates from a low of 22 percent to a high of 39 percent.</p> <p>"One of the hard things for physicians to wrap their heads around is that there aren't obvious physical signs of food insecurity — the way we see food insecurity in health can be pretty subtle," Cutts told me. "This is a very invisible condition and yet it's very prevalent."</p> <p>Cutts and her colleagues regularly helped connect food-insecure families to resources such as SNAP, but there were few ways to help patients with immediate needs. So a couple years ago, Cutts launched a food pantry inside the hospital — it was one of the nation's very first hospital-based food pantries.</p> <p>"Because we're based in a hospital, we really wanted to stress the connection between food and health, so we often call it a food pharmacy," she said.</p> <p>At first, the food pharmacy efforts were directed at the pediatric clinic, but it's now expanded to include the obstetrics clinic and many others. Families must be making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify for food help. In addition to the food pharmacy, which helped nearly 1,400 households in June alone, the hospital also participates in a summer food program for children and teens, providing free breakfast and lunch to kids Monday through Friday. Cutts said they're helping about 40 kids every day with the summer program.</p> <p>"I don't think anybody who believes in evidence and science could see...how (cuts to SNAP) are going to result in anything but increased costs for health care, increased costs for education and really a very poor investment strategy for all of our futures," she said. "This idea that adversity makes us stronger is really at odds with science, which shows that this is not true. If (policymakers) want to see the impact of adversity on kids they only have to walk into a hospital like mine to see that children really do pay a price and I think we can do far better."</p> <p><strong><a href="http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx">Missouri</a>: In 2010, more than 1 million residents faced food insecurity, including more than 316,000 children.</strong></p> <p>In 2010, the <a href="http://feedingmissouri.org/">Missouri Food Bank Association</a> helped distribute about 85 million pounds of food. In 2011, the demand jumped to 95 million pounds and "we're barely scratching the surface in terms of addressing the need," said Scott Baker, state director at the association, which consists of a coalition of six food banks that serve households throughout Missouri.</p> <p>"What we're seeing is that not only are more and more people coming through, but they're relying on food pantries longer," Baker told me. "We're seeing people who in the past may have needed help for a month or two, who now need help for six months or longer. It's not uncommon to hear stories about former donors to pantries who are now coming because they need help. Because of the unemployment situation, people are finding themselves in a very different position."</p> <p>Baker said hunger is especially growing in Missouri's rural communities, where securing accessibility to a food pantry is a real challenge. He said that if federal cuts to SNAP are enacted and people are cut off from assistance, there's no way Missouri's food pantries can fill the resulting gap.</p> <p>He noted that even though SNAP usage has gone up around the country, that overpayments, underpayments and payments to ineligible families reached a record low in 2011. He said it's a "sham to say that deep (SNAP) cuts are a way to go after fraud and abuse...right now, hundreds of thousands of kids would be cut from school meal programs. So we're not talking about fraud and abuse, we're talking about literally taking food out of the mouths of children."</p> <p>"The poor and the most vulnerable don't have a lot of voice in Washington, D.C.," Baker said. "We understand that the budget needs to be balanced but it needs to be a shared responsibility. Right now, the most vulnerable are bearing the burden and that's not right."</p> <p><strong><a href="http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx">Texas</a>: In 2010, more than 4.6 million residents faced food insecurity, including more than 1.8 million children.</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.ntfb.org/">North Texas Food Bank</a> provides access to more than 90,000 meals a day through its partnering food pantries. Unfortunately, the bank would need to <em>triple</em> that number to meet the growing food needs in its 13-county service area, said Kim Aaron, the bank's vice president of policy, programs and research.</p> <p>Similar to the experience in Missouri, Aaron said that demand for food help is steadily increasing. She also hears stories of people who used to volunteer at the pantries who now need the assistance themselves. She said there's just as much need in North Texas' rural communities as there is in its urban areas, though accessibility in rural areas can be difficult to navigate.</p> <p>"The face of hunger is changing," Aaron told me. "I used to say that hunger looks like the people next door to you, but now they may actually be the people next door to you."</p> <p>Providing food assistance, she said, takes the "burden of food off the list of things people have to do and provides them with some relief so they can attack the other issues in their lives."</p> <p>"What we believe is that if someone is struggling for food, there's a lot of other things they're probably struggling with as well," Aaron said. "This is a problem that we can at least solve for a period of time so they can spend their time on other problems. If you're hungry, there's no substitute for food. This is a fundamental need that we're meeting."</p> <p>According to Celia Cole, CEO of the <a href="http://www.endhungerintex.org/">Texas Food Bank Network</a>, one in six Texas families struggle with having enough food, and one in four Texas children live in a family that struggles with food security. At this point, she said, hunger in Texas is at an unprecedented high and it isn't showing signs of slowing down. Today, about 3.5 million Texans receive SNAP assistance, the majority of whom are children, elderly and people with disabilities.</p> <p>Cole said the network's partner agencies distribute about 300 million pounds of food every year and serve about 3 million Texans, but there's no way food banks in Texas could fill the gap that SNAP cuts would create.</p> <p>"We recognize the need to reduce the deficit, but SNAP is not causing the deficit and cutting it won't solve the deficit," she said. "We're talking about taking food off the table of working families, families trying to get back in the work force. The (SNAP) problem is being invented in order to justify cutting a program that is wildly invaluable to helping Americans."</p> <p>To learn more about cuts to SNAP or hunger where you live, visit <a href="http://www.frac.org">www.frac.org</a> or <a href="http://www.feedingamerica.org">www.feedingamerica.org</a>.</p> <p><em>Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for a decade.</em><em></em></p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/lborkowski" lang="" about="/author/lborkowski" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">lborkowski</a></span> <span>Fri, 07/13/2012 - 07:12</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/uncategorized" hreflang="en">Uncategorized</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/hunger" hreflang="en">hunger</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health" hreflang="en">public health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/snap" hreflang="en">SNAP</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Categories</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/channel/medicine" hreflang="en">Medicine</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="71" id="comment-1871985" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1342180527"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Kim,<br /> Did Rev. Livingston succeed getting some Members of Congress to take the challenge?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871985&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="8NPSfLY6WcX9wfhHivWms5ysi1YyVcnffk4MMpJQOOA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/cmonforton" lang="" about="/author/cmonforton" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cmonforton</a> on 13 Jul 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871985">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/cmonforton"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/cmonforton" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/pictures/Celeste_Monforton-120x120.jpg?itok=3LJGQoNV" width="100" height="100" alt="Profile picture for user cmonforton" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="73" id="comment-1871986" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1342181306"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Hi Celeste,</p> <p>They were indeed successful --- here's some more info: <a href="http://www.ncccusa.org/news/111026snapadvisory.html">http://www.ncccusa.org/news/111026snapadvisory.html</a></p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871986&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="BdCWSxVSKqbC6tlQXeBhjDfhe4KMryF1Wo5MxTzkUpM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/kkrisberg" lang="" about="/author/kkrisberg" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kkrisberg</a> on 13 Jul 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871986">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/kkrisberg"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/kkrisberg" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/pictures/TPH_map.jpg?itok=gR7oRuMi" width="90" height="90" alt="Profile picture for user kkrisberg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871987" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1342259891"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>They could tax sugar and fast food surely, this would raise captial and cut the obesity epidemic.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871987&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="1sKzhlbkw3rxJKsVTgCAHp1lFxdGFw0R19foRr1e70A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">bouquet (not verified)</span> on 14 Jul 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871987">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2012/07/13/hunger-games-congress-targets-food-assistance-for-the-most-vulnerable-despite-the-nations-growing-food-insecurity-problem%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Fri, 13 Jul 2012 11:12:35 +0000 lborkowski 61605 at https://scienceblogs.com It is Poor Bashin' Time! https://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2012/01/19/it-is-poor-bashin-time <span>It is Poor Bashin&#039; Time!</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Well, as the republican donnybrooks narrow down, the enemy becomes evident - the American poor. Newt Gingrich particularly dislikes poor folk, especially poor children, because after all, if they were good people they wouldn't be poor, they'd be working 50 hours a week in <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/22/1039018/-No-Country-For-Young-Children?via=siderecent">some nice sweatshop</a>!</p> <p> <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2012/01/dissing_people_in_us_who_need.php?utm_source=editorspicks">Celeste Monforton at The Pump Handle has a nice post </a>on the realities of the food stamp recipients Newt claims are lazy buggers.</p> <p><em>"And we think unconditional efforts by the best food stamp president in American history to maximize dependency is terrible for the future of this country."</em></p> <p>It is absolutely true that there are more food stamp recipients as a percentage of the population than ever in history - and that that was also true during the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency. President Obama's claim that this is due to the recession is only partly right - the reality is that as fossil energies, health care and housing costs have risen, most households have a smaller and smaller portion of their income to devote to discretionary expenses like food - and oddly, food as become functionally discretionary for many people, I'm not just being facetious, although I wish I was.</p> <p>For most people with fixed costs for transportation, medications and high housing and associated costs, food is one of the few things you can cut back on - which means that the end of the month looks very different than the beginning. The incredible draw on food pantries, food stamps and soup kitchens isn't about dependency - or at least dependency on social programs. It is about another kind of dependency, on an economic system that is slowly chewing people up and spitting them out.</p> <p>It is disturbing that 1 in 7 Americans will soon probably depend on food stamps and 1 in 3 children. As I have argued before that represents a fundamental shift in our culture - we can no longer afford to eat well even on the cheapest food in the world, and the US has now functionally joned other nations that have to subsidize food for its people in order to ensure that they eat. This is a huge fundamental shift - but we also know what happens when we don't subsidize food for the hungry poor in any nation. The kids suffer, the elderly suffer and those with the strength and the anger riot. </p> <p>The reason so many people (and you can see this in the comments at the Pump Handle) get so angry about recipients of any kind of aid is that we are so good at setting people against one another, particularly the weakest and most desperate people - so the barely getting by working poor hate the unemployed poor - and we feed on this just as we do on our government subsidized milk.</p> <p>Depending on food subsidies should not be a source of shame as the last three presidents have moved towards making them normative, and our whole culture has worked to making sure that food came second to everything else. What should be more troubling is asking why we are spending so much on everything else, why food is relegated to the corners, and why a destructive agricultural system whose primary virtue was that it provided cheap food has become unaffordable in so many ways.</p> <p>Sharon</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/sastyk" lang="" about="/author/sastyk" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sastyk</a></span> <span>Thu, 01/19/2012 - 03:11</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poverty" hreflang="en">poverty</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-subsidies" hreflang="en">food subsidies</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/newt" hreflang="en">Newt</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/republicans" hreflang="en">Republicans</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885669" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326963962"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I think part of this is a disconnect between the horrors of "food stamps" and what government food subsidies really are. Recently a survey asked people if they had ever received government aid and overwhelming people said no -- even though the vast majority of them HAD but hadn't recognized it. </p> <p>Virtually everyone who buys food in the US receives government food assistance in the form of subsidies paid elsewhere on commodity crops which keep prices artificially low, but the average buyer doesn't see it, so they don't realize that it's happening.</p> <p>So only particular programs -- usually those utilized by the most marginal -- get spotlighted as "welfare" while other programs are ignored.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885669&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="sl2cngiQg6iOfnSxCkJ14KCbJ9HD1JaHd6jRKHtxN6I"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Nicole (not verified)</span> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885669">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885670" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326967740"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Another troubling thing I see a lot from blog commenters (in posts on food stamps and other topics) is a desire to differentiate between the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor -- e.g., claiming someone who spends their limited income phone apps or cable doesn't deserve food assistance. Our energy would be better spent on figuring out how a country and planet with finite resources can feed everyone, not on deciding which spending choices should render someone ineligible for assistance.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885670&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="jC2iu0n2OvxeiIfhOcwxQndbDaLHQ6Sgx473s7D-3ns"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Liz (not verified)</a> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885670">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885671" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326973129"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It is curious that the Christian Right in America seem to be the most hostile against the poor, despite the teaching of their savior. That's in part to the profound ability of the Government to subsidize a docile, entitled, unskilled people, who take advantage of those subsidies at almost ever turn, at every level. This has also to do with the modern Christian propensity to look at the Market as the hand of God, thus anything contributing to GDP as holy, and any failure to contribute, a moral failing. Thus too, leading the wealthy to believe that they are the most moral because they have the most wealth. Despite what Christ knew, that the poor are generally more generous, and better people.</p> <p><a href="http://www.offthegridmpls.blogspot.com">www.offthegridmpls.blogspot.com</a></p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885671&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="xXLOs_psijEXBaSfK2Zdkpw7nrUCMMLDIZlYeDFCG6o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.offthegridmpls.blogspot.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Wiliam Hunter Duncan (not verified)</a> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885671">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885672" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326987365"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sharon,</p> <p>Hating the poor is part of the dysfunction of our marketed politics. The marketing wonks take the cheap route, they build up a straw enemy, paint the other guy's (gal's) face on it, decry the evil it does, then promise to rip it to shreds. Truth and honor have little place in American politics; it is money and marketing that prevail.</p> <p>When you decry a party for spending money they don't have (to give to people likely to vote for those doling out the money), you also decry the "enablers" -- those taking government dollars. It is tough trying to separate the message from the messenger; the need of people from the the mechanism that gains one party or another the most votes.</p> <p>Hating the poor, and their needs, is all about blithely (the word is related to 'blithering' as in 'blithering idiot') following someone else's marketing message.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885672&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="HnKbLx79KS5XS435Ozru_X0AY6h6jRXZHImagZG8bvI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.draftresource.com/mytake/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brad K. (not verified)</a> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885672">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885673" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326993403"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>it is curious that the Christian Right in America seem to be the most hostile against the poor, despite the teaching of their savior.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885673&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="SCoxiPkPGthkfovfMWzygpiWzZVc3fsanAybi2nVfZI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.v-pills.org" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">v-pills (not verified)</a> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885673">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885674" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327035946"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><blockquote><p>Nearly five years ago, before the onset of our current recession, UNICEF the U.S. ranks 20th out of 21 industrialized countries in child well-being.</p></blockquote> <p>Sorry America but you have failed. There is little else to say.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885674&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="qjZ5qxF88-I1G__1oXLCecGzNXQdEIZYXKyZE1YQzzs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Richard Eis (not verified)</span> on 20 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885674">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885675" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327036265"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Doh. My own country came 21st... and now i'm doubly depressed.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885675&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="CqVC7r52NvHq8E9XoPjpSNaSYS1mb3N18sIrIWlAMbk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Richard Eis (not verified)</span> on 20 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885675">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885676" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327055160"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Richard, I went off and found that UNICEF study and while I don't dispute that the US has a lot to work on, I think that some of the metrics used by the authors leaves something to be desired.</p> <p>(I'd include a link to the study, but then the Scienceblogs software would hold this comment for moderation, so folks are going to have to Google the study up themselves.)</p> <p>First and foremost, is the whole idea of childhood "relative poverty." Even as the text of the report discusses, there are real issues with saying a child is poor simply because her household only makes X percent of the national average income. </p> <p>I only make a small percentage of the average US income, but through savings and living frugally, I am anything but poor.</p> <p>Even as the report says: </p> <p><i>In recent years, relative child poverty has become a<br /> key indicator for the governments of many OECD<br /> countries. The European Unionâs efforts to monitor its<br /> Social Inclusion Programme, for example, include<br /> relative child poverty and the percentage of children in<br /> workless families as the only indicators specifically<br /> related to children (drawing the poverty line as the<br /> proportion of children in each country living in<br /> households with an equivalent income of less than<br /> 60% of the median for that country).</i></p> <p><i>Almost always, it is the national median that is used as<br /> the basis for the measurement of relative poverty. But<br /> from the point of view of the child it could be argued<br /> that the basis of comparison should be a different<br /> entity â the province, state, city, or neighbourhood.<br /> Would the picture of child poverty change radically if<br /> the question âpoverty relative to what?â were to be<br /> answered in these different ways?</i></p> <p><i>Little data are available to answer this question, but<br /> Report Card 1 drew upon the evidence available in<br /> the year 2000 to suggest some answers. It pointed<br /> out, for example, that the child poverty rate in<br /> Americaâs richest state, New Jersey, would have<br /> jumped from 14% to 22% if the basis of comparison<br /> had been the median income for New Jersey rather<br /> than for the United States as a whole. On the same<br /> basis, the child poverty rate in Arkansas would have<br /> fallen from 26% to 14%. Similar changes would<br /> undoubtedly be revealed in other countries where the<br /> mean state income differs significantly from the mean<br /> national income. Spainâs poorest province,<br /> Extremadura, for example would have seen its child<br /> poverty rate almost halved if the poverty line had<br /> been re-drawn in this way. In countries such as<br /> Australia and Canada, where variations in average<br /> income between regions are smaller, the changes<br /> would be less dramatic.</i></p> <p>In short, there is some truth to the fact that a poor child in the US has as much, or more, as perhaps a median child in a lower income, Eastern European country, for example.</p> <p>On another level, I take issue with how these kinds of economic studies measure material well being to begin with. Measuring how many cars a kid's family has, or how many computers, seems a bit off the mark as well. This kind of statistic actually makes my country (the US) look pretty good, but should we care that one country's household has 0.8 cars on average versus another country's 1.8 (just to make numbers up) ? I don't think a high number of automobiles per household is something to be particularly proud of.</p> <p>I don't doubt for a minute that the US has many issues. I was working with a kid just yesterday, that is severely malnourished, whose mom is on food stamps, but, due to all kinds of social, economic, and behavioral problems, just didn't and couldn't do a decent job of feeding her son. Nor do I doubt that the US has done a poor job of recovering its population of African descent people from the horrors of slavery and its aftermath. Indeed, a huge portion of our poor kids live in communities of color, poor ones, either very rural or very urban, and this is something that the Nordic countries, such as Norway, don't have to deal with. </p> <p>I'm not making excuses and I certainly agree with Sharon's blog entry here about the idiots who are demonizing the poor. But I also think that these kinds of studies showing X country's kids as poor versus another country's kids, need to be actually read, rather than simply have the top, overall ranking chart cited. </p> <p>This study is indeed useful and very instructive. But the story it tells is much more than a single ranking chart.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885676&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="OTc3ZSLMPSZRlSLIkUbcfTQ0_kpcY7bKeymGEcCkF4k"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Stephen B. (not verified)</span> on 20 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885676">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885677" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327055285"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Richard, I prepared a response concerning that study, but it seems Scienceblogs is holding it, perhaps due to length.</p> <p>Sharon, perhaps you could see fit to release it?</p> <p>:-)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885677&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="6FKJ4XKv7yeQy0xM9Q0I16BOnQzRLu62X3-AB7OboYQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Stephen B. (not verified)</span> on 20 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885677">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885678" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327063465"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It is always poor bashing time in the United States; at least when we acknowledge them (us) at all. The very existence of poor people gives the lie to the myths used to keep the rest pacified and in line. The myth says that anyone can be successful here. Therefore, if you are not, either the myth is wrong, or you are deliberately flouting the system. And we know our operating myth can never be wrong...</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885678&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="TIv4NKlW_dYJNzuI3XAAga7FPn3of1zGqBvtls84gcE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Glenn (not verified)</span> on 20 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885678">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885679" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327132925"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Isn't it ironic that huge corporate growers of corn and other crops get huge government subsidies and that the market for products made from these crops benefits from large numbers of consumers dependent on food stamps, but that the Loud Vocal Right criticizes only the subsidies to the bottom, while subsidies to the top get a free pass? The unspoken assumption seems to be that those not in need deserve handouts, while those in need do not.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885679&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="2zOw7JpUQ13P2SdkVfQi2ApDDcuc4IOpz3R50U21BtY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://booksinnorthport.blogspot.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">P. J. Grath (not verified)</a> on 21 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885679">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885680" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327149900"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>As a farmer who has been on the wrong end of America's cheap food policy for 39 years I wonder what has made food so much more expensive for the poor and yet the small dairy farmer has to struggle and is to proud to go on SNAP. Obviously we haven't shared in the profits as much as Archer-Daniels or Monsanto.</p> <p>jg</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885680&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="laBOAMBP8wEJXQx_735IUA1IUKGjR8w1OwfX10By54A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jg (not verified)</span> on 21 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885680">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885681" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327201116"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I'm not a fan at all of the two party system. We need an immediate restructuring of every thing, if we expect to survive. The stupid part about food stamps is "food" people can do for themselves. Chickens, rabbits, a garden, maybe we could hand out grinders and whole wheat. Let people have their self worth back. Shelter can be built real cheap if you scrounge materials. Straw bales, pallets, 2x4's and osb, will make a real cheap house. Small slow electric carts could make transportation cheap...yes you can only drive 25 mph. Enjoy it! Even medical, could be cut drastically. Most medical can be done by a 4 year degree. The whole system needs gutted and we have to sacrifice the golden cows. Obama's half measures don't even begin to fix it. Reboot the system now and feel the pain or we can just stay on the train till it crashes and kills us all.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885681&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="ZPr2BReFVTdfaO8TLuzxz4YCV0i-uwaV_vqjiEbmygY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://woodsongsfurniture.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dennis (not verified)</a> on 21 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885681">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1885682" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327566281"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The way to end poverty is to create wealth. Something Pelosi, the Luddites and the demonazis know perfectly well. There is no question that recession could be ended within days, as discussed but not disputed here previously, but these creatures much prefer keeping people poor, jobless, scared and therefore dependent on the demonazis.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1885682&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="lO0YKlZsgL--aT_neWs8sRebmItNx_UQFB4yXHd-D8o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Neil Craig (not verified)</a> on 26 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1885682">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/casaubonsbook/2012/01/19/it-is-poor-bashin-time%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 08:11:57 +0000 sastyk 63791 at https://scienceblogs.com Dissing people in U.S. who need food assistance https://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2012/01/17/dissing-people-in-us-who-need <span>Dissing people in U.S. who need food assistance</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich likes to pump himself up by picking on other people. Several weeks back his target was <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/22/1039018/-No-Country-For-Young-Children?via=siderecent"> "children in the poorest neighborhoods."</a> Now it's <a href="http://nation.foxnews.com/gop-debate-south-carolina/2012/01/16/debate-crowd-erupts-after-gingrich-obliterates-obama-jobs">people who receive food assistance.</a> </p> <p>Others have <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/01/17/145332032/is-obama-really-the-food-stamp-president-fact-checking-the-s-c-debate">checked his claims</a> about President Obama being the "food stamp President," but Gingrich also suggested that if you are on food stamps, you aren't earning a paycheck. According to data assembled by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, however, a hefty portion of households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (<a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/">SNAP</a>) are working. The data for 2010 indicates that about 38% percent of single-adult SNAP households with children had earned income, and about 64% of married-head SNAP households with children had earned income. </p> <!--more--><p> Here are a few other facts I learned about SNAP recipients in 2010:</p> <blockquote><p>*On average, about 40.3 million U.S. resident receive per month receive SNAP assistance nationwide. That's about 13% of the U.S. population.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><p>*About 85% of SNAP households have annual income below the federal poverty line. For a two-person household (e.g., mother and child) that's an $14,570 annual income; for a family of four, that's an annual income of $22,050.</p></blockquote> <blockquote><p>*About 76% of SNAP households included either a child or an elderly or disabled person; these households received 84 percent of SNAP's total annual benefit. </p></blockquote> <p>The <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/MENU/Published/snap/FILES/Participation/2010Characteristics.pdf">complete report </a>on SNAP recipients in 2010 provides more detailed characteristics and State-specific data. </p> <p>In response to GOP candidate <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/newt-gingrich-doubles-down-on-food-stamps/2012/01/17/gIQAjMZM6P_blog.html">Gingrich's assertion</a> that "more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history," the White House called that claim "crazy." The White House press secretary <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57360568-503544/white-house-gingrich-food-stamp-claim-is-crazy/">added</a>:<br /></p><blockquote>"It was the result of the worst recession since the Great Depression, that was brought on by economic policies that certainly predate this president."</blockquote> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/cmonforton" lang="" about="/author/cmonforton" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">cmonforton</a></span> <span>Tue, 01/17/2012 - 12:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/public-health-general" hreflang="en">Public Health - General</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-assistance" hreflang="en">food assistance</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/snap" hreflang="en">SNAP</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/usda" hreflang="en">USDA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/working-poor" hreflang="en">working poor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-0" hreflang="en">food</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871690" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326825130"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There should be some rules when it comes to food samps snd welfare. The people on welfare and food stamps should be investigated to see if they have the latest cell phone, apps, and cable television. If they can afford these non essential items, they can afford groceries. Cut them off. They must learn to put priorities in order.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871690&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="h4NIpdIaUsDTPhgEdKEkOuqXi3yHyJMLZ3X5l-7eN54"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Delusion of Granjuer (not verified)</span> on 17 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871690">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871691" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326830737"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>#1 clearly has never even seen the application for food stamps. There ARE guidelines, pretty strict ones in fact, you can't just walk in and say "I want food stamps". Each state differs but the general guidelines are similar, in Maine where I live you have to show what your monthly income is, how much you have in savings, and how much you have in other assets like vehicles. Then if your income is low enough and you don't have too many assets or money in savings, you get food stamps and they aren't a lot. </p> <p>After I had a medical emergency so my choices were between paying medical bills for a fractured foot or eating I had to suck up my stubborn pride and apply for them. Sure there are people on food stamps with cable tv but I can guarantee they are cutting back in other areas of their lives to have something they enjoy. Being poor should not mean that you have to be completely miserable and broken down before you are deserving of help. If you don't help the people who are on the edge pull themselves back up they can fall into the sort of crushing poverty that is almost impossible to climb out of.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871691&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="LCbixEUqkVa5Mgq4yGjTStyNIydllisr6nBTY-KQLRQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://noadi.etsy.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Noadi (not verified)</a> on 17 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871691">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871692" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326831508"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Cell phones have almost become a necessity, pay phones and land lines are becoming relics. There are cheap pay as you go phones as well as minimal plans.<br /> Wondering what the return on investment would be for the cost of the investigation vs. the paltry amount of food stamps given.<br /> Trying to square how investigating the poor would make for smaller and less intrusive government often advocated by those that hold the poor should be investigated.<br /> Money better spent would be to fully fund the IRS so they could insure that everyone pays what they owe in taxes. That would be a huge ROI and taxpayer dollars well spent.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871692&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="QKBeBjuTir_cxY_jcc_mw_sqlIaQb4Y-uNe1K2f8wQw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">reboho (not verified)</span> on 17 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871692">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871693" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326835517"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Cell phones are popular and helpful in emergencies, but hey, who had a cell phone in 1951 right? All I am saying is that there is a difference between someone on food stamps and welfare playing the victim who has the latest iPhone and the most expensive plan as well as most any non essential item that could be wanted. I see this crap everyday. If they are not willing to cut back on non essentials to be able to make payment on essentials then ignore them. It is MY taxpayer money that has to pay for this. Just so you know, I am one of the 45% who actually pays federal income tax and I do not recieve reparations (earned income tax credit). </p> <p>Instead of marxist bullies protesting and yelling about the "rich" paying their fair share, how about everyone who lives and breathes pays a 10% national sales tax across the board and lets render the IRS and all tax codes useless. That would be more fair than ahything. That way, the "rich" would pay more and the 55% of america who do not pay taxes would get an opportunity to see how the real world works.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871693&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="cs0s-oH_R9JkGZQ1bsNDWGFmxHBocHLJ612N3y5fxJQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Delusion of Granjeur (not verified)</span> on 17 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871693">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871694" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326842032"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A 10 percent national sales tax SOUNDS nice, but it will be subject to the same abuses and dodges that the income tax has -- the rich will buy exemptions from congress, and there will be a lot of off the books transactions. </p> <p>There needs to be a character and expectation change amongst people -- a common agreement that under no circumstances should children go hungry or uneducated or unmedicated, and that everybody has an obligation, no matter what, to see the next generation through adolescence with the best possible chance for a place in society. </p> <p>Likewise our elderly should be warm, well fed, and cared for in non-abusive situations.</p> <p>If we took just those two goals and built systems and institutions to make that happen, all the rest would fall into line.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871694&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="mpFILWZY-P797sVtE1cavNBjb56ZhU7CGj-fuzh33g8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Poppie (not verified)</span> on 17 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871694">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871695" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326893634"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Delusion of Granjeur:</p> <blockquote><p>All I am saying is that there is a difference between someone on food stamps and welfare playing the victim who has the latest iPhone and the most expensive plan as well as most any non essential item that could be wanted.</p></blockquote> <p>And we should make policies because of that person playing the victim, and not the 99 others who are legitimately victims? The system is already extraordinarily painful to navigate, at times when people are frankly pretty much at their wits' end to begin with. It's already geared principally to making sure you aren't some sort of crook rather than to making sure people who need help get it. It's like our immigration laws; most of the problem is that the only time any legislators get interested is when they hear about abuses. Thus, it's a gigantic patchwork mess of rules making haphazard attempts to prevent abuse that serves fewer people than it should, gets abused anyway, and probably costs quite a bit more than what it needs to. Like a lot of things in the government, alas. Tricare has that problem too, according to the military families I know.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871695&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="3p1Gf9VYuNnd-YBEXBZYDlTzb0hqBUJEVKmXKUIHRhs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Calli Arcale (not verified)</span> on 18 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871695">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871696" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326958231"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>"to see if they have the latest cell phone, apps, and cable television."</p> <p>Cable TV in the USA is practially a requirement. You're considered to be REALLY WEIRD if you don't have it.</p> <p>And Rural Africa has a better penetration of mobile phones than the USA, since they're pretty damn cheap.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871696&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="utVtj_YOTlwiz1O3-uhPiDAOFWGEOa_CxjoaONFs2kY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Wow (not verified)</span> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871696">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871697" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326971074"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I'm not against food stamps--on them once briefly-- but I think they should be more like the WIC program where you can't waste them on highly processed junk food...or loan your card to someone for x amt of dollars so they can buy cigarettes or booze. I've heard so many scams my ears still ring....have been offered $100 worth of stamps for twenty bucks often at work. There will always be a new scam. I only know one recipent with 6 kids(works two jobs) that has a plan for her monthly SNAP allotment and actually keeps the few goodies for her kids locked up! She never runs out of food at the end of the month and plans all their meals. Most go and spend it and are at the food banks begging by the 20th. Remember the olden days of commodities where you could stand outside and be given all the powdered milk and cheese the people wouldn't eat. Perhaps with more controls on what you can purchase we wouldn't have an epidemic of obseity/diabetes in this country.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871697&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="oUFGikY84ZZzcqDolcKuInMg_VKf18jOU_94bjCPQFI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">D.,Smith (not verified)</span> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871697">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871698" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1326983211"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Executives and CEO's of companies with employees on such low wages that they require government subsidy should forfeit any right to raises or bonuses until such time as their employment practices are no longer a drain on the public finances.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871698&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="NiDzBGkazsEqN4S1yikUEgYuYc4SrJ3IsGO6PG-cN6o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">chek (not verified)</span> on 19 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871698">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871699" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327041171"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>"like the WIC program where you can't waste them on highly processed junk food"</p> <p>However, Junk food is CHEAPER. This is because they can use cruddy ingredients and by adding fat and sugar, make it edible.</p> <p>Plus, how are you going to enforce it?</p> <p>"so they can buy cigarettes or booze"</p> <p>You DO know that cigarettes are addictive, right? And alcohol has been used for millenia to ensure the workforce do not get uppity.</p> <p>Plus, why are YOUR puritanical ideas to be enforced?</p> <p>"There will always be a new scam."</p> <p>Like the scam "I need more employees so I can watch people eat their food stamps!"?</p> <p>How about fixing the scam where BoA paid ZERO taxes?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871699&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="G4ZSF5g6bvA5u5esJwFuwmXmxKISQSsRkS0LS07u4Pk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Wow (not verified)</span> on 20 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871699">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1871700" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1327309854"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Several years ago there was a study from UC Berkeley that found that a high percentage of people working full time at a new Walmart qualified for food stamps. I have pasted the summary below. Raising the minimum wage in the US should have helped, but lack of health insurance is a big cost and medical costs often drive people into poverty. So we have a "system" where people can work full time for a major employer and still need food stamps and other public assistance.</p> <p>Hidden Cost Of Wal-Mart Jobs<br /> Use of Safety Net Programs by Wal-Mart Workers in California</p> <p>Arindrajit Dube<br /> UC Berkeley Institute for Industrial Relations</p> <p>Ken Jacobs<br /> UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education</p> <p>A Study for the UC Berkeley Labor Center<br /> August 2, 2004</p> <p>Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States, with over one million workers. It is the largest food retailer and the third largest pharmacy in the nation. The company employs approximately 44,000 workers in California, and has plans to expand significantly in the state over the next four years. Wal-Mart workers receive lower wages than other retail workers and are less likely to have health benefits. Other major retailers have begun to scale back wages and benefits in the state, citing their concerns about competition from Wal-Mart.</p> <p>We estimate that Wal-Mart workers in California earn on average 31 percent less than workers employed in large retail as a whole, receiving an average wage of $9.70 per hour compared to the $14.01 average hourly earnings for employees in large retail (firms with 1,000 or more employees). In addition, 23 percent fewer Wal-Mart workers are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance than large retail workers as a whole. The differences are even greater when Wal-Mart workers are compared to unionized grocery workers. In the San Francisco Bay Area, non-managerial Wal-Mart employees earn on average $9.40 an hour, compared to $15.31 for unionized grocery workersâ39 percent lessâand are half as likely to have health benefits.</p> <p>At these low-wages, many Wal-Mart workers rely on public safety net programsâ such as food stamps, Medicare, and subsidized housingâto make ends meet. The presence of Wal-Mart stores in California thus creates a hidden cost to the stateâs taxpayers.</p> <p>This study is the first to quantify the fiscal costs of Wal-Martâs substandard wages and benefits on public safety net programs in California. It also explores the potential impact on public programs of Wal-Martâs competitive effect on industry standards.</p> <p>Main Findings:</p> <p> Reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to the taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance.</p> <p> The families of Wal-Mart employees in California utilize an estimated 40 percent more in taxpayer-funded health care than the average for families of all large retail employees.</p> <p> The families of Wal-Mart employees use an estimated 38 percent more in other (non-health care) public assistance programs (such as food stamps, Earned Income Tax Credit, subsidized school lunches, and subsidized housing) than the average for families of all large retail employees.</p> <p> If other large California retailers adopted Wal-Martâs wage and benefits standards, it would cost taxpayers an additional $410 million a year in public assistance to employees.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1871700&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="EOK7ZlwtM8uWrPhsHR2WSs5nAtebKBMkGnCNdIIUJMo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Laurie Welch (not verified)</span> on 23 Jan 2012 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1871700">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/thepumphandle/2012/01/17/dissing-people-in-us-who-need%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 17 Jan 2012 17:00:00 +0000 cmonforton 61465 at https://scienceblogs.com 41% of Food Insecure Families Not Getting Help https://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2011/09/14/41-of-food-insecure-families-n <span>41% of Food Insecure Families Not Getting Help</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The<a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/64912592/Household-Food-Security-in-the-United-States-2010"> USDA indicates that in 2010</a> there were above 17 million households in the US (out of about 115 million households total) that were food insecure, and had trouble getting enough food on a regular basis. Only 59% of those households, however, received Food Stamps, WIC or School lunches, the three largest US food subsidy programs that make up the bulk of US nutritional supplementation programs. Which means that nearly half of all households were either receiving no support despite food insecurity, or relying on food pantries, soup kitchens and other resources.</p> <p>One of the most significant things that has happened in the last 10 years is that food has become unaffordable to many Americans. This is astonishing, because we pay less of our income to food than almost anyone in the world or in human history. Meanwhile, more and more Americans need food subsidies to get to the end of the month - one in every 7, and one in every 3 school children. Very few people seem to realize how fundamentally America has changed as food subsidies have become basic. And still, nearly half the households that need help are not getting it.</p> <p>The sea change in relationship to food that is occuring is truly radical - we're aware of the change that led to more obesity than hunger in the US. Now what we're seeing is obesity *AND* food insecurity together, the one reinforcing the other, as the cheapest calories are the least healthy and the knowledge of food insecurity drives people to eat as much as possible when food is present. </p> <p>Meanwhile, for a billion people worldwide, as the ties between oil and agriculture draw closer so does the spectre of starvation. What is happening with food is perhaps the clearest canary in our coal mine.</p> <p>Sharon</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/sastyk" lang="" about="/author/sastyk" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sastyk</a></span> <span>Wed, 09/14/2011 - 03:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-crisis" hreflang="en">food crisis</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-insecurity" hreflang="en">food insecurity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/hunger" hreflang="en">hunger</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/school-lunches" hreflang="en">school lunches</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/snap" hreflang="en">SNAP</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/usda" hreflang="en">USDA</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/wic" hreflang="en">WIC</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884754" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1315988835"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Those of us with low incomes pay a large proportion of our income for our food now, as you have noted. </p> <p>In the case of my husband and myself, food is *BY FAR OUR LARGEST SINGLE EXPENSE*, and consumes about 30% to 40% of our total income. We have begun not buying nutritious food that I or we (I especially) would love to have simply because we can no longer afford it. We're having less variety, fewer fresh veggies, fewer fresh fruits than we really should (we still have them, but not as freely as we really should for health). </p> <p>We do not qualify for food stamps or any other food assistance. We *just miss* qualifying for them - we went through the application process about two months ago, so we know we don't qualify.</p> <p>I grow as much of our food as I possibly can, but my physical capabilities are limited by age and illness now. </p> <p>What did we do wrong to be so poor (since the poor are so villianized and hated now, perhaps an explanation is called for)? </p> <p>We both became chronically ill (autoimmune diseases) before reaching retirement age (although I'm now over retirement age.) </p> <p>Did we do something 'wrong' to cause these autoimmune disorders (smoke, drink, unhealthy diet, etc.)? Well, since no one (including modern medicine) knows the cause of autoimmune diseases, it's hard to (in fairness) blame us for contracting them. </p> <p>Pat</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884754&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="4C0oWpUyNzxx0xiEetUrDB7kR3b-ZTjFabH8gy5EexQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Pat Meadows (not verified)</span> on 14 Sep 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884754">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884755" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1315989331"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>One of the big problems for many families is not that there is not enough money for food--but that money that could've been allotted for food is sucked up by housing. The artificially-created housing "boom" of the past decade or so (manufactured to benefit wealthier Americans) means that many lower-income families (especially younger families who weren't homeowners by the late 1990s) are seeing an increasingly high percentage of their income devoted to putting a roof over their heads.</p> <p>If we fixed the housing problem (let housing prices continue to fall so they were in line with incomes), more families would have money for food because it wouldn't be so dramatically sucked up by rent or mortgage payments.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884755&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="muFCHi9starL-Bb_sUx4DYL6zLz5db-KI9rzALbngFk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Lisa (not verified)</span> on 14 Sep 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884755">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884756" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1315996775"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@Lisa<br /> This is a key point that is mostly ignored. Add transportation and medical/insurance expenses and<br /> the reasons for food insecurity become much clearer.<br /> These are not flexible costs so people adjust their<br /> budgets by buying cheaper or less food.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884756&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="CNjhrTUqqcbfcX_16pRyhWeAQvTueWy40oD6ZQnrRNM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Diane (not verified)</span> on 14 Sep 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884756">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884757" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1315998856"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@Lisa: You are right. There's a whole layer of people who make their living by either taking advantage of housing price inflation, or impoverished renters. In either case, it's hard not to think of this behavior as anti-social.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884757&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="nPhze1WWpnGLHfQUGkVLSXJLVA1VORj8jXIQmlT0UmY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">GregH (not verified)</span> on 14 Sep 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884757">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/casaubonsbook/2011/09/14/41-of-food-insecure-families-n%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Wed, 14 Sep 2011 07:34:48 +0000 sastyk 63730 at https://scienceblogs.com Yes, Food Stamps are More Important than Defense https://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2011/07/26/yes-food-stamps-are-more-impor <span>Yes, Food Stamps are More Important than Defense</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>On Friday, in a move that shocked, truly shocked America, President Obama said that <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/07/22/138610263/nprs-interview-with-president-obama-in-full">food stamps were more important than Defense</a>. Since this sort of prioritization is one of the fundamental differences between the US extreme right (aka Republicans) and the US center-right (also known as the Democrats), the fact that this caused an uproar among Republicans should also stun you. Republicans warn us that slashing America's defense budget until it is only double the next largest nations will cripple us, Democrats call the Republicans meanies, and everyone ignores the point.</p> <p>The point is that food stamps are more important than Defense, for a fundamental reason - it is because we subsidize food stamps that we aren't having food riots like the middle east. Without food stamps, poor Americans would be starving - period. This is both bad for America's public image, but even worse for its civil function, and for its much articulated claims that we are, in fact, getting better rather than worse. Only because of food stamps and related programs can such claims seem even superficially credible.</p> <p>Let's <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/18958475?story_id=18958475&amp;fsrc=rss">run the numbers</a>. One in seven households in America receives food stamps, and one in six would qualify. Nearly 1/2 of all American children live in households that receive food stamps. One in eight food stamp households cares for an elder, one in five cares for a disabled non-elderly adult. One out of every five recipient households has *no* other countable income - more than 7 million Americans total.</p> <p>Cancel food stamps and 7 million Americans drop to zero income. More than 2/3 of those households include children. The average food stamp recipient household owns $101 of goods and savings - total. </p> <p>Food stamps also have other effects. They are the social program that is most beneficial to the overall economy, because the subsidies are spent immediately. They act as a subsidy to the larger food system - and in fact, when one out of seven Americans requires food stamps to feed their family, they act as an overall subsidy on our food system. Just like many poor nations, we are subsidizing food for a population that cannot afford it otherwise.</p> <p>Given that food represents a tiny portion of most household incomes - between 10 and 12 percent - the fact that Americans cannot afford food in large numbers is significant. Much of this is attributable to the fact that medical care and food are often the only "fungible" expenses in a low income household. Cutting back on food and medicine are the only ways to get by when an unexpected expense arises. It gives us a measure of the costs of all our supposed previous "growth" - low income Americans can't afford housing *and* food, and almost no one can afford medical care.</p> <p>Fundamentally, America subsidizes food for precisely the same reasons other nations do - not merely because it is the moral choice, but because it keeps us out of the streets. If Republicans don't know this yet, they'll certainly find out.</p> <p>Sharon</p> </div> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/author/sastyk" lang="" about="/author/sastyk" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sastyk</a></span> <span>Tue, 07/26/2011 - 05:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-stamps" hreflang="en">food stamps</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/america" hreflang="en">America</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/democrats" hreflang="en">Democrats</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/food-insecurity" hreflang="en">food insecurity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/hunger" hreflang="en">hunger</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/politics" hreflang="en">Politics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/poverty" hreflang="en">poverty</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tag/republicans" hreflang="en">Republicans</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884411" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311677218"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Someone once tried to put another program into the context of how would it help with the defense of the Country. The person replied that it doesn't. It was one of the things that made the Country worth defending.</p> <p>Food stamps and a safety net for the less well off is one of the things that makes the US worth defending. If we didn't have those, then spending money on defense would be penny wise and pound foolish.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884411&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="bfdFqAUaX65jgwHuJd-NWLJFjbotaKLwZZ9fgQQjU1M"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">daedalus2u (not verified)</a> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884411">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884412" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311678628"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I wonder if the the following is a fair argument:<br /> Most military volunteers of low rank come from low income households.<br /> This means a large percent of future volunteers are presently supported by food stamps.<br /> Therefore the food stamp program is actually essential defence spending; the future of armed forces depends on it.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884412&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="oH_btfGim6ZmmOeDGmCD3uKL9u61yroZHhCFXDmihIA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MissouriMule (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884412">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884413" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311679181"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Did you contact your Representative and tell them that you wanted the Debt Ceiling raised and that a compromise of spending cuts and revenue increases was the better way to lower our debt? Last night President Obama asked all of us to contact our Representative. I did.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884413&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="E73F66kO8x02QpdxqKURCPrW0D9xvUN1g0yS4jsuXDo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://florence-ruminations.blogspot.com/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Florence (not verified)</a> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884413">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884414" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311681466"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>MissouriMule -- the number of servicemen on foodstamps is a disgrace; it's a clear sign we aren't paying them enough. It's also, as you say, evidence that food stamps really are *directly* essential to defense.</p> <p>I like what daedalus2u brought up even more -- that programs like this make our nation worth defending. They're also another kind of defense. Defense against bad forture, which can strike any of us. Children are our future, even the children who had the misfortune of being born poor, and they are our best investment. We defend ourselves from future failure by increasing spending on schools, childcare, health care, and, yes, food stamps.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884414&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="fCAF-8-Q6kgvKeBcCtxIMKUXJknpp-xandeVMgxzBxg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Calli Arcale (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884414">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884415" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311683439"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,82088,00.html">http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,82088,00.html</a></p> <p>(Tongue in cheek) Admittedly, the Armed Services don't issue spouses - so our troops shouldn't have them.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884415&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="AbDSRG2tne6_ny4CQbLZ73MAgV_EZcPvWUYzgwC6TfA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Eric (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884415">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884416" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311687683"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>"If Republicans don't know this yet, they'll certainly find out."</p> <p>Alas, you may be overmisunderestimating the power of the religion our 'political parties' have spawned.</p> <p>I'm afraid I have some neighbors who will, definitely, starve and die, and take their children with them, before they change their minds about how things work.</p> <p>Riots in the streets will happen- but for other reasons; not because children are hungry. It will be the fault of those "liberals", etc, etc. The rhetoric is setting up, like concrete.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884416&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="g1Q18yQHGzjRx7Q3e1iORJkC79i9A4nRM-goPX09kNI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Greenpa (not verified)</a> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884416">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884417" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311694977"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Calli and Eric: did not occur to me that current employees (and their families) of the armed forces required food stamps to survive.<br /> I guess old folk like me all remember the army base where low ranks lived in barracks and ate at mess halls.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884417&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="d73c_PZh2fQcQ0epNvymPTHjQwOFhaEMWmANKlcwFqI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MissouriMule (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884417">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884418" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311700045"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There needs to be a lot more teaching of and understanding of Maslow. Food is at the base. Without it the rest doesn't stand. It's really that simple.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884418&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="cUW3ySPsrM54ntX_6cT98V862mhTTmg_LjeQabDGW3o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Erin (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884418">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884419" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311700764"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I sometimes really regret what liberals have done to undermine peopleâs independence with all the handouts, but I highly concur with what Sharon writes here. Frankly, as much as I hate to think about it, weâre going to need more wealth transference going on in the future as well, but first, defense:</p> <p>The amount we spend on âdefenseâ is a disgrace. I neednât tell anyone here how much the defense monster is out of control, and thatâs coming from someone who, over the past years, was all for a strong defense. But donât worry, the US cannot keep the defense spending up much longer. That Obama has continued the wars and all the imperialistic bullying â well, if *he* canât slow or stop this beast, then no one can. But again, our ability to continue feeding the defense machine is coming to an end whether a president likes it or not.</p> <p>Not too long ago, Stuart Staniford did several pieces on the so-called Singularity, that supposed time thatâs soon to come where human knowledge and technology takes off on some vertical asymptote and everybody lives happily ever after in some computer Utopia. ( <a href="http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/07/taking-singularity-apart.html">http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/07/taking-singularity-apart.html</a> and <a href="http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/07/hmmm.html">http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/07/hmmm.html</a> and especially: <a href="http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/06/morning-singularity-watch.html">http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/06/morning-singularity-watch.html</a> in which one commenter identified as âThe Caretakerâ said: â<i>I see the combination of peak oil and automation greatly increasing inequality across society. The stats show this has already happened over the last twenty years, as the benefits of productivity increases have gone to the elite while wages stagnate. The future is heading towards an economic system where the globalized elite reap larger and larger productivity gains from automation, while also being the only class able to afford oil and the easy transportation lifestyle that is seen as normal today. They use the funds to buy up "distressed properties", as they are already doing, and increasingly extract their wealth from the rents of the masses. Meanwhile, the middle class will be competing with machines that can do our job faster and cheaper, and spending more on food and energy, leaving little else in the way of discretionary spending. The gap in market power increasingly leads to elite consolidation of the political system....heck, we are basically already there. The gap will grow until....well something will have to happen and it won't be pretty. Will the middle class institute redistributive economic regimes, or be coerced into fighting the middle class of the neighboring country for the scraps? Time will tell.</i></p> <p>In all of those blog entries, along with the reader comments, I had a *duh* moment, not unlike when I read about Peak Oil a decade ago, in which I suddenly realized just how close we are to automation and machines rendering not just a few factory workers vocationally obsolete, but a good deal of everybody else as well. Somewhere also in Stuartâs blog, somebody mentioned Martin Fordâs book, <i>The Lights in the Tunnel</i>, (free download of the pdf version at: <a href="http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com/">http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com/</a>) which is Mr. Fordâs take on just where the accelerating march of technology is taking our world economy and society, and Iâve realized, itâs not going to a good place. Itâs going to a hellish one, and more to the point weâre much closer to it than I had realized. The reality is that automation and technology has killed many jobs already, but is poised to kill far, far, more jobs and occupations very shortly. Automation was supposed to give humanity much free time, and well, yes, so far itâs done just that to not just the upper class, but the lower classes as well - the latter very much against their will. If not for the food stamps and other wealth transfer programs the US already has, weâd be in for a world of hurt, but reading Fordâs work, along with the insightful comments at Stanifordâs blog, it hit me like a ton of bricks that weâre going to be needing and enduring a whole lot *more* govt. wealth transfer programs shortly out of necessity.</p> <p>The only major question I have is how much Peak Oil and Climate Change short circuits this march towards the (economic) Singularity and mega job loss through automation. That is, where is the balance between Fordâs work and that of Sharon and Aaronâs thesis in <i>A Nation of Farmers</i>, where reduced energy availability forces millions of people back into more basic work - work those workers will find happiness doing?</p> <p>Over the past several weeks, while trying to think through all Iâve concluded about the current and soon to be future impact of automation and technology on the greatly accelerating wealth concentration going on in this country has me looking at wealth transfer entitlements in a warm way I just didnât think was possible some months ago. </p> <p>That said, anything people can do at all to increase their self sufficiency and ability to work outside the present formal economy will be a very wise and welcome thing going forward.</p> <p>Sharon, Iâd be most interested in your take of Fordâs book and thoughts and just how his view of the future meshes with the one most of the rest of us here have developed of the Post Peak world. I mean, I know you have so much free time on your hands :-)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884419&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="DAjM9oOgmVujllWRUq5R7QaQbnUthwHWqTh07DhFMAo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Stephen B. (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884419">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884420" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311701019"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sharon, I just posted a largish comment to this blog, but due perhaps to its shear size, along with several embedded URLs, the software is holding it for moderation. Specifically, it comments on the necessity of many more wealth transfer systems such as food stamps in the face of what the explosion of automation and technology is doing to so many people's jobs and vocations. </p> <p>If you see fit to release it... :)</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884420&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="wjOrv0SW_COSG7laTIIRemAyNlavIC47m6TufiK48Js"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Stephen B. (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884420">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884421" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311710214"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Greatly reducing America's defence budget would do wonders for its image overseas. America's bully boy tactics make it the most loathed on the planet. One country has been found guilty of International Terrorism by the World Court, that right, its the good old USA. No other country claiming to be developed has so many people living below the poverty line, with a social welfare system 100 years out of date. With a debt so large it can never be paid off, why does America still have a AAA credit rating?</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884421&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="aEyPeUi9L6WR418NB7tqNitkYg8WL-Re68tQ3EolzIM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Adrianne (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884421">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884422" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311722268"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>@ MissouriMule,</p> <p>In the times you recall, you had to get a CO's permission -- and not just a formality -- to get married. And you had to be married to get out of the barracks. And that came from a time when there was no cohabitation, at least not publicly known.</p> <p>I think there is room to quibble about whether some recipients could survive intact, without food stamps. Not all, and truly. But some will buy the food stamp-approved groceries, then double the amount in beer, movies, and other non-essentials. And I am deeply suspicious of such an entitlement program so closely identified with one political party; it seems at times to be a deliberate vote-buying operation, that incidentally helps feed some people.</p> <p>I think it is more reasonable to say that the American military has been an immensely successful way for the poor to improve their economic and social status.</p> <p>Sharing service has also been an effective social engineering cauldron for desegregation and civil rights overall. Both the disadvantage and the nominally advantaged they serve with learn from the association, and carry that breadth of personal experience to the communities and families they come to live in later in life.</p> <p>Sharon makes the better point that food stamps improve national security by staving off social, and economic, unrest. It has ever been true, that a sound national defense begins with a sound economy.</p> <p>I just hope everyone that wants to gut (not just trim back) military spending remembers that other nations aren't issuing food stamps. And the traditional remedy outside the US for unrest is to label the neighbors as the enemy and send off an army or three to grab resources and punish "the enemy" they made up.</p> <p>@ Adrianne,</p> <p>Unfortunately, the Monroe Doctrine in the past showed the harm done by a "let's take care of ourselves" military posture.</p> <p>I think there are enormous savings available, if we change how we budget military units, and change how we procure material. JFK's Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara started the current process, where before letting a contract, everyone interested had to survive a paper evaluation. When procuring one fighter, one of the contractors had a flying demo but the other contractor won the contract on paper -- then experienced enormous delays and over-runs trying to get one to fly and in production. We all remember stories of the golden hammers and toilet seats. The real problem is that it literally costs companies thousands of dollars to get a hammer or toilet seat documented, reviewed, and evaluated by the government.</p> <p>Are there troops overseas or in various states that should be dispersed? Yep. But there are a lot of them that by being available, keep the world situation a bit calmer than it might have been.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884422&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="OVNP1Sa12EiJAYPaGYW13xivJDWUBd6QIZlMHJpWm7c"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.draftresource.com/mytake/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brad K. (not verified)</a> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884422">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884423" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311729162"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I thought you might find the Heritage Foundations recent backgrounder on poverty...um...interesting. <a href="http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/07/what-is-poverty">http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/07/what-is-poverty</a><br /> I find it telling that they talk about the poor being adequately nourished but only mention food stamps in passing and do not mention WIC at all.</p> <p>"However, even though the poor, in general, have an ample food supply, some do suffer from temporary food shortages. For example, a poor household with an adequate long-term food supply might need temporarily to cut back meals, eat cheap food, or go without if cash and food stamps run out at the end of the month."</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884423&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="iOcrIi1fqPM9f_IRbeBR5A01CuKeZ0nqK14Doyh021M"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Colleen (not verified)</span> on 26 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884423">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="78" id="comment-1884424" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311750249"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Stephen, that'll be my next stop. Brad, no offense, but the "vote buying" thing is pretty silly. The majority of the extremely poor in the US don't vote at all, and the ones that do are just as likely to vote Republican - the working poor in the south and heartland of the US have long been convinced that they are just one lottery win or business venture short of becoming rich and having to worry about death taxes. This is totally insane, of course, but I don't think there's any worry about vote buying.</p> <p>There are certainly some abuses of food stamps - there's no point in denying that. Any program large enough to matte will have some abuses - at the same time, the stats are extremely clear - families that receive food stamps are not doing well, and most of them run out of food regularly at the end of the month. Since half of them are kids, even if someone does buy beer with their limited other income, is it worth visiting hunger on small kids to prevent Dad from drinking - something he'll probably do anyway? Historically speaking, if Dad prioritizes beer over well-being, the kids just went hungry. With food stamps, at least they can (mostly) only be used for food, so the kids get some food.</p> <p>Sharon</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884424&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="gGEq_qBNOwnG-Lfnn6tfOoBNPnKZktIGs91yAKSum1Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/sastyk" lang="" about="/author/sastyk" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sastyk</a> on 27 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884424">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/sastyk"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/sastyk" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884425" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311757278"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>IIRC, malnutrition presented the UK with serious recruitment issues in WWI - some recruiting stations were turning away a third or more of applicants as being too stunted, or in too poor health, for service. While you don't need quite the same level of mobilisation in a modern army, it could start to cause problems, especially since, as an earlier commenter noted, the poorest are disproportionately represented in the ranks.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884425&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="XHMvzqj_m1sMOYQdvnu25uWDyAY6Scjnl4GRSAeYPfc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">stripey_cat (not verified)</span> on 27 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884425">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884426" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311761316"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sharon, your commenters may have hit upon EXACTLY the phrase we need to keep hammering to shut down the republican rhetoric - food stamps ARE national defense. </p> <p>@ Stripey cat: I was watching a WWII show on the History Channel not too many days ago (not too crazy about their spin but I love seeing the footage) and one thing that really stood out was how very *skinny* and malnourished many of the US soldiers looked, even when still at basic training. The Depression hit Americans hard, even when they DID have a farm to go back to.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884426&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="TCsg1fXLt6breJGvrznuxu_uXMiD_FCXefYvqg6dSQQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a rel="nofollow" href="http://thetinfoilhatsociety.wordpress.com" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Susan (not verified)</a> on 27 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884426">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884427" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311767212"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Let's run the real numbers:<br /> Since the mid 60's we have spent $16 Trillion on means tested government income re-distribution programs. We are now $14.2 Trillion in debt and have<br /> 44 million people on food stamps,<br /> over 40 million kids getting free school lunches,<br /> 9 million more on WIC,<br /> about 8 million in subsidized housing,<br /> 5 million on TANF,<br /> 8 million on SSI (including 1.2 million kids),<br /> about 49 million on Medicaid and<br /> 71 million households not paying taxes because of EITC and the Child Tax Credit.<br /> Does anybody really think more debt or taxes to pay for more income re-distribution programs is really going to help anything? How can a tax system be called "fair" when 47% of households are getting a free ride on the backs of the 53% who are paying income tax and carrying their own weight in society? What part of that is sustainable? What part of that is fair?<br /> All the corporations combined have never received this much of the taxpayers money. The cost of all the wars this country has ever fought doesn't come close to this massive shift of wealth from the people who earn it - to the people who do not earn it.<br /> The more we pay people to be poor, the more poor people we have. The above numbers prove that beyond any argument. And no - I am not wealthy, just sick and tired of paying other people's bills while the poor folks keep crying "woe is me" and their "benefits" just keep growing and getting passed from generation to generation.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884427&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="hnks8fBZb5q9TODpP699UuANitip5AoV_NzP7PWiXO0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">taxed (not verified)</span> on 27 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884427">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884428" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311779221"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>taxed: "The more we pay people to be poor, the more poor people we have." Is that what happened three years ago - we started paying poor people more to be poor? I could have sworn that folks who had gotten rich by gambling with other people's money screwed up, and other folks who had worked for years found themselves without house and home. But the rich got compensated for their recklessness, so I guess it's OK. Except for all those taxes they pay.</p> <p>The Koch brothers and their ilk are rich beyond the dreams of Midas, and they are determined to get all the richer in the few years they have left. We are all subsidizing them by our lives, and the quality of life, by our lungs, and our children's health.</p> <p>I am also taxed, but most of it goes to those far richer than I. And most of the poor I've known work their fingers to the bone. Most of the debt comes from TARP, Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and two wars, one poorly fought, and the other based on lies.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884428&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="BGsToO5LFnTkn96Mkp5XkjTbl3u-63BHSzrxwsjbJSk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kermit (not verified)</span> on 27 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884428">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884429" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311781674"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Taxed,</p> <p>You may not frequent Sharon's blog much and hence, may not have noticed me, but I am generally on the fairly conservative end of fiscal discussions here.</p> <p>I too was pretty right of center when it came to govt. spending - up until TARP, however. TARP was the most blatant bail out of wealthy, reckless folks who made bad business decisions that this federal government has done in its 2 centuries of existence. I mean, come on, TARP and the other bailouts (GM) were, what? something like twice the size of the ordinary federal annual budget? Then there were the 2 stupid wars of the past 10 years - I'm all for a true national defense, but Kermit's comments hit the nail on the head here.</p> <p>I have come to realize that we are pretty much stuck with lots of wealth transfer programs coming out of this government because, with the march of technology obsoleting people's jobs left and right, the only thing left to do is pay people a meager sum to kick back in their subsidized abode, eating their subsidized food - only now we're talking about cutting all that support as well. So there we have it, automation and offshoring, things that have been reducing jobs for some time, are moving ever faster. Now, not just the factory workers are losing jobs, but IT managers as well. I've even seen stories where lawyers are being replaced by computers - computers to do legal research and write up cases - the real lawyers merely review the output before presenting it in court. Bingo: one lawyer and a computer now do the work of 3 or 4 lawyers before. Meanwhile, this march of automation is going hand in hand with the rising price of food and energy, squeezing people even harder. No amount of re-education and job training is going to keep up with this either. The vocational obsoleting is just proceeding too quickly.</p> <p>I don't like all the entitlements either. I'd rather see people standing on their own, but what's going on here is much more complex than simply a liberal govt. run amok, handing out goodies. These entitlements are becoming a vital part of our social maintenance. </p> <p>Technology through automation, instant global communication, and transportation, is consolidating and eliminating jobs like never before. I used to think constrained world energy supplies would put a brake on this, but now, I'm not so sure. What is happening is that all this technology is allowing a wealth concentration into the hands of a very few on a scale that civilization has never before seen. I repeat: it isn't just the manual laborer jobs going away anymore. Entitlement payments are becoming a way (a poor way, but a way nevertheless) to redeploy a bit of the wealth back to common people that the impending economic singularity it trying to concentrate in some kind of ultra tight circle of a very few ultra rich, elite.</p> <p>I've recently seen it written that these automation and technological trends could lead to 30 to 60 percent of today's jobs being eliminated with no replacement jobs created. You think entitlement spending is large now? Just wait.</p> <p>I know we want to reward hard work and intelligence, but we're headed into uncharted waters regarding wealth concentration. If you think this is an okay and good thing, I'd think again if I were you.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884429&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="ugC8gStoczkCl4zE_mmlco-_K6kNk9CqYx2xVklRdwo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Stephen B. (not verified)</span> on 27 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884429">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884430" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311832657"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Hungry people start revolutions.</p> <p>Marie Antoinette found that out the hard way, as did several other rulers.<br /> The Republicans may be next.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884430&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="co91ahPL89aMPJu5IZichGaSZSNz-x_o8o7Mbp80JyQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Rebecca (not verified)</span> on 28 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884430">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884431" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311869875"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sharon: long-time reader here from your early, early days...</p> <p>So, I'm in a MPA program right now (Public Administration) and I'm writing a white paper suggesting the reforming of SNAP such that families can't use Food Stamps to buy sugar-sweetened-beverages (soda, etc.) as a way to combat child-hood obesity and force the money to be spent on more healthy choices. I'm aware of the Massachussettes program that gives an incentive to buy healthy foods. And also of the snowballs-chance-in-hell of my suggested change being adopted over the sugar-lobbies dead body...and a few libertarians.</p> <p>Still, any thoughts on that? From the research I've read, the general consensus is that even the high-poverty segment is getting enough calories by standard measure, but the lack of quality food is driving the strange starved-but-obese paradigm. But then, if I were really starving, I'd take whatever I could find. But if all you have access to is processed crap sugar foods, isn't that like drinking sea-water on a life-raft? Oi.</p> <p>I'm just having a hard time getting my head around this. And that's without even getting into the "can we even afford this?" question. Double-oi.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884431&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="B0acp0RFTLD0hsvdOaEbzDD1zyGiEYgWz0Sbbl4JItM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dan (not verified)</span> on 28 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884431">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="78" id="comment-1884432" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1311922407"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Dan, I'm of two minds on this - in principle I think that denying people the right to buy crap food with food stamps isn't inherently a bad idea. At the same time, I think it will be ineffective - particularly since something like 1/4 of food stamp recipients are spending them illegally - often not for bad reasons. Sure, some of them trade their food stamps for cigarettes and liquor, but most of the illegal usage is spent trading at convenience stores for things they need but can't use food stamps for - toilet paper, tampons, pencils for their kids to use at school, soap, etc... We've had pretty poor luck controlling how food stamps are really used. But yes, no soda seems like a pretty reasonable regulation.</p> <p>Sharon</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884432&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="rBrvs978--zpH6a-lBFzh1Q9xGZXdtqvk7l05-jurkc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <a title="View user profile." href="/author/sastyk" lang="" about="/author/sastyk" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sastyk</a> on 29 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884432">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/author/sastyk"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/author/sastyk" hreflang="en"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-1884433" class="js-comment comment-wrapper clearfix"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1312109665"></mark> <div class="well"> <strong></strong> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Once upon an old and slippery slope we glide....</p> <p>Cooking a frog at a slow boil drastically reduces the odds that it will succeed by employing fight or flight strategies, but when the frog can see what's happening to other frogs and understand it's implications it might stand a slightly better chance of survival. </p> <p>Interestingly, giving frogs a vote on who does the cooking, which recipe to follow and what water temperature should be employed seems rather disturbing to me, but apparently it's effective in diverting the frog's attention.</p> <p>Meanwhile, back in the budget office folks are still trying to decide where the lines between rich and poor are drawn.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1884433&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="GOeQQj25am2y2UbbFqpZ1pnEVKaMBf4Mw2K-hpLWtuw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <em>By <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">sorites paradox (not verified)</span> on 31 Jul 2011 <a href="https://scienceblogs.com/taxonomy/term/14024/feed#comment-1884433">#permalink</a></em> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0" hreflang="und"><img src="/files/styles/thumbnail/public/default_images/icon-user.png?itok=yQw_eG_q" width="100" height="100" alt="User Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> </footer> </article> </section> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-forbidden"><a href="/user/login?destination=/casaubonsbook/2011/07/26/yes-food-stamps-are-more-impor%23comment-form">Log in</a> to post comments</li></ul> Tue, 26 Jul 2011 09:53:24 +0000 sastyk 63699 at https://scienceblogs.com