Tag: Food Stamps

NYT’s Reporter Wonders Why the President’s Approval Ratings Are So Bad

What world do the economics writer live in? It can’t be anywhere on the planet Earth, never mind the United States, especially when they write things like this:

Obama’s Puzzle: Economy Rarely Better, Approval Rarely Worse

President Obama will pronounce on the state of the union for the fifth time on Tuesday, and never during his time in office has the state of the economy been better – yet rarely has he gotten such low marks from the public for his handling of it.

Not only have economic indicators shown progress toward pre-recession health, but many forecasters are predicting what one called “a breakout year” for growth. A new study from a Federal Reserve economist even put a more benign spin on a negative trend, the shrinking labor force, by attributing the decline not to discouraged unemployed workers who have quit looking for jobs, but to the first baby-boomer retirements.

Demand for labor is up and the unemployment rate is below 7 percent for the first time since November 2008. Consumers, buoyed by rising home prices and stock values, are spending more; so are businesses. Exports are growing as Europe regains health. The fiscal drag from state and federal spending cuts has abated.

I suppose that the writer, Jackie Calmes, who covers the White house, is a very smart person but obviously not tuned into what is a happening outside the bubble of the political pages of the New York Times. Quoting one anonymous Federal Reserve economist without evidence to refute the actual numbers from the Bureau of Labor statistics is ether more spin or bad journalism, probably both. We all know that the markets and the GDP are not true indicators of how well the majority of Americans are faring economically.

However, the explanation for the negativity about the economy and not just the president’s approval ratings but those of the Congress, is simple: since the “recovery” started in June 2009, 95 percent of the income gains have gone to the richest 1 percent (pdf) of the U.S. population. For a vast number of Americans the recession never ended.

Just look at what is happening in New York City, since the drastic cuts to SNAP and unemployment benefits ended, food banks and soup kitchens have seen an increase in the number of people seeking assistance and are now running out of food

New York, NY – January 22, 2014 – New research from Food Bank For New York City reveals a majority of New York City’s food pantries and soup kitchens (85 percent) experienced an increase in the number of visitors following a $5 billion national cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) that took effect on November 1st, 2013. In fact, the numbers of visitors post-November 1 actually exceeded the number of visitors seen in November 2012, in the immediate aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. [..]

* 85% reported an overall increase in visitors in November 2013, as compared to November 2012, immediately following Super Storm Sandy.

* 76% of food pantries and soup kitchens saw an increase in visitors in November 2013 compared to the previous two months, with nearly half (45%) reporting considerable increases in visitor traffic of more than 25%;

* get propecia cheap Nearly half (48%) of emergency food providers ran out of food required for meals or pantry bags, with 26% reporting having to turn people away due to insufficient food supplies;

* Nearly one quarter (23%) of food pantries and soup kitchens reported having to reduce the total number of meals they otherwise provided

  That should be setting off alarm bells in Congress and at the White House. It isn’t. Congress is now set to pass a farm bill that further cuts food assistance by another $8.8 billion dollars over 10 years but continues generous subsidies for farmers.

The president will address this inequality and need for jobs with a living wage in the State of the Union address tonight. The White House has announced that he will raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour by executive order. The president has also said that he has “a pen and a phone” and is going to use them. The question is, with so many Americans suffering and the middle class shrinking, what took five years? And why should anyone believe him now?

Perhaps if he started with vetoing this farm bill and taking a stand against the Republicans and the corporate Democrats who enable them, then, maybe, he’d see an improvement in his approval ratings. Another flowery speech won’t do it.

And, Ms Calmes, read something other than your own paper, you might find out what’s going on in the world outside the offices of the NYT. Better yet, check out a food kitchen or pantry.

Bill Moyers: The Face of Hunger in America

The Faces of America’s Hungry



The full transcript can be read here

The story of American families facing food insecurity is as frustrating as it is heartbreaking, because the truth is as avoidable as it is tragic. Here in the richest country on earth, 50 million of us – one in six Americans – go hungry. More than a third of them are children. And yet Congress can’t pass a Farm Bill because our representatives continue to fight over how many billions to slash from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. The debate is filled with tired clich├ęs about freeloaders undeserving of government help, living large at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers. But a new documentary, A Place at the Table, paints a truer picture of America’s poor.

“The cost of food insecurity, obesity and malnutrition is way larger than it is to feed kids nutritious food,” Kristi Jacobson, one of the film’s directors and producers, tells Bill. She and Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, explain to Bill how hunger hits hard at people from every walk of life. [..]

Later, Greg Kaufmann – poverty correspondent for The Nation – talks about how the poor have been stereotyped and demonized in an effort to justify huge cuts in food stamps and other crucial programs for low-income Americans.

One in Six Americans Are Hungry

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

As more and more Americans fall into or near poverty income level, congress is debating a new Farm Bill which will impact on the ability of people to feed themselves and their families:

While the legislation will set farm policy and impact food prices for the next five years, many forget that viagra generico 100 mg online prezzo piu basso roughly 80 percent of the funding in the bill goes to providing food for the country’s less fortunate. At the end of 2012, according to the USDA, there were nearly go here 48 million people on food stamps.

In the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday, lawmakers passed its version of the bill, while the House Agriculture Committee will begin marking up its bill Wednesday. The versions of the key legislation remain vastly different in how they handle the country’s food assistance program, and will need to be reconciled before current regulations expire in September.

The Senate’s legislation would make about $4 billion in reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, during the next decade. The House version would cut five times as much – $20 billion through the same time period.

According to a new report from the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, one in six Americans are facing food insecurity (pdf):

The united states is facing a food security crisis:

One in six Americans lives in a household that cannot afford adequate food. Of these 50 million individuals, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has skyrocketed since the economic downturn, with an additional 14 million people classified as food insecure in 2011 than in 2007. For these individuals, being food insecure means living with trade-offs that no one should have to face,  like choosing between buying food and receiving medical care or paying the bills. Many food insecure people also face tough choices about the quality of food they eat, since low-quality processed foods are often more affordable and accessible than fresh and nutritious foods. Food insecurity takes a serious toll on individuals, families, and communities and has significant consequences for health and educational outcomes, especially for children. Food insecurity is also enormously expensive for society. According to one estimate, the cost of hunger and food insecurity in the United States amounted to $167.5 billion in 2010.

Additionally, the report shows that the existing program a fail. as Aviv Shen notes in her article at Think Progress:

(T)he four biggest food assistance programs fall short for as many as 50 million food insecure households. Eligibility requirements are already so strict that one in four households classified as food insecure were still considered too high-income to receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Even families considered poor enough for food aid only get a pittance that runs out quickly; for instance, the maximum benefit for a family of four is $668 a month, or a little under $2 per meal for each family member.

To demonstrate the impossibility of surviving on food stamps, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) recently spent a week eating on $4.80 a day, mainly consuming ramen noodles, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a banana. “I’m hungry for five days…I lost six pounds in four days,” Murphy said upon concluding the experiment. He also realized that nutritious food and produce was far, far out of reach for people living on SNAP benefits. Indeed, obesity and related diseases are common among SNAP recipients who simply can’t afford nutritious food.

Co-author and faculty director of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, Smita Narula was a guest on Democracy Now with hosts Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.

Transcript can be read here

Food stamps a growth industry for JP Morgan.

Okay, the next step in our free-market fundamentalist socio-economic ontogeny really is “soylent green is people!”  I mean mother fucker!  JP Morgan is one of the chief causes of putting people on food stamps, AND they are the number one provider of food stamps to Americans.  They profit directly in taxpayer dollars from the destitution they cause us.

Are you shitting me?  Is this the Twilight Zone?

JP Morgan is the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States.  JP Morgan has contracted to provide food stamp debit cards in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.  JP Morgan is paid for each case that it handles, so that means that the more Americans that go on food stamps, the more profits JP Morgan makes.  Yes, you read that correctly.  When the number of Americans on food stamps goes up, JP Morgan makes more money.  In the video posted below, JP Morgan executive Christopher Paton admits that this is “a very important business to JP Morgan” and that it is doing very well.  Considering the fact that the number of Americans on food stamps has exploded from 26 million in 2007 to 43 million today, one can only imagine how much JP Morgan’s profits in this area have soared.  But doesn’t this give JP Morgan an incentive to keep the number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program as high as possible?  

First, who in the world thought that an investment bank would be a provider of food stamps in the first fucking place?  When did that become privatized?  And why the fuck would you privatize food stamps in the first place?  Because everything becomes more efficient when you pay for exorbitant profits and executive bonuses?  How does paying for some cocksucker’s gazillion-dollar house in the Hamptons make feeding the destitute more efficient?  How does everything get fucking financialized?  How does paying rent on every god-damned government function create efficiency?  

When our “legislative engineers” begin engineering solutions to our problems, their first order of duty appears to be mandating conflicts of interest in every blueprint and block of programming code.  Every god-damned flow chart indicates that the person causing the problem for a fee is the person in charge of fixing it for a fee in an infinite loop of corruption.  Every input and output in the declaration file assigns citizens as suckers and Wall Street as benefactors of our largesse.  And if there is a programming bug, such that there is a government function from which Wall Street is not siphoning profits, they send their lobbyist lizards skulking into Congress to get those bugs out.

Food stamp usage went from 27 million to 43 million between 2007 and now, because Wall Street crashed the global economy.  We bailed them out and went on food stamps.  How do they manage to profit off of every god-damned discomfort and distress twice, thrice, really, who knows how many times their profits and bonuses treble for every ounce of woe they foist on us?

Just listen to this Wall Street lizard croaking out his reason for living:

“Volumes [of food stamps and profits] have gone through the roof in the past couple of years.”  Our indigence, misery, and privation are a boon to them, a fucking growth industry.  They’re burning our candle on both ends.  And in the middle.  Fuck.  Them.

How is it that Wall Street and Congress have the balls to do this?

I feel like cold-cocking someone.  How’s that for civility, cocksuckers?   Tunisia, here we come.

Friday: CA Governor Declares State of County Emergency – Cause: Fire @ Galleria Mall

Another in the category of Things That I Just Can’t Make Up:



http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=dove-comprare-Viagra-generico-200-mg-a-Parma “I guess I’m not going to the mall, after all. Good God.”

see url

Friday, October 22, 2010 – Outgoing Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, today proclaimed a state of emergency in Placer County, due to a major fire causing severe damage to the regional shopping mall in the city of Roseville the day before.  

Text of Proclamation from the Governor’s office:


A PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS on October 21, 2010 a major fire caused severe damage to the regional shopping mall in the City of Roseville in Placer County; and

WHEREAS the fire caused extensive damage to the mall and numerous stores, and it is likely that the mall will be closed for an indefinite period of time; and

WHEREAS the fire and potential criminal activity required the evacuation of hundreds of shoppers and employees; and

WHEREAS the fire required fire agencies and other emergency responders from throughout the region to respond; and

WHEREAS the closure of the mall and the stores will likely cause the immediate loss of many jobs in the area and the need for the unemployed to quickly receive financial assistance; and

WHEREAS the fire created a substantial amount of ash and other debris that will need to be quickly removed in order to reestablish the shopping mall and jobs; and



WHEREAS on October 21, 2010, the City of Roseville declared a local emergency and requested that I declare a state of emergency; and  

WHEREAS the circumstances of this fire and subsequent damage to a regional shopping center, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the fire in Placer County.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist within Placer County.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that all agencies of the state government utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the direction of the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) and the State Emergency Plan, and that Cal EMA provide local government assistance under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, including the Emergency Services Act and in particular Government Code sections 8567 and 8571 to immediately mitigate the effects of the emergency:

1. That the provisions of Unemployment Insurance Code section 1253 imposing a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance applicants are suspended as to all applicants who are unemployed as a direct result of the fire and damage to the regional shopping center in Placer County, and who apply for unemployment insurance benefits during the time period beginning October 21, 2010 and ending on the close of business on April 21, 2011 and who are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in California.

1. That the statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are hereby suspended to the extent they apply to the following activities: (a) removal, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous debris resulting from the disaster; (b) necessary restoration; and (c) related activities. Such statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are suspended only to the extent necessary for expediting the removal and cleanup of debris from the disaster, and for implementing any restoration plan. The Secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary for the California Resources Agency shall use sound discretion in applying this suspension to ensure that the suspension serves the purpose of accelerating cleanup and recovery, while at the same time protecting public health and the environment. This order shall apply to, but is not necessarily limited to, solid waste facility permits, and waste discharge requirements for storage, disposal, and emergency construction activities, along with waste discharge requirements and/or Water Quality Certification for discharges of fill material or pollutants. To the extent it is within their administrative authority and discretion, the boards, departments and offices within the California Environmental Protection Agency and California Resources Agency shall expedite the granting of other authorizations, waivers or permits necessary for the removal, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous debris resulting from the fire, and for other actions necessary for the protection of public health and the environment.

1. State and local agencies shall, as necessary for the protection of public health and the environment and pursuant to requests from local government, enter into contracts and arrange for the procurement of materials, goods, and services necessary to quickly remove dangerous debris, repair damaged resources, and restore and protect the impacted area. Because strict compliance with the provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code applicable to public agency contracts would prevent, hinder, or delay these efforts, applicable provisions of those statutes, including, but not limited to, advertising and competitive bidding requirements, are suspended to the extent necessary to address the effects of the fire.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.

Health Care Reform Starts with Those Who Are Willing to Change Existing Policies

I again write today about what has become a completely inadvertent, but nonetheless growing series of personal anecdotes which reveal both the depths of our broken medical system and the shocking limitations and abuses of a system of social services designed to care for the poor and disabled.  In so doing, I have uncovered a tremendous number of objectionable practices that would never be considered acceptable among the more fortunate.  Established policies designed to assist and give comfort instead punish the genuinely needy.  For example, in the process of applying for a variety of safety net programs, I have been threatened with complete termination of coverage if I didn’t follow every step exactly as requested and in a supremely timely, if not obsessively punctual fashion.  In some states and municipalities this sort of conduct would be not just be bad form, it would also be against regulations.  Not here.  

In the District of Columbia, no one apparently sees the problem in treating low-income and disabled residents like criminals.  To make my case once more, let me provide a bit of backdrop.  The District is a very unusual place in lots of ways.  Though technically it is merely the physical location for the seat of national government, it is governed as a kind of odd mix between a state and a city.  Like most American cities, its population consists of an often uncomfortable combination of the affluent and educated, most of whom are relatively financially secure whites, and a core of heavily impoverished and undereducated residents who are usually black.  If DC were a state, and much larger based on surface area alone, there would be more of a middle ground between the have-everythings and the have-nothings, but this is simply not the case here.        

The District contains its own particular system of distributing food stamps, low-income medical insurance, prescription drug coverage, and providing disability benefits to those unable to work.  In roughly six months of trying to work a system that is both ridiculously ineffective and unnecessarily complex, what I have come to realize is that it is also a system based on punitive retribution, which is neither fair to applicants nor particularly effective to everyone.  With every step of the process, regardless of what it might be this time, the necessary paperwork I was provided screamed out in bold, block letters, often capitalized lest I overlook it, that I better fill this latest form out perfectly and as soon as possible, else I’d find myself without anything at all.

The existing system itself is so unwieldy that I have often been provided incorrect, or at best inexact information.  I don’t fault those who gave me wrong information because learning all the particulars takes months, if not years, and turnover in social service agencies is often quite constant based on the fact that the job promises low pay and high stress.  I was, for instance, told that I would only need to re-apply for food stamps once every six months.  However, within two months I received a letter in the mail, one printed so cheaply and faintly that often reading the words was a challenge, specifying that I needed to re-certify how much income I was currently making, else I be denied next month’s allotment.  The return envelope was just as difficult to read and after affixing a stamp to cover the cost of postage, I took the time to write out by hand the return address, else some postal carrier not be able to discern its destination.  

The implication of this was quite clear.  The instant I could be have my monthly allocation reduced, or even trimmed from the rolls altogether, the better.  I do certainly recognize that we’ve all been hurting and will continue to suffer so long as this recession, or at least the lingering effects of it doggedly persist, but I hardly think the solution is in weeding out those who depend on these services, particularly since so many of them are the very definition of working poor with their own children and families to support.  When I had the benefit of an increased income and decent benefits, no one ever made me certify that I still needed them.  I was trusted, for the most part, to not abuse the system.  Now, I am automatically suspect.

The low-income health care coverage I use via the District’s own program is sufficient, but hardly convenient.  After filing for disability, I assumed once granted it that I would also receive Medicaid.  Medicaid, while it certainly contains its own limitations, still provides a greater sphere of coverage than the DC program.  Medicaid would allow me to have my prescriptions filled at a conventional pharmacy like a CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens, whereas the only way to get my medications via the other coverage plan is to visit the sole pharmacy in the District that stocks the drugs I require on a daily basis to maintain my health.  It is located in a tremendously inconvenient part of town to get to, based on where I live, and it takes thirty to forty-five minutes via public transportation to arrive.  Often I end up expending the better part of a morning from start to finish once one factors in sitting in a waiting room, trying to be patient while the drugs are filled.  As it turns out, no one told me that according to District-only procedure I needed to apply for Medicaid separately and go through another time-consuming process.  Of course, this is a means of saving money and reducing cost on their part, but in my opinion, it is silly to assume that someone who is DISABLED and has to subsist on a minimal monthly allowance wouldn’t need basic health insurance as well.

To chalk this up to something as relatively straightforward as racism, classism, abelism, or the like would only be confronting a small sliver of a larger problem.  I fault those who set policy in the first place, whomever that might be.  To return to my own struggles once more, I believed originally (and even wrote in an earlier entry) that one of my medications was available to be filled at the low-income on-site pharmacy, though there was often a substantial delay in getting it in stock.  As it turns out, I was once again told wrongly.  The drug is not stocked at all because with it comes the threat of a hypertensive crisis if very specific dietary restrictions are not adhered to exactingly.  Obviously, no one wants the bad press or potential lawsuits that might transpire if a patient had one of these (or if, God forbid, he or she died as a result), and this goes for doctor and District government alike.  But to be deathly afraid of litigation, regardless of how baseless it might be doesn’t so much reflect upon a problematic legal system as a complete lack of basic trust and compassion for our fellow beings.  We could make sure that frivolous malpractice lawsuits were minimal, but unless we get to the reason why people file them in the first place, any legislation passed into law will not achieve its purpose.

Returning again to my medical situation, the particular medication I take is absolutely essential to assure my continued basic functionality and it works so well that the difference between not being on it and being on it is like night and day.  That I am able to manage the restrictions competently speaks partially to my willful desire to stay healthy, but also that I am educated enough to recognize what foods I need to avoid and to do my research accordingly.  The assumption in not stocking the med, regardless of whether or not it could really help someone in need, is that a person with barely a high school diploma, having grown up in utter squalor and with all the problems that result from it might not have the same capacity and level of personal responsibility as me.  Yet again, here we have a punitive, blanket response when basic compassion and an examination of people on a case-by-case basis would be much more effective.  Once more, we opt for the quick fix instead of really examining the full picture.              

As for whether Congress will pass health care legislation, I’ll leave that never-ending speculation to someone else for today, at least.  What I do know is that whatever reform measures we pass will need to take into account whether we treat fellow human beings as numbers, money drains, or as only waiting for the next opportunity to take a mile once we grant them an inch.  We certainly don’t seem to wish to grant anyone who we perceive as other than us the most basic of trust, nor do we take into account that all humans make mistakes, are fallible, and aren’t perfect.  We read about drive-by-shootings, petty crime, and drug deals and think that anyone born into such circumstances must be guilty by association.  Fifty-two years after the film Twelve Angry Men was released, we’re still stuck in that same way of thinking.

 

Juror #8: Look, this kid’s been kicked around all of his life. You know, born in a slum. Mother dead since he was nine. He lived for a year and a half in an orphanage when his father was serving a jail term for forgery. That’s not a very happy beginning. He’s a wild, angry kid, and that’s all he’s ever been. And you know why, because he’s been hit on the head by somebody once a day, every day. He’s had a pretty miserable eighteen years. I just think we owe him a few words, that’s all.

  Juror #10: I don’t mind telling you this, mister. We don’t owe him a thing. He got a fair trial, didn’t he? What do you think that trial cost? He’s lucky he got it. You know what I mean? Now look, we’re all grown-ups in here. We heard the facts, didn’t we? You’re not gonna tell me that we’re supposed to believe this kid, knowing what he is. go Listen, I’ve lived among them all my life. You can’t believe a word they say. You know that. I mean, they’re born liars.

  Juror #9: accutane 40 mg b i d Only an ignorant man can believe that… Do you think you were born with a monopoly on the truth?

Food Stamp Profiling Contributes to the Stigma

The Food Stamp program has always been a contentious, heavily partisan issue.  A recent New York Times article highlights the back-and-forth that has characterized the highs and lows of the program, and where it seems to be headed.  Today I’ve chosen to write about this controversial subject to, in part, document of my own direct personal experience.  Though food stamp usage might have been more stigmatized in an earlier year, there is unfortunately still much bias and prejudice directed towards those who take advantage of its existence.  Until this is eliminated, others will refuse to apply and find their poverty and need considerably worsened.  If this be Welfare, it is one of the most essential safety nets ever devised and my fear is that a resurgent GOP presence will eliminate it altogether, or prune it back considerably.  

Feeding the Poor: A Tangible Kind of Stimulus

A few weeks back, I wrote about my trials, travails, and tribulations achieving food stamps.  I am pleased to report that due to my own persistence and the fantastic support of an advocacy agency, I was granted an EBT card.  Earlier today I trudged through areas of town which have not seen much in the way of a plow or a shovel.  I literally did have to walk a half a mile uphill in the snow both ways to arrive at the proper place, though I’ll save that lecture for another time.  Since I have joined the ranks of the unemployed, I’ve had to swallow quite a bit of pride, which isn’t always a bad thing, all told.  The complications that went into obtaining food stamps were easily explained, once I met with the proper person, and with resolution I have no further griping to share on that matter.  

A well-designed website imploring those wishing to apply for food stamps to submit their claim by mail, after, of course, entering pertinent information and printing out several pages of a lengthy form sounds attractive enough.  However, I learned that while the mechanism may exist, budget shortfalls prevented the DC government from being able to hire the workers needed to process internet-based claims.  It would not be much of a stretch to deem this situation an glaring example of an unfunded mandate.  Reform cannot proceed without the allocation of funds and while we often are curtly dismissive of throwing money at a problem, granting low income citizens the ability to feed themselves somehow doesn’t seem to be on par with all of these anti-underclass talking points that find their way into the mouths of Republicans and Republican politicians.

If one considers Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, then food falls right down there at the bottom of the pyramid.  Without the literal requirements for human survival, it’s tough to be a Welfare Queen or milker of the system.  According to Maslow, it’s only after our base needs for survival are met that anyone could ever even entertain the notion to willfully freeload.

With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual’s safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. These needs have to do with people’s yearning for a predictable, orderly world in which injustice and inconsistency are under control, the familiar frequent and the unfamiliar rare. In the world of work, these safety needs manifest themselves in such things as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, and the like.

But until one has the security of knowing he or she will be fed on a daily basis without having to worry about potential financial famine, safety is not a concern.

As for my own situation, my packet of information sat on a desk for over a month, unprocessed.  Because a meeting with a claims associate regarding whether or not food stamps will be granted or denied must, by rule, be granted and scheduled within 30 days, once I was approved I was given a month and one week’s worth of groceries I should have received earlier had everything proceeded in a timely fashion.  Though I received only $200 a month in food stamps, which is approximately half of what my grocery bill is for the same period, I am not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.  In all fairness to the DC Food Stamp program, it has won awards for how promptly and effectively it processes claims and while my situation is uncommon, it is hardly unusual when one considers the food stamp programs in other states.  In a fairer society, I would have had my entire food budget subsidized, saving me from having to rob Peter to pay Paul as so many of us have to do these days, but perhaps someday we will learn that though we have a tremendous amount of financial resources in this country to go round, even in times of recession, we spread them around unequally and in so doing shortchange the least among us.          

Part of the problem is the stigma and the misinformation that still persists regarding accepting government aid of any kind, food stamps being merely one example.  One would think that welfare cheats salivate at the very idea of eating from the public trough, if you’d believe the stereotype.  DC Hunger Solutions, the advocacy agency who so kindly went to bat for me and got my situation resolved, corrects many of the myths and stigmas surrounding food stamps.  

Only 83% of eligible District residents, and 36% of eligible low-income working families, receive food stamps. dove acquistare viagra generico a Napoli Every $1 of food stamps spent in the community generates $1.85 in local economic activity. D.C. would gain millions in federal funds by signing up eligible households – funds that would stimulate the local economy. People who work sometimes assume they are not eligible for food stamps, or that time-off from work is required to apply. This is not true. A family of 3 with a minimum wage earner could be eligible for over $3,000 annually in benefits, and working families can complete phone interviews rather than go to the food stamp office in-person.

The true impact of the Economic Stimulus Package has become a political football of sorts, in part because what it promised could not be easily measured or highlighted in concrete detail.  If, however, we shifted at least some of the focus towards fully funding both the programs that provide food to the poor and the monies necessary to provide more assistance, then these would be highly visible symbols of what good government is capable of if it puts its mind to it and does not get distracted with superficial squabbling or red tape disasters.  When close to two dollars worth of gain comes as a result of every one dollar spent, one cannot overlook the overall benefit.  We often believe that reform of any sort ought to be an awe inspiring and highly complicated matter, when sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  

Who Do We Trust with Our Tax Dollars? Who Should We Trust, Instead?

I thought I’d do something different today for comparison’s sake.  With everyone sufficiently indignant at our banking system, our government’s response, and at the abuses within the Bailout, I thought I might provide some needed contrast.  The details which follow first are the literal steps one has no choice but to follow to attain food stamps in Washington, DC.  I pulled certain phrases off of an advocacy website PDF here but the construction is largely mine.



follow link How to Obtain Food Stamps in the District of Columbia

1.  Sit in line at the Food Stamp office nearest you and, while waiting, fill out a 12 page form.

OR

Print the form and fill out all 12 pages.

2.  To make sure you do not try to cheat the system, you will first be required to reveal your

a) Household income

b) Cash present on hand

c) Rent and utility costs

3.   You will then be asked to provide

a) where you work (if you are, in fact, employed)

b) your employer’s name and telephone number

c) when you started working for them

d) how much your paycheck is before taxes

e) and how often you get paid

4.  If you or anyone else in your household makes some degree of income, repeat step 3

5.  If you have a bank account, you are required to prove it by providing a bank statement

6.  If you own anything else besides your home, you are required to state that you do.

7.  If you have stocks and/or bonds, please respond in in the affirmative.

8.  Did you sell, trade, or give away anything more than $1,000 in the past three (3) years?  If so, please mark “yes” and attach a description to this form.

9.  Provide the exact dollar amount of that which you pay in rent.  Don’t forget to leave out utilities if not included in rent and whether or not you pay for air-conditioning and heating costs separate from your rent.

10.  Mail form.  Wait approximately three and a half weeks for a reply, only to be told after four separate phone calls spent futilely trying to speak to an actual person that, due to a severe backlog in unprocessed claims, it may be up to a month and a half before your paperwork is processed.

OR

Drop off form at Food Stamps office.  Speak to case worker after waiting for several hours.  Turn in form.  Wait approximately three and a half weeks for a reply, only to be after four separate phone calls futilely trying to speak to an actual person that, due to a severe backlog in unprocessed claims, it may be up to a month and a half before your paperwork is processed.

11.  Wait

12.  Keep waiting.

13.  Finally receive form in mail informing of date to meet with caseworker to determine whether Food Stamps will be granted.  Date is eight business days from when one received notice.

14.  Collect necessary documentation to prove identity.  This includes:

a) Photo ID/Drivers’ license

b) Recent rent receipt, copy of lease, mortgage payment, or landlord’s name and phone number.

c) Proof of income, last three pay stubs, VA benefits, educational scholarships, grants or loans, unemployment payments, or your employer’s name and phone number.

d)  Proof of Housing Expense:   Recent rent or mortgage payment receipts.  This includes receipts of all recent utility bill(s): phone, gas, electric, and water.  All of these documents must have your address printed on them.

e) Bank statements:  If one has an account at a bank or credit union, bring a  recent bank statement or bankbook. Also if you have any other type of financial account (for example, a CD) be sure to bring that, too.

f) Social Security Card

g) Proof of any Assets:  Bring proof of ownership for buildings, land, policies, burial arrangements or plots, and/or other property (not your home that you stay in) you reported in your application.

15.  After all hoops have been jumped through and forms brought to the attention and signed off by the appropriate party, wait for judgment about food stamps.

16.  Ten days later, judgment is granted.  Realize that $100.12 per month means approximately one week’s worth of groceries for one person.  Shrug and say to self that every little bit matters.

17.  Attend mandatory EBT Card (Food Stamp) card training before receiving.  Training lasts approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

18.  Proceed directly to grocery store.

miglior sito per comprare viagra generico 50 mg spedizione veloce a Verona

How to Obtain Bailout Money in the District of Columbia




1.  Be a CEO of a large financial institute.

2.  State that you are nearly bankrupt, but too big to fail.

3.  Collect emergency funds.

Michelle: “It Hurts!!”, “It Hurts!!”

I went over to ABC News to see if they had posted a video report that I caught last night, never got to that as this is what I found, and will be airing this morning on GMA.

Exclusive: ‘It Hurts,’ Says First Lady of Military Families on Food Stamps

First lady Michelle Obama wants military families to know they have a friend in the White House, she told “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts in an exclusive interview today at Fort Bragg, N.C. — her first network television interview since her husband took office.

“It hurts. It hurts,” the first lady said of hearing about military families on food stamps. “These are people who are willing to send their loved ones off to, perhaps, give their lives — the ultimate sacrifice. But yet, they’re living back at home on food stamps. It’s not right, and it’s not where we should be as a nation.”