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Thursday, August 18

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« Activists Protest CPS Mass Layoffs and Latest Budget Cuts Is Teach For America a Good Thing for Chicago Public Schools? »

State Budget Thu Jun 20 2013

Food Assistance Program (SNAP) Facing an Uncertain Future

Food assistance funding is now on the chopping block. In a state that is crippled by fiscal failures and a heavy pension crisis, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is facing a total of $20 billion in cuts over 10 years, harming soup kitchens, food pantries and needy families. Three democratic leaders took a stand this week urging Congress to rethink their actions. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) and Bill Foster (D-Illinois) who represent different districts opposed the plan citing two million families will be affected.

Those who oppose government assistance will be the first to accuse liberals of instituting government dependency not understanding how some families literally have nothing. There are children who are being bred in a life of poverty in the world's richest country. It's not just a matter of creating an enabling mentality but there are few employment opportunities in many neighborhoods, slim transportation options and various other factors that contribute to a family's financial demise. It's impractical to cut food assistance without providing alternatives such as a co-op, eliminating food deserts, constructing affordable farmer's markets and perhaps waiting until the recipient is employed or finds a higher-paying job.

Food stamps are another entity of government assistance initiative that has been under fire for their inability to offer advancement and continual giving without requiring work on behalf of recipients. Other issues such as the medical card and Section 8 housing are more costly. Food, healthcare and housing are indeed a human right but a workforce fuels the economy. Although, some conservatives prefer to erase all the welfare programs, Food assistance makes a huge difference for low-income families because a $100 worth of food can pay the water bill, put gas in the car and maybe purchase shoes for the children.

Yes, there should be a cap on various other programs such as the medical card because it makes it incredibly easy for women to continually produce children without bearing hospital expenses. And yes, the lifetime guarantee of Section 8 can possibly erode the incentive to work, save money and plan for the future. However, it's impossible to take away necessity without providing resources for self-sufficiency because it will not reap long-term benefits for communities.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
—Chinese Proverb

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MS / June 24, 2013 7:00 AM

Important point, as citizens we don´t have much say over what our politicians do, but let´s hope they have a bit of empathy and don´t eliminate food for those who are down on their luck and/or were born into exploited circumstances.

One more thing-- "because it makes it incredibly easy for women to continually produce children without bearing hospital expenses". This is a very traditional male perspective. Women and MEN together produce children. Why is it that the people in power in the U.S., mainly men, have traditionally imposed the responsibility and blame of child bearing on women?

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