Stephen Colbert’s advice to those who will go hungry after the overhaul of the food stamp program? ‘Eat Mexicans.’ The Republicans’ solution is only slightly less macabre.
Context: Some years back – in 1986, to be precise – there was a day called “Hands Across America,” an effort to create a living line from Los Angeles to New York (minus, if memory serves, the Rockies). The purpose was to raise money to do battle against hunger. Nearly 7,000,000 people participated and the effort was rated a huge success, raising a sum far beyond the organizers’ expectations – $93 million in all.
There are many anti-hunger agencies. But the dimension of the hunger problem far exceed the capacity of charitable organization to respond adequately.
Congress is pushing for deep cuts in food stamps. The cutbacks would hit Jews hard, especially in Hasidic communities where a third of children live in poverty.
These were some of the only words my caseworker said to me during my intake at the Illinois Department of Human Services. I could hardly hide my disgust as he revealed a smile and asked me to fork over my stack of papers. His dry, albeit offensive brand of humor was especially jarring after the nearly 2 hours I spent standing in lines and waiting to hear my name called.
I recently found myself in one of my favorite places in NYC — The Union Square Farmer’s Market. As I wandered through the stalls, admiring the colorful varieties of cauliflower and broccoli I reflected on how much my shopping habits have changed. Sure, I occasionally shop at the Green Market at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, but for the past year I’ve purchased most of my produce from the Caribbean market around the corner from my house in Bed-Stuy. Spending almost a year on unemployment and one measly month on SNAP has changed the way that I budget, and the way that I shop for food.
Think about what it’s like to start and run a small business. You will understand why entrepreneurs have a natural dislike of lawyers, bureaucrats and April 15, Noam Neusner writes.
It was after Rabbi Ari Weiss bumped into and spoke with Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs on Rosh Hashanah, that he decided to take the Food Stamp Challenge. This means he would have to get by on no more than $31.50 worth of groceries (the average amount of food stamps granted to a qualifying individual) for an entire week. That’s just $1.50 per meal, without snacks. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, especially since he keeps strictly kosher.
The liberal blogosphere is all worked up about a budget bill proposed by the Study Group, made up of conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, that appears to deny food stamps to any family with a single adult member who goes on strike. The draconian measure was first brought to light by ThinkProgress.com (here) and has since gotten blog play at AFLCIO.org (here), InTheseTimes.com (here) and Salon.com here, as well as the Chicago Sun-Times, (here), the MSNBC “Ed Show” and even in a New York Times editorial.
Congress is in for the lame duck session and Jewish groups have their wish lists ready for their last chance to get legislation through before Republicans take over the House of Representatives.