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On Lawrence anti-hunger advocates worried by proposed food stamp cuts


birdsandflowers 4 years, 9 months ago

My hope would be that if food stamp funding is cut back that more of our community would come forward and donate to local food banks. If local food banks could adequately provide for those that are truly hungry then we could eliminate some of the abuse that goes on with food stamps, e.g. selling them to others for cash so they can buy cigarettes, booze, drugs and whatever other things food stamps don't allow.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

Also not allowed are toilet paper, menstrual products, toothpaste, aspirin, bandaids, shampoo, and soap. I guess poor people don't need those things, though.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Food stamps are only food. Why should people be allowed to purchase non food items with them? I think that most everyone agrees that poor people do need those things, just don't use money allotted for food for you and your family to buy them.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm well aware of the constraints on food stamps. My post was in response to the prior post which seemed to suggest that poor people sell their food benefits to indulge in bad habits. If, in fact, benefits are being sold, it is possible that they are sold to provide basic non-food necessities.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Which would mean they don't need the food stamps after all if they can sell them and still eat, or do they sell them and then depend on food banks?

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

Wow. How do you know people are even selling food stamps? What if they are very frugal shoppers and can subsist on part of their benefits but they can't cook without utilities? Perhaps they also garden to subsidize their snap benefits. Nobody receives food stamps, since food stamps haven't existed for many years now.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

I wrote "if" they sell them. Most people still use the term food stamps and food stamp card. But, if they can "subsist on part of their benefits," and get enough from a garden to get by, that would seem to indicate that snap benefits are not really needed after all. Perhaps those people who are doing so well could be kind enough to tell their case worker they don't need those benefits and help the economy out by declining them and thereby free up money for those who cannot budget so well or do not have a garden.

Obtaining benefits that you don't really need sounds like fraud to me. If you look it up you will find that it is a federal offense to let someone else use your snap card or to sell any portion of it.

flloyd 4 years, 9 months ago

I propose if you are on food stamps you are allowed to buy dried beans, oatmeal or cream of wheat, rice or taters, powdered mild and fruit. And the stamps are non-transferrable.

Also, recipients are to be tested for all drugs including alcohol and cigarettes. If you test positive for any of these, you do not receive assistance.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

And you, as a taxpayer, will pay for those tests. Our tax dollars that will be spent for drug testing of those who receive state assistance could have been used for food stamps. By the time we're through testing people to see if they're allowed to breathe, there will be no tax dollars left over for much of anything.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

But you will make some drug testing company rich. Isn't that one of the conservative dreams?

appleaday 4 years, 9 months ago

They've already done this in other states and learned that a smaller percentage of people on food stamps test positive for drugs than the general population as a whole.

Shelley Bock 4 years, 9 months ago

If it is all part of the farm bill, then have every recipient of farm assistance be required to submit to drug, alcohol and cigarette testing. Blowing over .08 BAT causes someone to lose their license administratively. If Famer Bob tests positive for any of these, no assistance. If Farmer Bob has a family, extend the testing to the family.

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

I propose that if you want the fire department to put out your house should it catch fire that they be allowed to inspect your house whenever they want, and the only items you're allowed to put in it are beds, chairs, and fridges.

Lisa Medsker 4 years, 9 months ago

That was Reagan's "hope", too, when he slashed funding for all of our social programs. The people who have and control most of the wealth in this country are so incredibly generous, what could have possibly gone wrong?

Alceste 4 years, 9 months ago

SNAP (aka: foodstamps) is a joke: It is not set up to supplement nutrition and food for the "poor", it is set up to fuel agri-business first and foremost.

If the program ended today, poor folk would find a way to eat, one way or the other.....even if it meant whacking people over the head with a lead pipe to obtain some money......however, the true recipients.....Agri Business and it's buddies, would find themselves in one heck of a pickle.

Of course, the way around some of that pain is just what Jenkins and her hack cronies are doing: Setting up a farm bill that excludes foodstamps. Farmers get welfare via price supports, subsidies, and crop insurance and they're not required to pass any sort of "means test" like applicants and recipients of food stamps are required to do: Said people have to document their poverty. Phat cat Agri types don't have to pass a means test.....they just sign up and get WELFARE from the USDA. It's a great program for the wealthy. http://www.ewg.org is a fabulous site to discover who is on WELFARE in Douglas County via these price supports and subsidies. We can't know who gets how much in the way of crop insurance because Congress made that data base secret back in 2000 or thereabouts.

In hard times, Kansans like to blame the poor.

Alceste 4 years, 9 months ago

The largest and most successful farm businesses collect the lion’s share of farm subsidies because farm lobbyists dominate the development of farm policies. As a result, farm policies do little to support family farmers and the environment and too much to protect the income of agribusiness. More than half of farm subsidies flow to Congressional districts represented on the House Agriculture Committee.

Over the weekend, the 2nd most heavily subsidized farmer in Congress (Rep. STEPHEN FINCHER) – and one of the largest subsidy recipients in Tennessee history – said Washington should not “steal” from taxpayers to support food assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – better known as food stamps.

At an appearance at a Holiday Inn in Memphis, Rep Fincher said: "The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country."

In essence, Rep. Fincher doubled down on comments he made during the House Agriculture Committee’s debate over cutting funding for SNAP. Fincher said then: "We are all here on this committee making decisions about other people’s money. We have to remember there is not a big printing press in Washington that continually prints money over and over. This is other people’s money that Washington is appropriating and spending."

USDA data collected in EWG’s 2013 farm subsidy database update shows that Fincher collected a staggering $3.48 million in “our” money from 1999 to 2012. In 2012 alone, the congressman was cut a government check for a $70,000 direct payment. Direct payments are issued automatically, regardless of need, and go predominantly to the largest, most profitable farm operations in the country.

Fincher’s $70,000 farm subsidy haul in 2012 dwarfs the average 2012 SNAP benefit in Tennessee of $1,586.40, and it is nearly double of Tennessee’s median household income. After voting to cut SNAP by more than $20 billion, Fincher joined his colleagues to support a proposal to expand crop insurance subsidies by $9 billion over the next 10 years.

Keep in mind that while SNAP benefits are restricted to families whose income is below specified limits, crop insurance subsidies have no such limitations. Some farmers annually receive more than $1 million each in premium support, and more than 10,000 annually collect more than $100,000 each in insurance subsidies. A typical family getting by on SNAP benefits can scarcely even imagine numbers like that.

When Fincher was running for office in the Tea Party-influenced 2010 election, Fincher told the Memphis Commercial Appeal on June 6, 2010: "Do we need farm program reform? Absolutely."

Now we know what he meant.

Maddy Griffin 4 years, 9 months ago

"Jenkins, a Republican, said that splitting the bill won't affect the final law, and that the House would have passed the measures together if Democrats had agreed that food-aid recipients be required to look for work. She said federal nutrition assistance is in desperate need of reform." Most of the people on food stamps are children. A lot of the other folks are working poor. Get a clue Jenkins. It's funny how we can subsidize big business but we blame poor folks for the state of the welfare programs.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Then the requirements won't be a problem, will they?

Neither Jenkins nor anyone else suggested cutting off food stamps for everyone, just for those who shouldn't be getting them. Putting such requirements in place doesn't affect children, the working poor, the disabled, etc.

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

It does affect even those the current GOP deem worthy of their condescension in that it adds an extra layer of paperwork to the process, requires more labor hours to inspect and enforce, and may require extra time off of work for those working poor who need to document their compliance with the system. Unless they want to add that as a toothless provision nobody checks, in which case, what's the point?

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

And seeing your reasonable comment later on, I'll walk that back and say it's not everyone in the GOP I was taking a swipe at - but Jenkins is definitely on that list.

Anydaynow 4 years, 9 months ago

Let's get some of the money from the accounts where foreigners and theiir childen are getting fed and feed "our own". That's just common sense. Do the foreign countries feed our people?

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

Okay, here's a factual account. A husband and wife legally immigrate to the U.S. from a non-European country as the husband has been offered a good job - better than what he had in his home country. The husband decides to return to his home country, but leaves his legal wife and children in the U.S. with no means of support. Due to their culture, the wife had a limited education and had never worked out of the home, handled any household finances and can barely speak English because the husband wouldn't let her go to classes to learn the language. Should she and her children have to starve and live on the streets because you think she's a shirker?

The policy for getting food stamps for non-U.S. citizens has been tightened up since the Regan years and illegal immigrants have never been eligible for food stamps.

As for your last sentence, to date U.S. citizens have rarely emigrated to other countries to find work as historically we have been one of the richest countries on the planet, although that could change at the rate we're going. And, yes, there have been instances when Americans have run into problems abroad and people in foreign countries have given them a hand out and up.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

Back in the fifties and sixties the Germans were providing help to our GIs who at that time were poorly paid compared to the Germans.

skinny 4 years, 9 months ago

8,477 people in Douglas County on food stamps?? That is plain crazy. You have people coming over here from foreign country's without a penny in their pockets and they make it with no problems. Most people are poor because they are to lazy to go to school and or work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

Now let's blame those who are wealthy because they worked two or three jobs, went to college, and now are well off! Makes sense to me.

I for one am glad the Government is cutting back on food stamps.

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

elliottaw 4 years, 9 months ago

There is not a fact to be found anywhere in your rant.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

He or she just doesn't want to see it.

elliottaw 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually it's not, you could work 2 jobs full time and still live below the poverty line. Please do some actual research on the topic before spewing more uneducated hate.

elliottaw 4 years, 9 months ago

And this little diddly from Skinny does not fall into hate or uneducated to you?

"Most people are poor because they are to lazy to go to school and or work two or three jobs to make ends meet."

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

There are a lot of people who have been laid off from their jobs and are currently looking for another one. If unemployment checks are your only source of income you're most likely also eligible to receive food stamps.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

Give credit to the author, please.... "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that, my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

-- Dr. Adrian P. Rogers (September 12, 1931 - November 15, 2005) of Love Worth Finding Ministries, Pastor Emeritus of Bellevue Baptist Church.

mdrndgtl 4 years, 9 months ago

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom." Great line, it really resonated with me. Cheers.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't know anyone who is wealthy because they worked two or three jobs (a few are well off), in general the more jobs people have had the worse off they have been financially - hence why they work multiple jobs. Skinny's post is so full of ignorance and misinformation, it's astounding.

shorttrees 4 years, 9 months ago

Actually gas prices are within 10 cents of the prices 5 years ago. Check the historical charts.

But don't let the facts get in the way of your opinions.

elliottaw 4 years, 9 months ago

I think they were debating the fact that prices are up 50% from 5 years ago

New2KU 4 years, 9 months ago

For all of you bashing on farmers and farm program funding, I wish you would get all the facts straight. Government cuts to subsidies, conservation, and crop insurance took place in the 2005 farm bill as well as the 2011 SRA. And will have cuts this go around too. These programs have had reduced funding for years. But due to groups like the EWG, farm bashing is easy target. Farm programs exist to allow this country to produce an economically priced and competitive food supply globally. While no government program is perfect, an has its flaws, I would hate to see what the cost of food would be in this country without it. SNAP funding and farm subsidies have NOTHING in common other than they are both housed in the farm bill. SNAP funding consists of more than 75% of the dollars allocated in the farm bill. Comparatively, defense spending and other government programs make the farm bill dwarf in comparison.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

Why should taxpayers subsidize cheap food domestically or globally? I thought this here country believed in the free market.

If food prices reflected the true cost of production without government welfare, maybe we would stop being a country where 1/3 of people are obese.

I work in a town where the guy who has received nearly $1 million in farm subsidies winters annually in Arizona at his second home.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"Why should taxpayers subsidize cheap food domestically or globally?"

Perhaps when a gallon of milk starts costing you $15 you'll figure it out.

deec 4 years, 9 months ago

Free market says what?

So everyone should pay taxes to give welfare to farmers so the true cost of food is hidden and we can continue to eat ourselves into oblivion.

Alceste 4 years, 9 months ago

New2KU opines above: "Farm programs exist to allow this country to produce an economically priced and competitive food supply globally." No cigar.

Most food which is eaten is not covered by the "farm bill". Apples? Nope. Lettuce? Nope. Carrots? Nope. Green beans? Nope. You get the picture?

What is covered are crud crops like corn for ethanol or wheat which has become so hybridized it's almost useless as a nutrient. Blah, blah, blah.

I don't see anything written "...hatin"...." on the farmer. Facts are presented that stick in peoples' craw: The nation’s largest and most profitable farm businesses will still collect more than $1 million a year in federal subsidies ¬– while the bottom 80 percent get less than $5,000 apiece, and most farmers offering to help protect the environment get turned away.

More than half of farm subsidies flow to Congressional districts represented on the House Agriculture Committee. 23 members of Congress, or their family members, benefitted from $6,140,634 in taxpayer-funded farm subsidy payments between 1995 and 2011. Right now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture covers, on average, two-thirds of a farmer’s premium. The bill proposes to increase revenue guarantees to 90 percent of a farm’s income, provide 80 percent of a cotton farmer’s premium subsidy, and create a new peanut insurance program tied to the price of peanuts in Rotterdam.

The fact is, you can be a city slicker in Miami Beach or Beverly Hills and collect farm subsidy payments. All you have to do is have an ownership interest in some Iowa farmland. While 60 percent of American farmers must get along without a dime in federal subsidies, the so-called farm “safety net” benefits a narrow band of the wealthiest agri-businesses and absentee land owners and the lobbyists who ensure that the subsidies keep flowing.

Alana Winner 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh, for pete's sakes "boot strappers" ! My dad used food stamps to help feed me and my 2 sisters when my mother died at a young age. I did not apply for them when my daughter was born, but I was underweight and underfed so that my child could get her formula. Yes, some people do abuse them but decent people need them. SNAPS currently provides $200 dollars per individual, and people that are old and disabled use them to. I thank the people that shared their tax money so I could eat when I was five. By the way, my dad did work.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, but you are incorrect about that number. Your case worker will determine the amount you get from your wages, social security, etc., the number of people in your family, how much you pay for utilities and out of pocket medical expenses. It is not set at $200 a month for the individual. I get $95 dollars a month so according to you they owe me a lot of money.

jennifermarti 4 years, 9 months ago

No one "owes" you anything. That's one of the biggest problems in this very dysfunctional system. People have it in their heads that the government owes them something. Work and live within your means. It's not the governments responsibility to feed you or your children.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

"Work and live within your means." Excellent advice. Now - how much work should a, say, four year old with developmental delays work in order to stay within his means?

jennifermarti 4 years, 9 months ago

Maybe his parents should be the ones responsible for his care.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 9 months ago

Of course this isn't how society works, nor has been able to function. Ever.

Why isn't everyone self-sustaining? Why don't we all have our own gardens to grow our own food? Why don't we all understand how medicine works to take care of our own families' health issues? Why don't we all build our own generators to create our own electricity? Why aren't we responsible for our own child's education?

Because it's incredibly stupid to try to function that way, and I hope to god you are not responsible for your own child's education, for their sake.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

I am surprise at the number of people receiving food assistance in our county. Could somebody comment on what the criteria is for receiving such assistance?

valgrlku 4 years, 9 months ago

The Kansas DCF website with the income information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm

P.S. You do have to be poor to qualify. Some people on this thread and elsewhere should really try more empathy and far less judgment.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

It is based on money coming in from all sources, they have the authority to look at your bank accounts and make sure you have the money in checking and saving that you say you do.

You have to tell them what kind of car you drive and how much it is worth, your house if you own it, burial plots if you own one, there is quite a lest. You have to name everyone in your household and give them those social security numbers.

They ask about your record with law enforcement and they check that. When you sign the final page you give them permission to look at any records and information they may find pertinent.

Alceste 4 years, 9 months ago

Moderate opines above: "I am surprise at the number of people receiving food assistance in our county. Could somebody comment on what the criteria is for receiving such assistance?"

Uncle Sam has, as is typical of Uncle Sam, established a rather complex formula for determining eligibility for food stamps. However, they are standardized and applicable across the USA and it's territories (there is a higher allowed income allowance in Hawaii and Alaska, but not much). The web link already supplied: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm lays it out rather well and simply.

Mr. Phat Cat farmer, on the other hand, does not have to demonstrate need in order to qualify for direct payments; price supports; price subsidies; crop insurance payments; etc.

The fact the number in Douglas County is as low as it is is because people are shamed into not applying or simply assume they're not eligible. Too, it is disgusting there are so many impoverished people right here. $2,498 GROSS income per month for a family of four to qualify? Incredible. And, if that family of four is right at the top....say at $2,400 GROSS income per month, they might get a benefit of $10 per month. (that is under $30k per annum for a household of FOUR people).

Meanwhile Lynn Jenkins and her ilk babble on about welfare cheats and balancing the budget of the USA by cutting SNAP; which, when you get right down to it, it rinky dink money wise when compared to the bulk of the USA's budget. Had the wars in SW Asia never happened what would the budget of the USA look like deficit wise?. Again, incredible.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

There is no such thing as a perfect system, and there never will be. As should be obvious just from the smattering of comments here, there is no such thing as a system that will make everyone happy. All we can do is try to find a balance point that everyone can live with.

I'd like to think that all conservatives are not represented by the comments here such as "Most people are poor because they are to lazy to go to school and or work two or three jobs to make ends meet," or "If the program ended today, poor folk would find a way to eat". I believe the vast majority of us recognize that there ARE people in need, people who, because of age or disability or other circumstances, can not sufficiently take care of themselves. And that while we may not "owe" anybody anything, in a civilized society we see it as our duty to help those who are less fortunate. I would also like to think that most liberals do recognize that there ARE some people taking advantage of the system, there ARE some people who choose to live off the labors of others. (For what it's worth, in my own experience, I have been a mental health professional working in state operated, state funded, or community mental health facilities for my entire career, and I have found the percentage of those in need who fall into the latter category to be very small.)

Those who receive cash assistance have had a work requirement since the Welfare to Work legislation was signed into law by Clinton (a requirement that does not apply to children, the disabled, etc.). If you live in subsidized housing in Douglas County you have to participate in a similar work search program. I see no reason why that same requirement should not be applied to those receiving other forms of assistance, including food stamps. (Other than, that is, the cost effectiveness - it's somewhat silly, IMHO, to pay more in child care to allow a parent to work/look for work than they'd be receiving in assistance.) Again, in my own experience, I believe it helps lift people out of their circumstances, that it restores a sense of personal responsibility and, more importantly, a sense of hope.

But at the end of the day, if the balance point isn't perfect (and it almost never is), we have to err in the direction where we are not cutting off the lifeline for people, for children, who depend on us for their very lives. What kind of society, what kind of human beings would we be, if we turn our backs on those who need our help?

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

I think most of us can agree with that, yes. We can also probably agree that the best way to decrease food stamp spending is to work on improving the economy so that fewer people need the program in the first place.

notajayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

I absolutely agree. The difference of opinion, in the simplest terms in which I see it, is a restatement of the 'give a man a fish vs. teach him to fish' idea. But here's the thing: While teaching a man to fish is a better way to go about it, as it improves everyone's lot and is more sustainable, the problem is his kids still have to eat that day.

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

Exactly. Part of the problem, as you've pointed out, is that people who qualify for food stamps quite often are working. It isn't necessarily that they need to be educated on how to work, because they are working. Getting new skills would help but not solve the problem. What we're doing in many cases is subsidizing corporations in order to give us "every day low prices" instead of demanding that they pay a wage high enough that their employees be able to feed their own families without government help.

I'm not saying we need to demand an increase in the minimum wage necessarily, but if we don't, it's time we admit that this is what we're doing. We're paying more in taxes in order to keep wages low instead of paying more in prices to support living wages.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

I recall seeing the old time videos made during the Great Depression where farmers were dumping fresh milk into the streets, this during a time when people were going hungry. Farmers couldn't get a price for their product that would allow them to even break even. And of course, the unemployed of those times couldn't afford to purchase their product. it was a classic lose/lose situation.

The bottom line is this, a stable supply of food along with a stable price benefits everyone. This has been accomplished through a complex set of price supports and subsidies. Sure, large corporate farmers benefit. As do the poor. A win/win. Change the system now and run the risk of returning to those depression era experiences.

elliottaw 4 years, 9 months ago

True to a point, when you have one side (farmers in this case) making record profits you have to question if your equation needs adjusted.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

Record profits on one side of the equation, record numbers on food stamps on the other side of the equation. If that's true (I think it's pretty close to being true on both sides), how would you adjust the equation?

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

There are a lot of ways one could go about repairing the problem, but I guarantee not a one of them would get past the current Ayn Rand fans in Washington.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

Suppose I run a restaurant and serve 100 meals per day on average. I earn a profit. Suppose over time, that meals per day average goes up to 200 and my profit goes up. The numbers then go to 300 and I earn record profits.

What problem needs fixing?

Corporate farmers are making record profits while the numbers on food stamps is also at record highs. And if the numbers on food stamps go up even more, I would expect profits to also go up. Meanwhile, we all have the most stable supply of food that any country has ever had in the history of mankind.

What problem needs fixing?

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago


You don't think that having record high numbers of people on food stamps is a problem?

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

I'd rather have zero need for people to be on food stamps or any other type of government assistance. And I'd rather have government assistance for business of any sort. Now, let's get back to reality.

I begin this by mentioning what happened during the Great Depression. I really don't want to go back to what was happening then. So we've struck an balance. Elliottaw mentioned that perhaps things weren't as balanced as they ought to be, with corporate farmers making record profits. My point is that as part of the balance, those same farmers are providing for record numbers on food stamps as well as providing every American a stable food supply. None of this is perfect, but if you're going to tinker with things, especially for some philosophical reason like an objection to government supports, I'd rather that tinkering be done on something other than the food supply to 300+ million Americans.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

I think we're quite out of balance, actually, if we have record high levels of these sorts of things.

Balance would be somewhere in between that and zero, it seems to me.

This way, we're subsidizing both those at the bottom and at the top, so there's a lot of government intervention and spending. The middle class and it's earning power has eroded, and we're developing into a rich/poor society.

There may be any number of responses to that situation, but simply stating there's no problem seems like an odd one to me.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes, there are any number of responses. Some of those responses might lead to slight reductions in corporate welfare coupled with slight reductions in the need for food stamps. That would make things slightly better for the middle class. Of course, other responses might lead us back to the Great Depression days with milk flowing like rivers down the streets and into the sewers, while bread lines wind around the block.

But, hey, we've got a well functioning government that knows which response will lead to which result, right?

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

So, now you say it's a problem, but you're afraid that doing something will result in a worse problem?

I suppose one could take that position about everything - it would lead to paralysis and apathy/complacence.

Is that where you are in fact?

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

Are you familiar with The Serenity Prayer? I'm not very religious, but I'm a believer in the concept that that prayer embraces.

For the record, if we were talking about a problem with cheap goods imported from Bangladesh, I'd say, what the heck, make changes. What would we have to lose? When we 're talking about our food supply, I'm not as anxious to make changes willy nilly. So, no, I don't take that position about everything. But I might take that position about some things. Give me some well reasoned changes, and I'll consider them with great thought. But simply saying there are problems and we should makes changes just to see what will happen, no.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Not only am I familiar with it, I've recommended it to you in the past, and also find it a very good and useful idea.

The prayer makes the distinction between the things we have the power to change, and the things outside of that power. Many of our current problems are the result of various government policies, and so would fall within those things that we have the power to change. It advocates the "courage" to change those things.

In our lengthy conversations, I have a hard time remembering many, if any, times you've actually advocated for change, but many times you've said things like "Well, it's not perfect, but..." Seems to me that you take that position on most issues, at least the ones we've discussed.

Nobody ever advocates making changes "just to see what happens" - people advocate making improvements.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

O.K., let me throw out another expression. "Think globally, Act locally". Certainly you're familiar with that one. I think it embodies a certain recognition that as individuals, we have little power to influence certain things on the large scale, but on a small scale, we may in fact have that power.

There are so many problems in this country, and in this world that are so great, that to even try to solve them would be an effort in futility. Things like over-population, which is the single biggest problem worldwide, if you asked me. How about closer to home, say Washington. The biggest problem there is the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, towards a common good. I've been voting a long time, Jafs, and if anything, it seems to me that rather than solving that problem, we the voters have embraced the polarization that Washington embodies.

I've mentioned my work hours to you in the past. I've mentioned that I began my family very late in life, so despite my advanced years, I still have a young one at home. How much time is left to do what? Advocate India and Bangladesh implement a one child policy like China did? Run for Congress as a moderate trying to solve the gridlock? I suggested to you that you run locally, as you have no children and have never given any indication that a job would hinder such a run. But you backed out. Perhaps you just came to the same conclusion I did, the wisdom of knowing the difference between change I wanted and change I could actually make.

As to the issue at hand, how about we break up all corporate farms and give each American 40 acres and a mule? You've mentioned you're from the big city. Me too. Give me 40 acres and I'll probably starve to death. I'd willing trade my 40 acres to a corporation in exchange for a stable food supply. So what "real" change has been proposed here? Who has offered a "real" solution. And "really", what is the big problem? Corporations are making big profits and consumers have a steady food supply. I said yesterday that we don't live in a vacuum, it's a complex issue. If you think there's a problem, where's your realistic solution?

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

Corporations aren't all just giant restaurants who serve more meals today than they did last year. Part of the reasons corporations have massive profits is because they've managed to squeeze down labor costs, which can, in many cases, be directly tied to the increased need for food stamps.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 9 months ago

Corporations don't exist in a vacuum. We import food, we export food. What are the labor costs elsewhere in the world, compared to our own? A significant raise in labor costs here will have an effect, but not the one you might hope for. It might just increase imports while decreasing exports. We could impose tariffs on imports, but that would increase the cost of food here and might cause those countries to impose tariffs on other goods we export.

This isn't a situation where there is a problem and if we simply do this, then that will happen. And when we're talking about what is a stable food supply for every American, I'd proceed with caution.

Allen Shepard 4 years, 9 months ago

Coming from a wealthy family doesn't mean they are willing to help you in any way.

That part of the bill will just enslave those young adults to their parents whims and commands.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

I've always thought the farm bills were cold war relics designed to never allow our fields to be without food in case of war. As an bonus, they wrapped the pretty bow of food stamps around it and everyone was generally happy.

You can't really argue against feeding the poor, but I'm not sure we should stop helping people grow food because it is a matter of national security.

elliottaw 4 years, 9 months ago

I would agree if we were helping those farms grown food for people to eat, however we are helping them grow corn/soybeans/wheat to feed animals and send overseas.

Liberty275 4 years, 9 months ago

They should certainly be growing enough edible food so nobody goes hungry. We need to feed the animals because pork chops taste good, and then if we have some left over, we give the rest away mostly to Africa. I don't think we should be burning our food in our cars (outside of research and racing) while there are perfectly good dinosaur carcasses underground leaking oil into our groundwater.

hedshrinker 4 years, 9 months ago

or to sit completely fallow, producing nothing and probably letting the topsoil blow away

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

I'd rather we returned to an ever-normal granary system.

UltimateGrownup 4 years, 9 months ago

This article is fraudulent. Fox Business reported, in June, quoting a policy analyst that Food Stamp spending "has nearly doubled since 2008, and has grown steadily every year since its inception in the 1960s." This same article (http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/06/26/food-stamps-fraud/) also makes a pretty good case that Food Stamp fraud may rival baseball as the nation's pastime.

mdrndgtl 4 years, 9 months ago

"This article is fraudulent. Fox Business reported [dubious assertion]."

Seth Peterson 4 years, 9 months ago

When you site Fox Business as a source you've made your own claim more dubious than anything you're responding to.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

Why doesn't the city of Lawrence plant fruit and nut trees in the public street rights of way and in city parks and invite the needy among us to help themselves when the crops are ready? All of us value street trees for the environmental benefits like absorbing co2 and for providing shade. Why can't they also help feed the hungry? This could be done on school grounds too with the nuts and fruit sent home with kids who's families need it. It wouldn't solve the problem, but it would help...of course it would take a few years for newly planted trees to mature.

hedshrinker 4 years, 9 months ago

public planting of fruit and nut trees has already begun...see the garden on City donated land at 14th and Burroughs trail, now in its 2nd year.

Robert Rauktis 4 years, 9 months ago

"In Lawrence, for example, many (Kansas University) students who come from families of means may qualify for food stamps because they are unemployed. Under our bill, they may lose that qualification."

Isn't learning to survive part of education in the economics of life? The always risk makes life thrilling and doesn't institutionalize people...monotony making the human being very tired and dull before their time. I'd suppose some people see the confined animals in a zoo as somehow, a good thing. That genome is preserved, I'd suppose. Too bad the life is not.

It's good when there is a next year's hoop's season to look forward to.

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

I have to wonder exactly how many of these alleged students from "families of means" are applying for food stamps even if they qualify. We'll ignore the part where their family is under no legal obligation to support them once they turn 18. We'll ignore the part where having enough money for tuition in the bank would disqualify them. I just want some hard numbers here. I never knew any students who even tried for food stamps, and there were many of us who spent some time living on ramen and baked potatoes. I'd be curious to see how many students not only qualified but actually benefited from the program.

otto 4 years, 9 months ago

If you are hungry you could always get a job and buy food yourself. I know there are people that need this but if you are able then you should work.

sassypants 4 years, 9 months ago

From itsjusme " But, it's hard for those who have to pay their own way to stand in the line at a store and see a cart full of expensive meats and sea food charged out."

This one really ticks me off. People on food stamps eat better then the regular Joe.

My son and 6 yr old grandson moved in with us about a year and half ago. He gets $280.00 in food stamps a month for the 2 of them. Each month he goes shopping and buys steaks, crab, lobster, tenderloins, pop, expensive juice, drink boxes for his son. Nothing for breakfast, lunchmeat, chips, veggies or condaments. He buys all kinds of stuff I wish I could afford to buy with my debit/visa card, and I spend about $200.00 to $250.00 a month for all the stuff like that is needed, like meat, potatoes, pasta, veggies, fruit, and all the condaments and spices that are needed. Then all I have to buy during the month is bread, milk and fresh veggies as we go.

I then split my big packages of chicken, hamburger, fish, chops, ect up into packages of 4 so that we make it through the month. My son throws everything in the deep freezer and when its his turn to cook he will cook up the whole package of 10, 12 or more servings. Leftovers will set in the refrigerator for lunch or midnight snacks, most will go bad and be thrown out when I clean the refrigerator on the weekends. The stuff that son buys will last for about a week , 2 weeks if I press it and use up whats leftover for the next night, which doesn't go over well. What I buy lasts pretty much the whole month for all 4 of us.

Alceste 4 years, 9 months ago

jennifermarti opines above: "No one "owes" you anything. That's one of the biggest problems in this very dysfunctional system. People have it in their heads that the government owes them something. Work and live within your means. It's not the governments responsibility to feed you or your children."

So, it can be concluded from your remarks that you do not support WELFARE for farmers or corporate bail outs due to fraudulent mortgage lending, correct? As well, home mortgage loan interest deductions on income tax should be done away with because, after all, if one "needs" such a deduction in order to be able to pay for a home, one shouldn't be buying the home in the first place, correct? And, etc......

In hard times, Kansans blame the poor....

jennifermarti 4 years, 9 months ago

What I don't support is more on the lines of individuals being on government assistance their entire adult lives. When it makes more sense to sit at home and collect a check rather than work. And continue to have children that they cannot afford to take care.

Alceste 4 years, 9 months ago

They are all factors that contribute to the federal deficit. shrug

But in hard times....at least here in Kansas....we like to blame the poor.....

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Sigh. When I wrote the remark that I was owed a lot more money I was making a joke!!! I forgot to put in the funny face. Someone said every individual gets $200 and that is not the case. It is based on income. I only get $95 so if they are correct that I am not getting my full amount due. I am being shorted $105 every month. I do hope that everyone gets this. :-)

Have a popsickle, its a cool, refreshing treat on a hot day.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

I read a number of comments and - well – what are we arguing about?

Your answer to my questions is that food stamps are means tested. That sounds just fine. But – why does Douglas County (and other Kansas Counties with higher educational institutions) have larger food stamp populations?

Could it be our students? Does the means testing formula consider the money from home, the scholarship grants or the federal loans that finance more than just education (in some cases)? Does that rightly or wrongly cause a larger population of recipients? In short is there a significant amount of money available to elements of our population that is not caught up in the means testing process. Is that good or bad?

I don’t think there are many on here that believe that we should be supporting healthy citizens who can and should hold a job and pay their own way. On the other hand do we actually have a sizable population here that would cut off those who want to work and cannot or who really cannot work?

I honestly do not know the answers and I am not setting one of my little traps. In my mind we should be able to reach agreement on this balance without the hyperbole.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Just remembered that when I re-applied for food stamps I was required to show a picture ID and a social security card. There is a notice on the wall that states that if you have children you must have a social security card for each one of them. When a baby is born they give you about a month to get a card for them. So, if you are an illegal immigrant with no documentation how do you work that out? Very curious.

George Lippencott 4 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if you can get a SS if you have a birth certificate. I assume (do not know) that we issue birth certificates to babies born here regardless of the legal status of the parents.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

Yep, you are right. Did not think about that, thank you. The children born in this country would then qualify for food stamps.

David Reynolds 4 years, 9 months ago

Instead of focusing on wether food stamp programs are funded, lets focus on getting jobs in our country, state, county & city. Everyone in politics from the president on down in derelict in getting our economy moving.

If we had people employed and paying taxes we wouldn't be concerned if the government was funding another program.

We could actually stop reliance on the government, at all levels, to provide assistance. Then we could get government to be responsive to us the citizens.

Now there is a novel thought.

bd 4 years, 9 months ago

MSN STORY TODAY!!!!!!! Now comes a newspaper story that won't do much to convince critics the program helps only people in need. Some families in New York City are reportedly using their benefits to buy food that they then ship to relatives in less affluent countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Haiti, the New York Post reports.

Transplants from the Caribbean and other island countries often send home barrels packed with food, a practice so common that sites are devoted to helping ship barrels, which may end up stocked with grocery favorites such as Kraft (KRFT +1.04%) BBQ sauce and Heinz ketchup.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago


It's completely understandable that you don't feel you have the time and energy to get involved with a lot of issues beyond your family - I think many people feel that way.

But, that's different from a philosophical stance that "problems aren't solvable".

From my perspective, many of our problems are caused by our actions, and are fairly easily preventable by acting differently. For example, I have an acquaintance who seems to be taking Xanax and drinking, and having some unpleasant experiences/side effects. It's not recommended by doctors, and he could simply not do that, and then not have that problem.

I didn't run for a variety of reasons, including that I thought it extremely unlikely I'd be elected, and even if I were, I'd probably be the lone dissenting vote (a la Amyx), which wouldn't be effective at all, since commission decisions don't need to be unanimous.

The question of how to use one's time and energy effectively is a good one, and it's useful for all of us to think about that, in my view.

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