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

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oneeye_wilbur 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Food stamps at McDonalds! That takes the cake!

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jafs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

jhf.

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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bd 8 months, 3 weeks 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.

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citizen1 8 months, 3 weeks 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.

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Leslie Swearingen 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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George Lippencott 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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Leslie Swearingen 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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Alceste 8 months, 4 weeks 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.....

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Alceste 8 months, 4 weeks 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....

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Larry Moss 8 months, 4 weeks ago

If people really need the help, then I'm all for it. The new cards that are issued have taken much of the stigma out of their use. 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.

Now we see reports from back east where the fraud includes buying food with stamps, boxing it and shipping it to relatives overseas.

Every American wants to help other Americans who need help. But, surely no American wants to support fraudulent waste of our good will.

And, I'll never understand our government "advertising" to Mexico the availability of food stamps to them.

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otto 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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mikekt 8 months, 4 weeks ago

First, I assume that Obama would veto any farm bill without food stamps included ..

Secondly, this is just more hard ball vicious republican politics...... and threats made......, to come up with a version of what they "really want" to accomplish ?!

Thirdly, their is a large % of grocery store business that depends on food stamp buyers.

The greatest concentration of poverty in this country is by far in the rural white areas .

"Let Them Eat Cake" ....didn't that get Louise of France and Marie Antoinette a headache !

Personally, I think that they should do away with congressional pensions for life & give them the same healthcare that everyone else has;..... or worse,.... if they oppose good health care for all !!!!!

! It should be illegal for any congressman to champion some legislative bit of whatever and turn around a leave congress to work at some advocacy group like PHARMA or others that they have helped in their congressional terms of office....as a pay back for favorable legislation .

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oneeye_wilbur 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Does the church on 23rd street still give away frozen steaks, pork chops , chicken and roasts? Aka Clinton Pkwy?

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Scut Farkus 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I didn't read all the posts, so excuse me if I'm repeating, but I believe this bill has only passed the House, not the entire Congress as mentioned in the first paragraph. And if I'm not mistaken, the White House has already stated they would veto this version. As far as the food stamp argument, I think there is a basic moral and humanitarian need to assist those less fortunate. There may be better ways to achieve this goal, but I have no problem with my taxes assisting those in need.

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Robert Rauktis 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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JayhawkFan1985 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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UltimateGrownup 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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Liberty275 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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bobberboy 8 months, 4 weeks ago

WHAT !!!!!!!! You mean small business doesn't like it when some of their customers don't get federal aid !!!!!!??????? And here I thought small business hated government ??

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Edward Coan 8 months, 4 weeks ago

And don't give me the "my taxes" speech in food stamp abuse. Your taxes already pay for corporate subsidies.

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Edward Coan 8 months, 4 weeks ago

So what if there is abuse. Its a minuet fraction of what corporations get in terms of bailouts, illegal offshore activities, tax loopholes, and CEO salaries.

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Allen Shepard 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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jhawkinsf 8 months, 4 weeks 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.

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notajayhawk 8 months, 4 weeks 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?

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Alceste 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.

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George Lippencott 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?

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michelle2006 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.

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Alceste 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.

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New2KU 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.

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fmrl 9 months ago

The US government says that the inflation rate is about 1.6% and adjusts the poverty level and benefits according to that. It seems to me that food prices are up at least 50% in the past several years if you include the shrinking package sizes. Gasoline prices are up at least 50% from five years ago.

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skinny 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.

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Anydaynow 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?

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grammaddy 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.

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Alceste 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.

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Alceste 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.

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birdsandflowers 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.

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Terry Lee 9 months ago

I know how you can get enough food to eat --- get a job so you can buy food like everyone else. Simple.

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