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People have become addicted to the safety net. We have over 50,000,000 people nationally in the program. We are bankrupt. We are racing to $25 trillion in debt by 2020. All these programs, everyone of them must be cut back. The safety net is now a hammock.
Actually, "Florida," what needs to happen is that jobs need to pay workers enough that they no longer qualify for food stamps, since there's a significant growth in food stamp recipients among the working poor.
I want my tax dollars helping the less fortunate. These types of tax dollars coming back to our community stimulate the economy,help keep local farmers in business, help keep local grocery stores in business and keep employees on the job.
Would I rather have these tax dollars in Lawrence,kansas or Washington D.C. where nothing is being accomplished? In Lawrence,Kansas of course. Bring them on.
I believe that I saw a statistic in the last week or so that indicated that about 33% of us are now on food stamps.
Another statistic suggests that about 15% or so of us are below the poverty level.
Seems to me that some portion of the food stamp effort is going to people who are not poor??
With a one trillion annual deficit perhaps it is well past due that we look at our criteria and make sure we are doing what we collectively intend with this program
We are a nation with a massive obesity problem. I have read or heard precious little of emaciated or grossly underweight people being hospitalized - maybe I missed those articles.
Are we really addressing a food need or are we enabling more money to be spent on the weekly bar bill (or texting bill)??
I believe you saw bad statistics then. The highest number of SNAP participants are in Mississippi, where it is only 21% of the population - still shockingly high, but I think you and I will both recognize that Mississippi has a significant poverty problem.
Well, you raise another question even before I go look up the statistic _ I think it reflected growth and not actual numbers.
Mississippi is also a low cost of living area (most of it) so we need be careful in applying a national poverty standard for them.
Of course if the rest of us bail out Mississippi then those rich locals need do nothing to help their own people. Mississippi is a state of much contrast.
You are correct. Nationally about 17$. It has increased about 30% in the last five years.
Having admitted my error will you now address the other half of my point - the lack of emaciated or mal-nurished people being hospitalized because they have no access to food? Of course, here again I may have missed the data. Help!
You're assuming that all cases of malnourishment result in children who have distended bellies and visible bones. That's not always how it works. You're also assuming that "no access to food" is the only way someone would get there, and not inadequate access to food or inadequate access to the right food, and that the first place they'd end up is in the ER. It's possible to live and just get by for a very long time, but it isn't healthy. It's also possible to be very fat and still be malnourished, because you're not getting access to a balanced diet and are suffering from nutritional deficits.
"About 1% of children in the United States suffer from chronic malnutrition."
Now why isn't that number higher? In part, it's not higher because we have food programs like SNAP.
MIxed bag - how do I respond.
Children are a complex challenge. We have many programs to address them. Anecdotally I have observed that young single mothers are frequently overwhelmed by the responsibility and do not provide for the children - even when the resources are available. I would rather spend my social services resources addressing that problem rather than providing food (at time misused) to people who are not children and who are not mal-nurished.
As a citizen I can only do so much in attempting to address the continuing bad decisions made by a portion of our population. Perhaps we should be armed with better methods to enforce good nutrition and proper care on those dependent on us?
I wouldn't be too hasty in assuming you understand such a complex social problem as poverty and nutrition based on a few anecdotal observations and apocryphal examples.
Well Mam, the statistics suggest that we are feeding more people then we need to feed. The data suggests that there is abuse. My anecdotal comment is supported by research.
You have avoided every substantive comment I have made by either ridiculing it or me.
I want my social services resources spent on those who need it with a goal of returning them to a productive life. Long term use of programs such as SNAP should be limited. Checks should be in place to insure only nutritious food is purchased and that if there is a child involved it is getting to the child.
We increased SNAP by 30% in the last five years yet there was no demonstrable mal-nutrition supporting that increase. I recognize that early mal-nutrition can be a life altering problem. That said I demand that we be more proactive in making sure the resources we provide reach the intended recipient.
As to the rest of the people on the program - prove they need to be there. It is not my responsibility to proves they don 't. Evasions like mal-nutrition is not always visible are just that. Bad choices can cause the problem no matter the effort we make to address it.
The data suggest no such thing. In fact, the argument could be made that we're feeding fewer people than need to be fed, since if we were meeting all nutritional needs, there would be no use for food bank charities.
Is there abuse? There's pretty much abuse in every system that has ever existed since the beginning of time. You wouldn't argue that all stores should close because a few of them may have dishonest clerks. The better question is whether or not there's more benefit than abuse, and I haven't seen any credible argument that says otherwise. The other question is whether or not "being more proactive" would cost more taxpayer money than it would save. I'm highly dubious. I've seen no reform suggestions that wouldn't cause more damage than they'd prevent.
Your argument that there should have been a 30% increase in malnutrition when we increased SNAP by that much is a bit silly. If we're increasing the program, why would more people be starving? Wouldn't the starvation bit happen if we hadn't increased the program? We can't go compare the results in an alternate universe to go check. Isn't the increase in SNAP better explained by the economic downturn? The data support that argument. The largest growing group of recipients is white suburban families who are temporarily down on their luck.
My argument is the reverse. We had no real upsurge in mal-nutrition yet we increased food stamps. In my world there needs to be substantive data to support ever increasing taxes.
Now you and I disagree on the substance. I hold that is the responsibility of those who want increased social services to justify why. You have chosen to focus your argument on children - maybe to make me look like and idiot. I have no problem with providing food to children who lack it.
I have a problem supporting people who have children when they lack the means to support them. I have a problem supporting adults who choose to not provide for themselves.
Now you switched the argument to nutrition as a basis for SNAP. For children - fine. That is a dangerous place to go for the rest of us. There are fat people who have poor nutrition. I suspect a significant percentage of us lack proper nutrition as a result of our dietary choices. I can not afford to fix that.
I continue to look for some scientific basis for all the money (particularly the increases) I accept your argument that we are not addressing hunger but nutrition. How we sort poor nutrition resulting from lack of food and poor nutrition resulting from personal choice is my problem.
I am sure there are volumes of studies that support widespread poor nutrition. I suspect that there are precious few if any that try to distinguish. between causes. I do not support funding poor choices.
Ok, I think I understand. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Your argument is essentially then that people should suffer before we react rather than being proactive and setting a system in place that will prevent the suffering we already know will happen? Well, that's a very unpleasant world, imo. The current services worked just like a flood gate during a storm. It prevented a bad situation from becoming worse. It also had ripples beyond just not letting people starve. People receiving food aid then have money to spend on other necessities like car repairs and rent.
I've chosen to center my argument around children, because they're the primary targets of most food aid programs (SNAP, free/reduced school lunches, WIC), and they can't simply get a job if they want food. If it helps you to reevaluate your position, good. I've not set out to "make you look like an idiot." But know you favor policies that, if I understand your position correctly, would literally make children starve before you reacted with aid. If you can stand behind that, so be it. I find your position to be short-sighted. It's not good for society to let the devil take the hindmost, no matter how much you may think you'd make better choices were you in that position.
If you want scientific literature that justifies food aid, you can find it. I don't think you do, to be frank. It's not unusual for someone experiencing cognitive dissonance to prefer to double down on false ideas rather than opening their mind to shift their position.
Ok, so now you're going to burden the foster system with these children because their mom got divorced or lost her job?
About the food aid - the vast majority of food aid goes to households with a child, a disabled person, or an elderly person. 86% of all recipients fit one of those categories. The income guidelines for eligibility are so drastically low, that I seriously doubt anyone would think "yay free food" and want to stay on their $1.50 per meal SNAP rather than working a job. In fact, the data support this. Employable people who receive SNAP do so mostly on a temporary basis, and then they get a job and don't need it anymore.
Nice argument but again a distortion.
The real problem here is that we do not address the actual problem. For example many of the elderly are hurting for cash because we tax them unmercifully after they retire and try to live in their home. Why give from SNAP and take away to support Lawrence?
The entire social safety net is poorly focused and contains a number of perverse incentives. We need to go back and focus it. I am sure that each and every component (from free phones to federal supplemental unemployment) has a strong advocate and a strong rational for it. I am not as sure that there is any rational for the total resources expended through all the different programs.
George, I have to agree with you there about the overweight. I am on disability and I do get food stamps and I am overweight. To me the strange thing is that while I would never think of using cash to buy snacks or sweets I do not hesitate to use my food stamps. I believe that is partially because I have little and a really nice desert is like a little luxury, I am thinking of food as the only really special thing in my life.
I am being quite truthful because I hope that someone else who is overweight and on food stamps will at least make the effort to start using some self discipline to use those food stamps wisely.
Yes, I know that means me too. I am curious as to how this "experiment" will affect my food budget.
However, it does seem as though it is only poor women that are fat, rarely is it the men. I have heard that under stress women go for ice cream and men for booze. Does anyone know if this is true or not? None of this means that the food stamp program is ill run or that people do not genuinely need it. It is as difficult to work on an empty stomach as it is to study on one.
I by no means want to reduce assistance to those who truly need it as it sounds like you do.
I would caution, however, that being overweight (I too chase comfort food) leads to nasty problems like diabetes which leads if unresolved to strokes, heart failure, loss of limbs and other nasty outcomes.
Yes, I am finding that out as I have a bad knee that I have to get cortosol shots in and have fallen down twice in the last month, and each time I landed with all my weight of my two knees. Not good. I think that ultimately it comes down to self-discipline, making myself do what is good for me, not what I might want to do.
And, practice good economy at the same time!
Matthew 25:40 "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
You can sure tell the difference between Jesus and Paul. :P
And, the differences between Peter, Paul and Mary? :-)
FDR - "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
Martin Luther King, Jr. - "There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it."
Addressing the above three notes. The bible was not suggesting that Rome raise taxes to help the poor. It was addressing my and your responsibility to contribute voluntarily to those in need.
The financial "bind" we find ourselves in was caused by a reduction in taxes in 2001. Ironically titled the "Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001".
The rational was that by cutting taxes and eliminating regulation, the United States economy would grow, and a rising tide lifts all boats.
Unfortunately the real world, the world we live in, does not live by the voodoo economics espoused by this rational.
This is the same logic that Mr. Brownback has espoused in his continued drive to cut taxes.
The results will be the same. Economic stagnation, suffering for the poorest among us and continued expansion of the gap between the rich and everyone else.
If you want to solve the problem, return the taxes to their pre-2001 level and funds will become available to provide services for the poor.
Cutting taxes to encourage prosperity is as nonsensical as quitting your job in order to pay for a new car.
Do you have some statistics to support your claim?
I have seen data that suggest that within a year or two income tax revenue recovered from the cut. What we completely overlook in the discussion of that tax cut is that part of that action was the reduction in deductions for the middle class and the expansion of the EIC to where we now have close to 50% of taxpayers not paying for the social safety net.
Yes, the real winners in the "Bush" tax cut were the wealthy. How about we do something about that. Since they use capital gains and tax exempt income to hold down their taxes and since the tax rates cease being progressive at about $500K maybe there is a nice source. We could cap the amount of capital gains and dividends given tax preference. We could do likewise with tax exempt securities.
That said the amount of righteous revenue recovered would not probably reduce the annual deficit by $100 Billion - leaving $900 billion to be found elsewhere. There are just not enough rich people.
I'd like to know where you got your data because, by 2003, we were mired in a war that was unfunded while the deficit sky rocketed.
Cait, there is a difference between revenue and spending. Revenue increased while expenses sky rocketed. I was only speaking to revenue - what we raise with taxes. The issue I was addressing was the Bush tax cut and the argument that reversing it will make all well. It will not.
The data by the way came from the IRS web site that tracks revenue from various sources by year.
I will also add that at several check points in income (all in the $75K to $100K range) the amount of revenue extracted today adjusted for inflation is about the same as it was before the "Bush" tax cut. I used Quicken to calculate tax due.
The winners, as I said, are the wealthy and those couples with children earning $50K and below.
Here is a chart on US income distribution. Note that 80% of us earn between 0 and $100K with the meanand median in the high forties and low fifties. The average is in the high sixties.
Note it is not a bell curve. It has a long tail at the high end. with about 4% of the families earning more than $200K.
I focus on $100K because that is about the amount that a two wage earner blue collar family makes as they near retirement. It is also the 80% point. They are certainly not rich.
In fact income for most of us is relatively tightly grouped around the mean (80% with in a factor of two.
I think you are mistaken in your assumption that a two wage earner blue collar family will approach 100K as they near retirements. Many families never come close to that and many of those who are working poor tend not to have much ability to advance in pay grades past a certain point.
I n ever said all - see follow on chart. Look up what we pay teachers and deputies. As longevity increases income increases and it does exceed $100K (even here). If you do the same in new York the income rate is even higher.
The follow on chart also agrees with you on the working poor. For convenience I will group them into two categories. Those starting out with limited skills and experience who will move up the system as they age (as the chart shows). The second category are those who simply lack the ability to successfully compete in our world. That may be because they are at the low end of the intelligence scale or because they have chosen to not compete. In either case exactly what is our responsibility to them. We provide a social safety net that in the aggregate if properly focused would eliminate poverty.
Beyond that just how much do you think you have a right to extract from the hard working middle class to address a fact of nature?
Your chart doesn't break down wages by blue collar or white collar. You're making a statement not supported by the data you've listed.
No, the chart just shows that the number of families with incomes exceeding $100K increases with longevity - until retirement. Certainly not all of them our rich plutocrats.
My argument for the $100 K blue collar income comment was not based on that chart and had two caveats. Two wage earner family and longevity. I suggested you look up the combined income of a sheriff deputy and a teacher in Douglas County nearing retirement - I did and it on average exceeded $100K. I also have looked it up for other parts of the country like NYC and found it to be much higher (higher costs of living). The examples are public employees. Are you suggesting that we are overgenerous to them or are you willing to accept by logic that many non-government employees share the same trend. I can find no data one way or another on non-government employment.
Unless everyone retires before 55, that's not actually supported by your data, either. The only age in which family income had a better than 50% chance of exceeding $75,000 was the 50-54 range, not the 60-64 age range.
What seems to be happening is that you're using the fallacy of composition. You're picking two example jobs (neither of which is necessarily a typical blue collar job) and assuming that this is somehow typical wages for all people working in that class. It's not a matter of whether it's generous or stingy sheriff's deputy or teacher pay. It's a matter of it not being a representative sample for the point you seem to be trying to make, although, what is that point exactly?
No Barbara I am not. Certainly not all blue collar families top out at $100K. Many do. The whole point is that people's income increases with longevity so that poverty is not a permanent condition except for a limited population. Exactly what are you arguing about other than just being grumpy. Misstating what I say is a typical debating technique and is despicable in discourse about real issues. I never said all blue collar employees top out at $100K. But since you want to argue what is your number?? Do you have any facts or are you just an obstructionist.
Retirement today does not always wait until 65. Many people chose or are forced to retire at 55 or there about. That drops their income. Perhaps your notion is that when you turn 55 the big bad bogeyman cuts your pay because it is his/her nature???
100k isn't poverty, nor is 50k in most cases. They're both solidly middle class incomes. Your chart shows that slightly over half of families of all types and skills of labor will earn an income over $75k. You can't say it's 100k, since the chart is for a range between 75-100k. You're drawing inferences that just aren't supported by the information you've provided. Even in the statement "people's income increases with longevity" isn't supported by that chart. Income goes down with longevity. You don't earn more when you reach age 90. "Household income is generally highest at age 50-54." That's the statement that can be supported by your data.
I'm not misstating what you're saying. I'm pointing out the flaws in your argument. It's not despicable at all. Being challenged is how you learn. If you don't feel comfortable being challenged when you have your facts wrong, I'd suggest you avoid public dialog.
If your challenge was meaningful that would be so. It is not. I picked $100K because it is at the 80% in income in this country and sounds like a lot to many people. The point also being that income in our world is fairly grouped. I could argue $80 K or $120 K but why - $100K is a nice round number.
I asked you if you had any better data. Your have avoided that question. Why, because you are just obstructionist? I went back to the beginning and can see how one could opine that I was listing all blue collar employees as making $100K late in their working lives. I corrected that post haste.
I chose the two groups because the data is available. I can find little data on salaries on non-government employees. That is usually confidential to the company paying the bill. Again I asked you if you believed that government employees are substantially rewarded better than non government employees. If not it is reasonable to accept that there are more than a few blue collar employees making a very good living late in their life (like $100K)
It is time for you to put up or shut up. You have this $100K thing like a dog with a bone. Exactly what is you point? I did not use that chart to make any point about blue collar income and have said so twice at least. The chart is a distribution of income for all families whatever pursuit. One can infer no information as to the employment of the families.
The ultimate point is that taxing the rich, which I support, just will not solve our debt crisis in part created by the 30% increase ion SNAP
Another chart that addresses who makes how much by age. Note that we sart out and end with less and have our peak earnings in our mid years.
You can thank Bill Clinton for passing this in 1996 where nonworkers are cut off after a certain number of years of receiving food stamps.
Yes and he also required work as an element of receiving social services - a requirement increasingly waived in recent times. He also limited payments for children so that someone on social services no longer received ever increasing payments depending on the number of children. The statistics show that there was a marked reduction in the size of welfare families.
Collectively those initiatives along with selective tax increases balanced the budget. I wonder if a Republican could have made those policy decisions.
Social support programs are a drop in the bucket compared to corporate welfare and all stats shiw social welfare is far less likely to be abused than corporate welfare. Shouldn't.we spend more time fixing more significant problems? Most omb records.suggest social welfare has a very low fraud rate.
Do you have data to address your argument about corporate welfare?? Do you even have a definition for corporate welfare? One mans "welfare" is another investment just like with social services.
How about a reference to that OMB data. Do we have any common definition of what constitutes fraud in our various programs.
Now, I am not really chasing fraud (although reducing it would be good). I am challenging the need for the government to provide "food" to all sorts of people that are really not poor. Look at the revised eligibility for SNAP. Tell me that it limits what we do to "poor" people that are actually hungry.
Yes take care of the kids. In part by forcing the parents to do so. When the parents truly are in need than extend public support.
Now I started out in this thread to protest the 30% increase in the SNAP program. I do not interpret that anyone ever addressed the reason for what appears to be a permanent increase. I opined that there is no evidence of wide spread hunger (true hunger – not missing a meal or two while fifty pounds overweight)
I have been told that we are not addressing hunger with this program but nutrition. I opined that supplemental nutrition for children is just fine (providing we make an effort to insure it gets to the children). I further opined that treating nutrition for adults is wasteful, costly and ultimately futile.
I digressed to observe that nobody provided any resources for the expanded program – but added it to the deficit. I observed that there are not many rich people in this country (not enough to pay for the SNAP increase) and that income is closely grouped around the average.
To defend my choice of $100K as the high end of average I pointed out that some, perhaps many, blue collar workers who are married make close to $100K as they approach retirement. In that discussion I noted that income is related to location and local cost of living. I provided a chart that depicted income by age and noted that income disparities vary with age.
We have wandered far afield but I stand on my comments.
I prepared healthy meals for my daughter and granddaughter when they were young so I ate healthy also. We had country week where we only ate foods from a certain country and we went to the library to do research. Now I am a liberal arts major so all this was fun for me and might not be to someone else. Over time my granddaughter and I baked twelve different kinds of breads together.
In all fairness to all I loved it when all three generations were in the kitchen together.
Then time passed and they moved away. I allowed my food choices to become bad.
Okay, here is my thing, I have a natural inclination to do research and to like a lot of diversity in my life and it is more fun when you can share it with someone. But, what about those who were raised with zero knowledge of how to be a mother, make a budget, manage a household? Those who give their kids a can of coke and a candy bar for breakfast? Those who are actually insulted at the suggestion that they should cook.
WIC vouchers can only be used for very specific foods. But that is simple compared to reprogramming every computer in every store to make sure that the SNAP card is only used to buy certain foods. And, we need a little leeway here. I really, really do not want to live on rice and beans.
Watched a show on Netflix about the obesity rise in America. Saw people who weighed four or five hundred pounds. Holy moly! That is actually impressive.
Today I am starting my new diet and exercise plan. One that I am making out, doing research on the Web, for me with my needs and goals in mind. How long will I stick with it, this time?
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