What Would Jesus Say About Republican Attack On Food Stamps?

Choosing between heating and eating: British demand for emergency food aid spikes

A worker cleans an exterior of a newly built urban complex building accommodating offices and retail shops in Beijing October 14, 2013.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS CONSTRUCTION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

There are a lot of families who are not going to be able to feed children because the system is being maintenanced,” Colman said. She planned to reach out to local officials. “You don’t want children going hungry tonight because of stupidity,” she said. Colman said the store manager promised her that he would honor the day’s store flyer discounts next week. Wasmer said the states affected by the temporary outage also included Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Ohio’s cash and food assistance card payment systems went down at 11 a.m., said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Johnson said Xerox asked retailers to revert to a manual system, meaning customers could spend up to $50 until the system was restored. Illinois residents began reporting problems with their cards known as LINK in that state on Saturday morning, said Januari Smith, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Smith said that typically when the cards aren’t working retailers can call a backup phone number to find out how much money customers have available in their account. But that information also was unavailable because of the outage, so customers weren’t able to use their cards. “It really is a bad situation but they are working to get it fixed as soon as possible,” Smith said. In Clarksdale, Miss. one of the poorest parts of one of the poorest states in the nation cashier Eliza Shook said dozens of customers at Corner Grocery had to put back groceries when the cards failed Saturday because they couldn’t afford to pay for the food. After several hours, she put a sign on the front door to tell people about the problem. “It’s been terrible,” Shook said in a phone interview.

Food Stamp Debit Cards Failing To Work In 17 States

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the food stamp program has kept about 4 million above the poverty line and has been a lifeline to millions of others already in poverty. If the Republican cuts were to go into effect, 4 million people would be kicked off the food stamp program next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and another 3 million would be dropped annually in subsequent years. In other words, instead of achieving Stutzmans goal of lifting families out of poverty, the reductions would drive millions more into poverty. As usual, the problem is that tea party conservatives are setting fire to a straw man. The real world they think they know so much about is a fact-free bubble floating above reality. The imagined problem is that there are millions of freeloading bums living large with the daily $4.50 they get for food, but here is the truth about who receives food stamps: Almost half of them are children. The elderly make up 8%, and about 20% are disabled. The 24% who are able-bodied adults without children cannot receive more than three months of benefits in a three-year period unless they work at least 20 hours per week. Immigrants in the country illegally a.k.a. illegal aliens cannot receive food stamps. Contrary to a common perception, about 50% of recipients are white. A key fact: The cost of the food stamp program has ballooned over the last five years because of the sharp jump in unemployment due to the Great Recession. Many of those people are still living on food stamps, not because they have been made lazy by feasting on the meager meals the program allows them to buy, but because people on the low end of the economic ladder are always the last to be rehired.Making it even harder for them to put food on the table is not going to miraculously open up the job market. Only Jesus could perform that kind of miracle.

Disposable incomes have fallen, when adjusted for inflation, since the global financial crisis erupted in 2007-2008. But the cost of necessities has risen gas and electricity costs are up 30 percent in real terms since 2007. The trust says many people this winter will choose between eating and heating. People at food banks have started giving back food items that need cooking because they cant afford to turn on the electricity, the trust said in a statement. The British Red Cross announced last week it would have 30,000 volunteers help in a massive food drive at the end of November. The Red Cross hasnt been involved in food distribution on a wide scale in Britain since World War II. IMPACT OF AUSTERITY The stress on the poor has increased since Britains coalition government, elected in 2010, imposed tough spending cuts and tax increases intended to reduce the budget deficit. That government has cut welfare payments, forced many low-income residents to pay local government tax for the first time, and imposed a new fee for public housing tenants with spare bedrooms. Treasury chief George Osborne has acknowledged that the austerity has proven to be hard on the country and that recovery is taking longer than anyone hoped. But the government insists the pain is a short-term necessity for the countrys long-term economic well-being. Among those struggling is Tim Day, 30, who lives off odd jobs and visited one of the trusts distribution centers at the United Reformed Church in Bromley on Tuesday. Between temporary work contracts, Day was grateful for a three-day supply of food including orange juice, vegetables, and porridge. But hes always worried about making ends meet. Its stressful, he said, describing the constant ups and downs that come without the certainty of a full-time job. UPWARD TREND The numbers show a steady increase in the numbers of people needing help to eat. When the trusts network started in 2000, it served 600 people at one site.