Posts tagged “poverty”
June 24, 2013
On Thursday, the House of Representatives rejected the farm bill 195 to 234. The bill, backed by the Republican party, called for a 20.5 billion dollar cut in food stamp programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which would have left 2 million men, women, and children without assistance.
The bill also included controversial amendments, calling for states to authorize drug testing for anyone applying for food stamp programs, as well as an amendment banning those convicted of violent rape, murder, or pedophilia from being eligible to receive aid. What these amendments ignore are the families, especially the children, who are effected by these exclusions and left without food in their stomachs. Denying families food stamps and barring them from programs such as SNAP also limits what other assistance programs they may qualify for, including free or reduced lunch in public schools. Despite the fact that there is no evidence to show criminals or drug users are more likely to use food stamps than non-criminals and non-drug users, there is a constant effort by the supporters of these major cuts to equate criminality with the need for food stamps, ignoring the rest of the population who work full time—or more— and are unable to provide food for their families.
April 26, 2013
Seven Stories author Lee Stringer described a life of poverty in America in an article for Alternet’s Hard Times, USA series. The article, entitled “How Being Poor in America Shaped Every Part of My Life and Forced Me to Live on the Streets,” details his childhood, his parents struggles to make ends meet, and the circumstances that led Stringer to live on the streets of New York City for a dozen years.
Stringer tells of living in a rooming house with his mother and brother; of his mother having to rely on public assistance; and of how he, deemed economically and culturally disadvantaged by his school, was “summarily consigned to the slow classes and systematically steered towards developing [him]self into a capable factory worker.”
Through his experiences with poverty, Stringer notes a series of ironies–how pride, which he was taught in church was a sin, was actually a virtue for the poor; how charity, which he was taught was a virtue, was tinged with shame for the recipient; how when a poor person self-advocates, they are a beggar, but when they are advocated for, the person who does so is lauded for their humanity; and, ultimately, how only when he was no longer poor did people begin to care what he had to say about being poor.