Politics and Poverty are Kissing Cousins?

SNAPAs unemployment for this year steadies around 7.5 and immigration and student loan interest rates preoccupy the headlines and blogosphere, you might have missed the House’s rejection of the five-year, $940 billion farm bill that would have cut food stamps by $2 billion annually over 10 years.

Today about one in seven Americans have to survive on $4.50 a day. The growing number of recipients is due to many who have lost their jobs and can’t find employment or they are not making a living wage. The income limits and amount of benefits received is based on family size, gross and net income. The monthly net income for a family of four has to be less than $1,838 to qualify. For those critics who point to fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), that number is less than 4% and defies the myth of people cheating the system.

Currently, an estimated 48 million Americans receive food assistance through SNAP, about 15 percent of the US population. In 2010, SNAP provided about $2.6 billion dollars in food benefits to a monthly average of over 1.6 million people in Georgia. The program served 64 percent of those eligible for benefits in Georgia.

This link provides more information on Georgia

Poverty and politics should not be kissing cousins, when Americans from rural counties to urban cities are struggling to feed their families. Some are surviving and others are living day-to-day, visiting food banks for the first time in their lives, asking churches, mosques and synagogues for assistance and exhausting federal benefits from unemployment to food stamps. The poor are faced with far too many challenges during these difficult times, and unfortunately they are doing it at an empty table.

Why the Farm Bill includes food stamps in the first place is partially the problem. When political decisions determine the fate of policy, there are very few winners. For now, the issue has been averted while families anxiously await a recovery of any kind.


  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    I disagree with your statement,”Today about one in seven Americans have to survive on $4.50 a day.” It’s not true.
    What is true is about one in 7 Americans receive food stamps.
    As anyone with eyes can see at the grocery store and neighborhood markets, food stamps are spent on many things other than survival. According to the State of Georgia, “Food stamp benefits cannot be used to buy alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or tobacco, household supplies such as soap and paper products, medicines, vitamins, pet foods, or any non-food items.” This doesn’t exclude much.

    However, politics and poverty are kissing cousins or, more correctly, co-dependent. Politicians pander to those in poverty in return for their votes. Those in poverty depend on politicians for ever-increasing handouts.

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  3. Burroughston Broch says:

    Following please find a link to a NY Post article regarding NY food stamp recipients shipping welfare-funded groceries to relatives in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

    These NY food stamp recipients are well fed on much more than $4.50/day and are sharing their surplus with their relatives, at our expense. I assume the same happens here also.