When the Smiley-West Poverty Tour rolled into Detroit on August 8th, they pointed out that conversations about family poverty in the U.S. are not on anyone’s radar. In fact, as welfare recipients know well, people avoid talking about the poor unless they’ve got something disparaging to say.
While Washington politicians mull over which low income programs to cut next, we know SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) — aka food stamps — will be on the table. It doesn’t matter that there’s been an increase of 74% in food stamp recipients since 2007 due to the economic calamities that these scoundrels created.
You see, Washington politicians don’t know what it’s like to live on meager part-time, minimum wage jobs with no benefits, or how to make ends meet on inadequate disability, veterans or unemployment benefits. These so-called leaders have never had to decide between buying food for their children or paying their light bill. And forget about going to the doctor for annual exams — what’s that?
Politicians don’t know how to create living-wage jobs either. Michigan has been hit especially hard during this recession (we know it’s really a depression). The state’s unemployment rates continues to be high at 10.9%, and in the Detroit metro area it’s 12.5% (download PDF).
Our neighbors to the south in Alabama continue to have food security worries worse than us where 1/3 of Alabama residents are on food stamps. Plus, from 2006 to 2008, Michigan is one of 10 states (IL, KY, ME, MO, OR, TN, WA, WV, MI and DC) that continue to have significantly higher participation rates in SNAP.
Despite the criticism, food stamps keep low income families fed and alive, and they help support what few jobs we have left in our communities. Don’t let any politician choose between corporate tax breaks for their friends or food for your family.
Image from NewsOne.