July 27, 2019

Sounding the alarm on hunger

The Trump administration has proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka the old food stamps) that could take away basic food assistance from 3 million Americans. This is an administrative maneuver which clearly bypasses the will of both houses of Congress.

To fight this off, it's necessary for as many people as possible to a make their voice heard during the public comment period, which closes Sept. 23. Fortunately, there's an easy way to do this. All you have to do is click here and comment away.

To learn more specifics about what's wrong with doing that, click on this link from the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

July 23, 2019

Let them eat nothing

I don't know about you, but I just love it when billionaires try to take food away from hungry people. Over 3 million of them, to be exact. Here's what the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has to say about the Trump administration's latest stunt:
The Trump administration today issued a proposed rule that would take food assistance away from 3 million people by making them ineligible to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s first line of defense against hunger.
The proposed rule will particularly harm working families with children whose net incomes are below the poverty line, and families and seniors with even a small amount of savings.
This latest attack on struggling Americans once again sidesteps Congress by eliminating SNAP’s broad-based categorical eligibility option, which allows states to streamline the process for households with slightly higher incomes that still experience financial hardship to participate in SNAP. This option for states has been fully vetted by administrations and Congress for more than 20 years, and was most recently upheld in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill.
By undercutting this option, the proposed rule will only fuel rates of hunger and food insecurity by taking food off the tables of working individuals and families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. It will create a sicker and poorer nation by denying struggling households the food assistance they need for a healthy, productive life. It will put children’s health and learning at risk by removing their access to healthy school meals. It will also harm the economy, grocery retailers, and agricultural producers by reducing the amount of SNAP dollars available to spur local economic activity.
SNAP helps millions of Americans make ends meet. The Trump administration should be building on the successes of this proven program. Weakening SNAP only weakens our country.
FRAC encourages people to submit comments opposing the rule via its platform at FRAC.org. The 60-day public comment period will begin on July 24.

July 22, 2019

I knew things were bad but...

It takes a lot to surprise me when it comes to bad statistics about West Virginia, but I didn't see this coming: according  to the WV Department of Education, 10,522 public school students in the state are homeless. 

Recall that West Virginia is a small state population-wise and getting smaller every day. This means that 4 percent of students are living in a vehicle, on a relative or friend's couch or in a shelter. That would average out to one student in every class of 25 kids.

The counties with the highest numbers include:
* Jefferson County — 1,411 students, or 16 percent of students
* Kanawha County — 652 students, or 3 percent of students
* Clay County — 633 students, or 34 percent of students
* Mercer County — 588 students, or 7 percent of students
* Cabell County — 455 students, or 4 percent of students
According to officials, some of this may be due to the lingering effects of the 2016 floods, but opioids are probably a leading cause.

Needless to say, none of this came up in all the time wasted by the legislature in pushing for privatization, charter schools and education savings accounts.

This is another example of how public schools are expected to deal with problems they didn't create, even while some legislators undermine them.