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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


I think I'm going to hurl

This gem is from today's New York Times. If people really want to see what it is like to live on food stamps, they should do it for more than a month - a month is a novelty, not a life. I think they should also do it without a car (and/or a strict gas allowance), with some little kids in the house, etc.

April 22, 2007

Governor to Try a Food Stamp-Size Budget

SALEM, Ore., April 21 (AP) — Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski and his wife, Mary Oberst, are used to eating the best their state has to offer: salmon, huckleberries and mushrooms foraged from the Cascade mountains.

The coming week will be different. They will spend just $3 a day each on their meals, $42 in all, to match the amount spent by the average food stamp recipient in Oregon.

Mr. Kulongoski, a Democrat, and Ms. Oberst are the most prominent people yet to take part in a “food stamp challenge,” a trend sponsored by religious groups, community activists and food pantries across the country.

Those who have done the challenge say shopping on such a tight budget requires plenty of planning, a reliance on inexpensive staples like legumes, beans, rice and peanut butter and a lack of more expensive protein and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Meeting friends for a slice of pizza or a cup of coffee becomes a nearly unaffordable luxury.

“On the spiritual side, when I did eat, I was more present,” said State Senator Jonathan Harris of Connecticut, who just finished three weeks on food stamp funds. “Usually I’m watching TV, shoveling things in, not thinking that I am blessed.”

It is a politically delicate time for the food stamp program. The Bush administration has proposed several cuts, among them taking food stamps from about 185,000 people because they receive other noncash government assistance.

The Department of Agriculture budget, as proposed, would also eliminate a program that gives boxes of food to about half a million elderly people each month.

The administration has proposed some changes hailed by food stamp supporters, like excluding retirement savings from income limits and encouraging recipients to buy more fresh produce.

Mr. Kulongoski plans to lobby Congress to restore the proposed cuts.

edited to add: but thank you NYT at least for this: "Oleta Fitzgerald, southern regional director for the Children’s Defense Fund, said: 'When you see drops in the welfare rolls, when you see drops in Medicaid and children’s insurance, you see a recipe for disaster. Somebody’s not eating, somebody’s not going to the doctor and unborn children suffer'." (this was in the article on infant mortality).


At 8:10 PM, Anonymous twirly said...

Grrr.....A drop in the bucket was my response.

And on to other very important issues (wink wink smile)....


At 9:03 PM, Blogger k8 said...

It would be so much more impressive if they would also live off the maximum yearly salary one can make and still receive food stamps. We'll see how "spiritual" they find the experience then.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Arbitrista said...

They should give away all their salary and their credit cards, too, if they really want a taste of desperation.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Julia H. said...

I took a Labor Studies course a few years ago and one of our texts was "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich. A writer by profession, Ehrenreich goes "undercover" and works minimum wage jobs, describing her experiences with management, coworkers and landlords. She writes a lot about how difficult it is to survive on a Walmart-job wage. I highly recommend!


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