Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Which Spoiled Brat Rich Congressman Would Vote To Take Food Out Of Poor Children's Mouths?


Sometimes it seems like Republicans just live to take food out of the mouths of children... literally. That's one of the characteristics that differentiates Democrats from Republicans. Yesterday, the White House Council of Economic Advisors released a report on the efficacy of the food stamp program-- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-- terming it a "highly effective at reducing food insecurity-- the government’s measure for whether households lack the resources for consistent and dependable access to food." I recall vividly the intense battle 2 years ago when the Republicans-- just before Thanksgiving-- were determined to make deep cuts to the program. The Republicans, very narrowly, passed on of their Orwellian named bills-- Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act-- to drastically reduce funding. Every single Democrat stuck together and voted against the draconian bill and 15 Republicans-- primarily electorally vulnerable Republicans in blue-leaning districts-- crossed the aisle and voted with them, still 7 votes short. In then end though, the Senate didn't pass the House Republican version and it came back to the floor a few months later-- last year-- as part of the Agriculture Bill.

Had the Democrats stuck together on this, the bill would have failed. But instead virtually all the conservative Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP to cut food stamps as far on this monstrous Agriculture Bill "compromise." Progressives voted no. Why am I bringing this up today? Two reasons, the Florida Senate race is heating up and there was a clear difference between the two Democrats in the race, progressive Alan Grayson and reactionary, "ex"-Republican Patrick Murphy, on that bill. Grayson, like the majority of Democrats voted NO. Murphy was happily voting with his GOP buddies for it. Ironically, Murphy's campaign is trying to pass him off as a friend of working families. Now back to that report from the Council of Economic Advisors. In an accompanying fact sheet, they explained that
The report highlights a growing body of research that finds that children who receive food assistance see improvements in health and academic performance and that these benefits are mirrored by long-run improvements in health, educational attainment, and economic self-sufficiency. The report also features new research that shows benefit levels are often inadequate to sustain families through the end of the month--resulting in high-cost consequences, such as a 27 percent increase in the rate of hospital admissions due to low blood sugar for low-income adults between the first and last week of the month, as well as diminished performance on standardized tests among school age children.
This should be particularly important for Florida voters deciding between Grayson and Murphy. That's because each month, SNAP helps about 46 million low-income Americans put food on the table. In Florida alone, SNAP helps 1,942,000 households maintain an adequate and nutritious diet. The large majority of households receiving SNAP include children, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and working adults. Two-thirds of SNAP benefits go to households with children. These are the figures for Florida that help explain why Grayson and other progressives voted against cutting the program:
SNAP benefits are concentrated among the neediest families and effectively decrease their poverty.
         In Florida in 2013, the income of the average SNAP households placed these families at only 53 percent of the poverty line, much lower than the level necessary to support a family and provide adequate nutrition.
         In fact, 45 percent of Florida SNAP recipients were in deep poverty, or had income below half of the poverty line.
         SNAP has proven highly effective in raising families out of poverty, and in 2013, SNAP raised 206,000 Florida families above the poverty line. SNAP also raised 169,000 out of deep poverty, cutting the rate of deep poverty by 9 percent.
  SNAP plays an important role in reducing both poverty and food insecurity in the United States-- especially among children.
         SNAP benefits lifted at least 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2014--including 2.1 million children. SNAP also lifted more than 1.3 million children out of deep poverty, or above half of the poverty line (for example, $11,925 for a family of four).
         The temporary expansion of SNAP benefits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) lifted roughly 530,000 households out of food insecurity.
  SNAP benefits support vulnerable populations including children, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly, as well as an increasing number of working families.
         In Florida, children account for 38 percent of SNAP participants, while elderly adults account for 13 percent, and 8 percent of non-elderly adults have a disability.
         In total, SNAP serves 1,341,000 Florida children, 461,000 elderly adults, and 295,000 non-elderly adults with a disability.
         Nationally, nearly one in two households receiving SNAP benefits have children, and three-quarters of recipient households have a child, an elderly member, or a member with a disability. Fully 67 percent of the total value of SNAP benefits go to households with children as these households on average get larger benefits than households without children.
         Over the past 20 years, the overall share of SNAP recipient households with earned income rose by 50 percent and income earned through work represented the largest source of income for SNAP families in Florida. Among recipient households with children, the share with a working adult has doubled since 1990.
  SNAP’s impact on children lasts well beyond their childhood years, providing long-run benefits for health, education, and economic self-sufficiency.
         Among adults who grew up in disadvantaged households when the Food Stamp Program was first being introduced, access to Food Stamps before birth and in early childhood led to significant reductions in the likelihood of obesity and significant increases in the likelihood of completing high school.
         Early exposure to food stamps also led to reductions in metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions associated with heart disease and diabetes) and increased economic self-sufficiency among disadvantaged women.
         These long-run impacts are especially important for the 394,000 pre-school aged children in Florida who rely on SNAP to help provide the nutrition they need.
  SNAP has particularly large benefits for women and their families.
         Maternal receipt of Food Stamps during pregnancy reduces the incidence of low birth-weight by between 5 and 23 percent.
         Exposure to food assistance in utero and through early childhood has large overall health and economic self-sufficiency impacts for disadvantaged women.
  The majority of working-age SNAP recipients already participate in the labor market, and the program includes important supports to help more recipients successfully find and keep work.
         Fifty-seven percent of working-age adults receiving SNAP are either working or looking for work, while 22 percent do not work due to a disability. Many recipients are also the primary caregivers of young children or family members with disabilities.
         SNAP also supports work through the Employment and Training program, which directly helps SNAP beneficiaries gain the skills they need to succeed in the labor market in order to find and retain work. During fiscal year 2014, this program served about 600,000 SNAP recipients.
  Even with SNAP’s positive impact, nearly one in seven American households experienced food insecurity in 2014.
         These households-- which included 15 million children-- lacked the resources necessary for consistent and dependable access to food.
         In 2014, 40 percent of all food-insecure households-- and nearly 6 percent of US households overall-- were considered to have very low food security. This means that, in nearly seven million households, at least one person in the household missed meals and experienced disruptions in food intake due to insufficient resources for food.
         In Florida, 1,104,000 of families were food insecure-- with 14 percent of households food insecure and 6 percent experiencing very low food security.
  While SNAP benefits allow families to put more food on the table, current benefit levels are often insufficient to sustain them through the end of the month, with substantial consequences.
         More than half of SNAP households currently report experiencing food insecurity, and the fraction reporting very low food security has risen since the end of the temporary benefits expansion under ARRA.
         New research has linked diminished food budgets at the end of each month to high-cost consequences, including:
o   A drop-off in caloric intake, with estimates of this decline ranging from 10 to 25 percent over the course of the month;
o   A 27 percent increase in the rate of hospital admissions due to low blood sugar for low-income adults between the first and last week of the month;
o   An 11 percent increase in the rate of disciplinary actions among school children in SNAP households between the first and last week of the month;
o   Diminished student performance on standardized tests, with performance improving only gradually again after the next month’s benefits are received.

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At 9:26 PM, Anonymous anver said...

thank you for sharing your information

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous anver said...

excellent article

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Exit 135 said...

Patrick Murphy is my congressman. Being a reader of DWT, I am politically observant. I think the young man has actually been in my town twice since his election. Since he announced his run for Senate, the young man has been radio silent. He did run an unremarkable TV ad. I forgot it's content.

The media meme here on the ground is this: Murphy normal. Grayson scary liberal.


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