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More Than Half of Kids Will Someday Get Food Stamps

food-stampI know times are tough, but this is troubling news: Half of all American children are expected at some point to be on food stamps. That statisitic is based on research conducted at Cornell University, who analyzed the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. That study followed about 4,800 households in the U.S. over the course of 32 years.

Even more troubling, 90 percent of black families and 90 percent of single parent families will at some point be on food stamps, while only 37 percent of families with married parents and of white families will get food assistance. Getting food assistance is also strongly correlated with education — 62 percent of families whose head of household had less than a high school diploma got food stamps while only 31 percent of families whose head has more than 12 years.

I hear all kinds of nasty comments about people who get food stamps — “that person in line in front of me used food stamps and bought STEAK! I can’t afford steak!!!” But look, people speed all the time, and do we decide no one should have a driver’s license? No, we root out the people who abuse the privilege. Here are two facts I gleaned from the article: Only 60 percent of people who are eligible for food stamps apply for them because of the shame and stigma associated with using them. Also, the maximum income for getting them is only $22,000 for a family of four. I could barely sustain myself and a cat when I was making that in my first post-college job, and that was 14 years ago. The idea of keeping kids fed on that while still paying rent and, say, a car payment terrifed me.

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