Nothing here that is new news to regular readers here , especially those who have lived it but always good to reiterate.
Nothing here that is new news to regular readers here , especially those who have lived it but always good to reiterate.
In my drafts, I have a long and still unfinished piece devoted to the pros and cons of people taking food stamp challenges. I’ve touched on key points here before but the subject deserves an indepth examination. Spoiler: There is one pro and eight different points that are cons.
Maybe some day I’ll finish that post I started. Right now, I’m juggling a lot and haven’t had time to write, so for now, I want to share some thoughts from people who share my frustration with SNAP / food stamp challenges for some of the same reasons.
Members of Congress are living off food stamps for a week to protest Republican cuts. It’s a challenge for them, but GOP cuts would hurt millions of everyday Americans.
I want a reality tv show where politicians have to live in poverty for a month. They have to live in Government housing, shop with food stamps, and get only a limited amount of money for clothes. Because here, they still have all their trappings, lilke nice cars and thousand dollar suits. I want them in Walmart jeans trying to determine if they can afford a carton of milk.
Give them a full calendar year. I want to see them confident in January, and sometime around June choking back tears at the Safeway because they are tired, so tired, of eating 25 cent cup noodles, eyeing other peoples’ full grocery carts with a dull bewilderment.
Let me see them despair because they have a persistent nagging cough that won’t go away and might be turning into pneumonia but the minute clinic is $60, which might as well be as six million dollars, either way they ain’t got it to spare – and that doesn’t count the cost of prescriptions. Let me hear them tell people about the muscle cramps they get at night due to eating non-nutritious garbage for months, the weakness from persistent hunger.
Let them know the shame and frustration of only owning one pair of cheap polyester pants for work and one pair of thrift-store jeans, and both persistently have ripped crotches and seams coming undone, no matter how many times they get sewn back up.
Let the women know the particular sort of despair that comes once a month when you can’t afford even the cheapest pads or tampons.
Let them understand the frustration of being charged a $35 fee for a $2 overdraft. Let them watch as the bank holds charges from different days in “pending” till they all come through on the same day, and the bank charges them four times for a single overdraft because “the charges all cleared at the same time”.
I want them to know the particular pain of having to decide between food for the week, or transportation costs to and from work. You can’t have both. Choose wisely.
You do not truly understand poverty until you’ve lived it and a month isn’t enough to encompass it. Not even close.
I have $7000 in medical bills this year because I let something go untreated for nine years because I couldn’t afford it. When I broke my hand I refused to go to the doctor because I couldn’t afford it – it wasn’t until my manager swore up and down that worker’s comp would cover it that I even considered going – and there were pieces of bone sticking out of my hand. I once walked on a broken foot for a year. A year. Because my boss wouldn’t let me have the time off to let it heal properly and my job required being on my feet for 8+hours a day. And that fucking foot kept starting to heal and then re-fracturing all over again. Spaghetti makes me sick to my stomach because I ate it every fucking day for months on end because pasta and tomato sauce are CHEAP, but there was no meat and no veggies, so it didn’t really do me any good.
Sometimes I buy things I don’t need just to prove to myself that I can. And sometimes I go crazy and buy bags of things for the homeless shelter and the food bank because Jesus, do people need it and I have a little extra to spare now. Sometimes I hoard things, like soap and food and old clothes that I don’t like and will never wear again, because what if I need it in the future and can’t afford it?
Sometimes I remember being so poor that my power was turned off and my bank account was negative and I had nothing in the kitchen but ramen noodles and canned beans and god only knew how I was going to scrape together $475 to pay the rent on my shitty apartment and the lingering stress makes me start to cry.
Rice for a whole winter, except weekends when my boyfriend came down and took me out, and margarine—forget butter—for it only rarely, so I couldn’t eat white rice for forty years. Pasta and soup with maybe a burger on payday as my only meat. No dental work, so my teeth are an ongoing trainwreck. Living in one-room studio apartments in residential hotels for a decade because we couldn’t afford a real apartment or utilities. And yes to all the bank crap.
I want the Congresscritters to live through a year of THAT before they vote on programs for the poor.
This is why I can’t stand people taking the SNAP challenge.
You don’t know the reality. You don’t come away with true empathy for people living the reality. And you still don’t listen to people living the reality.
Inspired by the discussion surrounding the WaPo piece “This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps” , Westgirl shared her experience of living in poverty long term.
The article “This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps” was sent to me about a dozen times by mid-morning. I tweeted my thoughts about it and you can see them below in the Storify I made (which may look wonky since embed doesn’t work correctly in wordpress, so I had to convert to html and …yeah).
I don’t have much to add to the series of tweets. A lot of people really loved this piece and I respect that. I suspect it’s because people are liking a narrative that addresses going from stability to poverty in a short time since it’s becoming a common story.
As always, I just like to look at things through a more critical lens and offer perspective that may be outside of popular opinion.
Thoughts on WaPo “Drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps”//
via OUR TIME
There’s a wealth of information on tumblr regarding social work & mental health. These are listed together because the issues quite often go hand in hand.
Thanks to Creative Social Worker for putting this directory together.
Creative Clinical Social Worker
So, this is fun. High school GPAs may be a good indicator afterall of future income BUT not if that student graduating is the woman variety.
A Woman With Perfect Grades Is Worth The Same As A Man With A 2.0 Average | ThinkProgress. ←link
I don’t think grades are everything usually. I think a lot of parents and schools use grades to measure intelligence and potential way too much. But hell…I have twin daughters who are graduating next year and it’s depressing to raise daughters to believe they ARE equal beings and can have success in whatever field they choose when society isn’t quite up to speed on the matter. They both currently have a 3.9 GPA. They’re proud of their academic success and have some great aspirations for college. How do we keep our daughters motivated to succeed when no matter how much they focus on their goals, they face going into a job market that determines their value as less because of gender?
The answer is not that they need to “lean in” more. This is not something we can fix by telling our daughters to work harder and be smarter.
On a related note, everyone is talking about Jill Abramson being fired from the New York Times and speculation has gone straight to pay gap issues. I echo what Maria Shriver says. “I don’t know all the ins and outs of the Abramson case, but I do know this: Jill Abramson is going to be fine. What I also know is that the gender pay gap in this country is real, especially for low-income working women. That’s who isn’t doing fine.”
It’s still a significant problem. Congress (ok, Republicans in Congress, specifically) have voted no on every measure meant to close the gender pay gap.Equal pay shouldn’t be such a hard thing to achieve.
Recently, David Leonhardt tried to link fidgety boys to poverty, stating that boys are in a crisis state and girls are doing just fine. There’s a lot to pick apart in his article but one flawed point made was this:
To put it another way, the American economy — for all its troubles (and all of the lingering sexism) — looks to be doing pretty well when you focus on girls. The portion of women earning a four-year college degree has jumped more than 75 percent over the last quarter-century, in line with what has happened in other rich countries. Median inflation-adjusted female earnings are up almost 35 percent over the same span, census data show — while male earnings, incredibly, haven’t risen at all.
One of the causes of widening inequality in the U.S. is due to the fact that nobody is getting a decent pay increase . The rate of pay increases since the late 60s hasn’t kept pace with inflation. Women still on average make 77 cents for every man’s dollar… and this is all women. Women of color and transgender women earn less than white women even. Black women, for example, earns less than 70 cents for every dollar a man earns. Over the last quarter century, women’s earning may be up almost 35% (thanks,feminism.May the future version of you be more intersectional and fight equally for everyone) but it still isn’t even equal to a man’s dollar. I have a fidgety boy myself but I am far more concerned about the future my daughters have. There is a crisis for ALL children being raised in poverty (equal consideration given to single parented households and two parent households). Fidgety or not, my son is still going to start his future career at a better advantage than his sisters.
I mean, unless something changes to equalize things. Finally.
ok! ok! hold it! I just want to say something you know, for every dollar a man makes a woman makes 63 cents. now, fifty years ago that was 62 cents. so, with that kind of luck, it’ll be the year 3,888 before we make a buck. but hey, girl
(That 63 cents was back in 1990. And we’re up to 77 cents 20 years later.
Well,goodness. I always stress than while personal narratives can share common threads, there are many ways poverty can look but I connect with this personally. Metcalf lives about 2 counties away from where I do. It’s hard to even get dental coverage through medicaid here if you’re an adult and very few dentists will even accept it. The one closest to me is a horror show. And by closest, I have the same issue as Metcalf …transportation. Right where I live, we have a great public bus system but traveling outside of the area isn’t easy.
We are also in that dangerous space where if I were to just get a part time job, we would lose assistance but any income I make wouldn’t be enough to offset the lost assistance PLUS cover the cost of childcare. Hell, a part time job probably wouldn’t even cover the cost of childcare here. The daycare subsidy waiting list is long, so that isn’t a huge help.
Almost all of this list of brain damaging habits are things more likely to affect people in poverty. I am so sorry for my redundancy at times but we really need to shift this focus off of weight issues being the primary health concern among those in poverty and give more attention to brain health being the main concern.
2/ Many people who live with (or have lived with) food insecurity tend to overeat when they do have food because they don’t know where their next meal is coming from and it may have been a while since they had enough food.
4/ Affordable foods that provide enough calories (especially in food deserts) are high in sugar.
5/ People in poor, non-white neighborhoods are exposed to more hazardous pollution. Low income housing overall tend to be in more polluted areas of cities.
7/People sleep with their head covered when it’s cold because they can’t afford heat. (thank you, JW from the comments!)