Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oregon governor lives of food stamps

Via Readerville, I became aware of this rather good attempt of raising awareness of hunger.

A Governor Truly Tightens His Belt (NY Times)

Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski’s decision to live on $3 a day in grocery money for a week, as he had been urged to do in an Oregon “food stamp challenge,” could confound the surest cynic. At 66, he was just elected to his second term, with a budget surplus surpassing $1 billion and a legislature controlled by his fellow Democrats. So just what was there to gain politically?

For a governor who has long pushed to reduce hunger and happens to like eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, maybe that was not the point.

Of course, there is a major difference between living of $3 per day for a week, and having to do so day in and day out, but I still applaud Kulongoski for what he did.

The average monthly individual participation in the food stamp program is 25,641,656 Americans1, and the average monthly food stamp benefit per person is $83.772.
The number of people living in poverty (what is now called "food insecurity") is 35.1 million, of which 22.7 million are adults (10.4% of all US adults) and 12.4 million are children (16.9% of all US children). Of these, 10.8 million people (both adults and children) live in what used to be called “food insecure with hunger”, and what's now called “very low food security” households.3

Anything that calls attention to these things, can only be considered as something positive.

For more about hunger in the US, see the sources below, or either Household Food Security in the United States, 2005 by The Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture or U.S. Conference of Mayors/Sodexho Survey on Hunger and Homelessness (.pdf) by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

1National statistics (.pdf)
2Facts About Hunger (.pdf)
3FRAC - Hunger in the U.S.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Wagers' readers should be aware of the history behind the negative feelings toward welfare in the US. The leader of the expedition which founded the colony of Jamestown, Va. (coincidently, the quadracentenial of that founding occurs this year) one John smith famously stated that, "if you don't work, you don't eat."

May 03, 2007 3:19 PM  

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