Thursday, August 08, 2019

The Erickson Report, Page 4: Following Up on school lunches

The Erickson Report, Page 4: Following Up on school lunches

I want to Follow Up on something I raised briefly last time, when I expressed my outrage over a school district in Florida that threatened parents who hadn't paid for their children's school lunches with having those children removed to foster care.

But the real outrage, I said then, was that any family should ever be in the position of not being able to afford food for their children.

It develops that that, however, is not an outrage to the administration of Tweetie-pie.

For two decades, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP - still commonly called by its original name of Food Stamps - has had rules which allow states to raise limits on eligibility, making it easier for families with high housing or child care costs, as well as those with some savings and other assets, to still quality. Such loosened limits are now in effect to some degree in some form in 40 states, allowing them to better support low-income working families, promote asset-building among those households, and improve state administration while lowering administrative costs.

Now, the gang of misanthropes swearing fealty to His High Orangeness want to dump those rules, denying states the ability to address local conditions.

“Too often, states have misused this flexibility,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, forgetting, it seems, that "flexibility for states" is a traditional mantra for right-wingers whenever they think states will be harder on poor people than a related federal program. He considers families not being forced to choose among rent, health care, and food to be an "abuse."

The White House gangsters estimated that 3.1 million people would lose access to Food Stamps under their proposal, which is evil enough - but it turns out that they left something out, which brings us back directly to school lunches: The plan would potentially strip around 500,000 kids of free school lunches.

See, children automatically get free school lunch if their families receive Food Stamps, a policy that reduces paperwork and thus reduces both costs and the risks of bureaucratic screw-ups. The proposed change would eliminate that automatic eligibility, forcing every single family to apply individually under tightened standards.

For some reason, the death-eaters in the White House never mentioned that fact in their formal release of the proposed rule changes. Maybe they thought announcing an intention to deny school meals to a half-million poor kids was an image too bad even for them to present.

But frankly, I doubt it: Nothing seems beneath them.

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