Thursday, February 12

Food stamps put Rhode Island town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle


Yesterday I was chairing the finance committee at a charity. Which is an animal shelter. We help abandoned and abused animals, train vet surgeons etc etc. Very nice place.

But one of the things that we were talking about was how do we help our staff members. The basic problem is that people cannot survive in London on minimum wages. At about £15000 per year, after taxes, it's impossible to live. Their money runs out about the 22nd of every month. And then it becomes a nightmare. Like it's described here in the article.

Kids, being poor is very bad. Having had gone through this, it's soul destroying. Specially if you have children. Yes you may ask why have children when you're poor and cannot afford them but human nature and sex does that. Be that as it may, the human behaviour of people changes when they are poor. Very differently kids.
But we've got to help them kids. That's the mark of civilised people that we help others who are unfortunately in a worse situation than us.

London is more expensive than rest of the country so minimum wage doesn't work. So we are going to pay our staff at minimum wage an increase to what's called as a living wage. It will impact our delivery. It's a difficult decision as every pound we spend on staff has to be taken away from an animal. But it has to be done. We have to think holistically. Animals wouldn't be treated well if we have an underpaid hungry staff member. Yes. Hunger happens here in the uk kids. You've never experienced it and I promise you never will as long as I am alive but it's a very corrosive feeling.

Read this article kids. And think about how you can help the more unfortunate members in our society. And what can we do as citizens to make sure that we avoid this problem in the first place.



WOONSOCKET, R.I. – The economy of Woonsocket was about to stir to life. Delivery trucks were moving down river roads, and stores were extending their hours. The bus company was warning riders to anticipate “heavy traffic.” A community bank, soon to experience a surge in deposits, was rolling a message across its electronic marquee on the night of Feb. 28: “Happy shopping! Enjoy the 1st.”

In the heart of downtown, Miguel Pichardo, 53, watched three trucks jockey for position at the loading dock of his family-run International Meat Market. For most of the month, his business operated as a humble milk-and-eggs corner store, but now 3,000 pounds of product were scheduled for delivery in the next few hours. He wiped the front counter and smoothed the edges of a sign posted near his register. “Yes! We take Food Stamps, SNAP, EBT!”

“Today, we fill the store up with everything,” he said. “Tomorrow, we sell it all.”

At precisely one second after midnight, on March 1, Woonsocket would experience its monthly financial windfall — nearly $2 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Federal money would be electronically transferred to the broke residents of a nearly bankrupt town, where it would flow first into grocery stores and then on to food companies, employees and banks, beginning the monthly cycle that has helped Woonsocket survive.

Three years into an economic recovery, this is the lasting scar of collapse: a federal program that began as a last resort for a few million hungry people has grown into an economic lifeline for entire towns. Spending on SNAP has doubled in the past four years and tripled in the past decade, surpassing $78 billion last year. A record 47 million Americans receive the benefit — including 13,752 in Woonsocket, one-third of the town’s population, where the first of each month now reveals twin shortcomings of the U.S. economy:

So many people are forced to rely on government support.

The government is forced to support so many people.

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