Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mayors Experience Dining in Poverty

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Mitt Romney told us about the takers in America, the forty-seven percent who always have their hands out expecting the government to take care of them.    One of the things that the takers take are food stamps, something that remains particularly galling to conservatives.

Cory Booker, the dynamic Democratic mayor of Newark, New Jersey, recently got into a Twitter discussion with someone who was being critical of food stamp recipients.  The mayor responded by challenging the tweeter to join him in living off of a food stamp budget for a week.    In New Jersey that amounts to $4.44 per day.

Mayor Booker is a big force in his community.  He is known for things like rushing into a neighbor's burning house and rescuing a woman, and inviting members of the community into his home during Hurricane Sandy.  His Twitter account is an action hub for people to cut through the political red tape for assistance and services in Newark.  As he tackles this food stamp challenge, his observations will be readily available to the public - and he won't be bashful about relating what he experiences with the limited food budget.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, another Democrat,  aligned himself with Arizona's 1.1 million food stamp recipients this past September during Hunger Awareness Month.  Mayor Stanton also lived for a week on a food stamp budget ($4.16 per day in Arizona).  He kept a journal on Facebook that told of his experiences.  The following is from Mayor Stanton's journal on day four:

"So I'm surviving on an apple and handful of peanuts, and the coffee I took to the office until dinner. I'm tired, and it's hard to focus. I can't go buy a sandwich because that would be cheating - even the dollar menu at Taco Bell is cheating. You can't use SNAP benefits at any restaurants, fast food or otherwise. I'm facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making EVERYTHING from scratch on this budget. It's only for a week, so I've got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn't be so pleasant."

These two mayors are setting bold examples through their firsthand research into a major component of public assistance.    Mitt would almost have us believe that the takers, the 47% who always have their hands out for assistance, live quite well and feast at the public expense.  He, of course, is full of crap.

More of America's politicians and religious leaders (particularly the ones who are pious conservatives) need to take this food stamp challenge and see how it impacts their lives. Mayor Stanton, who is not a large person, lost four pounds in the week that he lived on a food stamp budget.

I need to quit yammering and take up the challenge myself.  My daily breakfast at the local McDonald's  (a sausage McMuffin with egg, large iced tea, and a carton of milk) comes in at a pricey $5.55 - which breaks the food stamp budget with just one meal.

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