Oct 6, 2008

No bail out for our poorest children

There are 3 million children in America, including 130,000 in Ohio, who depend on the reformed welfare system to meet their basic needs. The families of these children comply with all of the time limits, work requirements, extensive verifications and numerous rules of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant. An average family of two on TANF in Ohio receives $336 a month in cash assistance and would also be eligible for a maximum of $298 a month in Food Stamps. When combined, this only provides an income of roughly half of the Federal Poverty Level. Ohio’s benefit amount is close to the national average.

These families cannot meet their basic needs. The economic depression is here for them now. They must frequently depend on food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. They are doubled and tripled up in their housing.

The annual TANF appropriation for the nation is about $16 billion. The Food Stamp program appropriation is about $35 billion. Both have been reauthorized by Congress in the past few years. There were no emergency meetings of Congress, no pleas from the White House, no media attention to address the 3 million American children who are hungry by design. Yet, Congress is willing to spend $700 billion to bail out Wall Street.

Jack Frech