Hunger Problems Set to Get Worse for Some NC Residents –
TRIANGLE TRIBUNE – As many of us plan and prepare for family gatherings and celebratory meals in the upcoming holiday season, here’s a startling and disturbing fact to consider: Only a handful of U.S. states have higher hunger rates than North Carolina. The weak and uneven economic recovery hasn’t reduced hunger in our communities: the share of North Carolinians who don’t have a consistent supply of food has actually not budged since 2009, evidence of the state’s large job shortage and boom in low-wage jobs that make it difficult to buy food.
Next year, this harsh reality will get even worse for many North Carolinians who are very poor and struggle to find work in communities where job opportunities are scarce. That’s when, thanks to the recent action of the General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory, a three-month time limit for food assistance returns for childless, non-disabled adults. As a point of reference, the average income of the people who will lose their food assistance is just $2,236…per year.
This is from an editorial in the Charlotte Observer:
“Earlier this month, state lawmakers decided to try a little more tough love on those who had the gall to be unemployed, requiring that they show evidence of five contacts a week with potential employers instead of two. All the provision did was create more paperwork for those trying to find a job, as well as employers who had to process unnecessary applications.
The rationale for lawmakers then and now is the same: The jobless need a shove to look for work. ‘I think you’re going to see a lot of them go and get that 20-hour-a-week job, or they’re going to enroll in some sort of higher education to improve their job skills,’ Sen. Norman Sanderson, a Republican from Pamlico County, said of the ban on SNAP waivers.”
According to Rob Schoefield, “The reality, however, is that such opportunities are simply not available…,”
Obviously, the central problem with this approach is that it ignores common sense and the reality on the ground. Simply put, 100,000 North Carolinians aren’t sitting around not looking for work because they can get a few bucks per week to buy a little bit of food. If there were jobs available – even lousy, part-time jobs – these people would obviously be much better off working than merely receiving SNAP benefits. (And if a few hundred people were somehow milking the system for such a pathetic benefit, all one can say is “God forbid!”)