Poverty News Round Up

Looking at the world with a newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other.

The Newspaper:

1. In the United States, 1,170,000 children live in families with less than $2.00 a day in income. From Poverty and Policy:

“No policymaker, I suppose, deliberately decided to let any of America’s children live at a poverty level defined as “extreme” for developing countries.

But our policymakers share bipartisan responsibility because they decided to focus anti-poverty efforts on “the working poor” and let families headed by parents with the greatest barriers to ongoing gainful employment fend for themselves.”

2. McDonald’s tries to do minimum wage budgeting and has an epic fail. It turns out you can’t actually make a livable budget based on minimum wage work. From the Atlantic:

“In what appears to have been a gesture of goodwill gone haywire, McDonald’s recently teamed up with Visa to create a financial planning site for its low-pay workforce. Unfortunately, whoever wrote the thing seems to have been literally incapable of imagining of how a fast food employee could survive on a minimum wage income. As ThinkProgress and otheroutlets have reported, the site includes a sample budget that, among other laughable assumptions, presumes that workers will have a second job.”

3. What’s next for SNAP? From Poverty and Policy:

We’ve some clue of what might happen because SNAP was once before delinked from the rest of the programs the Farm Bill authorizes.

“Back in 1996, the program was reauthorized for only two years, leaving it wide open to changes thereafter. Congress then folded new exclusions and restrictions into the same bill that gave us welfare reform, along with other provisions that reduced SNAP benefits for those still eligible.”

4. Immigration reform is probably going to be pushed to the fall, reports Politico

“Don’t expect the House immigration group to roll out its comprehensive reform bill this summer.

The bipartisan coalition of seven lawmakers has essentially agreed to punt the release of its legislation until at least September, according to several sources close to the private discussions.”

5. Suburban poverty is growing. While poverty rates are still higher in urban areas, in terms of sheer numbers of poor people there are now more in the suburbs than in the city. From The Economist:

But while suburban jobs and suburban poverty are both growing, America’s anti-poverty infrastructure lags. Suburban safety nets can be thin and patchy; grant-making organisations are often used to focusing on urban rather than suburban poverty. Just as many of the suburban poor have never experienced poverty before, so many of the organisations that help the poor have been overwhelmed by the rapid rise in numbers, says Lesley Grady, a vice-president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, a charity.

The Bible:

This week’s lessons are music to the ears of poverty advocates. Amos condemns those who take advantage of the poor in no uncertain terms. It is worth pointing out that wage theft is still a problem in the United States today. Here is Amos (8:4-7):

“Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deciet with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”

The Psalm then reminds us that wealth is not to be trusted. Wealth is an opportunity to do good by using the resources God has given us, but our trust is to be in God, and not in our own strength (economic strength or military strength). Psalm 52:6-8

The righteous will see, and fear, and will laugh at the evildoer, saying,
“See the one who would not take refuge in God, but trusted in abundant riches, and sought refuge in wealth!”
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

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