Link Roundup! Double Bucks for Food Stamps, Our “Mommy” Problem & More

What is this impulse to slap a smiley-face at the end of a story when a period will suffice?

Walmart Employees Working Hard, Going on Food Stamps

Walmart brings in more food stamp revenue than any other company, and much of it comes from their employees.

How the Public is Subsidizing the Minimum Wage

Over at the Motley Fool, a popular investment news and tips site, Morgan Housel writes that adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage has declined by 30 percent over the course of 40 years, while the percentage of Americans on food stamps rose. This indicates, as we've noted previously, that the public is essentially subsidizing low-wage work.

Another Rich Person Tries to Live on Food Stamps, Finds It Hard

Kind of hard to believe this isn’t a game show yet.

“Poverty is a circumstance, not a value judgment.”

Solidly middle-class, white collar, and college educated, Darlena Cunha never expected to need to rely on the social safety net. But when confronted by unexpected, high-needs twins, a laid-off husband, and the reality that the house she had just bought had already lost the entirety of its value (and yet still needed to be paid off), she found herself driving a Mercedes to pick up food stamps. Please tamp down your knee-jerk reaction to yell “Sell the Mercedes!” at the screen, at least until you read the article.

In just two months, we’d gone from making a combined $120,000 a year to making just $25,000 and leeching out funds to a mortgage we couldn’t afford. Our savings dwindled, then disappeared. So I did what I had to do. I signed up for Medicaid and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Before she knows it, she becomes “you people,” someone trying to buy inessentials with food stamps and enduring the scorn of know-it-alls.

Once, a girl at the register actually stood up for me when an older mother of three saw the coupons and started chastising my purchase of root beer. They were “buy two, get one free” at a dollar a pop. “Surely, you don’t need those,” she said. “WIC pays for juice for you people.” The girl, who couldn’t have been more than 19, flashed her eyes up to my face and saw my grimace as I white-knuckled the counter in front of me, preparing my cold shoulder.

“Who are you, the soda police?” she asked loudly. “Anyone bother you about the pound of candy you’re buying?”

The woman huffed off to another register, and I’m sure she complained about that girl. I, meanwhile, thanked her profusely.

“I’ve got a son,” she said, softly. “I know what it’s like.”

On Food, Farmers’ Markets and the Farm Bill

On Fridays this summer in Chicago I went to the Department of Human Services offices on 63rd Street to invite people to visit the farmers' market. Unless I had more outreach to do in Woodlawn or South Shore, I didn't ride my bike. The first time I rode over, I was encouraged by the security guard to bring it in and since I hated the time it took to lock up my bike and ostentatious display of bike-riding, I just started walking over from my office a couple blocks away. Timing was everything for this outreach: If you went at 9 when the office opened nobody was there, and any later than 11 and the same was true. The benefit of going at 10 meant it wasn't too hot yet and I'd still manage to grab a donut and iced coffee at Robust Coffee Lounge on my way back.

I Mean How Could You Not Click

My Name Is Jason, I’m A 35-Yr-Old White Male Combat Veteran…And I’m On Food Stamps.”

If Walmart Paid Workers a Living Wage

Marketplace and Slate have been working on a joint project about food stamps. They previously reported that big box stores like Walmart pay many of their workers so little that they qualify for foodstamps—which they then use at the stores they work in. Andrew Bouvé produced this video looking at how paying workers at Walmart a living wage could potentially affect prices at Walmart.

Food Stamps, Obesity, and Hunger in the Rio Grande Valley

In the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, poverty rates are high and people are hungry, yet 38.5 percent of the residents there are considered obese. Part of this reason, according to this feature by Eli Saslow in The Washington Post (Saslow's fifth story in this series), is because food stamps can be used to buy junk food at many convenience stores, which sell lots of processed, or fried food, and a $1 snack I hadn't heard about until now: a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos with hot cheese poured over it.

Measure to Cut Food Stamps “A Monumental Waste of Time”

Yesterday, the Republican-controlled House voted 217 to 210 to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. A Census Bureau report released earlier in the week "found that the program had kept about four million people above the poverty level and had prevented millions more from sinking further into poverty", according to the Times.