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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kalin Abuses the Hungry

In the local papers, Kalin (D-17B) wrote, "Last year, I took the "food stamp challenge" – to eat for a week off the average food stamp budget of just $3 a day. It was a humbling experience – to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes."

The $3 of food stamps per day is not meant to provide all the food for a person each day. It is a supplemental program. The government program rightly expects recipients to provide some money toward their own daily consumption of food. Kalin distorts the intent of the program.

He also claims, "I’ve since learned that most food stamp recipients are working families with children, and their struggles become even more difficult in the summer months." Well, what do you know?! This is consistent with the program.

With some exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 must register for work, accept suitable employment, and take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by the food stamp office. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program. In addition, able-bodied adults between 18 and 50 who do not have any dependent children can get food stamps only for 3 months in a 36-month period if they do not work or participate in a workfare or employment and training program other than job search. This requirement is waived in some locations.

The program rightly expects able-bodied people to work. The program is a supplement, not a replacement. The program aims to create some incentive to work.

While Kalin makes hay on the $3 food stamps per day, what does he collect? As a representative he can receive $77 per day for food and incidentals while the House is in session. In 2007, Kalin collected $8,448 of per diem on top of his $31,140 salary. The House was in session for 75 days. Kalin took less per diem than most legislators (to his credit). However, Kalin’s per diem of $8,448 spread over a year (8,448/365) amounts to $23 per day. On $23 per day, most of us would be eating better than we do. That is on top of his $31,140 salary.

And then this guy has the nerve to use the poor and hungry to leverage votes to keep him in office. That is despicable. Vote NO on Kalin in November.

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