Governor Scrooge asks “Are there no workhouses for Ohio’s poor?”
December 22, 2013
During this holiday season nearly 134,000 Ohioans face the prospect of ringing in the new year hungry. Governor John Kasich has decided, despite Ohio’s stagnant job growth and high unemployment, that work requirements will be mandated in 72 counties for childless adults aged 18-50 in order to qualify for food assistance.
Ohio is still down 221,000 jobs from where it was in November 2007. Where these 134,000 people will work is a puzzling proposition. What is known is that they will no longer qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – what used to be called food stamps.
Kasich could have accepted a federal waiver that would have extended the federal food aid for all the counties in Ohio for at least one year without the work requirements. Reverend John Edgar, who works for the United Methodist Community Development for All People project wonders why anyone would want to “punish these folks in this economy.”
“It’s a horrible decision,” Edgar laments.
The Franklin County Department of Jobs and Family Services (JFS) cannot possibly meet the need to supply employment for the 15,000 people who will have to work or be denied food starting January 1st. “My agency is a nonprofit that supplies these types of jobs. We’ve told the Jobs and Family Services people to double the amount of people they send here for work, but they tell us they can’t do it because they don’t have the personnel to supervise that many new workers,” Edgar explains. “It is fundamentally wrong and unfair to tell people to get a job that doesn’t exist, or can’t be done because there aren’t enough personnel there to meet the demand.”
Gene King, Director of the Ohio Poverty Law Center, agrees with Edgar that there are “so few work sites” and that there are not enough for placement.
In a report by Policy Matters Ohio, Franklin County JFS Director Anthony Trotman said, “The new work requirement in the SNAP program will be very difficult for us. In Franklin County, 15,000 adults will need to work for food stamps….This is a lot of people to serve in a complex program. We need to take advantage of the waiver for another year. Let the economy improve. Get ready to serve these people.”
Kasich’s decision not to accept the waiver for 72 of Ohio’s 88 counties appears to have caught many Ohio counties by surprise. Several of the people who will be denied food assistance could have gotten waivers from their county, but the personnel and resources are not available to work with so many people who will be required to work for food.
The SNAP program serves roughly 47 million Americans, nearly half of them children. By targeting the supposed “able-bodied” unemployed, the government is saving on average $140 per person per meal in assistance. Kasich’s decision will take at least $100 million out of the state’s economy.
The cuts will come at the time when the number of Ohioans living in poverty is estimated at 1.8 million. There was a 60 percent increase in poverty between 2000-2010 and King reflects that it is “ironic that people are enrolling in Medicaid for the first time ever because of a decision by Kasich, but are losing nutritional assistance that is a key to good health.” Also, as King points out, these federal dollars that Kasich is once again giving away as he did with the transportation dollars for trains, is spent locally and circulates to help sustain local economies, create jobs, and generate taxes.
The Grocery Association estimates that for every $60,000 spent on food, you create a job. Imagine the consequences of removing a $100 million from some of the most desperate neighborhoods in the United States. Equally ironic is that this work requirement will lead to more job loss.
Director Jack Frech of the Athens County Jobs and Family Services noted that the people targeted on the SNAP program are already caught in a cycle of poverty: “When you set eligibility at 50 percent of poverty and benefit levels at 25 percent of what you need to get by – as we do in Ohio – clients are, in essence, ‘sanctioned’ simply by how low the aid is. Every day is a struggle for survival.”
These so-called able-bodied unemployed workers are plagued by their lack of education and job skills, not necessarily a lack of desire to work. Director Joseph Gauntner of the Cuyahoga County Jobs and Family Services said, “We find that 50 percent of entrants have a high school diploma or a GED at entry, but when you look at the entire Ohio Works First caseload at a given moment in time, you find that drops to 25 percent pretty quickly. People with a high school diploma or equivalent exit the program more quickly. The people left on have big barriers. Lack of education and skills are big ones.
Even if they could find a job, most lack transportation. Many also suffer significant mental health issues from living below the poverty level and some have low rates of literacy, being products of Ohio’s unconstitutional school system.
So as Columbus contemplates peace on earth and good will to all people, our Governor is not reflecting on the obvious barriers to employment for the 134,000 Ohioans currently living in poverty and preparing to go hungry at the beginning of the new year. Take the waiver, Governor Scrooge.
Email this article to a friend
"Governor Scrooge asks “Are there no workhouses for Ohio’s poor?”"
December 22, 2013
"The ghost of rigged elections past: New revelations on the death of Michael Connell"
December 11, 2013
"The John Kasich Re-Election Protection Act"
November 23, 2013
"Coleman drives his machine to the levy, but the levy is dry: Black ministers come out against Issues 50 & 51"
October 28, 2013
"Third Parties in Ohio knocked off the ballot"
October 8, 2013
"Senator Seitz moves to squash third parties in Ohio: Fears democracy may break out"
September 30, 2013
"Zombies, vampires and rage in post-apocalyptic America"
September 15, 2013
"Post-Constitutional America - Bob Fitrakis"
August 30, 2013
"Ohio election officials cover up for illegal voting by police"
August 6, 2013
"What killed Detroit"
July 31, 2013
"Operation Mockingbird: New York Times confesses to role in subverting First Amendment"
July 17, 2013
"Response to Supreme Court with push for new voting rights laws, amendments"
June 26, 2013
"True the Vote "just doesn't seem right": Criminal charges considered in special meeting"
June 6, 2013
"The real IRS scandal"
May 18, 2013
"Resolution of Re-examining Lucasville conference"
April 21, 2013
"Know drones: Jim Leftwich has the Wright and secret stuff"
April 11, 2013
"The body sock for an autistic kid: Trickle down torture in Columbus City Schools"
March 31, 2013
"Bipartisan voter repression in Ohio masquerades as reform"
March 18, 2013
"Diseased racist voting system needs a cure"
February 18, 2013
February 12, 2013
"Ohio’s Jon Husted goes to Washington: No Democratic voter’s right to vote was safe"
February 3, 2013
"Call it by its real name "Chemtrails": Harvard prof calls for spraying to re-freeze the Arctic"
January 3, 2013
Read Articles by Year:
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000