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Showing posts from December, 2018

TANF's Long Reach

This is about one of the worst laws signed by President Clinton - the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which dramatically cut cash benefits to the poor and limited cash benefits to five years. States could choose to adopt this portion of the law  - to  restrict poor families from receiving additional benefits when they have additional children. 14 states currently adopt this rule:  Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. How does it work? I n Massachusetts, a single parent with two children receives  $578   in TANF benefits each month. But if a second child is born while the family is already receiving TANF, that child is ineligible, and the family receives $100 less, for a grant of $478.  22 states originally adopted the cap and so far, 8 states repealed the cap, the most recent is New Jersey.  You can imagine the comments from conservativ

Poverty and Education

Whenever I talk about poverty, my more progressive friends get annoyed because I think it is very difficult for children in poverty to be successful in schools and my more progressive friends think that we can educate every child, no matter how poor, to a high standard. Let's look at poverty.  The official poverty definition by the Census Bureau  is family money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps)." The Census Bureau chooses poverty thresholds which are the dollar amounts that determine poverty status.  In 2017, the poverty thresholds ranged from $11,756 for one senior person age 65 and older living alone to $54,550 for a family of nine people or more. There is an annual cost of living adjustment but not a geographic adjustment.  Not a lot of money. America has one of the highest rates of poverty for children in the developed world. According to OECD, America ranks 17th out of the

Recognizing the Power of Tribalism

     I live in Charlottesville. Last year on a Friday night, I witnessed three hundred, young, white, angry men march with tiki torches through the grounds of the University of Virginia. Undeterred, these young men shouted Nazi slogans, surrounded the Jefferson statute, and proceeded to beat students and faculty who were brave enough to tell them to go home.      The next day these hundreds of young men armed with sticks, shields, and masks descended onto a small park (Lee Park) near the Downtown Mall to protest the city's decision to move General Robert E. Lee's statute. Shouting the same Nazi slogans as the evening before (their favorite was "Jews will not replace us"), these angry young men were accompanied by armed militia who were older with serious armament. (In case you didn't know by now, Virginia is an "open-carry" state which means I can walk into Kroger's and see a shopper with a rifle.)      That Saturday, as I watched the protest gro