Lesson of the Day: ‘What Happened When a State Made Food Stamps Harder to Get’
6. The article concludes:
But the jobs are unstable and inconsistent — as in the Peytons’ case, paying too much to qualify for benefits one month, offering too few hours to qualify the next. That is the root of the problem, Mr. Comer said. But addressing it would be a lot more expensive than food stamps.
“If they could come up with a work program for these people to give them jobs and transportation and everything, I’d agree with that,” Mr. Comer went on. “If you’re an able-bodied American and you ain’t got a job and they’re going to give you one and give you the means to get back and forth to it, that’s great. But then what’s that going to cost you?”
Do you agree with Mr. Comer? Do you think that food stamps address the root problem of food insecurity and poverty in America? If not, do you think there are viable alternatives that would or could?
Choose one or both of the following activities:
1) Return to the warm-up activity: Did reading the article change your views on any of your earlier statements? If yes, why? Choose one statement and write about why you hold that view or why your view has changed.
2) Do you think the Trump administration’s new federal rules on food stamp eligibility help or hurt Americans? Explain why or why not.
In developing your response, consider the following questions: Should all able-bodied Americans be required to work to receive food stamps? Should food stamps be limited to no more than three months in a three-year period? Should states be able to waive those rules in times of economic hardship? On the whole, do you think food stamps provide an important safety net or an incentive to Americans not to work hard? Use evidence from the article to support your viewpoint.
Additionally, keep in mind the challenge the Peytons’ face of “paying too much to qualify for benefits one month, offering too few hours to qualify the next,” as well as their own concern about people “just getting things handed to them.”
You might consider writing your ideas in the form of an editorial, and then submitting your final draft to our Seventh Annual Student Editorial Contest.
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