January 30, 2009

Beyond Bread: Weekly Roundup (Beyond Bailout Edition)

~So let's start this off nice and easy... with a nod to the approaching 2009 Anti-Hunger Policy Conference! Could this be the most timely anti-hunger conference in recent memory? Seems likely but, :-O, this event costs some $$$. $310 for a ticket, and that's with the Early Bird Special which ends this Sunday. One would think that anti-hunger folks would be dollar-mindful... you know, at least a B.Y.O.Brown.Bag kind of deal? But what I really mean to say here is: does anyone out there want to sponsor a Bread for the City registration in return for what will surely be ace-to-the-minute anti-hunger blogging? Yes we can! Just tell us so in the donation-comment field.

~The bleakness: 100,000 jobs lost in a week. President Obama's +$800billion stimulus package passed the House and now heads to the Senate. While more tax cuts get built into the thing to appease intractable Republicans, word continues to percolate that, dollar-for-dollar, the best stimulus is food stamps (according to Moody's, $1 invested in food stamps results in $1.73 of trickling-up economic activity) and similar support for the lowest income Americans. The plan as it stands has $102 billion set aside for food stamps and unemployment insurance (and, remarkably, an unprecedented amount for education). The Poverty and Policy Blog points to the Coalition on Human Needs' summary review of the stimulus package. The gist is: there's good stuff in there, but it just might not be enough. In the meantime, aid is coming to the states (and District) to presumably help them shore up critical programs like Medicaid etc, but no one knows yet what it's going to look like.

~So what's the word for a victory that's undeniably a victory, not the pyrrhic kind but rather a seriously legit win that somehow still leaves one feeling cold in the shadow of the billowing clouds of war? In this instance, small beans would have an uncomfortable ring to it since the beans at stake are four million previously-uninsured children who will now be covered by SCHIP. For serious: it's good news (DC doesn't have an SCHIP program per se, but the funding does come to us via the DC Health Care Alliance, which ultimately reimburses the care we give in Bread for the City's medical clinic), though it's still a far cry from universal. And but so did anyone else notice Nancy Pelosi's stated mantra for her Congress -- "women and children first" -- and get even more unnerved? Right?

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