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October 17, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
It seems we may have been unfair to Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) by suggesting he's a hypocrite for voting to cut back food stamps while he collects millions in government farm handouts. The Central Valley Republican's vote Wednesday on the shutdown-ending House bill tells a different story: In fact, he's a man of principle. LaMalfa has generally stood for smaller government, especially smaller poverty programs, which he believes should be handled by individuals and church groups.
October 15, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
More than half of families of fast food workers receive some sort of public assistance, costing the nation $7 billion a year, according to a new report distributed by a group that has been pushing for union representation and higher wages for fast food workers. Fast food workers earn an average of $8.69 an hour, and often work fewer than 40 hours a week, qualifying them for food stamps, Medicaid and tax credits, according to the report, written by economists at UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
October 15, 2013 | By David Horsey
Most Republican members of Congress claim to believe in Jesus Christ, but their votes against the food stamp program suggest they do not share their lord and savior's love for the poor. In September, House Republicans sent a bill to the Senate that would cut $40 billion from funding for the food stamp program over the next decade. The tea party caucus, a group that is quite evangelical about its economic theories and its religion, justified the spending reduction in terms that echoed Ayn Rand more than the Gospels.
October 8, 2013 | By Melanie Mason and Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Facing the prospect of a prolonged federal government shutdown, Gov. Jerry Brown will soon need to decide if the state will shoulder the cost to keep running federal programs used by millions of Californians. State officials say there's no guarantee that critical social services in California - such as food stamps, subsidized school meals and nutrition assistance for pregnant women and infants - could run without interruption in November. The Brown administration has not yet said if it plans to plug the gaps for social programs at the end of the month.
October 1, 2013 | By David Lauter
Government agencies have shut down because Congress has failed to pass the necessary money bills, known as appropriations, needed to keep them open. What's the impact? Q: Will mail delivery and post offices keep operating as usual? A: Yes. The Postal Service is a quasi-independent entity and does not depend on annual appropriations, so its business will continue as usual. Q: How about Social Security, Medicare and Medi-Cal? A: Those programs will also continue, with checks being sent out as normal.
September 30, 2013 | By Gale Holland
Los Angeles has the highest poverty rate among California counties, according to a new analysis announced Monday that upends traditional views of rural and urban hardship by adding factors such as the soaring price of city housing. The measurement, developed by researchers with the Public Policy Institute of California and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, found that 2.6 million, or 27%, of Los Angeles County residents lived in poverty in 2011. The official poverty rate for the county, based on the U.S. Census' 2011 American Community Survey, is 18%. The new analysis set California's poverty rate at 22%, the highest in the nation, compared with the official rate of 16%. Counties such as Placer and Sacramento, with more moderate housing costs, have lower poverty rates than those of metropolitan areas, researchers said.
September 21, 2013
In some political circles, food stamp recipients are portrayed as prone to fraud, too entitled to work or living too comfortably at taxpayers' expense. Some Times readers couldn't disagree more. Those who sent us letters to the editor this week were almost unanimous in their opposition to the Republican-controlled House's vote to pass a spending cut that would remove nearly 4 million Americans from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which provides aid to families and individuals who, for a variety of reasons, have significant trouble paying for food.
September 20, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Let's visit again with Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, who distinguished himself a few months back by making it into Rep. George Miller's Hall of Hypocrites by pocketing millions in farm subsidies for his family farm while acting to slash food stamp benefits for the poor. This week, the House of Representatives voted again on food stamps. LaMalfa voted with the Republican majority to cut $40 billion from the program over 10 years. That would be devastating, if the Senate concurred.
September 20, 2013 | By David Horsey
Since the economic disaster of 2008 sent incomes spinning downward and the jobless rate shooting upward, at least one group of Americans has found a path back to prosperity: the top 1%. Over the last four years, the super-rich have been able to rake in 95% of all income gains.  That's right, according to a new study by Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at UC Berkeley, while the number of poor Americans has risen and members of the middle class...
September 20, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian
Cool guy, that new pope. Wish those House Republicans would spend some time studying the interview Pope Francis gave to the Italian Jesuit journal La Civita Cattolica that was published online by America, a U.S.-based Jesuit publication. They might learn a few things about compassion, priorities and how to be real Christians. Francis thinks the church, to its detriment, is “obsessed” with its battles against abortion, gay marriage and contraception. “The teaching of the church is clear,” he said.
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