By Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Jessica Compton’s relatives of 4 could haven't any funds source of revenue except she donated plasma two times per week at her neighborhood donation middle in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago usually haven't any meals yet spoiled milk on weekends.
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Extra info for 2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
It had no time limits and no mandate that recipients get a job or prove that they were unable to work. As its caseload grew over the years, AFDC came to be viewed by many as a program that rewarded indolence. And by supporting single mothers, it seemed to condone nonmarital childbearing. Perhaps the real question is not why welfare died, but why a program at such odds with American values had lasted as long as it did. In fact, welfare’s birth was a bit of a historical accident. After the Civil War, which had produced a generation of young widowed mothers, many states stepped in with “mother’s aid” programs, which helped widows care for their children in their own homes rather than placing them in orphanages.
More programs targeting poor families were passed as part of Johnson’s Great Society and its War on Poverty than at any other time in American history. Congress made the fledgling Food Stamp Program permanent (although the program grew dramatically during the 1970s under President Richard Nixon) and increased federal funds for school breakfasts and lunches, making them free to children from poor families. Social Security was expanded to better serve the poorest of its claimants, Head Start was born, and new health insurance programs for the poor (Medicaid) and elderly (Medicare) were created.
That’s about one out of every twenty-five families with children in America. What’s more, not only were these figures astoundingly high, but the phenomenon of $2-a-day poverty among households with children had been on the rise since the nation’s landmark welfare reform legislation was passed in 1996—and at a distressingly fast pace. As of 2011, the number of families in $2-a-day poverty had more than doubled in just a decade and a half. It further appeared that the experience of living below the $2-a-day threshold didn’t discriminate by family type or race.