Lack of education behind welfare woe
August 13, 2013 12:28 AM | 2016 views | 0 0 comments | 96 96 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia legislators have a pressing issue to tackle when they convene for the 2014 session of the General Assembly in January. They must focus on the reason or reasons for the state’s growing food stamp population and determine what can be done to improve economic conditions in all 159 counties.

It’s not something that can be ignored. Recent statistics on the number of individuals and families requiring food stamps for day-to-day survival are indeed alarming. That Georgia has risen to being a state with the sixth highest food-stamp rate in the nation from 15th is profoundly startling, to say the least.

Someone in state government should already be asking questions and demanding answers.

According to reports, in 2012, 1.91 million Georgians were subsidizing their diets with the food giveaway. Since then the number has grown by 40,000, even at a time the economy is said to be on a gradual upswing. All and all, the report goes on to point out, the number of recipients has almost doubled since 2007. That’s just six years ago.

Often it’s not a matter of having a job. About 58 percent of adults eligible for and obtaining food stamps are employed. They have jobs, but the positions just don’t pay enough, obviously, to keep them from applying for government assistance.

Education, or the lack of it, could be at the root of the problem. The state’s literacy rate is anything but impressive. It’s hard to say, however, whether this is a small or large contributing factor.

Commissioning a study would be a great start in unraveling the cause of this explosion in food stamp recipients. Georgia cannot continue along this path. How can our state be a national leader when 20 percent of the population can’t even feed itself?

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