Keep food stamps out of federal block grants
I appreciated The Eagle’s coverage of legislative cuts to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits (May 2 Eagle). Capping the limit for cash assistance through TANF at two years will cause hundreds of children – many with no other financial support – to be cut from cash assistance, with hundreds more losing eligibility for months to come.
Though Kansas welfare enrollment has diminished, childhood poverty rates have steadily risen – up by 20 percent since 2007. Today, 1 in 5 kids in our state is living in poverty.
But the damage is done for TANF, and such complaints are retroactive. Now, it’s imperative we protect food stamps, our first line of defense against hunger.
The same federal overhaul of welfare that has allowed the decimation of TANF – block-granting – is now being aimed at food stamps, which currently feed 260,000 Kansans.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., created a new congressional task force on poverty that is putting together policy recommendations for the next fiscal year. Ryan and others have supported block-granting food stamps, which could lead to the same kind of state-level cuts that have occurred in TANF in Kansas. We must call on Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, to stop food stamp block-granting and protect our state’s most vulnerable children.
Garrett Wilkinson, Manhattan
Two small minds agreeing on a ridiculously absurd idea does not a vindication make (“Kobach feels ‘somewhat vindicated’ by Trump’s presumptive nomination,” May 5 Eagle). A real wall built by Mexico on our southern border is vindication. Much like the successful prosecutions for voting fraud of, say, a thousand or maybe a hundred or maybe 10 or at least the number of fingers on one hand will make me think more of Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s last great idea.
Rod Phares, Wichita
Why more benefits?
My first exposure to unions was at a local aircraft manufacturer. I was selected as a union steward and assigned to the contract committee for the benefit concerns of our membership.
I found that the majority of our members were concerned with the illness provision that cost each absence at least one day’s pay. I presented that complaint to union leaders, who simply stated that the provision would not be considered. I assume there were union/management agreements unknown by the rank-and-file members.
Later in my career, I was on the other side negotiating for the owners. This time I found that the unions were concerned less about wages and benefits and more about job security. One thing both companies had in common: There were no defined-benefit retirement plans. A 401(k) plan was the best option we ever had available.
I have served on the city of Wichita Employees’ Retirement System board of trustees for about eight years, and there are several issues that we should address. First, why should government employees receive more benefits than most people in the private sector? Why do we support legal theft with the “DROP” program? We now have millions of unfunded pension debt? Surprise, the Wichita City Council participates in the plan.
Robert Wine, Wichita
Legend has it that a commodelike object was once used to test the sex of newly installed popes. The test recipient would sit on the seat over the opening, and the tester would examine for the correct configuration below the hole.
If Kansas passes a “bathroom bill,” perhaps something similar could be installed outside public restrooms and people could be hired to perform the necessary examinations. People wanting to use the restroom could then be directed to the restroom deemed an appropriate match to the official birth certificate they present.
If that seems too invasive, another option would be a restroom registration card. One could undergo the necessary examination at a voter registration location and kill two birds with one stone by receiving a voter/restroom registration card when they present their birth certificate for a one-stop, easy process.
The Legislature would need to come up with a suitable way to determine gender. Perhaps Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s minions could be in charge, as they don’t seem to be overwhelmed by voter fraud lawsuits.
Beverly Crowe, Bentley
Great party venue
I want to put in a word for what my immediate and extended family has come to call a hidden and ignored jewel of Wichita: the Kansas Aviation Museum.
This past weekend at the museum we celebrated my husband’s 80th birthday and a lifetime in aviation. It was a wonderful experience. The venue was lovely. Our guests could roam the exhibits, climb the old control tower, fly a simulator.
The best part was the great time had by the children. They had hours of fun in the children section, with many not wanting to leave. Our last grandchild had to be coaxed out amid cries of, “no, I want to stay and play more.” My eldest great-granddaughter said she thought an aviation museum would be just for old people who like airplanes, but that it was so much fun. She especially liked being able to fly and land a plane in the simulator.
Thanks, Kansas Aviation Museum, for one of our best party experiences ever.
Carrol Laird, Wichita
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