Thursday, March 3, 2011
IN MY MAILBOX -- Cutting WIC
Dear Mike ,
In case you missed it: The budget legislation passed by the House of Representatives would slash $747 million -- about 10 percent -- from the 2011 budget for the Special Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants and Children. It's commonly known as "WIC."
WIC was created in 1974 to provide a very modest but crucial measure of food assistance to low-income moms and little kids who are at "nutrition risk." To qualify for this modest assistance, recipients must be poor -- very poor. Some 68 percent of WIC beneficiaries live at, or below, the . That's about $22,000 for a family of four.
Congress was quick to slash a food program for poor kids during the worst economy in 80 years, but it cut not one penny from the country's farm subsidy programs -- at a time when the farmers who receive the subsidies are enjoying record-high crop prices and incomes.
By cutting just a fraction of what we spend on , the House could have held WIC harmless and continued to give a little help to deserving poor little kids at serious "nutrition risk."
I wrote a Huffington Post column on the cut to WIC and how it symbolizes an unacceptably lopsided and wrong-headed approach to food and agriculture policy. Please read the column (it's below) and then stand with EWG Action Fund and let your representative know that you want a fair, equitable food system that begins to help the country heal its dietary and environmental woes.
President, EWG Action Fund