In Rural Illinois

The silver lining to this pandemic may be reimagining the federal budget.

This is the most affluent country in the world. It is heartbreaking that we have lines of cars for miles outside of foodbanks. No other industrialized countries have as many people who are homeless or relying on foodbanks. And we have more and more working poor.

When this pandemic first started, with fewer places to sell their products, farmers ended up dumping milk and plowing crops under. Why wasn’t the federal government working on buying those goods to distribute to food banks and food programs? It would have supported farmers and helped with the current hunger crisis.

The federal government could also have worked out a plan to keep people with good paying jobs employed — and created a federal program rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure to employ others without good paying jobs.

“Good paying” is the operative phrase. Nobody can support themselves, let alone a family, on the current federal minimum wage. Studies show that the average minimum wage worker is not a teen, but a 35 year old woman. And it takes 99 hours a week at the federal minimum wage to pay for a median priced low-cost apartment.

The current administration ignores the issue. Congressman Davis ignores the issue. I hope the Biden administration initiates programs to deal with the poverty exposed by this pandemic. As citizens, we need to tell our government to address poverty.

Letter to the editor by Marci Adelston-Schafer to The News-Gazette

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