We frequently hear about the benefits of free or reduced-price school lunches, but what about breakfast? Join me in honor of National School Breakfast Week by learning a bit about why breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day.
In response to Congress’ failure to reach a budget agreement and the triggering of sequestration, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Wait, what? What happened to separation of church and state? How can this office exist, if it is created by the government? What do these so-called partnerships entail?
Actually, the separation of church and state is very much alive in the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as I learned at an event on Monday at the Brookings Institution.
On Tuesday Michigan passed a “right-to-work” law. This law, which bans required union dues, strips labor unions of their power to represent their membership. This law makes it more difficult for unions to effectively serve as an ally to workers and to uphold their rights.
The Reform Movement has been a longstanding supporter of workers’ rights based on a historic Jewish commitment to the cause, which is derived from the biblical commandment, “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a stranger in one of the communities of your land” (Deut. 24:13).
And they’re off! Like the gunshot sending the horses into their races, Congress returned this week poised to tackle the multi-trillion dollar problem that is the fiscal cliff. Coincidentally (or smoothly and not-so-subtly), yesterday the U.S. Census Bureau released another report on the state of poverty in our country. Remember the survey a few months back—the one where we found out that, surprise, poverty still affects over 46 million Americans? The one where we also saw that SNAP alone lifted 3.9 million people out of poverty? Well yesterday’s report adds to the data we have on the effectiveness of these social safety net programs.
A month ago, I tempted you with a taste of current fiscal policy (warning: please read Sequestration Part 1 before this, or you will be very confused, not to mention less informed!). You learned what sequestration is, where it came from and how it affects you and the programs you care about. So now let’s talk about the future. What are the options for avoiding the fiscal cliff? Will it be a cliff, or a slope? But most of all, why should you care?
If sequestration takes effect and the fiscal cliff hits, here is a snapshot of what is at stake:
Last month, the Obama Administration announced that youth who are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status would not qualify for benefits extended under the Affordable Care Act. This excludes these young immigrants from accessing crucial preventative services, acquiring health care through the new exchanges, or receiving assistance from federal programs such as Medicaid or CHIP.
Every year, 250,000 youth are tried, sentenced or incarcerated as adults. In 23 states, seven-year-olds can be prosecuted and tried in adult courts and tonight alone an estimated 10,000 children will be held in adult facilities, with more than three quarters of them awaiting trial. Even more troubling, African-American youth are nine times more likely than white youth to receive an adult prison sentence for identical crimes; for Latino youth that number is four times greater than for white children. These statistics, provided by the Campaign for Youth Justice, are a frightening wake-up call, which reminds us of the startling number of children ill served by the adult criminal justice system.