Marginalized News Commentary for Changemakers

Archive for September, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake!

The GOP has proposed food stamp cuts in 2014. 1.7 million People will be affected. Tight-fisted Congressman say passing cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will slash $40 billion over a 10 year period from the current budget.
However the same proponents enjoy the following food ‘fare’ while traveling internationally:

$127.41 per day allotment for food in Argentina
$3,588 allotment for a 6 day trip to Russia!

The latter member has 21,000 constituents on food stamps in his district. A SNAP recipient in his district could eat well for one year if he had the Congressman’s 6 day Russian allotment. No one knows whether this lavish budget was from public or private funds. However a SNAP recipient could eat for 881 days! Arguably, if the Russian trip included transportation and other miscellaneous expenses (caviar and vodka), this Congressman could eat SNAP meals for 16 years!

This political jargon must stop. The mantra ‘people should get jobs and earn their food’ is ludicrous. Where are sustainable jobs for this sector?

So what are the alternatives? Well, one Congressman says Washington should not take bread from public officials and
give it to others. What if the tables were turned and public officials were reduced to receive food stamps? Would they cling to this abiding consensus? I doubt it.


Entrepreneurship or Employment – Making the Critical Decision

There are probably ‘thousands’ of reasons why some people stick to a 9-5 job. I have many great friends who really love their job. That’s great because we need people in the workforce. However this post is addressed to the ‘thousands who have a ‘Great idea’ and are READY to take it to market’ but lack the stamina, tenacity and time to see the idea mature and flourish. They believe they will be an overnight success without conducting quality research or properly evaluating their ability to sustain the rigors of entrepreneurship.

They see the signposts along the highway telling them what they need to know about the journey how to get there. Everyone has a career compass pointing the way into a specific highway designed just for them. Some of us travel the road of employment where we work for others. Then there are the few who travel the entrepreneurial route and miss the ‘get a job’ sign. They later experience the heartache of travelling down the wrong path.

I recently encountered a student who indicated at the end of the class that she wasn’t sure why she wanted to be a business owner. I asked her when she discovered this and why she stayed in the class. She replied she had partnered with another student and they would do the business together. Of course the other student gave me a look indicating her disapproval of this partnership. I explained that the program design was to empower women to own their individual proprietary coffee cart business. I asked her if she wanted to be an employee instead of a business owner.

I then asked her why she changed her mind NOW at the end of the class. She had no answer. I reviewed her psychological test and didn’t see anything abnormal. So I went further and asked her about any challenging experiences in her life. She replied “I have never had a bad experience! I was stunned. This was totally unrealistic coming from an adult. I called the Social Worker to ask about the students test results. She said the scores were normal, but perhaps the Java Hope curriculum is her first encounter with real trauma after coming to an understanding of the complexity of business ownership. This was a ‘first’ for me. Most adults I encounter know what they want and how to accomplish it.

Everyone has a defining moment that shapes their life in a positive or negative way. Unfortunately, others shut down and choose to ‘forget’ the moment. However these events don’t simply ‘go away’. They simply wait for a suitable time to appear and render the person incapable of moving forward.
Apparently, her build-up occurred during the class and became evident at the end of the class. She needed that release and I allowed her to express it. Of course she will not go on to own a coffee cart, but she may be an excellent employee for one of the cart owners.

So what is the take away for me? I will never assume that every enrolled student will be success and to accept that the fall-out is beneficial for all.

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