The number of people on food stamps has been increasing nationwide, reports TheNew York Times. The growth comes not just through increased need but also through government outreach and promotion of the nutrition program on behalf of states. And the trend began way before the recent downturn:
The revival began a decade ago, after tough welfare laws chased millions of people from the cash rolls, many into low-wage jobs as fast-food workers, maids, and nursing aides. Newly sympathetic officials saw food stamps as a way to help them. For states, the program had another appeal: the benefits are federally paid.
Last month, Brookings released a report that showed poverty on the rise in suburbs, especially in the Midwest -- now, suburbs have the largest share of the nation's poor.
Suburbs often don't have the same same level of services that many cities do, and the absence of things like good public transportation alongside the collapse of boom-era housing are compounding the problem, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
The same day that congressional leaders met in an effort to find bipartisan accord and Obamaurged Congress to get beyond "petty politics," petty politics reigned. Republicans, and a few Democrats, successfully blocked the appointment of Craig Becker, a union lawyer, to the National Labor Relations Board.
President Obamacreated a task force today that will be part of First Lady Michelle Obama's effort to address childhood obesity:
Members of the task force include: the Secretary of the Interior; the Secretary of Agriculture; Secretary of Health and Human Services; Secretary of Education; Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady; Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; and heads of other executive departments, agencies, or offices as the Chair may designate.
The Indian government has put a hold, pending further study, on approving genetically modified eggplants. Government scientists approved the new crop last year, but this new move from Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh comes in response to public concerns, according to the BBC:
The minister said "independent scientific studies" were needed to establish "the safety of the product from the point of view of its long-term impact on human health and environment".
Mr Ramesh said it was "a difficult decision to make" since he had to "balance science and society".
"The decision is responsible to science and responsive to society," he said.