Letter to the editor: Poor people deserve compassion not contempt | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Poor people deserve compassion not contempt

Rosemary Johnston
San Diego and Breckenridge

I don’t know what God Kim McGahey worships, but it is clearly not the Judeo-Christian God, who clearly has a preferential option for the poor. Indeed, there are more than 2,000 references to the poor in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, and none of them reflect the contempt and judgment McGahey references in his column, “Put God back in the lineup this July Fourth”: “… or we can choose to drop out of school, have tax-subsidized children out of wedlock, engage in the drug culture and be a social parasite that lives at the public trough.’

Perhaps the author is not familiar with data regarding the Colorado population utilizing food stamps, for example. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the average per-person food stamp benefit per meal in Colorado is $1.29. The average benefit per month is $227 — $381 for those with children and $272 for working households. Most beneficiaries who are able to work do so, but they often have low-wage jobs that don’t pay enough to meet basic needs and do not provide benefits. Statewide, more than 450,000 Colorado residents are on food stamps, or about 8% of the state population. Almost 80% have an annual income below the federal poverty level of $26,500 for a family of four. A wage earner in a family of four earning the Colorado minimum wage of $12.32 per hour earns less annually than the federal poverty level. People on public assistance are poor people, and I doubt the author would want to trade places with any of them. They deserve compassion not contempt.

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