With poverty on the rise in California and the US as a whole, President Obama has set an ambitious goal of ending childhood hunger in the US by 2015. As part of this effort, the US Department of Agriculture, which oversees many of the nation’s nutrition programs, will hold a “listening session” in Oakland tomorrow to gather recommendations on how to achieve this objective.
The CBP believes the President’s goal is potentially achievable with the right mix of policy changes, additional federal funding, and continued efforts to overcome the deepest and longest economic downturn since the end of World War II. However, as we point out in our letter to the USDA, we are concerned that the severity of the recession in California, combined with the state’s persistent budget crisis, has the potential to undermine federal efforts to achieve the President’s goal.
Subsequent rounds of state budget cuts would further dampen the state’s (and, potentially, the nation’s) economic recovery and undercut efforts to help parents in low-income families find jobs and increase their incomes – a prerequisite to ending childhood hunger. That’s why we recommend, among other things, that additional federal assistance (similar to the broad range of assistance provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) is needed to boost the state’s economy and help state policymakers avoid making deep spending cuts in 2010 and beyond.
— Scott Graves