Half of kids on food stamps – shocking.

“Nearly half of children will be on food stamps” read the headline on page B4 of my newspaper this morning. You can read more about it here.

I have to say, I was pretty shocked at the findings. The paper was reporting a study by Mark Rank of Washington University and his Cornell University colleague Thomas Hirschl. It went on to say that “90% of black youngsters will be on food stamps at some point during childhood.”

Then I turned the page and read an editorial explaining why I shouldn’t be upset about huge compensation packages for Wall Street Traders. After all, “Wall Street professionals… lost a lot more money than Main Street did.”

Right.

Then a story came on the radio that the president of our local Ivy League University earned $800,000 last year. That put her below the over $1 million in compensation received by her peers at 23 other private colleges, as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Chronicle of Higher Education also reported that over 58 private colleges now charge over $50,000 per year for tuition, room and board. For a family of four to be eligible for food stamps, their take home pay has to be less than $22,000 a year. according to that food stamp report.

For many, myself included, a college education was the path to a better income. But today, over two-thirds of college students graduate with debt averaging over $20,000.

Even in this recession, colleges continue to raise tuition and fees to their students – and that includes the public colleges of cash strapped states. The college graduation rate of black students nationwide is 43%, though much higher at those ivy leagues. But then again, I have¬† to wonder how that breaks out by income of students enrolled as many lower and middle class students can’t afford private colleges and 3/4 of all African American students are enrolled at state universities, according to a 2007 article in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

“Income inequality is at an all time high.” Nonprofit income inequality is also shocking.

Education is touted as the solution.

I still ask: How much is enough? What do we owe each other?

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