There are two quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. that could become the mantra for workers who quit because they see something on their job they can’t stomach.
— “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
— “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
Stacy Koltiska, an elementary school lunch worker in Pennsylvania, quit her job because she couldn’t abide a new policy that refused hot lunches to students whose lunch accounts were delinquent. Some of those children with negative balances were likely poor whose parents could not afford to pay.
In an interview Koltiska said, “She will never forget the look in the little boy’s eyes. As an elementary school lunchroom staffer, her job was to work the register for the children when they paid for their meals,” wrote the Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro.
The hot meal is taken away – and thrown out – and replaced with a white-bread sandwich with a piece of cheese.
“God is love, and we should love one another and be kind,” Koltiska said in the interview. “There’s enough wealth in this world that no child should go hungry, especially in school. To me this is just wrong.”
The Canon-McMillan, Pa. school district in turn said the new lunch payment policy has significantly reduced the number of delinquent accounts but that it did not affect students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, only children whose parents had neglected to settle the bill for their meals, Shapiro reported.
And yet, it still ended up affected students who may not qualify for free or reduced meals but whose parents still couldn’t afford to settle their bills.
Color of Money question of the week
If you faced a similar situation as the lunch worker, would you have quit? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “School Lunch.”
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Americans believe the upcoming presidential election is the biggest threat to the U.S. economy
Sixty-one percent of Americans said the outcome of the presidential election and its impact on their finances is scaring them more than terrorism, according to a new study by Bankrate.com
For last week’s Color of Money question I asked: Do you agree that the outcome of the election is a threat to the U.S. economy and if so, why?
Michael Melody of Santa Fe, N.M.: “Hell, yes, I’m concerned about the economy post-election. There is a decent chance that the winner will be a know-nothing who thinks he knows everything.”
Fran Forbes of Sheffield Lake, Ohio looked at it two ways: “Clinton wins, which is probably what’s going to happen. Wall Street has a banner six months, with an ally in office. But the economy starts to tank again when she pushes the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) through a Republican dominated Congress. Economy goes south within two years of the TPP’s passage. Newly unemployed manufacturing workers stop buying and the whole enchilada spirals down from there. Trump wins — assuming he does what he says — which isn’t likely. Wall Street gets jittery worried about what Trump is going to do re: trade with China. If Trump imposes massive tariffs on Chinese imports because China rejects his trade agreement terms, consumer retail numbers crash because EVERYTHING WE BUY (unfortunately!) just got exponentially more expensive.”
Forbes continues, “Both choices bite the proverbial big one. We’re doomed. The only question is who is going to get hurt most and how extensive the damage is going to be.”
“As a Democrat, I think the economy would suffer if Trump was elected,” wrote Jeannie MacDonald of Portsmouth, N.H. “From what I’ve heard from Trump in various speeches, I can’t figure out what, if any, economic plan he has for the country. He seems to have a ‘Trust me, I’m an awesome businessman’ attitude, unsupported by firm facts or ideas. His many bankruptcies and allegations of not paying workers are also troubling and undercut his boasts about his fantastic wealth-generating prowess. That’s why I think wonky Hillary would be a better steward of our fiscal health. Like her policies (or not), she seems to have them, albeit in excruciating detail. And since Wall Street dislikes uncertainty — evidenced by the frequent stock market swoons around events like Brexit or the Fed’s dithering over interest rates — I believe Hillary’s experience would bring stability, and thus, have more of a positive impact.”
Thomas J. Druitt of Paducah, Ky.: “I see no reason to expect that either candidate might deviate from these major character flaws which unquestionably raise the likelihood that both will vigorously pursue politically motivated and very short-term policies that will have extremely negative and mostly unintended financial and economic consequences. Whether intended or unintended, the consequences will come and they will fall on all of the rest of us. In my view the U.S. and the global economy are losers no matter [who] prevails.”
Tom Casey of Silver Spring, Md.: Absolutely the election is the biggest threat facing the economy. I’d argue that’s for two reasons. First, changes in our national government always create uncertainty, and that always makes both businesses and individual consumers hesitant to invest or make large purchases. Whether people love or hate Donald Trump, he’s been the most unpredictable candidate in modern history, making the level of uncertainty even greater than it might be.”
Casey continues, “More importantly, if we actually assumed either candidate would be able to implement their stated policies, we’d be looking at an unprecedented economic disaster. Trump’s plans most likely would add trillions of dollars in unfunded government spending, while starting trade wars that would lower economic growth. Clinton’s soak-the-rich approach isn’t much better, likely resulting in almost as large deficits and dampening growth with a slew of new laws and regulations with lots of unintended consequences. It almost makes the current horror of partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill look good!”
Ted Moore of Centreville, Va.: No, I don’t believe that the election is the biggest threat to the US economy. I believe this is the two political parties creating false hysteria in order to try to save their politicians’ jobs. By making these threats people will stick to voting their party lines instead of what is best for the country as a whole.”
Kerry Kleiber of West Lafayette, Ind., thinks we all need to put things in perspective, writing, “I certainly fear the outcome of the election more than terrorism, and, yes, I fear what effect on the economy the election might have. However, the reason I fear it is more because of people’s feelings about their ‘debt, saving, job security, and overall financial situation’ because, while I certainly don’t discount or denigrate their concerns, most of their concerns are aggravated by what those running for President and other offices are saying about it. Without question, the economy is not expanding rapidly, but it is expanding and times really are good. Not great, but good. But all this ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling’ just doesn’t do this nation any good. People should take a deep breath.”
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Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or email@example.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business.