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Food Stamps, Etc.

Doc in Yuma (a regular, loyal reader and sometime contributor) sent me this regarding control of Food Stamps.

Sent to him under the title “Compassionate Conservatism”.

Put me in charge…

  Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for
Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans,
blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away.  If you want
steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.
  Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I’d do is to get women
Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations.  Then, we’ll test
recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and
piercings.  If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get
tats and piercings, then get a job.
  Put me in charge of government housing.  Ever live in a military barracks?
You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair.  Your
“home” will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be
inventoried.  If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your
own place.
  In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or
you will report to a “government” job.  It may be cleaning the roadways of
trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you.  We
will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo
and speakers and put that money toward the “common good..”
  Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of
the above is voluntary.  If you want our money, accept our rules.  Before
you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,”
consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for
doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.
  If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least
attempt to make them learn from their bad choices.  The current system
rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.
  AND – While you are on Gov’t subsistence, you no longer can VOTE!  Yes that
is correct.  For you to vote would be a conflict of interest.  You will
voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov’t
welfare check.  If you want to vote, then get a job.
  Alfred W. Evans, Gatesville , TX
First of all, I’m a (conservative) libertarian (small L).  Voluntarism, coupled with non-nanny-statism would be the order of the day.   With that in mind, some of the controls suggested are ones with which I disagree.  For example…
“Food” choices.  If an EBT (food stamp) recipient wants T-bone steak or Twinkies to eat – I don’t care!  Only so many funds are allocated each month, and buying steak will ‘eat up’ the funds rather quickly.
It would be nice if the purchase of TP, laundry soap and similar household items were included on the ‘approved’ list, though.
Forced birth control is repugnant to me.  And recreational drugs and body disfigurement are not on the food stamp list.  Not my problem.
The whole ‘government housing’ thing is also repugnant.  If someone wants to live in a hovel or cannot afford maintenance, it is no concern of mine.  As long as it doesn’t affect the public health and safety.   Funny how a ‘conservative’ cries for such control, but screams about the prospect of FEMA camps…
I do like the idea of (voluntary) government service to help maintain the infrastructure.  I’m not certain it should be tied to receipt of food stamps, however.
“While you are on Gov’t subsistence, you can no longer VOTE!  For you to vote would be a conflict of interest.”
WOW – what a concept!
Of course, while a compassionate State maintains some kind of a ‘safety net’ for the truly needy, I’m a little unclear how this can be administered efficiently, fairly and at a reasonable cost.
After all, it IS government of which we speak!
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About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Food Stamps, Etc.

  1. Holy Totalitarianism, Batman!
    I find most of that diatribe repugnant.
    Having grown up extremely poor, and at times on government assistance, I can see that this guy has no idea what being poor is really like.
    As I need to be leaving for work, I don’t have time to refute line by line, but will just tackle the larger points.

    1) Decent housing is expensive, and getting more expensive all the time. So, yes, the poor can more easily afford “luxury” gadgets more than housing. There simply is no comparison between the “affordability” of the two things. Having a color TV doesn’t mean you are a spendthrift. If a mortgage is beyond your reach, does that mean you shouldn’t buy a TV? (And, I can assure you, the poor don’t buy plasma, nobody does).
    When I was in 8th grade and on gov’t assistance, my teacher went on a rant about the Poor having color TV. I raised my hand and politely informed him that I was indeed Poor, but had a color TV because we were squatting on my grandmother’s generosity, and it was her TV. Everyone has their story to tell. Broad-brush attacks are silly.

    2) The number one cause of falling INTO poverty in this country is due to illness. Most Americans are one major illness from losing their home and life savings. If this guy gets sick, I’ll bet he’ll be singing a different tune in a hurry.

    3) Healthy food is also expensive. Much more expensive than junk food. Another expression of ignorance on this guy’s part. Also, many of The Poor live in “food deserts” (I used to live in one myself). Grocery chains don’t tend to put stores in poor neighborhoods because they simply don’t make enough profit. So, The Poor shop at convenience stores. Not many 50 pound bags of rice and lentils available there!! (Not to mention that even standard grocery stores don’t carry such things anymore. You’re hard pressed to find anything over 10 pounds anymore. It just isn’t how Americans shop and cook anymore.)

    4) Florida’s experiment in mass drug-testing the Poor was a spectacular failure. It turns out only a very tiny minority of them are actually drug addicts. The cost of the program far outweighed any benefit of denying that tiny minority any benefits.

    Well, I have to run. I actually DO have a job, thanks to a system that offered me assistance when I needed it.

    I’m happy to pay my taxes for the public welfare. Because I know it works.

    Posted by tomiarthistorian | September 24, 2015, 8:42 am
    • Yeah, I generally agree with you. Except, of course, the efficiency of government in most endeavors is less than the private sector.
      And the administration of EBT programs is well, shoddy…
      How much of a safety net, administered by whom, and using what rules?
      These are the questions.

      Posted by guffaw1952 | September 24, 2015, 8:49 am
    • I can assure you, the poor don’t buy plasma, nobody does

      Having been dispatched to calls in The Projects on the south side of the city many many times in my career, I can assure you the “poor” may not buy plasma TVs (they did) but they sure know how to shop for gigantic screen LCDs.
      And cable…and cell phones…and blue ray players…and cars with $2000 tires and wheels…and car stereos that are worth more than my truck. They also have enough money to buy drugs to OD on, guns and ammo to shoot each other and knives to slice each other. Which is why I was there to begin with.

      I agree with you that the screed Guff quoted is an overblown knee jerk reaction to a corrupt system.
      But the points made ARE valid in that the “poor” in this area of the country aren’t really ‘dirt floor shack with no running water’ poor.
      They get free school that will feed the kids in the daytime and money to buy food to feed them at night. Going to bed wishing you had more food is a whole different ballgame than starving to death. That doesn’t happen here because they also get “free” medical care.
      IMO, the biggest driver of being on assistance in this area of the country is NOT illness. It is being born into a system that has been going on for generations – I’ve seen 4 generations of welfare recipients under one roof. Nobody thought to get a regular paying job in 40 years?? Keep pumping out those kids though and MORE money comes in.
      Being HOMELESS is in large part due to illness – mental illness. “Poor” and “homeless” are not synonymous.

      Posted by KM | September 24, 2015, 10:38 am
      • Interesting perspective. Response?

        Posted by guffaw1952 | September 24, 2015, 10:53 am
      • Again, with the way our society is structured, it is much easier to obtain “luxury” items than it is to get decent housing, medical care, and food.
        Hence, the sight of beater cars with expensive rims.

        I don’t get this judgment that the Poor don’t deserve to have nice things. Of course I would RATHER they have well-paying jobs and nice neighborhoods, etc. But, having been Poor myself, I remember what a BIG DEAL it was for me when my parents were able to get me a Sony Walkman for Christmas one year. But, gee, I guess they were just being totally irresponsible and should have used that hundred dollars to put a down payment on a house instead.

        And, I agree, after having traveled through Cambodia and Vietnam that our poor definitely have it better than their poor. Again, another reason I am happy to pay my taxes to make it so.

        The leading cause of bankruptcy in this country is due to medical expenses, so I stand by my point there.
        I also stand by my point that while drug addiction is related to poverty, most poor people are NOT drug addicts.

        Agree totally with your point about mental illness. We have a mental health crisis in this country that nobody seems willing to address.

        Posted by tomiarthistorian | September 25, 2015, 8:02 am
  2. I don’t get this judgment that the Poor don’t deserve to have nice things.

    The poor deserve to have nice things. Nobody, no matter how great or small, deserves to have money taken from unwilling others to pay for those things.

    Posted by Joel | September 25, 2015, 10:54 am
  3. The leading cause of bankruptcy in this country is due to medical expenses, so I stand by my point there.

    If your data is coming from the D.U. Himmelstein report, ” “Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy” 2005″.
    His report and that myth is effectively shredded here:

    http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/25/2/w74.full

    (And I thought with Obozocare, all these medical financial disasters were a thing of the past?)
    Will filing a BK make you lose your apartment? No.
    Will it make you lose your job? No.
    Will it make you lose your car? No.
    (there is a value threshold depending on what state you are in and what type, 7 or 13 BK you file)

    BTDT. I was poor at one time too, from when I was a boy until my mid 20s. Then I pulled my head out of a dark recess and got a job better than the one I lost, then got a better job than that one, then another until I got the job that gave me a career.
    A hand up is something I think everyone is entitled to. Temporary hard times shouldn’t mean you have to sleep in a ditch.
    A hand out that *never ends* going to people who AREN’T disabled is yet another govt system behemoth that is like a snow covered boulder rolling down a hillside. It’s own momentum keeps it out of control and it just gets bigger.

    Posted by KM | September 25, 2015, 2:32 pm

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