Friday, June 7, 2013

Food stamps: It's what's for dinner

Time for another chain email that misses the mark. This one's target? Well, the nefarious villains that are people on food stamps of course!

WRITTEN BY A 21 YEAR OLD FEMALE ... Wow, this girl has a great plan! Love the last thing she would do the best.

This was written by a young lady who gets it. It's her future she's worried
about and this is how she feels about the social welfare big government state that she's being forced to live in! These solutions are just common sense in her opinion.

This was in the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco, TX.

A twenty-one year old woman from Texas has it ALL figured out and is communicating her plan via chain email? Can't say I'm not skeptical. The title certainly doesn't make sense,  but let's see what she has to say...
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.
Wait, wait, wait... This is a complaint I've heard far too often. Bellyaching that people on food stamps
are buying steaks and eating better than they are. The trouble is, that these people are not going to the store, feasting on steak and living some opulent life on the public dole. What it actually tells me is that you have no idea how food stamps work. People on food stamps do not have an endless credit card that they are allowed to buy any food they want with. What they receive is a monthly allowance for food. They can use that money on canned goods, cuts of meat, frozen food, etc.Once it's gone, it's gone.

But how much do they get? Lets look at the averages... In my state (MD) the allowance is $128.46 (per participant) each month. In the email author's Texas, it's $123.95. The state with the highest is Hawaii, at $213.65. Minnesota is the lowest at $115.98. At present the national average is $133.42 per month. I don't know about you, but I would find it difficult feeding my wife and I on that tight of a budget. Heck, we spend more than $128 every single week. So they certainly aren't getting fat on food stamps.

I will say that I find the purchasing of steaks on such a limited budget to be quite irresponsible. But what concern is that of mine or yours? If they want to blow a weeks worth of the food budget on a meal or two of steaks, that's their prerogative. That just means that it will be very slim pickings the rest of the month. I would highly suggest they make more budget conscious meal purchases, but that's ultimately up to them. If you are so jealous of them eating steak, just remember that you can too. Pig out on the finest cuts for a meal or two. Throw your budget to the wind. But then realize that in order to stay within budget, it's Cheerios and ramen noodles the rest of the month. Remember... whether
they have steaks and pizza or rice and beans, they still only get $128/month.
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. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol or smoke, then get a job.
That's a bit extreme, though I will admit a certain amount of agreement on the reproductive issue. I don't think we should necessarily be forcing people not to have kids (even though I do know people that never should have conceived), but the more kids = more money loophole should be closed. In my opinion, we shouldn't allow people to continue having kids for the purpose of increasing their aid. If you have two kids when you apply, you are locked in with aid for two. If you are pregnant with a third when you apply, I'll allow aid for three. But every child conceived after that gains you no more assistance (unless you were raped and decided to keep the child). If a person whats to have a fifth, sixth or seventh child they can. But they are going to have to make the budget they already have work.

Drug tests? I hope this isn't a play to assume that most on assistance are druggie deviants. The simple truth is that most on assistance are regular people that are down on their luck. They don't want to be on assistance any more than you do. But there they find themselves anyway. That said, if they want to do random drug tests, I'd be okay with that. If they're engaged in illegal activities, I feel they should forfeit their assistance. But alcohol and nicotine? Both are legal, so why the exception? So if someone has a stressful day or loses a loved one and takes the edge off with a cold one, they should be at risk of losing their assistance. Same with smoking. I think smoking is a disgusting habit, but why the testing? Is it because they are expensive? What if someone is buying the cigarettes for them?

Wouldn't it be far more fair and efficient to not allow the use assistance payments for tobacco products? I would be in favor of that version.
Put me in charge of government hous-ing. 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.
No, I have never lived in a military barracks(unless historic sites count). But I have been told that I make a bed like I had. I half agree with this section. On one hand, I feel that government housing should be open to maintenance inspections. However, I don't feel that the inventorying of possessions is the government's business. So someone is living in government housing and has a nice TV or a game system... So what? Are you assuming they were irresponsible purchases? Perhaps they were. But what if they were Christmas or birthday gifts? Should they be kicked out because they have a Wii that the kids play on a crappy TV in a less than optimal 'home'? Or what if the TV is new, but all their close came from Goodwill? Should they be out on the street because of a TV? What if they had these possessions prior to being on welfare?
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, paint-ing and repairing public housing, what-ever 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."
Interesting suggestion, considering that rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure was one of Obama's more recent job creating ideas, yet the house has refused to even hear the plan... Though that policy would have been voluntary. This suggested mandatory policy sounds a bit more like certain other country's/regime's I'd rather not mention. And again, what's with the stereotypical  assumption that food stamps = 22" wheels and annoying stereo? Furthermore, what if they had those possessions prior to falling on hard times? Sure, selling them would be the smart thing to do. But last I heard, we still live in a free country. You complain about not having jobs, yet if you are forcing full-time labor, that will get in the way of securing a job. It won't be impossible to get one, but it won't help get a job. How about if they have to prove they are looking for and applying to jobs. Then if they can't get hired, offer them the' road work' option as a paid job to replace the aid? Then if they turn that offer down, and turn out to be abusing the system, then cut them off.

But remember, there's one huge problem with the endless calls for people on welfare and receiving food stamps/welfare to 'get a job'... A lot of these poor individuals DO have jobs. You scream that 'if you want steak, get a job'. Well, what if they do have a job. A job that pays very poorly, but still a job. Are you okay with the forty-odd percent that do have jobs? Perhaps research should be done prior to jumping to conclusions. And what's with all these controls and rules. Are you no longer in favor of small government, because it sounds like you want a bigger government than anyone... well, bigger for everyone but you.
Before you write that I've violated some-one'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.
I'm actually not worried about being demeaning or self esteem issues. What I am worried about is being a 'dick' though.Many of these arbitrary rules don't actually solve the problems with the system, or simply play toward singling out certain stereotypes. Yes, those that abuse the system need to learn their lesson. But should we be placing undue and unnecessary punishment and restrictions on those that are genuinely on hard times and are trying to right themselves as soon as possible. Real, through out solutions are whats needed, not emotional reactions to inaccurate stereotypes. What if a new law said that if you renew your drivers license, you forfeit your guns? It would be optional, since you can choose not to drive. Just take the bus. But you are proposing the more serious choice of give up your rights or starve. How quaint...
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.
So you're basically saying piss on the rights of American citizens? What you've done here is reveal the ugly truth to this whole email. It's not about fixing the system, but biased and ugly politics. The assumption here is that welfare/food stamps = Democrat/minority. The goal hear is not improvement or change, but to deceptively steal back votes (or rather take away votes) from the opposition. But do the facts actual support the (probably fake) Texas woman's assumptions?

Assumption: Most on welfare are minorities.
Truth: The percentage of 'whites', 'Hispanics' and 'blacks' on welfare is actually pretty even (just leaning from one side to to other depending on the study.

Assumption: Most on welfare live in the inner-city.
Truth: The majority of recipients are urban or rural.

Assumption: People on welfare don't have jobs, or want them.
Truth: Actually, 41% of recipients have jobs (but low paying ones). Also, there are those that are genuinely on hard times and looking for work. So no, everyone on welfare is not looking for lifelong freebies.

Assumption: Most on welfare are the lazy middle-aged.
Truth: The reality is that 47% are under 18 years old, and 8% are 60 or older.

But if you're all on board with not allowing welfare recipients to vote, how about corporate welfare? Maybe the big oil companies that get huge government checks shouldn't be allowed to vote or fund campaigns. Same with other huge companies that get government money when they don't need a single dime of it.Would you be okay with that?
 Now, if you have the guts - PASS IT ON
 Have the guts to pass it on? I'd be ashamed to pass it on! Unlike some, I have scruples. I refuse to support a blatant play at political stereotyping in order to play a dirty political game. I would support real and substantive reforms to the welfare system, because it certainly could use a healthy dose of reform. However, this email was rather vacant of many real solutions. So instead of sending that one, I will send my reply on. Let honesty and reason prevail!

-Brain Hulk

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