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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Food Stamps & Blessings

Taking a break from writing tonight (the meds have me wide awake instead of knocked out), I was looking over some news stories I had saved as Favorites. This one about Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman is one of the most interesting. Can't believe I forgot this one.

Mayor Goodman participated in a 5-day challenge to live on Food Stamps. In Las Vegas, the daily amount breaks down to $4.00 per day. This all went down back in January & you can read about it here & here and about 3 million other places online. I thought that it was an excellent way to shine a light on how the economy is affecting so many of us.

Main story aside, what I really want to talk about is the attitude so prevalent in the comments submitted by many readers of the various articles. One common view is as old as the "Welfare" system and went something like this verbatim brilliance:

 i see people all the time pulling out their lonestar card here in texas, at a convenience store down the road from where i live, spending my hard earned money on junk, case in point, i was there a couple weeks ago, saw a lady put three 20 ounce doctor peppers, at 1.79 a bottle, a 12 ounce or so energy drink, a couple bucks if not more, 2 $1.29 bags of potato chips, you know the snack size, and three candy bars, its wasteful when you stop and think that at the local wallmart, a 2 litre of doctor pepper is 1.25, a large bag of chips are bout 4 bucks, it seems to me that would be a much better bang for the buck, it is my opinion beggers cant be choosers, if they need the help, fine, but the way we alow this needs to change, i guess kind of like the WIC program, only certain items should be allowed, im not saying they cant buy meat, vegitables or fruits, but this needs to be controlled so that it would prevent people from spending our hard earned money on a 20 ounce bottle of doctor pepper when the can go to the supermarket and buy a 2 litre, which has 5 times as much, or more, for a $1.25 as opposed to a 20 ounce for $1.79, again though, in my opinion, they shouldnt even be buying soda,

(Wonder if he votes? If so, he can at least pretend like the rest us that he has a say in where his freaking hard earned money goes. I also wonder where he works that his money is any more special or "hard earned" than any other working person. I personally think he just likes saying "hard earned money." I hope he swallows a potato chip the wrong way - not so that he chokes, but just so he has to shut up and think for a minute.)

Let me get back on the subject...

This person assumes a few things, one being that everyone who receives assistance has never worked and paid some of their hard-earned money into the system. The System, by the way, is not just the visible welfare we all know so much about. Mister Bright & Indignant might want to think about where other people's hard-earned money might be benefiting him. (He might want to be a little concerned about the amount going toward education because I think he got rooked.)

My one point is that while there are a lot of people who probably do abuse the public assistance and aid given to the needy or unfortunate, it's not okay to make general assumptions about every situation. (I won't even talk about how Scrooge McDick up there wants to dictate someone's grocery list.) Tell you what, you let him fuck around and need any of the more invisible type of welfare & then watch his happy ass blow when he's dictated to. He needs to understand that there are a lot of entitlement programs paid for with tax money & that there are a lot of people benefiting. This is not a race, class or gender thing. Sometimes it's a purely economic issues (think shark-smart businesses & loopholes), but I think that it's mostly about individuals truly in need or those being truly opportunistic. There is enough "ugly" in all this to go around so I don't know why we try to pick just one target to focus on.

My other point is that there are all types of "assistance" that we pay for when working. Some assistance is so obviously (stereotypically?) "welfare" that the stench of stigma just reeks. Other assistance - to working people, to businesses, to students, etc - doesn't get the social/media play. It's as if there is respectable Welfare & shameful, dirty, Cabrini Green Welfare. Whatever. I never had to think much about it before now, but hard times have hit. I'm doing things and getting help that I am very appreciative of. I can not wait until I can once again contribute some hard earned money to help someone else. That's what I call being blessed because if anyone thinks it feels good to need help, well...

As far as Mister Indignant up there, he can go buy me a fucking Dr Pepper and then kiss my big fat potato-chip-eating ass.