Food Stamp Challenge Follow Up
I meant to blog about this earlier but the Food Stamp Challenge ended a few days ago and, yes, Rep. Ryan “cheated.”
But his blog post about the end of the challenge is very moving.
I'm coming away from this experience with some hard lessons learned and a newfound understanding of this issue. First and foremost is that it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to make due on this amount of money. I know many people have written in saying that Food Stamps are meant to be a supplement to other income. Well, yeah that is how the program was intended, but it has been 11 years since we've added ANY value to food stamps, 10 years since we've raised the minimum wage and in that time inflation has risen, the price of milk has risen, the price of produce has risen. NOW we find ourselves in a position where with gas well over $3.00 a gallon in many places those who earn the least among us use their food stamp benefit not as a supplement, but as their sole source of income for food.
It’s much longer but I think the few people who criticized his (and the other three Congressmembers') stunt complained that food stamps weren't designed to be an allocation of a full week’s supply of food. However, even if you think it’s supposed to only be a supplement, his point that this “supplement” hasn’t changed in 11 years (something I wasn’t even aware of) should at least make a point to the heartless that it’s worth increasing the benefit.
I don’t know who the anti-food stamp group in this country, but it’s probably lumped in the same group that fundamentally doesn’t believe in welfare for anyone. Every man, woman and child should be an island I guess.
What’s that saying about Puritans?...that someone, somewhere may be happy? I notice amongst conservatives there’s always a haunting fear that someone, somewhere is getting money (in the form of welfare) that they haven’t “earned.” Like anything above bread-and-water-living-in-a-rat-strewn apartment means the gubmint is giving you too much money. Yeah those rich poor people, always getting for free what they should be working for.
That’s what I notice about that kind of attitude, it’s the sense that someone is getting a free ride while you have to work hard like everyone else. But if it’s such a sweet “free ride” how come no one ever says “Wow I wish I had the carefree no-work lifestyle of those on welfare!”
Does anyone ever really want to trade places with someone on welfare if they have it so good? Seriously. Why get all worked up over the moral outrage that someone, somewhere might not be working hard enough to justify their government benefits in some theoretical model you have of what people “deserve” to get?
If we tripled the food stamp program it still wouldn’t be as much as the private contractors in Iraq have stolen without doing any work at all. And at least the families receiving more food stamps would be healthier, and so would their children. Which would make everyone’s lives a little less miserable and a little more productive. Which is a step on the way to getting them off government assistance.