Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food Stamps - a God given right....right? A cell phone too!

I'm well aware of how long food stamps have been in use. I remember seeing them come through my line at a small town grocery store when I was a cashier more than 25 years ago. In the 72 years since its inception, the program is more abused than ever. At its start, the program was meant for surplus foods mainly and then just more than 30 years later, it was meant for any foods that provided an adequate diet. Today it seems to be whatever the person wants (now of course that's a blanked general statement - but it is so because I don't know EVERY person on the program) including unnecessary expensive meats that maybe an average person not on food stamps wouldn’t think of buying weekly to foods that are not part of a ‘obtain{ing} a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet,’ like chips and soda. There was even a time when there was a proposed (and supported) ban on ‘luxury’ food items and imports.
Now the problem lies with the persons that are born and then later die on food stamps or any other tax supported program without trying to make the change in their lives required for growth and self improvement. If your family needed public aide, I do hope you would apply for it, and if you were in need, I do hope you’d be accepted. I also know it’s often more expensive to cancel a cell phone plan than it would be to support your meals with a supplemental program for a few months. However, if let’s say you are 24 years old, have your first or second baby, are on food stamps because you have no job and can’t really even afford to get a job because you can’t afford day care and it’s just better to stay at home and let the taxpayers take care of many of your needs (and believe me, with the cost of going to work itself, I can see how it is a better option for many people) then you don’t need luxury items like cell phone or LCD TVs or satellites or cable. You can find free entertainment at a library or a tax funded local or national park. If your desire is to get a cell phone and big screen TV, then your goal needs to be to get off the tax funded programs and work hard for it. The first thing that needs to happen is to feed your family and provide shelter for them….then comes clothing, last on that long list of responsibilities is entertainment. If in this day and age, you need a cell phone for your safety because, oh let’s say you got a night job or you’re going to school at night to better yourself and well, it’s not always such a safe place anymore and we all know pay phones aren’t on every corner…you could buy a Trac Phone at WalMart for less than $50 and buy minutes as you need them for your safety or to call and check on the safety of your children. But texting your friends and checking your Facebook account is a luxury and not everyone is entitled to that luxury. An iphone, PalmPre, Blackberry or Android is a luxury…plain and simple. If you can’t feed your family and sustain the level of care they need, then luxury items, like cell phones, LV purses and the like should be the first to go.
The food stamp program is used by so many people that need it. And so many people walk away from it every year and vow to never go back. That should be the rule, not the exception. The pursuit of happiness can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be. That is our right…to pursue our dreams..not have them paid for by the people that are working hard to pursue their own.