General Question

pekenoe's avatar

Does it bother anyone else that food stamps can be used for buying expensive prepared foods.

Asked by pekenoe (1382 points ) February 1st, 2009

When one is receiving food stamps (asking for help) should they in good conscience, buy tv dinners and other prepared foods that they could buy the basics for and prepare it themselves? If they are not interested in working a little to save some money, should we continue to give them welfare?

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218 Answers

bythebay's avatar

Considering that they are given an allotment of benefits per month, I’m not sure that it matters. If they buy expensive, prepared foods and use up their stamps, they are the ones that will be going hungry.

pekenoe's avatar

@bythebay : but if they bought basics, perhaps they could get by on half of what they get now and the other half could go to another family that needs it now but doesn’t get it for lack of money?

oasis's avatar

You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

bythebay's avatar

@pekenoe: Does it work that way? I don’t know if their stipend is based on use, size of family, historical precendence. If they used less, is there really a balance, per se?

gimmedat's avatar

While I was in college I was on public assistance. I had three small children, my husband worked nights, and we knew that in the end it would be most reasonable for me to finish college (where I was attending on a full-ride) scholarship so that I would be able to get a job that would mean no longer having to rely on government support. Foodstamps (I’m talking tearing out the 1s, 5s, and 10s, not the EBT cards they have today) were part of the help we received. I went to the store every week and bought everything I needed to feed a family of five. The looks and reactions of others would annoy the shit out of me. Why would anyone else be so involved in my grocery cart and payment method that they feel justified in looking at me sideways? I mean, really, what good is going to come from being annoyed by where foodstamp monies are being spent? These people qualify for public assistance. They’re poor. They can’t afford nice things, and when they do, that’s all they get. Hopefully the family is working towards great things, and public assistance is the help they need. I’m way more annoyed that big banks can’t answer the question about where hundreds of millions of dollars have gone.

I used to love offering the person behind me a pack of gum as he became increasingly annoyed with my foodstamp purchase.

marinelife's avatar

Oh, so only the “deserving,” which you define as people who are lucky enough to have jobs, are allowed to have convenience food or even expensive food? Only the ones with enough money are righteous enough to qualify to eat whatever they want?

DrBill's avatar

According to federal law, Food stamp benefits cannot be used to purchase prepared ready to eat food. If this is happening, you need to report the seller to your local office.

pekenoe's avatar

@Marina : Therin lies a big part of the problem with this nation.

I deserve charity and while I’m at it I deserve the best, me cut back to live within my means???? HELL NO. By God, you have to give me the best cause I deserve it.

You don’t deserve anything, what happened to working for something?

oasis's avatar

@Marina,i think if you are given an amount of money to use for food then i do feel you should be as frugal as possible and make it stretch to make good wholesome food.
Tv dinners are generally loaded with salt and fat anyway,so it’s not exactly a privilege to buy crap in a box.
Take a hand out,just don’t take the piss.

bythebay's avatar

I just don’t understand I guess. If you qualified for the stamps, and you can’t purchase things like alcohol & cigarettes…why would anyone care what else you purchased?
Like I said before, if in the end that person goes without because they were frivolous with their stamps – that is not my issue.

gimmedat's avatar

@DrBill, you can buy lots of already prepared foods from groceries, that are within the guidelines. You can even buy food from the Schwam’s delivery guy. The things you can’t buy are fast food stuff, but you can get deli sandwiches and the like.
@Marina, you go.
@bythebay, ditto.

pekenoe's avatar

@gimmedat : there are lots of instances that the program does work. I think you made the right choice.

we were following a lady out one day at the checkout with a huge cake from the store bakery, full tilt decorated, nice cake. She bought it with food stamps cause she was too damn lazy to bake on herself. Spent $20 on a cake that she could have baked for $5.

Schwanns taking food stamps as payment?? That’s just wrong, I can’t afford to eat Schwanns stuff.

gimmedat's avatar

If you’re upset by foodstamp expenditures, you’re upset with the federally run program. If the individual is allowed to use his benefit as he likes, why would anyone have something to say to him? If he’s not making frugal, healthy food choices for his family, you get to speak up because you pay taxes?

oasis's avatar

@gimmedat,you endorse two points so they are correct.
Since when did you become adjudicator.

pekenoe's avatar

@gimmedat , Yes, I’m picking up the tab, why shouldn’t I get to say what he gets to buy?

gimmedat's avatar

I’m not endorsing anything. I’m saying why do you care what groceries people buy?

bythebay's avatar

Arrrrrgh pekenoe: Maybe she’s working all day to try and get off of food stamps and wanted her child to have a nice birthday cake? I just think passing casual judgments like that is pompous. Everyone has a story.

marinelife's avatar

I wonder if all of you who want to be the food police and who expect the poor to be frugal would feel the same way if someone was looking over your grocery cart and making judgments that you are lazy based on insufficient data?

I suppose the poor should never have birthday celebrations, or at least only modest ones, and should just huddle in the dark eating worthy things.

I wish for all of you the opportunity to experience the same level of compassion and empathy for others that you have so readily shown here.

pekenoe's avatar

@gimmedat : because I’m paying for it….

@bythebay: my mother worked all day and always had time to prepare meals and bake cakes…..

@Marina: why do the “poor” as you call them expect me to cut my standard of living so that I can pay for them to live large?

asmonet's avatar

Because this isn’t a fascist state and you’re not running things. He eats what he wants. Deal.
You’re throwing fits all over Fluther recently.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : so socialism is more to your liking then?

asmonet's avatar

Yep.
I do lean more socialist in some areas, and I’m proud of it.

Try being on the other side of the fence.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : well then, I think you should move to China where everyone is forced to think like you.

asmonet's avatar

You just love making mountains out of molehills don’t you? You’ve got a real talent for it.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : glad you posted that link, it’ll show more of your true colors…. red? maybe?

gimmedat's avatar

@pekenoe, did you want to start some sort of volunteer organization whereby concerned taxpayers like yourself accompany families receiving foodstamp benefits to the grocery store?

asmonet's avatar

Heh, we’ll see. I just think you’re refusing to listen. You’ve got it in your head that those that don’t live up to your personal standards should be left to their own devices, regardless of circumstance.

I find that cruel, and cold hearted. That’s my opinion. And in the other thread, you missed my point entirely and rambled. So “m really not concerned.

bythebay's avatar

I’m going to guess that someone (not everyone) applying for and accepting public assistance is somewhat humbled by the experience. Their choices for housing, clothing, transportation and the like are probably limited. If they have some flexibility in their food choices; more power to them. Of course there are those that abuse the system, there always will be. But I just can’t bring myself to judge someone based on a cake or a tv dinner.

According to some here, I’m an idiot and not to be trusted because I’m a Republican – but at least I’m a person who realizes that every person has their own burdens to carry; sometimes you just can’t see them outwardly. I prefer to form my opinions of people based on how they treat others, not what they eat.

pekenoe's avatar

@gimmedat : not a bad idea, bet it would stop the abuse

asmonet's avatar

@pekenoe: Wouldn’t you have better things to do than accompany the poor and police their food choices? Don’t you have something better to do now? Bitch about welfare after you concern yourself with genocide.

Priorities, friend.

basp's avatar

I was in a position to apply for food stamps when my husband was on life support in a coma and, due to medical bills, we lost our house, business, and vehicles. I was working three jobs, going to school full time on scholarship and trying to raise my two children and take care of husband.
I remember one time I splugrd and bought some frivolous item, a birthday treat for my boys. It was the only thing they got for their birthday that year. When a nosy lady in the grocery line made a rude comment about my spending, it tore me up to pieces.
I think people should not be so judgemental until they have walked in those shoes.

pekenoe's avatar

@bythebay : I’m not judging everyone based on a single incident with a cake, that was an example.

some are humbled, I would be. I would also appreciate the fact that someone else was buying my lunch and try to buy things that they would approve of.

I think people who walk in those shoes should be very respectful of the ones paying the bill, not the other way around.

Staalesen's avatar

@pekenoe

I feel that the system you are advocating will be a cruel and colhearted place….
I mysel was at one point forced to ask from help from the goverment, and I was gratefull for all the help they was offering when I was down…. Even then, when my baby sister had a birthday, i had saved up enough to get her a present she liked… That meant just noodels and rice fr me for some time, but I put my needs aside to make someone happy…. That feeling helped me moore than anything dyring those times…. So who are you to judge people on thei purchases ?

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : China is calling…....

gimmedat's avatar

@bythebay, I don’t think you’re an idiot. You project a very sensible and logical point of view, thanks.
@pekenoe, so you can be the fertility police and the foodstamp police…and you’re talking about a socialist society being wrong, OK, communist is far better, yes?

Staalesen's avatar

@pekenoe Do you categorize everyone more liberal than as a Chinezze comunist ? Thats.. I dont really have words for that….

pekenoe's avatar

@Staalesen : Because….. I’m paying for it… Hello?

laureth's avatar

Interestingly, the Food Stamp program started out as a market-based way to help the poor, instead of making them line up for commodities handed out by the government. Their ability to make individual decisions about what to spend the foodstamps on was thought to be a boon for the economy, a victory for the capitalist system, and a way for families to choose what foods suited them the best.

Why do you hate freedom?

pekenoe's avatar

Sweeeeett, all kinds of hackles rised this am

pekenoe's avatar

@laureth : why do you think I should give you $10 welfare with no voice in how you spend it?

Staalesen's avatar

@pekenoe And so was I before and after…..
Does that mean that now that I am well off, can go around critizicing every person who are unlucky…. ? Very few WANT to be on welfare or foodstamps…

laureth's avatar

@pekenoe – because we’re not in China and not everyone has to think like you.

gimmedat's avatar

Cuba is calling.

kevbo's avatar

I don’t care what people spend food stamps on. I do care about what agribusiness and grocery chains pass off as “food.”

asmonet's avatar

Laureth. ...I think I lurve you.

And @pekenoe, just because I have socialist leanings does not mean I’m gonna go live happy in China. Never mind what that says about your feelings toward the Chinese. I believe in Social Democracy. It’s a far cry from China and a system that has a lot of good points. Do your research or at the very least ask me a question before you start doling out the pedantic insults.

Response moderated
pekenoe's avatar

@kevbo : homeless person sitting outside a restaurant, do you give him/her $10 to do with as they want, or do you go back inside, buy food, and give the food to them?

oasis's avatar

Like i say,you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am not a drinker and I abhor cigarette smoking. I can’t help but wonder if all the jobs held by those who purchase alcohol or cigarettes might be opened up for tea-totalling non-smokers. I mean in these difficult economic times shouldn’t we hold jobs – which are becoming more and more scarce – for those with the proper purchasing priorities? It is no more my business what is in the cart of a food stamp user than it is my business what is in your cart Pekenoe.

@Pekenoe, people on food stamps get the same amount no matter what they buy. For all you know the woman you saw had been buying nothing but staples and was very frugal with her stamps in order to use some for that cake. As a mom, and a taxpayer, I am 100% behind the woman who wanted to make her child – who is clearly not living high on the hog – a special birthday celebration.

It is a very, very wrong assumption that we are paying for those receiving government assistance to be “living large.” If you have known anyone receiving food stamps or ADC you know that they barely get enough to get by and are typically working their hardest to get out of that situation.

I would like to add for the record that as an inner-city school teacher who has worked her entire career with high risk students, Gimmedat has given more than her fair share back to the system that enabled her to finish her college degree while feeding her children. You can sleep well tonight Pekenoe, she’s probably given back enough to cover your share as well.

Be careful who you judge-...

gimmedat's avatar

@pekenoe, seriously, if your aim is to antagonize people online, why bother? Do something useful with your time. Volunteer, mentor, read a book, don’t belittle people you don’t know by typing demeaning sarcastic responses that are meant to annoy and raise hackles.

pekenoe's avatar

@SuperMouse : exactly, be careful who you judge. Uh??? Didn’t you just do that to me?

pekenoe's avatar

@gimmedat : the only one who is receiving directed hackle raising is asmonet,

I volunteer, I mentor, I work my ass off doing whatever is necessary to survive.

As supermouse said, “be careful who you judge”.

asmonet's avatar

So you admit you’re out to piss me off? Doesn’t that violate something in the guidelines?

Thou shalt not be an ass?

pekenoe's avatar

I’m trying to see if anyone has suggestions as to how to repair a system that is broken?

Anyone??????

asmonet's avatar

You shot your entire thread in the foot with your attitude.
You see the system as broken, it’s important to remember not all do.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : petty name calling certainly does as you did in an earlier post… careful

bythebay's avatar

@pekenoe: I’m not liberal, but I try to live with an open mind
and an open heart. I was raised in a financially comfortable home and am in the same position today as an adult. I was raised to believe that giving back to your community was not an option, but a rule. I was also raised to believe that the Govt. took far too much money from my very hard working and very successful father. If some of that money went to help feed & house those less fortunate, that was a good thing and money well spent. Not for those who choose not to work; not those who abuse the system; those who truly need help. I still feel that way. It’s all about humbleness, relativity and gratitude. Even if we are “footing the bill”.

Not everyone has the time to garden their own vegetables, work, and bake cakes. We do what we can.

I hope that should hard times ever befall you, your garden is indeed abundant and your time is well spent. Humble and grateful you are not.

oasis's avatar

If someone has a different view point why is it viewed as antagonizing.
A view is a view,if it differs it is not wrong!
It is not antagonizing it’s a view,because the general consensus disagree this does not make PEK wrong,in fact this is tantermount to bullying.The question is posted to guage a reaction to a thought he/she may have on a subject,having a different thought to the norm DOES NOT MAKE IT WRONG!

Vinifera7's avatar

@DrBill
“According to federal law, Food stamp benefits cannot be used to purchase prepared ready to eat food. If this is happening, you need to report the seller to your local office.”

As a cashier, I was not told about this. We’re very careful about avoiding doing things that are illegal, yet this was never a concern. People buy all kinds of junk food (candy, chips, soda, etc.) with EBT cards, which pisses me off, but unless someone tells me that I shouldn’t then I have to, since it’s my job to sell it to them.

pekenoe's avatar

@Vinifera7 : never thought I’d say this….. Thank You :-)

SuperMouse's avatar

@Pekenoe, I’m not judging you as an individual, I am judging the apparent ignorance of your attitude toward those receiving food stamps. More power to you for volunteering and mentoring and working your ass off. Although, if this is the attitude you are instilling in your mentees, I hope that you stop that part of your altruism.

I for one am not coming forth with suggestions for fixing the system because I’m not convinced it is broken.

pekenoe's avatar

@SuperMouse : I said, I DO NOT have a problem with helping those who need help, I do it regularly.

I do have a problem if they take that help and shove it back in my face. I do believe that if they are using my money, I should have a say in how they spend it.

asmonet's avatar

I really can’t understand this level of self-importance.

jonsblond's avatar

We have used foods stamps, on several occasions. We can’t stand the processed, packaged dinners. I fix healthy meals for my family, at least most of the time, but sometimes we just don’t have the 3 hours to cook those healthy dinners and need to buy those frozen pizzas. With the cost of food these days, who doesn’t find it hard to get by, and does the best that they can to stretch that dollar?

I don’t have any solutions, I just hate for someone to generalize all food stamp recipients as people that don’t like to cook a healthy dinner for their family, and doesn’t appreciate the help that they may receive.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : China is calling, I’ll even kick in for part of the ticket.

basp's avatar

pekenoe, I don’t know why you think you don’t have a say in how people spend their food stamps. You, and I and every other voting person has a say in that. We elect the officials who legislate those policies and we have every right to contact our elected officials to let them know how we feel about policy. If you are not exercising your right to “have your say” then you need to start.

asmonet's avatar

@pekenoe: How charitable of you.~

pekenoe's avatar

@basp : I have my say quite regularly, thank you.

jonsblond's avatar

@pekenoe If you should have a say in how someone uses the help that they receive, then I guess that gives you the right to choose what type of birth control a person on welfare might receive.

gimmedat's avatar

@oasis, pekenoe has admitted to antagonizing asmonet. When he/she writes the all kinds of hackles are rising this morning, that’s antagonizing and not presenting a thoughtful, organized point of view. As a matter of fact, you did the same when you asked the rhetorical question about my endorsement of beliefs. I have no problem debating, but it becomes antagonistic when things like that are thrown out there.

jrpowell's avatar

I used to get food stamps.. I got 96 dollars per month… That is THREE DOLLARS AND 20 CENTS per day.

I could buy 3 totinos pizzas for that amount. Buying the stuff to make that would cost more. I also bought a lot of pasta and potatoes.

laureth's avatar

It’s true that hot, prepared foods count as “restaurant food” and cannot usually be purchased with food stamps. However, TV dinners don’t count as “prepared” since they are not hot and ready to eat.

Also, in some circumstances, such as for the homeless folks who don’t have a kitchen, restaurant food can be purchased with food stamps. I guess the government is more concerned with making sure people are fed than with making them ashamed and embarrassed. (The people around them can do that just fine. I’ve been both a recipient – as a child – and a cashier, as an adult.)

Staalesen's avatar

@asmonet You Go!
@pekenoe Can you please stop with the china is calling crap ? It is not called for and I for one feels that it anoys me… and as a member of Fluther I have a say in how you do things, acording to your logic… So please cut it.

jrpowell's avatar

You can buy a hot pocket with food stamps. You just can’t use the microwave in the store to cook it.

pekenoe's avatar

@jonsblond : it doesn’t but I think it should, I think welfare parents should be limited to 2 children if I am going to pay for them, why not?

jonsblond's avatar

@pekenoe China is calling

pekenoe's avatar

@gimmedat : you don’t need to participate if’n you don’t want

@staleseen or whatever: ditto

bythebay's avatar

Oh yeah, pekenoe & oasis are both crafting responses, I can hardly wait!!!

basp's avatar

pekenoe…....if you have your say on a regular basis, then, quite complaining about not having your say about what food stamps are spent for.

SuperMouse's avatar

@pekenoe, how would your “having a say” in how food stamp recipients spend their money work? Would you and a team of like minded individuals monitor grocery carts across the country and remove any offending items? Would there be an appeals committee if a shopper disagrees with your decisions? Would you create a government agency to scrutinize food purchases? That sounds awfully expensive to me. This tax payer would much rather take her chances and let folks decide on their own what to purchase.

Vinifera7's avatar

So no one here besides pekenoe and me has a problem with people buying junk food with foodstamps?

asmonet's avatar

@Vinifera7: Doesn’t seem like it does it?

oasis's avatar

@gimmedat,“you go“and “ditto”.it was like you read what you agreed with rallied the troops endorsed it end of subject.
No offence but that is how it read.
To be perfectly honest,if someone on welfare is eating better than me then yes i too have a problem with that.

asmonet's avatar

Well, according to pekenoe, if that’s the case, you’re sitting on your ass too much.

Vinifera7's avatar

@asmonet
Well I’m asking the question in earnest. People have mentioned prepared foods, but not de facto junk food.

jonsblond's avatar

How is eating hot pockets and cheetos better for you? Or did I miss something?

pekenoe's avatar

@oasis : well put, exactly the point I was trying unsuccessfully to get across.

asmonet's avatar

@Vinifera7: Well, no. I don’t have a problem with it, it’s their health, funds and life.
So that’s one for no. :)

oasis's avatar

@pekenoe,may i show my appreciation for a GREAT QUESTION.
I shall now proceed to the Great Question box and endorse.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : It is not their funds….. it is my funds that I gave them

Vinifera7's avatar

@asmonet
But it’s not their funds, it’s the government’s, which is garnered via taxation.

asmonet's avatar

No. It isn’t.
It’s government money.

It isn’t yours after you give it to the government.

laureth's avatar

Real ingredients and whole, nutritious foods are expensive. (A sack of white flour isn’t much better for you than eating sugar.) If people want food stamp recipients to buy better, more nutritious food, they need to increase the allowance so better food can be afforded. You can’t buy anything but cheap crap on $3 a day.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : ?????????????????? Is anyone home?

asmonet's avatar

I could ask the same.

Vinifera7's avatar

Taxation without representation is bullshit. I don’t buy that argument for one second.

As pekenoe said, China is calling.

asmonet's avatar

In a government assistance program, you have a say in how the government runs that program. Not in the individual lives of it’s recipients.

jonsblond's avatar

I’m off to the store. Super Bowl weekend and the first day of the month, going to be a madhouse I tell ya.

basp's avatar

If the logic is that taxpayers should have a say in what food stamp recipients purchase, then, one has too remmeber that food stamp recipients pay taxes too. So, by that logic, they should be able to dictate what they put into their grocery baskets.

bythebay's avatar

@Vinifera7: I’m not saying that’s the best or most healthful choice; but how do we account for someones individual taste?

Vinifera7's avatar

@asmonet
That’s a fair point. I concede. Until I can think of some way to justify my opinion.

Staalesen's avatar

@pekenoe
Would you be OK with your employer saying what you could buy for your salary ?
Its their money that they give to you….
and I before you go saying that you earned them, people on foodstamps have requierments they have to meet…

jrpowell's avatar

Is this where I bitch about rich people that hate taxes building houses on the coast of Florida and then they hold their hand out wanting government money to help rebuild when a hurricane destroys their house.

Hello.. run-on sentence…

oasis's avatar

@jonsblond,contentment is a wonderfull feeling.Good Luck

pekenoe's avatar

@johnpowell : Doesn’t that just piss you off? Does me.

kevbo's avatar

I usually give nothing to panhandlers, but once this year my gf and I gave $40 to a pathetic man who was hanging around outside an expensive restaurant where we were dining. No, I don’t care how he spent the money.

I also buy Christmas gifts for kids and families who sign up for assistance, if they ask for things I’m willing to buy.

jrpowell's avatar

Oh… And a few bucks out of every paycheck is a small price to pay to avoid an army of people stealing your shit for food money.

pekenoe's avatar

@johnpowell : good point, insurance kindof?

asmonet's avatar

@kevbo: Twice, I was one of those kids. :)

Kinda made my Christmas.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : being the recipient of giving, one assumes that you are giving back if you can? Perhaps volunteering if you cannot afford money gifts?

dik2312's avatar

I notice many debates often descend into personal attacks. It’s unnecessary, this is a lively and relevant debate with valid points all round. Why choose sides and blindly argue your own ‘side’. Stop, read an answer, ponder it for a while, consider it and then offer a response.

Pekenoe raises a good question at it’s premise (imo). If I am paying for something I should decide how it gets spent. For example if there is someone begging on the street, I’m more than happy to take them into a store and buy them food then just hand over the money.

BUT. Thats not what your doing. Your argument makes it sound like you only give to this system and never take from it thus you get to decide how each penny is spent. You do benefit from the system. I hope this is never the case, but if you are ever taken to an emergency room you trust that people will take care of you regardless of the cost. You don’t want people saying, I’m paying for this, give him the treatment that is cheaper and not as effective.

Perhaps the people on the food stamps are getting pre-packed meals to economize on time so that they can spend more of it working to get themselves out of the situation. This may not always be the case but my point is by restricting what people can and cannot do with the money, you may be inadvertently making the situation worse.

Gotta go out. I’m looking forward to reading this debate when I get back =)

kevbo's avatar

@asmonet, hearing that is really touching for me (I’m actually a little teary.). Thank you for saying so. I’ll keep that tradition going.

pekenoe's avatar

@kevbo : giving when one can is a good feeling, people being grateful for what they receive is a high.

So, asmonet can be grateful, just not for any money that I contribute as a taxpayer.

laureth's avatar

@dik2312 – you say, ”...if you are ever taken to an emergency room you trust that people will take care of you regardless of the cost. You don’t want people saying, I’m paying for this, give him the treatment that is cheaper and not as effective.”

But, this is what health insurance providers do every day, where I come from…

pekenoe's avatar

@Staalesen : requirements for food stamps is the same as earned income?

People that have worked their butts off trying to make it have earned it. People that take advantage of it and abuse it with no appreciation have not earned it.

The fellow that paid me to work my ass off did have restrictions on what I could buy. If I bought drugs or alcohol and came to work high, he damn straight would have fired me. He required me to buy work gloves, steel toed boots, work clothes. So, guess h edid have a say in how I spent my money… ey?

jrpowell's avatar

Pro Tip: Your boss pays you what they think it will take to get you to accept the job, taxes are factored into this. Not paying any taxes wouldn’t increase what you make. They would just pay you less.

Staalesen's avatar

@pekenoe True, I did not think of that..
Here an employers have to pay for the emploees uniforms etc..

laureth's avatar

@pekenoe – is the assumption here that recipients of food stamps are all taking undue advantage and abusing them?

pekenoe's avatar

@laureth : only if you are making that assumption

basp's avatar

pekenoe,
to receive food stamps and cash aid, one must participate in work, job training, or school. So, yes, the requirements do make them earn the help they are getting.

asmonet's avatar

@kevbo: I hope you do, there were two other Christmases that were literally pretend holidays. We spent them as a family together and had a ball, however the two that we received donations for were a great joy to a child living in sad situation. I still have one of the stuffed bunnies I got that year, I wished then and now I could have written a thank-you note. I’ve never been able to sell it at a garage sale, maybe one day I can donate it back and pay it forward or give it to my own children with a lesson attached. The effect a unexpected gift or kindness can make in a child’s life is beyond words.

Vinifera7's avatar

@laureth
But hospitals are required by law to care for anyone that walks in the door whether or not they can pay for it. The healthcare system is a mess, but that’s the topic of a different discussion.

pekenoe's avatar

@basp : good, not sure that is true of food stamps, but giving something in return is not an unreasonable request, is it? Especially if one is helping oneself to gain something that will enable them to get work.

asmonet's avatar

@pekenoe: I have volunteered, at soup kitchens and the like. I do not spend all day sitting on my ass Fluthering as you assumed in another thread. I fluther between classes at a community college and when I’m home with my mother who is ill.

Not that anything I do in my private life is any of your concern. Taxpayer or no.

oasis's avatar

My heart bleeds!

dik2312's avatar

@laureth – yes thats insurance providers. Not a government. Their sole aim is profit. I’d like to think a governments objective is to successfully solve a person(s) problem a swiftly as possible. Saving money should be a secondary priority.

basp's avatar

pekenoe, those requirements were a part of the Welfare Reform Act of 96/97.
The unfortunate part is that during the last eight years, the support system to make a person successful with the welfare reform has all but been destroyed by bad legislated policy.

jrpowell's avatar

@Vinifera7

They will help with a broken arm. Try having cancer without insurance. You will get a healthy fuck off from the hospital.

pekenoe's avatar

asmonet: if you are receiving public assistance to better yourself, kudos, I like that.

I don’t like an attitude that states I deserve this and you have to give it to me, it’s my birthright.

dik2312's avatar

Perhaps the heathcare system was a bad example. But my fundamental point was that this is a system that you both give and receive from. Its not just a one way affair.

asmonet's avatar

The actions of the few generate this much ire?

dik2312's avatar

@johnpowell – I had that situation happen to me less than 6 months ago. I had to travel to a country which did not include me in its healthcare system. It was sickening having to battle to clear funds from the insurance company prior to my treatment.

oasis's avatar

Absoloutley bleeds,oh the poor and needy,no responsibilities,10 kids 4 dogs three cats and a steak dinner washed down with a 1964 bottle of Dom.

sndfreQ's avatar

[mod says]: ease up on the personal attacks and off-topic color commentary; a quality discussion can be had without them.

kevbo's avatar

Work is love made visible. If you cannot work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms from those who work with joy.

dik2312's avatar

@oasis – mate you truly are comedy sometimes. Had a buddy from Halifax in uni, Northern humour is fantastic sometimes.—Sorry bout the off topic.

asmonet's avatar

@kevbo: That’s a wonderful quote.

Vinifera7's avatar

@kevbo
So if you don’t love your work, be a bum? Great advice!

kevbo's avatar

How about: more than anything, try not being a hater, because we don’t need more hate.

pekenoe's avatar

what… no one can say anything without it being a personal attack?

It was interesting to see how many people assumed that it would be their right to purchase whatever they want to with money that was given to them in the hopes that it would be spent wisely.

Whether it be money, food stamps or welfare…. it’s all the same.

pekenoe's avatar

@kevbo : no kidding, respect and love, the two go hand in hand. Respect for those willing to share, love for those who need.

jonsblond's avatar

If healthy food was more affordable, maybe it wouldn’t be such a problem.

jrpowell's avatar

Is anyone willing to sign my petition for state issued Beer Stamps?

pekenoe's avatar

@johnpowell : if it involves beer it involves me…. Beer Stamp? What’s that?

asmonet's avatar

@johnpowell: I’m there. Can there be a Vodka Stamp?

jonsblond's avatar

@johnpowell LOL I will! :)

laureth's avatar

How can someone decide what is wise for another person to purchase without knowing their circumstances? If someone buys a sack of flour and doesn’t have time to make anything with it, or doesn’t know how, the sack of flour is of no use, no matter how wise an outside observer may think it is.

aprilsimnel's avatar

The vast majority of people on WIC and EBT DO NOT abuse or game the system. But in whatever system is set up, someone is going to use their alloted resources in a way someone else won’t like. Whaddya gonna do, you can’t please everyone. But, you also can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just to keep those few people from doing the “wrong thing.” And some people don’t know any better. Perhaps a class upon qualifying for benefits on how to shop and what makes good food choices for growing children should be available if it isn’t already.

Plus, when I went to the store yesterday, I found that the milk, decent bread (not that Wonder crap), fruits and vegetables and the like are very expensive. That issue should be addressed for everyone’s benefit, not just the poor.

Vinifera7's avatar

Gallon of milk: $2.79
Loaf of decent bread: around $2.00

It’s not that expensive.

Candy bar: $0.89
Small bag of chips: $0.99

oasis's avatar

Well,for me at least,this question has been kicked to death,however it was a very interesting debate with no quarter given.

Mizuki's avatar

Why do Americans feel the need to tell everyone what to do?

Where is the personal responsibility? Who cares if they spend the food stamps on hookers and strippers? How does that affect you (bythebay)?

I love free choice, the chance to choose Walmart or Target, Mc D’s or Burger King—this is what our soldiers die to protect, or choice to choose one cheap ass choice over another cheap ass choice.

jonsblond's avatar

@Vinifera7 It is when you have a family of five to feed and you only bring in $12 an hour.

two hungry, growing teenage sons included

marinelife's avatar

@johnpowell Oh, yes, a measure for the masses. A tot for everyone!

Vinifera7's avatar

@jonsblond
If you only make $12 an hour, why do you have five children? That’s not responsible.

laureth's avatar

Doesn’t necessarily have to be five kids. Could be responsible people taking care of aging parents, a wife, and an unemployed brother so the government doesn’t have to.

jonsblond's avatar

@Vinifera7 3 children, we had them when my husband had a better job

Do you know what layoff means?

asmonet's avatar

@Vinifera7: It isn’t always a choice.

marinelife's avatar

I am awfully glad that I do not live in Vinifera7’s world. Now the government is regulating my bedroom habits? Try communist China with population control.

Vinifera7's avatar

I’m being antagonistic for the sake of discussion. I just want to see what people will say. It’s not a facet of “my world”, Marina.

jrpowell's avatar

@Vinifera7

At least you admit to being a troll. I guess that is a good thing :-{

aprilsimnel's avatar

In NYC, it’s expensive. A bunch of spinach: $2.99 (and we know how spinach boils down)
A bag of oranges is nearly 6 bucks.
A gallon of milk: $4.59
A loaf of decent bread with actual whole grains in it is $3.89.
A half-gallon of orange juice is $5
A half-pound or so of ground beef is $4

I can (mostly) afford what I like. I’m single. But I can’t imagine if I was poor and had a kid and I was trying to stretch my food dollar without making my kid eat black-eyed peas and cornbread all the time. Or a teen! Heavens. Teens EAT a lot of food!

And where I live, decent grocery stores are not in poor neighborhoods. Poor people have corner stores and bodegas that sell really bad food, like candy, chips and other crap and hardly any fruit or vegetables at all. But a Pathmark or a Food Emporium? Nope. My wealthy neighbors act like they’re being invaded when they see people who look poor coming to shop in our big supermarket.

MacBean's avatar

Those of you who are bitching about how the food stamp program fails don’t seem to have much of an idea (if any at all) of how it actually works. Maybe you should read up on it a little.

pekenoe's avatar

The high price of quality food is a slap in the face to lower income people, the government forces them to eat mac n cheese instead of fresh fruits and veggies. Hell, I can’t afford $2 a pound apples.

Brings up another little known peeve of mine: CRP Dept of Agriculture program, look it up. It is paying well to do farmers to NOT farm their tillable soil. To NOT farm, why not pay them to farm and make the grains available to low income at a free or reduced price?

jonsblond's avatar

@pekenoe best thing you’ve said all morning! :)

pekenoe's avatar

I’m not a bad ass, I’m looking for ideas, not arguments.

jonsblond's avatar

@pekenoe lurve for the question. A good debate indeed.

pekenoe's avatar

thank you, twas fun and maybe stirred some thoughts.

a lot more people are going to be tapping programs that are out there, if we could stop 20% of the fraud and waste, it would mean help for someone who will not get it otherwise.

asmonet's avatar

You realize that you can report those you feel are taking advantage of the system?
Combine that with talking your representatives ear off would seem to fit quite nicely for you.

bythebay's avatar

@pekenoe: Very true.

@Mizuki: If you had actually read my responses you would would once again realize how you validate my opinion of you every time you type. It’s a shame you can’t buy brains, with foodstamps or otherwise.

laureth's avatar

Depends where you shop.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : I do and I do, but one voice carries little weight, no matter how much reason or common sense it has.

I am fortunate to live in an area where there is very little “welfare” most of those who ask here, really need it.

So, as I said on my bio, I have little experience with “big city” life and the problems that come with it, my “solutions” may be blunt and may not work in that environment.

But, I want to try to understand, I want to help our country heal before we become something other than America. We are going to fail if we do not correct the things that ail us. How we correct may require actions that are despicable to some but will benefit many.

pekenoe's avatar

While “picking” on individuals who get $3 a day in food stamps is trivial, it relates to a lot of other abuses and entitlements in our system.

We, as a nation, really need to wean ourselves from the government and become independent working responsible people again, that’s what made our America great. Not welfare lines and bailouts.

I hope that this “debate” had inspired some to think about the problems we face now and the problems we face in the future. Obama is calling on us to do, as a Kennedy once said “ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”

God Bless America, let’s make her strong again

asmonet's avatar

Every great figure in history started as one voice.
Mother Theresa
Gandhi
MLK
Jesus
Mohamed
Buddha

Want more?

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : well yeah, I thought you were gonna add Pekenoe :-)

laureth's avatar

I think One Voice means more to politicians than you may think. Most people don’t get off their arses to write or call a government official, so the one that does represents many more who think the same thing, but who are too lazy to speak up. While they may get occasionally inundated with those “Me too!” emails and postcards that interest groups provide for their members to send, I bet those don’t carry a tenth of the weight that one person writing an individual response does. In other words, your Congresscritter relies on people like you to tell it how it is.

asmonet's avatar

^Exactly.

Lurve for Congresscritter.

MacBean's avatar

Lurve for the word “Congresscritter.”

pekenoe's avatar

I’ve got to get off my butt and get something accomplished today…

Been fun and educational

Congresscritter??? Sounds like it might fit rather than caring, responsible, or smart, things like that. Critters survive, to hell with anyone else.

cookieman's avatar

man, I just read through this entire thread – and I am EXAUSTED!

tinyfaery's avatar

Why are you so concerned with the few millions dollars of welfare that may be squandered each year? If you want to fuss about something, fuss about the billions of dollars of corporate welfare that buys billion dollar bonuses and million dollar conferences. I bet there is a lot more behind this than the $20 of your tax money that goes to welfare each year.

SuperMouse's avatar

@tinyfaery you are describing a reality that is much more costly to taxpayers than the issue of people abusing the food stamp system. I think there are a lot more working poor out there who aren’t able to get government assistance for one reason or another than there are “welfare diva’s” milking the system.

@pekenoe, although I strongly disagree with you on this issue, I’m gotta bring the great question lurve – 185 answers in three hours – that’s impressive.

dalepetrie's avatar

I just hope that those who are judgemental about people who need to take public assistance don’t ever find themselves in need of a helping hand. Scratch that, I hope some of these self righteous pricks DO, make them walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, then they won’t be so fucking holier than thou. I’ve known a couple people who’ve had to go on public assistance and as much as I’d like to not have to work for a living, I wouldn’t trade places with them for anything. You have to fight tooth and nail to get benefits, and then they are woefully inadequate…you have to really learn how to spend your money wisely just to make ends meet. yes, some people make bad choices, and they have to pay the price for that, but you know what, I’d MUCH rather have people buying more expensive and nutritious meals and ingredients than forcing them all to “eat TV dinners” and crap that is cheap because it has zero nutritional value, but tons of salt, fat and calories, making them all stupid, obese and sick, and less able to pull themselves out of that death spiral. I know one perosn in particular, worked her entire adult life, 80 hours a week to make ends meet, never had health insurance, didn’t go to the Dr. when she got sick, and a virus attacked her heart. At the age of 35 she was in congestive heart failure. By the time she was able to get Social Security benefits (having paid into the system her whole life), she’d lost her house. She is not lazy by any stretch of the imagination, and when she was finally approved for Social Security disability (over 1 year)...they took 2/3 of her back pay for legal fees and because her father had made her a loan, which he had to take out of his 401(k) and which was always intended to be paid back, because of this they considered it a gift (just because it was from her father), and didn’t pay her that money (nor did they give it to her father). In that year, she qualified for food stamps, and she wouldn’t have survived without them, and they took them away once she got social security.

The whole point of having welfare is that we all pay taxes and though we don’t expect the government to meet all of our needs, IF we become unable to get by, there are things like unemployment, social security/disability, welfare and food stamps to make sure we don’t fucking starve to death. I’m glad to be paying taxes so that if I should ever need that, I mean truly need that, it will be there, but I have no intention of ever needing it….some times though, people just don’t have a choice, and judgemental assholes who only care about themselves would just as soon let the unfortunate starve to death so that a) there would never be ANYONE who abused the system and b) THEY could keep THEIR hard earned money and spend it on whatever creature comfort they saw fit.

Staalesen's avatar

@pekenoe As Supermouse said… Strongly disagree, but great debate

jrpowell's avatar

Funny thing. I just moved and was digging through some boxes. I found the paper that said what I would get on disability. 709$ per month. Fuck me, that sounds like luxury.

edit :: a shitty studio apartment is 400$ dollars here.

pekenoe's avatar

@dalepetrie : What I have observed if I am right, is, the truly needy people and the ones who are trying but cannot quite make it have a harder time getting assistance than the free loader. That’s a shame.

Everyone should be poor for a while, but then should remember what it was like once they are no longer there. Have you been there? I have.

SS Disability’s prime directive is to either bankrupt you, wear you down till you give up, or make it such a nightmare that you shoot yourself. Again, the ones who need it most more than likely are the ones that wait the longest or get refused.

You tell me, what’s the answer? Give it away to anyone who asks or try to sort the needy from the lazy? Call anyone who would like to change the system for the better a self righteous ass?

asmonet's avatar

Give it away.

dalepetrie's avatar

@pekenoe – what “evidence” do you have that the truly needy have a harder time getting assistance. I’m sorry, but that sounds anecdotal at best. Now, I’ll provide something anecdotal as well, this is what was quoted to me by someone whose integrity I trust who claimed to have knowledge of the system from the inside, but admittedly it’s not a verifiable statistic, but what I was told is that less than 2 tenths of one percent of all people on welfare actually “could” work. And in my experience, I’ve never personally met someone on public assistance who didn’t genuinely need it. In fact, MY experience has been that even the people who genuinely hate their jobs would NEVER intentionally go on welfare. Most people I know have too much pride to even take help if it’s offered. I’ve known people who have made GREAT sacrifices they wouldn’t have needed to make IF they’d apply for government benefits, which they’ve been paying for via their taxes their entire lives. I just look at my experiences with poverty, yes I’ve been there as have most people in my family at one time or another, and almost NONE of them have taken anything beyond unemployment. As such, I find that statements about needy people having a harder time getting benefits than freeloaders doesn’t jive with the reality I’ve witnessed in my own life.

What that claim DOES jive with is the right wing anti-tax/small government lie that lazy people are sucking off the government teat and it’s ALL about personal responsibility. And my experience with those who’ve drawn SS is not that it wears them down until they become suicidal, but instead that it provides a very important social safety net without which they would have to stoop to inhuman deeds.

So yes, the answer as asmonet said is to help people when they reach out for help. yes, you make the standard be “temporary” assistance…most people who go on public assistance need it for a short time while they get on their feet. The purpose of assistance should be to help people who are able to provide for themselves the ability to get over whatever temporary setback is keeping them from doing so. The secondary purpose should be to take care of the needs of those who simply can not manage on their own, not for lack of effort or will. We should and do have protections in place to keep peope from abusing he system. Are they perfect? NO. But they never can be perfect.

And the deal is, people with a political agenda to keep every penny they make for themselves and screw everyone else have basically blown every single reported instance of welfare fraud well out of proportion to build this completely false impression that lazy, dishonest people are living high off the hog on our tax dollars. Thus we see questions like this.

pekenoe's avatar

what a load of BS, especially the 2 tenths of one percent crap. Sounds to me like you have a political agenda of your own and that you are blind as well.

But, you’re entitled to your opinion, just quit throwing the badly veiled bs accusations at me and read all the posts.

dalepetrie's avatar

@pekenoe – just because you dismiss what I say and what I’ve personally observed as a load of BS, doesn’t make it so! Why don’t you support YOUR claims rather than shitting all over mine? Personally, I don’t think wanting no one to fall through the cracks and suffer/starve is exactly a “political agenda”. I do not think wanting a social safety net in place in case I, or someone I care about (or even a perfect stranger) should ever need it is a “political agenda”.

What IS a political agenda is throwing out baseless claims about how much abuse there is out there as a justification to throw out the entire system, without backing it up with any sort of research or statistics. By your “logic”, ALL government spending should be thrown right out the window. You name for me ONE area where money is spent, either by the government, or by any individual in the private sector, where there is not some small percentage (or fraction of a percentage) of people who abuse that system. There will ALWAYS be people who are dishonest, who seek to make money without earning it. That goes for welfare frauds and Wall Street Bankers and everyone in between. To say that we should shitcan ANY entire area of government spending because some people will abuse that system is ludicrous and people who argue otherwise do not apply a consistent standard, because if they did, they’d say the ONLY acceptable way of life would be if we all just did our own farming.

I’ll make you a deal…I won’t “veil” my accusations any more, I think based on what you have actually said (I HAVE read the posts by the way), you are ignorant, ill informed and self important, and in my not so humble opinion, it is thinking like yours that has fucked up our economy so badly and made it so the haves are richer than ever and there are more have nots that at any time in modern history.

dalepetrie's avatar

I guess to bring this back to earth, I have to say that I DO appreciate the fact that the whole point of this is to try to figure out constructive ways to fix what pekenoe sees as broken. I can’t begrudge that, it’s a fair goal. But the problem is that the system, though it is abused by some is NOT abused ANY more than any other system where money changes hands. And all I ask, but don’t get, whenever I spar with someone who thinks we need to do more to keep the lazy irresponsible people who “don’t really need” government assistance, is some reliable evidence to suggest that welfare abuse is prevalent enough to do more about legislatively than we already do. And it seems to me that what “should” happen is we should have a system where people who need assistance can get it…I think we all mostly agree on that. But I believe that the solution in making sure the right people get it has more to do with the front end…setting rules as to who qualifies…than with the back end…dictating what a person can spend their allotment on. It has been said before, but I know one person who got $500/mo in food stamps and $300/mo in cash for one adult and 2 kids. hell, I don’t live in a mansion by any means and I pay nearly twice that per month for my mortgage. My health insurance alone would eat up most of that. My car payment is almost half that. So, the fact that they can get by on that is a testament to the power of people to persevere. Now I’m not going to object to what kind of food they buy even if it’s not what I choose or think they should choose, they have a certain amount of money, and hey if they waste it one month I think come the fourth week of the month thye might just think to themselves…hey, if I’d bought item x instead of item y I wouldn’t have to go hungry for the next week. I kind of doubt they’re doing it all the time, they can’t afford to, but if they can afford to every now and then for a special occassion, and maybe make a trade off somewhere else, what’s wrong with that?

And saying that because you or I or anyone else pays taxes so you or I or anyone else should get to dictate this is ridiculous. Basically, think of it this way, if you look at where our tax dollars go…let’s for every dollar paid in taxes, so many cents goes to the military, so much goes to education, so much goes to entitlements. I don’t agree with where a great deal of my tax money goes…everyone thinks some of their tax dollars go to some things they don’t support. But hopefully, if each of us were to do a breakdown of where our money should go, some of us would say more should go to welfare, some would say less, and you know what, think of something YOU like your money going to that maybe I don’t, and hey, we’ll say that all of my money goes to things I like and all of your money goes to things you like, and we balance each other out. It’s FAR less stressful than trying to micromanage every single person’s shopping decisions. That just seems arrogant and judgmental to me, and hey, look up the definition of those two words, I don’t see that there is any doubt that saying “I have the right to judge” is both arrogant and judgmental. I’d be willing to bet we’ve spent more in Iraq, where I don’t think we should have ever gone in the first place than we have spent in total on food stamps since the inception of the program.

Basically, I don’t agree that there’s a problem, at least not one bigger than the problem with dishonesty that exists wherever money changes hands. And I don’t see that there is a way to minimize it any more than we already do without costing us more money that we’d ever save. I think the amount of money that has been given to welfare cheats in total throughout the history of the program is worth worrying about, and there’s no cost effective way to make a significant enough difference. Prove me wrong.

pekenoe's avatar

Know what, no sense arguing with you, you’re absolutely right. I’ll start giving all my stuff (that I worked my ass off for) away tomorrow so that someone else (who won’t have to work for it) may live better.

dalepetrie's avatar

Why am I not surprised that when challenged to provide some form of evidence quantifying the “problem” that only you seem to see, that you instead opt to be dismissive and sarcastic? Oh yeah, because that’s what ALWAYS happens when someone with stronger opinions than facts is challenged. If you change your mind and decide you’re actually sincere about trying to find solutions for a problem you think exists, your first step is to demonstrate that there is indeed a problem, and then we can have a valuable debate on it and actually get somewhere. I’d be more than happy to engage in that debate, and hey, I’m a reasonable guy, if you show me facts, it IS possible to change my mind.

But until then I will reiterate, that clearly there is a difference between asking you to “give away all the stuff you’ve worked your ass off your whole life for,” and dictating exactly what a person who has to stoop to accepting pubic assistance can buy so as not to offend YOUR sensibilities, regardless of circumstance or need. I think the problem is you need perspective, your intentions are fine, but you’ve believed the wrong lies.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in 2006, only 9 cents of every tax dollar collected was spent on social safety net programs, about $254 billion, and that includes the refundable portion of earned-income and child tax credits, SSI for poor, elderly and disabled, unemployment benefits, school lunch programs, housing assistance (sec 8), child care assistance, assistance with energy bills, and aid to abused and neglected children, as well as food stamps. If food stamps are competing for 9% of overall governmental expenditures on social safety net items, how much of that actually goes to food stamps? Well, that’s suprisingly hard to find stats on, but one could logically conclude that a pretty good estimate would be that aboutt 10.5% of Americans receive EBT, and if our population is 300M+, that means 30 million+ households receive benefits. The average household is 2.3 people and the person I knew who had two kids getting it was getting $500/mo in EBT, so we’ll just for the sake of argument say she’s average. That means $15 billion a year spent in food stamps.

Now, according to the Governmental Accountability Office, in 2005, 98% of benefits were going to households that truly needed them, so OK, 2%, not .2%, I was wrong about that. But that means $300 million is going to people who don’t need it. The GAO has also stated that 2/3 of the mistakes resulting in overpayments were the fault of the case worker, not the family, that means that $100 million a year, out of a 3 trillion dollar budget is going to people who shouldn’t get it. So out of every $100 in taxes you pay, 6 cents approximately is misspent.

Now you tell me, how much do you think it would cost to plug a $100 million hole in a program which in 2006 according to the CBPP (as linked above) lifted 12 million Americans out of poverty and reduced the depth of poverty for another 21 million? You seem all worried about how much this type of fraud might cost you, but if there are 200 million American taxpayers, we’re talking 50 cents per person per year. If you pay taxes for 50 years, the government will have given $25 of your money to people who don’t deserve it.

Don’t like my stats, prove me wrong. But don’t expect to win any arguments by continuing to be shrill and dismissive when someone points out the errors in your logic.

marinelife's avatar

@dalepetrie Thanks for bringing sorely needed facts into this “discussion.” I’d love to be proven wrong, but in my experience facts don’t sway folks like pekenoe. (Why I opted out of this thread except to observe.)

asmonet's avatar

Dale, you’re a god damn genius.
And I lurve you.

Staalesen's avatar

@dalepetrie God to have the facts here :)

cookieman's avatar

@dale: I would kiss you if you were in front of me.

Huge lurve for doing all the legwork on those stats.

dalepetrie's avatar

All in a day’s work!

bythebay's avatar

Well done. Thank you for all the information.

pekenoe's avatar

It is pointless to carry on a discussion with anyone who believes government stats are gospel.
Picking my nose is time better spent.

laureth's avatar

Where to get stats about welfare, if not from the Government?

(Curious, honest question.)

marinelife's avatar

Told ya he would not let inconvenient facts get in the way!

Staalesen's avatar

@pekenoe where Should we get stats if not from the official channels ?

pekenoe's avatar

sorry, wish I knew of a reliable source.

I make opinions based on observations and news, I trust them more than govt figures.

People that need help through no fault of their own and that are unable to work, help them out until they can go to work. YES, I support that 100%

If one was to go into New Orleans and poll the population to find out the percentage of welfare recipients vs working or retired people and then take that welfare percentage and see how many are capable of working at some job, what do you suppose the figures would show?

If you were to do the same thing in any large city, do you believe that 98% of the help goes to people who really need it or does it go to people who are on welfare because they can make more money that way than working?

A quote in above post refers to a 98% success rate for getting benefits to “needy” people. That’s fine and may be true, are they needy from an accident or from some disaster beyond their control or are they needy because they do not want to work? They are all needy, it’s just that I think there are way too many on welfare rolls that should not be there. I don’t know what percentage, doubt that anyone does.

How many single mothers do you know of that had their child out of wedlock and didn’t have a job so welfare programs would foot the bill? Doesn’t that go to needy vs needy?

How many people do you know of that are on SS disability that genuinely cannot work?

This if from www.heritage.org, a good place to start looking into some real statistics.

“While it is widely accepted that welfare is biased against marriage, relatively few understand how this bias operates. Many erroneously believe that welfare programs have eligibility criteria that directly exclude married couples. This is not true. Nevertheless, welfare programs do penalize marriage and reward single parenthood because of the inherent design of all means-tested programs. In a means-tested program, the benefits are reduced as non-welfare income rises. Thus, under any means-tested system, a mother will receive greater benefits if she remains single than if she is married to a working husband. Welfare not only serves as a substitute for a husband, but also actually penalizes marriage because a low-income couple will experience a significant drop in combined income if they marry. For example, the typical single mother on TANF receives a combined welfare package of various means-tested aid benefits worth about $14,000 per year. Suppose this typical single mother receives welfare benefits worth $14,000 per year while the father of her children has a low-wage job paying $15,000 per year. If the mother and father remain unmarried, they will have a combined income of $29,000 ($14,000 from welfare and $15,000 from earnings). However, if the couple marries, the father’s earnings will be counted against the mother’s welfare eligibility. Welfare benefits will be eliminated or cut dramatically, and the couple’s combined income will fall substantially. Thus, means-tested welfare programs do not penalize marriage per se, but instead implicitly penalize marriage to an employed man with earnings. Nonetheless, the practical effect is to significantly discourage marriage among low-income couples. This anti-marriage discrimination is inherent in all means-tested aid programs, including TANF, food stamps, public housing, Medicaid, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program.”

I know that there are other programs that waste more money but this area was where the discussion turned to.

My original question was simply, “Does it bother anyone else that food stamps can be used for buying expensive prepared foods?” Kinda got hijacked over to this.

Anyone who has had anything to do with government bosses knows that a primary objective of that office or branch is to present evidence that it is needed, therefore gets funded. A lot of them make work for themselves so they can “look” busy.

A good read is here Closing unneeded and obsolete agencies I looked for a newer scandal sheet but could not find one.

More reading here, it’ll make you shake you’re head. More waste and Cato.Org

And more reading

Do a google search for welfare fraud or welfare abuse or obsolete government programs.

When you are looking for statistics, don’t depend on one source, check out a few then draw your conclusion.

asmonet's avatar

I make opinions based on observations and news, I trust them more than govt figures.

Before you even started you stated you had no facts and were relying on anecdotal evidence, personal (see also: limited) observations and a media system that in American culture sells bad news first and foremost. How many murders did you hear about on the news last night? Now, how many births were covered? A bad apple in a system of good is a whole lot more titillating than happiness and joy all around.

Tell me why I should even bother to read the rest considering that? For the record I am reading it. Out of curiosity, nothing more.

“How many single mothers do you know of that had their child out of wedlock and didn’t have a job so welfare programs would foot the bill? Doesn’t that go to needy vs needy?”

I can’t even begin to explain how offensive that is as a woman.

asmonet's avatar

Maybe, just maybe you’re the guy who builds a bomb shelter in the woods.

laureth's avatar

The plural of anecdote is not data, as they say.

pekenoe's avatar

think what you want, ignore it and it’ll go away, be offended as hell, check the stats on that one, I’m gonna go pick my nose.

jonsblond's avatar

@asmonet I think he just insists on having the last word.

dalepetrie's avatar

Wow…I love the statement that you don’t pay attention to governmental sources, but just things you hear on the news and observe. First off, the GAO is the investigative arm of Congress set up to be an independent review of governmental spending. It’s basically the ethics branch of government, now you can put on a tinfoil hat and claim that they too are controlled by some bigger force, but c’mon….there really is no more independent organization for statistics. Second, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a non-profit, non partisan think tank that studies issues related to the poor, they do not take ONE PENNY from the government.

As for YOUR links, basically you reference 3 sources….one is the Heritage Foundation, which is a Conservative think tank…it’s agenda is to attack entitlement programs. The Cato Institute is a non-partisan think tank in that they are not aligned with either of the two major parties…indeed they are libertarian in nature and advocate for extremely small government. The third source is just some guy’s opinion.

Now I DO believe that in big cities, people who get public assistance either can NOT work, or can not FIND work despite trying. I DO think the 98% is a very accurate figure based on what I’ve observed in my real life. And the whole idea that people stay on welfare because they make MORE money than they would if they worked is preposterous. First off, like I said, $800 a month…$300 in cash and $500 in Food Stamps..based on a 40 hour work week, that’s 5 bucks an hour. Second of all, welfare is not permanent…since the 1996 welfare “reform”, welfare has been capped at 2 years total benefit in a lifetime. It is meant to be a temporary hand up to help popel raise themselves out of poverty and become self sufficient again.

As for Social Security, I know about 5 or 6 people on Social Security disability and every last one of them is disabled, none of them is lazy or a stranger to hard work and in a couple cases it was that this person worked so hard that they literally lost their health because of how hard they worked.

Again, what you are saying is judgemental and self important, you are providing no unbiased sources and simply making claims that parrot the talking points of those who have screwed up our economy over the last 28 years. Bottom line, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts, which is the standard you seem to want to live by. So, say what you will, but you have zero credibility.

asmonet's avatar

@jonsblond: It seems that way doesn’t it? Maybe he won’t this time to spite us? ;)

marinelife's avatar

@pekenoe Garbage in, garbage out, which sort of explains your position to me.

jca's avatar

i work in what is commonly known as the “welfare office” (local department of social services for one of the richest counties in the country) and i have been staying out of this argument because it’s all been said above, and i can see both sides. just to counter what pekenoe said with his stats about welfare being against marriage, in the county i work in, the county will go after the fathers to get child support for any child on welfare. they do this either according to the named father on birth cert or if mother names potential father, the father, mother and child have to go for DNA test (courtesy of the county). therefore, married or not makes no difference. maybe this is done in other counties, i don’t know.

felix_1928's avatar

I think that SOME people deserve welfare…not all of them. I think that the jackasses who don’t keep track of how much they have on their EBT card and who go through the grocery store without adding up how much they have and then when they check out they just guess how much there is and they don’t have enough, that’s a problem. Any food bought with EBT has NO tax so all you have to do is know how to use a calculator (yea, its that freakin easy) but somehow people are still idiots and they shop for things that are expensive and when they check out they just tell the cashier what they don’t want since they don’t have enough. This can be avoided people! If you have EBT PLEASE just add up the crap you have in your cart with the amount on your card and then everyone’s happy. It doesn’t matter what you buy (if you want to waste the free money that was given to you then that is your own business) but for God’s sake at least keep track of it!!!

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