Originally published April 2 2015
Washington Post claims citizens have no right to decide how Food Stamp recipients spend tax dollars
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Should taxpayers who subsidize the existence of other Americans, through the forced confiscation by government of their wealth, have no say whatsoever in how their money is spent?
Not a peep, according to a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post by Kentucky-based writer Janine Grant Lister. To hear her tell it, welfare and food stamp recipients suffer an "indignity" if they are forced to tell welfare authorities what kinds of foods they are buying.
As working Americans who don't qualify for taxpayer benefits (and wouldn't ask for them if they did) continue to pay the lion's share of income taxes, it has become necessary to challenge claims, whenever they arise, that their investment should not be protected.
Here is a systematic refutation of Lister's complaints that she and other welfare recipients are somehow being treated unfairly by lawmakers who believe those paying the bills have no interest in how their tax money is being utilized.
Just pay what you owe and shut upLister says: Now that my kids are grown and gone, my Social Security check is enough to keep me from qualifying for government food benefits. But I remember well when we did qualify for a monthly EBT deposit, a whopping $22 - and that was before Congress cut SNAP benefits in November 2013. Like 70 percent of people receiving SNAP benefits, I couldn't feed my family on that amount. But I remember the comments from middle-class people, the assumptions about me and my disability and what the poor should and shouldn't be spending money on.
First, there is no such thing as "government benefits." The federal government disburses funds it takes, by force, from other citizens; so they are "taxpayer-financed benefits." This distinction is important.
Also, Lister acts as though taxpayers somehow owed her more than "a whopping $22." How much more? Who gets to decide? And what amount would be enough? Enough for what, exactly?
Again, the assumption that taxpayers have no say in how their money is spent is absurd; if Lister and others disagree, then find another way to subsist - one that wouldn't cause the "indignity" of being answerable to taxpayers.
"Who are these people?"Lister says: Anger toward those living below the poverty line seems to only be increasing. Maine and Missouri have proposed bills limiting residents' food choices if they use SNAP. Missouri House Bill 813 would bar the state's 930,000 food stamp recipients from using their benefits to buy cookies, chips, soda, energy drinks, steak and seafood. (The legislature also implemented mandatory drug testing for TANF applicants in 2011.) If the bill becomes law, a Missourian can't buy a can of tuna with an EBT card. Tortilla chips to go with salsa? Nope. Flank steak - tough, stringy and the only cut of beef I can afford - is off-limits, too. Who are these people, and what makes them think that what we eat is their business?
No, anger towards benefits recipients who abuse the system is rising (as is abuse of the system.
Lister's rant ignores the reality that, had there been no issues with abuse, then Missouri lawmakers - who answer to constituents - would likely not have landed on their radars. And there is this: The litany of junk food she rattled off - "cookies, chips, soda, energy drinks" - contributes mightily to obesity and other health problems. Americans on food assistance are also more likely to be receiving taxpayer medical benefits as well, so it is in the best interests of the state and its taxpayers to prevent food assistance recipients from eating poorly.
"Flank steak?" I know lots of working poor who never eat any steak. They subsist on other "choice" cuts of meat, like bologna and cold cuts.
"Who are these people?" They are lawmakers responding to the concerns of constituents, Ms. Lister.
Lister says: In America today, being poor is tantamount to a criminal offense, one that costs you a number of rights and untold dignities, including, apparently, the ability to determine what foods you can put on the dinner table.
The amount of fraud and abuse that occurs throughout the myriad of taxpayer-financed benefits programs is criminal, Ms. Lister. Where is your concern for the "indignity" of theft and misuse of taxpayer money?
No concern for the taxpayerLister says: When I used WIC to supplement the diets of myself and my two children, we were required to report to the Health Department quarterly for weight and wellness checks. My babies' blood was taken to look for lead exposure. When my daughter's test came back with sky-high lead levels, the Health Department came into my residence, crawled over the whole place, and took samples of windowsills, walls, soil, flooring and water, and found...nothing. Upon recheck, my daughter's lead levels were perfectly normal and deemed a false positive.
So, what are you saying, Ms. Lister? You would rather your child had high levels of lead in her blood?
There's more - you can read it here - but it's just more of the same: "Once you, lowly taxpayer, part with your money, it's none of your business what happens to it next."
That's just absurd.
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