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Right Wing Food Stamp and Welfare Myths

If you collect 3 and sometimes 4 figures in government money through SNAP or welfare to keep from starving or losing your home heating, you’re “entitled” and “looking for a handout.” But if you’re this guy, you’re Too Big To Fail, so here’s 7—no, 8!—no, 9!—no, 10 figures worth of free money.

There’s only one correct answer to the question, “What are poor people buying with their food stamps and welfare checks?” None of your goddamn business. People using social services still have human dignity and a right to privacy and they have just as much right to keep their shopping habits secret as anyone else. This right does not and should not disappear just became a bunch of haughty dipshits think it’s their duty to go snooping around SNAP recipient shopping carts searching for the proverbial steak and lobster or, gasp, maybe a six-pack of beer to get through a rough day or bag of candy to make the children happy.

The welfare queen filling up the back seat of her Cadillac with beer and cigarettes is an urban legend, a gross stereotype, invented by St. Ronnie that takes the very real problem of welfare and food stamp fraud to a crass exaggeration and extrapolates it onto the vast majority of social service recipients who use the system ethically and, yes, have jobs that sadly don’t pay enough to support or feed them. The SNAP recipient with a shopping cart full of steak and lobster is a convenient scapegoat used to hide the real issue driving Tea Partiers, libertarians, and other idiot free market absolutists: They think they own poor people. Yes, they really do!

This is because Teabaggers imagine themselves as industrious John Galts,* lifting themselves up by their bootstraps (“No one gave me any handouts!”), doing everything alone. These self-imagined self-made men—who drive on government funded roads, enjoy the protection of government funded police, get the benefit of government funded public libraries and parks, and send their kids to government funded public schools, or, if not, send them to private schools that still offer government funded textbooks and school bus rides—start crying when the tax man comes; it’s Uncle Sam stealing “My money!” and spending “My money!” on those dirty lazy poor people. You can see this attitude in obnoxious Facebook pages with titles like, “If you have enough money for beer, you don’t need food stamps,” as if poverty is a personal failing rather than a systemic problem, as if the destitute should only get just enough to live on so they can see how very very bad they’ve been (and how grateful they should be to get crumbs from the upper class). In the eyes of Teabaggers, the poor must live a life of monk-like austerity to prove worthy of not starving as a penance for using Teabagger tax money; if a poor person buys one beer to take his mind off of life’s struggles, he’s a naughty naughty profligate!

*Oh, if anyone is asking, who is John Galt? He’s a second rate character in a third rate novel by a fourth rate philosopher whose ideas somehow keep showing up in the masturbatory fantasies of self-imagined self-made men. He’s also a metaphor for the self-made man that doesn’t exist.

And the dumbest part is the Teabaggers are throwing their anger at the wrong people! If they had half a brain, they’d be joining Occupy Wall Street and going after the real welfare abusers, not SNAP recipients, but TARP takers. Turns out, there IS a strong social safety net for some people in this country. If you’re a rich Wall Street investment banker, you can intentionally give out shoddy loans to people who can’t afford them, lie and get Standard & Poor and Moody’s to give those subprime mortgages AAA ratings so those shit loans can be passed on to investment bundles often made up of middle class retirement funds, buy collateralized debt obligations to collect windfalls when those bad mortgages do go belly up, and then, thanks to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), get welfare in the form of a multi-billion dollar government bailout because, unlike those middle class suckers who lost their savings through your intentionally shoddy investment packages and now must beg for food stamps while getting looked down upon by self-made John Galtian Teabaggers for buying the occasional beer, you’re in charge of gobs of (mostly other people’s) capital at your investment bank and thus Too Big To Fail. But, no, let’s not throw those Wall Street assholes in jail for ruining the country because we’re too busy looking down on poor people who drink beer for trying to get some semblance of joy out of life, as if we are employed and they aren’t simply out of hard work and not the vagaries of life circumstance!

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About keithstache

I'm Keith Hernandez's mustache. And you're not. I like bad baseball teams and good beer.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Right Wing Food Stamp and Welfare Myths

  1. This blog post is amazing, and I want to thank you for it. As someone who has experienced homelessness (I no longer say “was homeless” because I do not think it’s appropriate to label and define someone according to their housing status), I know firsthand what it is like to live on the bottom rung of society. What seems remarkable to me is the amount of people that do not make the connection that those who suffer from homelessness are not made of some majorly different biological genetic makeup that made them that way. Those who suffer from homelessness are made of the same material as you or me, but you wouldn’t know it with the way they’re treated. Everyone is so close to this reality, but if it’s not them dealing with it, they don’t care. I often hear folks crying out “How could we have anyone suffering from homelessness in America?!” Well Ma’am or Sir, you won’t even go to the shelter in your own backyard and see what sort of misinformation the caseworkers are spreading to keep people stuck there so more money can be made off of them. You seem to view them as being made of rotten eggs, and hate on them most of the time. Meanwhile, those who have jobs are worked so hard and so long that they don’t have the TIME to educate themselves about politics, or current events, or really what’s going on aside from the basics. They’re too busy complaining about how much their job sucks, and in some cases hating on the Occupy movement too — when they don’t even realize they support it.

    I personally really enjoyed watching TheAmazingAtheist’s video, Occupy Reality. It also did a wonderful job of summing up (along with many effective curse words) the major disconnect many seem to have between their own illusions of what’s American and what’s happening, and the reality of the situation. http://bit.ly/L4Ya8N

    Posted by Sage | June 7, 2012, 6:20 am
    • Thank you sharing your experiences. And thanks for the kind words and the video link 🙂

      My mom works at a food pantry, so I know about the endemic poverty in this country. I hate when I hear friends blame poor people for being poor, as if it’s getting out of poverty is simply a matter of hard work, as if anyone really wants to live on food stamps and welfare, which do not provide enough as it is. I don’t like the way society judges those who need to go on social services, as if we have a right to judge them for their shopping habits.

      Posted by keithstache | June 7, 2012, 6:45 am
  2. I very much agree with you. I’m glad you liked my comment. I will add that while I think it’s great that there are many people that help out with soup kitchens and food pantries, I’ve realized this is a big distraction in a lot of ways from where the problem really lies. I personally experienced so much misinformation dolled out from so many seemingly-clueless caseworkers. Here in Maine, it seems the odds are stacked against those who suffer from homelessness in a very large amount. A few years ago the state of Maine seemed to be encouraging those who needed help to come to their doors and take advantage of the benefits. (For example, there is no maximum night limit in the shelters here.) However, as time has gone on, it seems there is only just enough help given to help people just stay STUCK. There are only 2 or 3 housing programs here that offer any real help, but the waitlists for them are over a year long. (That’s excluding section 8, which is a much longer waitlist). I’ve been appalled at the amount of corruption that goes on every day at the shelters to all kinds of people, and you would never know it because no one will talk about it. Sorry I’m going on a tangent, I just thought it would be good to add as a testimony of my background on the subject.

    I’ve also heard about debates going on concerning having those who are receiving help from the government (aside from those Wall Street crooks that you highlighted) to be drug tested on a regular basis. This makes me so very angry I could spit.

    Posted by Sage | June 7, 2012, 7:00 am
  3. This opinion pretty much summarizes the whole “hate the poor” right wing agenda. Thanks!

    Posted by Sarah | February 21, 2013, 10:47 am
  4. Keith Hernandez? Figures. Signed a big contract with the Indians and tanked

    Posted by Condoleezza | July 28, 2013, 11:09 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Market Demand Creates Jobs, NOT Tax Breaks « keithstache - July 15, 2012

  2. Pingback: Is It Fair For People On Food Stamps To Buy Prime Rib And Lobster While Working Families Barely Survive? - Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Third Parties, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, Congress, President - Page 43 - City-Data Forum - February 21, 2013

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