Friday, March 13, 2009

Foodstamp thoughts...

I read over a bunch of the comments found on Sean Callebs: Living on Food Stamps. I would recommend reading them. Some are quite informative, while others just show the problem with the sense of entitlement some people have.

I remember when I lived in a very bad area down in Maryland. Sure, cost of living was cheaper there and I could have afforded a better place, but there were reasons I didn't move. That was a previous life... a previous relationship.

Driving down the roads that led to my apartment, I had to pass by the "projects" (aka. ghetto). To be honest, they were quite literally next door. I can't tell you how many times I saw people who supposedly couldn't afford the subsidized housing (at times, no more than $5 to $10 a month) and yet they were wearing designer clothes. Their kids wore sneaker that retailed for $100 - $200 a pair, and some of the men were wearing those ugly sweaters that Bill Cosby used to wear (the ones that were several hundred dollars a piece).

It was sickening. My money was paying for these people to get food and shelter, and yet they were buying items I couldn't even dream to afford at the time. They were the same people that complained if they had to cook at home, or eat beans instead of shrimp and crabs.

I'm not saying I don't believe some people need assistance. I know there are a lot of people who do. I am saying that it bothers me when people work the system and then complain when those who are paying for their lifestyles get upset. The whole mentality of "you shouldn't tell me what I can or can't buy; what's in my cart is my business" is bullshit if you are on foodstamps or getting government aid.

I don't necessarily agree or disagree with proposed changes to the foodstamp system. I do acknowledge that there are many people who live on far less than what they could get from the government, and they do this by being careful with their money.

My thought is that the foodstamp system does need to be a bit more strict in some ways when it comes to what people are allowed to buy. No, this is not a loss of personal rights. The misuse of foodstamps is a slap in the face of the people who end up paying for them. There are not enough restrictions. One such example, a person on foodstamps can buy filet mignon or cheaper ground hamburger meat... the government doesn't put a limitation on there saying that you can't choose the more expensive item. Junk foods and such are also equally acceptable, after all a bag of chips is just a bunch of potato slices, right? Wrong!

What bothers me is that there are all those people who also state that they can't eat healthy off the money they get. These are the same people who are buying said potato chips, sodas, mac'n'cheese and so forth. You don't need them and in the end, they cost more! Just speaking in hard cash, a 10 pound bag of potatoes costs less than a few bags of chips and you get more nutrition out of it. You also have a fuller belly. A box of mac'n'cheese costs more than buying pasta and making spaghetti sauce yourself. (You can even go crazy and actually make your own pasta! It's not that hard!) Or instead of buying cans of soup, make your own for a fraction of the cost! If you are clever enough, you can even make that soup practically for free. (Use left over chicken bones for a broth, strain, add salt, pepper, some frozen or leftover veggies, some left over rice, and voila! Hearty chicken soup!)

Another thing that irks me is that fact that some people have the mentality that "we don't know how to eat healthy" or "the government needs to teach people how to eat better." When did we lose the common sense to do this on our own. Also, all because you try to teach them to eat healthier doesn't mean they'll take you up on the offer. Too many people refuse to do the little bit of research it takes to learn this stuff. Either you want to learn or you don't. I bet if restrictions were placed on what foodstamps are allowed to buy, you'd see a lot more people *trying* to learn how to stretch them in more appropriate ways.

Like I said, I don't have a problem with the people who really do need the help; the ones that do try to make good decisions and not take advantage of the system. I do have a problem with the rest, and I will NOT apologize for feeling that way.

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