Macro Economics
A Food Stamp Myth

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November 10, 2009

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....are we developing a permanent welfare class in this country?

Perhaps but are we looking in the wrong place for it? How does the food stamps and Medicaid assistance stack up when compared to corporate welfare and bank bailouts in terms of dollars spent?

It is easy to pick on the poor and blame them for their lot in life and offer to cut the assistance all in the name of "helping them move on to something better".

But why don't we help the banks to move on to something better by withholding some of their sugar?

Why do we allow unregulated corporate boards to provide golden parachutes, huge pay benefits, no claw-backs when the CEO and other top level management screw up, amazingly rich separation packages even for the worst performances, etc?

What kind of messages are we sending by cutting back the aid to the poor and increasing the handouts to the wealthy? That he who has the gold makes the rules?

I don't know about you Doc, but I've had to collect food stamps and unemployment in my life and I'm here to tell you that the income level does not promote poverty as a lifestyle choice. That is just not the way it works for those who have the gumption to work and just can't find gainful employment.

Rather what happens is the the individual's sense of self-worth takes a big hit. The individual's standard of living gets severely curtailed. And, in many cases, their independence takes a shot as well.

We have a screwy society when we get all indignant and up in arms over alms to the poor but shrug our shoulders at the trillions being given away to corporate fat cats.

At least, that's the way this old redneck sees it.

By the way this redneck is responding to this post on a laptop computer from a concierge-class balcony cabin with in-room wireless connectivity on a luxury cruise ship somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea between Barcelona, Spain and the Island of Mallorca.

It seems as though my bout with unemployment and food stamps a number of years ago didn't doom me to a life of poverty.....unless of course one subscribes to the conservative urban legends that would indicate that I could afford this trip only because of government largess and scamming the system.

I'll dispel any nascent queries in that direction by hastening to add that I paid for the trip out my own money, gotten from gainful employment and diligent pursuit of above average returns on accumulated savings.

I think we need to get rid of the corporate welfare state before we harass the poor and the unfortunate. And I think that our indignation and righteous anger would be better directed at helping the rich do something more gainful to amass their wealth than scam the government or the shareholders of publicly traded companies....but that's just my 2 cents worth.