[Continued from an earlier article] By Nathan Barton
Food stamps are a way to hide hunger:
Remember, the reason we DO NOT have soup lines today like in the First Great Depression is because they get their food from the same grocery stores as the rest of us, with the money magically transferred to their little plastic cards electronically. We don’t worry about what we don’t see: we don’t know whether that piece of plastic is a debit card, a credit card, or an EBT (welfare) cared.
Food stamps discourage personal action, in two ways:
For the hungry: “I don’t have to work: I may have to eat Ramen six days a week, but Uncle Sugar will pay for it, so I won’t starve.” Food Stamps are EASY, and without the personal embarrassment of standing in a line to beg a meal from a nice Salvation Army or Hope Mission lady, or even worse, having to listen to some prayer and sky-pilot shouting to get a meal.
For the not-hungry: Food Stamps discourage personal action by those who otherwise WOULD HELP fight hunger and feed the needy: “The government is paying them to eat, I don’t have to spend my time and my money (well, more of my money) since I’m paying taxes and the government is providing it. Out of sight, out of mind: we’d be far more bothered by seeing people in a soup kitchen line three times a day than even if the people getting EBT had to stand in line at the local welfare office outsiden where we could see them.
Food Stamps breed dependency:
And NOT just in those who get them, but in those who can shirk their christian (or other faith) responsibility to care for the hungry, because the government is doing it. And more dependency ON THE GOVERNMENT means more power TO the government. We ALL give up personal responsibility. And at the same time, liberty.
It even applies to the middlemen: to those who take from the “rich” and give to the “poor” – more taxes to collect, more people to collect them. And more businesses to take the stamps and provide the goods and services, at the same rate they sell to everyone else. More mouths to feed: more hands to feed them. More paperwork, more people and pens and computers. More fraud: more people to investigate and do the rituals to claim to control it. In the old days, if you were hungry, well, the Lord told the farmers to leave some of the harvest in the corners of the fields so that the poor and hungry could glean the fields. You had to WORK to eat – even if the food was “free” – not the “work” of filling out some forms and trudging down to the local welfare office. The hobo who begged for a meal from a housewife EXPECTED to do some work for it: painting a fence, chopping weeds, picking up trash. When the charity came from your local church (or a local church), YOU had to ask, and YOU had to justify why you couldn’t work and pay your own way – or at least part of it. And more likely than not, it wasn’t straightforward charity too: in those days people remembered Paul’s admonition: “if a man does not work, neither shall he eat.” Today, “if a man does not work, find a way to classify him as disabled or whatever and give him all you can.” So my last point:
Food Stamps make governments bigger and more powerful.
While there appear to be many factors in why there are such differences in states, I suspect that the KEY factor is the mental attitude of dependency versus personal responsibility. If I am in trouble, am I going to do something about it, or am I going to run to some government agency and demand that they take care of me? Too many Americans choose to do the second: their society, in places like DC and Oregon and Rhode Islan are BUILT around “government will take care of it.” Although food stamps are a measure and the result of this dependency, they are also a convenient, even attractive way, to increase dependency and be pulled from personal responsibility. Their governments were already bigger than most: increased food stamps mean bigger government. The Russian military have a phrase for it: Reinforcing success. Government WANTS and NEEDS more dependency, less personal responsibility, and to hide reality from those it controls. Food stamps fit perfectly.
COMMENT: Literally just minutes after I finished this commentary, I received the following link from a correspondent: Foodstamp Program Shutdown Imminent
It contains what looks like a real letter, dated 11 OCT 2013, from USDA FNS (Food and Nutrition Service) (which runs SNAP) to all state SNAP agencies telling them NOT to submit reports that are necessary to have funds transferred for food stamps for October. The people who saw this letter (who are in Utah) are fearful that this is an early warning that there will BE NO FOOD STAMPS in November, even if the “shutdown” is ended before then. Given lead times and other factors, this COULD be a possibility IF and ONLY IF the White House and their minions WANT IT TO HAPPEN. Apparently, FNS is one of the few (maybe the only) part of USDA deemed essential. As my analysis suggests, ending food stamps is NOT something that the current regime would want to do in the normal course of events: it presents the government as weak and ineffectual and encourages – nay, forces – people to start taking some more responsibility, and weakens their dependence on government. (The national park fiasco was NOT, for 99.5% of the population, a critical closure problem: not a “life and death” or even close to that kind of situation.) Food stamps WILL be deemed such, and most states will be unable to fund SNAP without significant changes – including constitutional violations (state constitutions). States doing so will further distance themselves from the Federal government and may take extraordinary measures, including seizure of federal funds to pay for it (unlike the situation with several states where they are PAYING the FedGov directly to reopen the parks).
So I do NOT think that they will allow the SNAP program to dry up. I think that the Utah folks are panicking unnecessarily. But panic has a way of reinforcing itself and taking on a life of its own. There are two kinds here: those dependent on SNAP who are fearful that they will have nothing to eat (or even, to trade for drugs), and those fearful of what will happen when the first group panics: the bureaucrats, the private charities, and… the law enforcement. This could lead to more calls (as from that idiot Sheila Jackson Lee) for martial law, or even some kinds of preventative measures like issuing script to supermarkets (AND convenience stores – remember those awful “Food Deserts”) and the like or even attempting to seize supplies to “protect” them against panicking rioters. Such items are high on the list of things to turn a bad situation into a nightmare that could, indeed, engulf much of the nation in a “hard” economic shutdown. A real one, not a bogus one dreamed up by the White House to bash their opposition in Congress and the streets.