Just watched a lady pay with food stamps at the grocery store. She was wearing a very nice North Face coat that I can’t afford. Thanks again Obama.
— 

Found this gem on facebook. I don’t think people understand, it was just Christmas and people get gifts. But no, if you’re poor, you’re not allowed to have a North Face jacket because it might make someone else jealous. There should be a law that if you get a good gift that might make someone jealous and you also receive food stamps, that gift should be revoked by the government immediately and then given to said jealous person because how dare youuuuuu.

And if you dare save up for something expensive you should be allowed to buy it but then you are only allowed to give it to the jealous person who doesn’t receive food stamps. 

But seriously, what is with people making automatic assumptions. “How dare you have your nails done if you’re poor!” “How dare you have a smart phone if you’re poor!” There is a certain standard that people have for those less fortunate. You must dress in squalor and if you dare dress nicely you’re feeding off the system and Obama should be ashamed. 

So I said, “I think in these types of situation it’s best not to assume something about a person you don’t know but instead be grateful that you don’t have to be one at the store in a North Face jacket given to you by your aunt or someone nice being judged because you don’t look poor enough.”

You don’t see poor people doing the opposite. “OMG she can’t even afford a North Face jacket yet she’s buying food. SMDH.”

Why poor people buy nice things

Play along with me as I take you through a subject that is my life.

You are a single parent to a 3rd grader who just moved out of Section 8 [Government assisted] housing to a better neighborhood because you wanted your child to grow up in a safe area.

You are lower-middle class [barely] and you graduated from communitycollege with average grades. You often talk about going back to school but you simply dont have the time. You do not work minimum wage neccessarily, but you do work fulltime. You hate your job. Its thankless, grueling, you’re on your feet all night because someone to be home with your kid during the day- but you’ve worked there for quite a while now. As of now there really isnt too much you can do. You’ve still got another 10 years before jr is 18 so you tough it out and do what you gotta do for their sake. 

With your full time job you bring home [after taxes] roughly $600 every two weeks [yay!].

Your rent for your 2 bedroom apartment, is $750.

Your car payment for the ride you finance in order to get to and from work is $200 a month. 

Your car insurance, for the sake of argument, is also going to be $120 a month. 

$1200 - $750 - $200 - $120 = $130

You have $130 left. “Well thats not so bad!” 

ohoho, you’re forgetting some things.

Your electric bill is $100. 

You, deciding to be frugal, do not have a house phone. You have a cheap prepaid “straight talk” plan for $50 a month. 

$130 - $150 = -20. 

"Oh, being $20 short isnt so bad."  And you’re right, its not. But wait. There’s more.

In today’s world internet is essential. You’ll need to use it for your work, your kid for school in a couple of years, and driving all the way down to the library every time you need to check something online— is a pain. So you get a [cheap] internet plan for $35 a month. 

[-55]. 

Still not looking too bad? 

Jr can ride the bus, but you’ve gotta get to work somehow. The car doesnt put gas in itself and its $5 for an all-day bus pass. You have a choice of either putting in $40 worth of gas to fill up the tank and only going where you “need” to go [$80 to fill up twice a month] or setting aside $100 a month for bus fare. 

Since you have the car you’d might as well use it. there goes $80

[-135]

And if you dont want social services to come knocking, you’d better get some food in that fridge. You “could” apply for foodstamps, but NOPE. That’d be LAZY. And LIVING OFF THE SYSTEM. You’re not a WELFARE QUEEN are you?  After all, its not taxpayers responsibility to feed you and your kid lolamirite??? YOU decide to pick yourself up by your boostraps and live the American way. :3 [besides, since you constantly work overtime social services says you “make too much money” to qualify for government aide. All they see is the $1,200 a month. ouch.]

the kid eats lunch at school, so you really just need somethings for yourself and snacks at home.

Or you would, if the free/reduced lunch program didnt get cut. Aaah America. Taxpayer dollars are precious indeed. still, you decide to do the economical thing and get all your food from dollar tree.

You  put aside $70 a month for food for you both.

[-205]

You need an extra $205 a month just to break even. This is not including doctors appointments [co-pay], dentist appointments [co-pay], eye exams [co-pay], clothes.

Well now you’re in quite a bind now arent you? So you do what people do in this situation and start borrowing money. From friends, from family, and somehow you manage to scrape it together. Somehow, every month, you manage to work something out with the landlady [who charges late fees after the 5th btw]. You keep doing this. And doing this. And doing this.

You realize something isnt working. 

Your kid never has any nice clothes, never has any new toys, never goes anywhere or does anything that isn’t free or cheap or on somebody else’s dollar. The other kids make fun of them. They start bullying them. You yourself arent doing too hot either. Every month its stress stress stress. You dont even get to SEE your paychecks. You dont even get to ENJOY your money, yourself, your child, or even your own life.

Something has to change.

You start looking at things and saying “what can I get rid of?”

Immediately you look at your car. Possibly the only nice/decent thing you own. You cant make the payments or the insurance so you just let them come and repo it. 

This puts $115 into your wallet each month! Yay! Go you!

But now you have to take the bus for sure. So lets say you work about 21 days out of the month. $5 a day, 21 days, that’s $105.

which leaves you, after food and bills and everything else, with $10.

Which you spend on your child. Maybe on a new toy, or some ice cream or mcdonalds or just something nice for them every now and again. You start saving that $10 from each pay-period and lets just assume you always have that $10 because everything is consistent

One day, you’re out shopping, and you see something you really want. 

You have not had anything nice for yourself in so. Long.

Even now you still dont even get to enjoy your money. Because something always happens. But you’re minding your own business and this thing catches your eye. Its nice. Very nice. You hesitate. You think of everything you’ve been through. You think of the struggling, the crying, the “final notices”, all the hell and fuckery and then you remember back in the day when payday used to be something you looked forward to.

You decide to get it.

And you get that, and you get it home, and you login to the internet while your kid is watching a DVD and the first thing you see is—

"how the fuck are poor people getting iphones and gucci bags? so this is what my tax dollars pay for? You know how I afford nice things? I get off my ass and I WORK for them. People like that are what’s wrong with this country." 

and all of the comments are exactly like this. These are the people who dont want you to receive any sort of help whatsoever but then chastise you for being poor as if it were of your own volition. 

I want you to think of how depressing it would be to do that for months. For years. Hell, think of how depressing it would be to grow up in that as a child and watching your parent do that. Believing nothing would ever get better. Struggling as hard as you can just to barely get by and opening the fridge tuesday night, seeing its empty, then going “all we gotta do is make it until friday” and fill up on water digging for change around the house. 

Poor people buy nice things because they actually want to be happy sometimes too. 

Which is apparently a sin. Poor people dont deserve happiness according to America.

People on food stamps are not lazy nor are they necessarily unemployed.

And yes, for the typing police out there, the original creator of this made a typo. Horrors, I know. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing fouler than… chiefest and greatest of calamities… a repeated word. A single typographical error is worse than MURDER and TORTURE and even GENOCIDE.

I just witnessed first hand one of the things that pisses me off more than anything.

I was at the grocery store and a woman who had her hair & nails done, fake eyelashes on, and name brand clothing, had her young son with her, who also had on name brand shoes & jacket, paid for her purchase with foodstamps and wic.

seriously? you can afford to look a certain way and have certain material things, but you’re getting food stamps and receiving help from wic? you’ve got to be kidding me. people need help, I get that. sometimes you go through a shitty time and need assistance, I get that too. but what I don’t get is how you have all this nice, name brand shit, hair done, nails & eyelashes on point, baby decked out in name brands…and you’re getting government assistance for basic ass needs such as food.


that’s bullshit.

And people say too much of their taxes go to feeding the poor? More like too many of my taxes go to corporate welfare and keeping big banks and businesses big!

CORRECTIONS (thank you to thenighthawks for challenging me to dig deeper in both numbers factchecking)

The 83 billion is only the ten biggest banks as per this FDIC document: http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/speeches/literature-review.pdf

The SNAP program was 76.4 billion as per this document:
http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34snapmonthly.htm

Though both numbers above are inaccurate, point still stands, more so because the 76.4 billion includes all Americans in SNAP whereas the 83 billion is only the ten biggest banks

Homelessness: it’s not all Sausage McMuffins with Adam Sandler.

7 Things No One Tells You About Being Homeless

#5. Government Benefits Aren’t as Much Help as You Think

But what about food stamps? Well, the problem with EBT — the food stamps card — is that, with little exception, you can only buy stuff that needs to be prepared at home, and if you’re homeless, that means it’s kind of like one of those cruelly ironic wishes granted by a genie. And unless you’re in California, Arizona, Florida, or Michigan, you can’t use food stamps to buy food at restaurants.

Read More

2

The Boogie Man Called “SNAP Abuse”

Numbers don’t lie. SNAP, the new name for the Federal Food Stamp program, kept an estimated 4.9 million Americans out of poverty in 2011. It also reduced extreme poverty by nearly half.

But certain individuals, and it would seem the GOP membership generally, would like people to believe the program is being widely abused.

Read More

Why are record numbers of Americans on food stamps? Because record numbers of Americans are in poverty. Why are people falling through the cracks? Because there are cracks to fall through. It is simply astonishing that in this rich nation more than 21 million Americans are still in need of full-time work, many of them running out of jobless benefits, while our financial class pockets record profits, spends lavishly on campaigns to secure a political order that serves its own interests, and demands that our political class push for further austerity. Meanwhile, roughly 46 million Americans live at or below the poverty line and, with the exception of Romania, no developed country has a higher percent of kids in poverty than we do. Yet a study by scholars at Northwestern University and Vanderbilt finds little support among the wealthiest Americans for policy reforms to reduce income inequality.
President Obama signs $8.7 billion food stamp cut into law

February 7, 2014

On Friday, President Obama added his signature to legislation that will cut $8.7 billion in food stamp benefits over the next 10 years, causing 850,000 households to lose an average of $90 per month. The signing of the legislation known as the 2014 Farm Bill occurred at a public event in East Lansing, Mich.

The food stamp cuts are one component of a massive omnibus bill which also includesbillions of dollars in crop insurance and various other programs and subsidies involving American agriculture. Before he signed the legislation, President Obama praised it as an example of bipartisan problem-solving that would help create jobs and move the American economy forward.

“Congress passed a bipartisan Farm Bill that is going to make a big difference in communities across the country,” said the president.

Obama’s remarks also focused heavily on economic inequality, which he has previously called “the defining challenge of our time.” The Farm Bill, he said, would “give more Americans a shot at opportunity.”

When House Republicans originally argued for a food stamp cut of between $20.5 billion and $39 billion, the White House threatened to veto both of those proposals. During his Friday speech, the president did not say whether he was satisfied with the final $8.7 billion figure, or even mention the cuts at all. Instead, he praised the food stamp program and said that the final Farm Bill preserved much-needed benefits.

“My position has always been that any Farm Bill I sign must include protections for vulnerable Americans, and thanks to the hard work of [Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich] and others, it does just that,” he said.

Stabenow, who played a key role in Farm Bill negotiations, fully embraced the cuts in a speech delivered shortly before the president took the stage.

“This is a nutrition bill that makes sure families have a safety net just like farmers do,” she said. “The savings in food assistance came solely from addressing fraud and misuse while maintaining the important benefits for families that need temporary help.”

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One before the speech, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made much the same point, saying that the $8.7 billion cut “probably makes the program more legitimate than it was.”

In fact, the benefits reduction would eliminate the state-level “Heat and Eat” policies currently employed in 15 states and Washington, D.C. Left-wing opponents of the Farm Bill, including Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., expect the burden of burden of the cuts to fall disproportionately on the elderly and disabled.

“Poor people are getting screwed by this Republican majority [in the House] and Democrats in my opinion aren’t doing enough to push back,” he said. “I wish there had been more of a fight from the White House and others.”

McGovern also admitted to being “puzzled” by the White House’s silence on hunger and food stamp cuts. He predicted that Republicans’ success in getting a several billion dollar food stamp cut meant that they would soon try again for even more.

“They know they can’t get a $40 billion cut right off the bat, so what they’re doing is they’re chipping away at it,” he said.

Source

Eighty-three percent of food stamps go to households with children, seniors, and nonelderly people with disabilities. The Nov. 1 reduction means $36 less per month for a family of four and $11 less for a single person. In 2012, the average recipient got $133.41 in food stamps per month—that works out to $1.48 per meal. “Without the Recovery Act’s boost, SNAP benefits will average less than $1.40 per person per meal in 2014,” reports the CBPP.
America's "We" Problem

America has a serious “We” problem — as in “Why should we pay for them?”

The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor. 

It’s found in the resistance of some young and healthy people to being required to buy health insurance in order to help pay for people with preexisting health problems. 

It can be heard among the residents of upscale neighborhoods who don’t want their tax dollars going to the inhabitants of poorer neighborhoods nearby.  

The pronouns “we” and “they” are the most important of all political words. They demarcate who’s within the sphere of mutual responsibility, and who’s not. Someone within that sphere who’s needy is one of “us” — an extension of our family, friends, community, tribe – and deserving of help. But needy people outside that sphere are “them,” presumed undeserving unless proved otherwise.

The central political question faced by any nation or group is where the borders of this sphere of mutual responsibility are drawn.

Why in recent years have so many middle-class and wealthy Americans pulled the borders in closer?

The middle-class and wealthy citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, for example, are trying to secede from the school district they now share with poorer residents of town, and set up their own district funded by property taxes from their higher-valued homes. 

Similar efforts are underway in Memphis, Atlanta, and Dallas. Over the past two years, two wealthy suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama, have left the countywide school system in order to set up their own.

Elsewhere, upscale school districts are voting down state plans to raise their taxes in order to provide more money to poor districts, as they did recently in Colorado. 

"Why should we pay for them?" is also reverberating in wealthy places like Oakland County, Michigan, that border devastatingly poor places like Detroit.

"Now, all of a sudden, they’re having problems and they want to give part of the responsibility to the suburbs?" says L. Brooks Paterson, the Oakland County executive. “They’re not gonna talk me into being the good guy. ‘Pick up your share?’ Ha ha.”

But had the official boundary been drawn differently so that it encompassed both Oakland County and Detroit – say, to create a Greater Detroit region – the two places would form a “we” whose problems Oakland’s more affluent citizens would have some responsibility to address.

What’s going on?

One obvious explanation involves race. Detroit is mostly black; Oakland County, mostly white. The secessionist school districts in the South are almost entirely white; the neighborhoods they’re leaving behind, mostly black.

But racisim has been with us from the start. Although some southern school districts are seceding in the wake of the ending of court-ordered desegregation, race alone can’t explain the broader national pattern. According to Census Bureau numbers, two-thirds of Americans below the poverty line at any given point identify themselves as white.

Another culprit is the increasing economic stress felt by most middle-class Americans. Median household incomes are dropping and over three-quarters of Americans report they’re living paycheck to paycheck. 

It’s easier to be generous and expansive about the sphere of ”we” when incomes are rising and future prospects seem even better, as during the first three decades after World War II when America declared war on poverty and expanded civil rights. But since the late 1970s, as most paychecks have flattened or declined, adjusted for inflation, many in the stressed middle no longer want to pay for “them.”

Yet this doesn’t explain why so many wealthy Americans are also exiting. They’ve never been richer. Surely they can afford a larger “we.” But most of today’s rich adamantly refuse to pay anything close to the tax rate America’s wealthy accepted forty years ago. 

Perhaps it’s because, as inequality has widened and class divisions have hardened, America’s wealthy no longer have any idea how the other half lives. 

Being rich in today’s America means not having to come across anyone who isn’t. Exclusive prep schools, elite colleges, private jets, gated communities, tony resorts, symphony halls and opera houses, and vacation homes in the Hamptons and other exclusive vacation sites all insulate them from the rabble. 

America’s wealthy increasingly inhabit a different country from the one “they” inhabit, and America’s less fortunate seem as foreign as do the needy inhabitants of another country. 

The first step in widening the sphere of “we” is to break down the barriers — not just of race, but also, increasingly, of class, and of geographical segregation by income — that are pushing “we Americans” further and further apart.

Notice how they [FOX/AM radio/tcot/Morning Joe/conservatives] rarely use facts, or specifics.

They have mastered the “I heard about a guy” and the nosey “I was at a store and I saw” stories. All identity politics folklore with the lazy protagonist who does not “deserve” to be helped.

They have no idea how EBT cards work. They have no idea that the card is used for other programs aside from food stamps. 

All they want is for their listener to feel angry, to feel lied to, to focus their insecurities at “the other”. THEY, the nameless little guy, are ones we need to deny and persecute.

The Senate gave the 2014 Farm Bill bill final bipartisan approval on Tuesday, after the House passed it last week.

If I were a crier and not the sort of person who has learned to thoroughly desensitize herself to anguish and freeze her heart against dire circumstances, I’d quite possibly be in tears. Instead, I am glaring at the coverage of the Congressional ruling as cold as any social Darwinist’s heart, including and especially the hearts of the social Darwinists currently infiltrating Congress in the guise of “public servants”.

These cuts are cruel. 

God help us all…

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