“I worked extremely hard... I take credit for the work. But I received a free education. I received free health care... I’m unapologetic about saying this,” she added. “I had pneumonia when my daughter was under one year old. If we hadn’t had free health care in this country, God only knows what would have happened to either of us. I am proud of having done what I’ve done. Very proud. But. I do take issue – and this does go to the heart of this book, which is why I have to say it—with anyone who truly feels it’s a 100 percent down to them.”—J.K. Rowling: ‘I didn’t build this’ on my own - She The People - The Washington Post
Anonymous asked: How do you feel about people who abuse government assistance? People who use their food stamps to buy forty dollar steaks, get angry when their fried chicken dinners aren't covered, and leave in their brand new Mercedes?
Abuse happens, period. It doesn’t matter what, some people will do anything to get an “advantage” in the world. But since such abuse is statistically uncommon, while it might be aggrivating, you don’t rip out the safety net from everyone else benefiting from the programs just because a few people fuck up—that’s like saying that no one should be allowed to drive, because some people drive drunk.
The widespread myth of the “Welfare Queen (or sometimes, though less frequent, King)” you have just described (thanks, Reagan!) does nothing but harm the reputation of those who abide by the assistance program’s rules and regulations. It’s these harmful stereotypes, which you are actively perpetuating, that turn those who are privileged enough to not have to rely on assistance against their fellow human.
What do I think? What do I think?
I think you don’t fucking know a person’s circumstances, and you shouldn’t fucking judge them. Who knows when the Mercedes entered their lives? You certainly don’t—you don’t know them, so you assume the car is brand new, and it just helps to reinforce your hateful bullshit. It could have been a gift, it could have been purchased prior to the crisis or unfortunate circumstances that lead to them needing government assistance.
Or, more importantly, it could be none of your goddamn business what kind of car they drive.
So, poor people don’t get to enjoy “good” food? Why? Because they’re poor? Because they deserve to be punished? Because why waste such good lobster on such a waste of person, right? Jesus christ, fuck you. I work in a grocery store—no matter WHAT a person paying with E.B.T. buys, it is ALWAYS scrutinized and judged, in ways that absolutely no one else’s groceries do.
A single mother comes up and buys a basket full of frozen foods, and my coworkers roll their eyes, thinking her lazy, thinking that their “hard-earned tax dollars” shouldn’t be paying for junk food. And they ignore the chorus of shouts and playful laughs of the kids running around her, her children, and the exasperated and exhausted expression on her face, because it wouldn’t help to fuel their self-righteous, “I’m better than you!” hate storm to think that maybe, just maybe the quick dinners are all she can do, because unbelievably she DOES work and DOES try to make ends meet, while at the same time attempting to raise her children and make time for them and their school and their love and their raising, and meals might not be a top priority for her.
A man shows up with a cart full of natural foods, good-for-you foods, healthy foods—sometimes, there might even be a steak or lobster. He buys mostly vegetables and fruits, and seems conscientious of the things he buys—and he pays for it with his EBT card. IMMEDIATELY a chorus of “Well I don’t get to eat that well!” starts up, once again making his private shopping trip suddenly open for comment and criticism.
You just can’t fucking win, people are programmed to judge you for what you buy no matter what—they are programmed to judge EVERY ASPECT OF YOU AND YOUR LIFE that would otherwise be considered rude or hateful behaviour—so what do I think about the people who use their food stamps to buy steaks? Or who seem frustrated because a food product they want isn’t covered? I don’t fucking care. Just because you’re poor, broke, or just plain in need of a little help doesn’t give me the right to turn what you buy and eat into public dialogue.
tl;dr: I don’t feel anything except extreme outrage at the self-righteous pricks who get to decide what another person “deserves” in life, and whether you intended it or not, your message reeked of judgmental implications.
Awesome reply by my incredibly brilliant girlfriend, you can find her blog here.
“Think about this: The richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together. The 6 Walmart heirs have more wealth than bottom 33 million American families combined. So why are we even contemplating cutting programs the middle class and poor depend on, and raising their taxes? We should tax the vast accumulations of wealth now in the hands of a relative few.”—Robert Reich: How To Avoid Raising Taxes on the Middle Class or Cutting Programs the Middle and Poor Depend On | NationofChange
What is your least favorite thing about Christianity?
The fact that people use it as a safety net.
They think that, because they say they’re Christian, they are exempt from hell. 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas. 83% say they are Christian. How much do you want to bet that less than half of that 83% have a relationship with Christ?
I look at the people in my youth group and watch them come and make fun of it all. It’s so fake and it makes me sad because they’re not cheating other people; they’re cheating themselves. The pastor speaks wisdom and hope to brick walls while they look at their phones and they brush off all God’s attempts to connect with them. Girls are more consumed with a bottle of nail polish than the One that can save their lives. Boys are more concerned with being the best than meeting with the Creator of their inmost being.
Yet they think that their words are enough to save them.
“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.”
“One of the mysteries of life in these curious times is that millions of Americans are enjoying the benefits of government — but are either unaware of it or in denial. A 2008 study found that 40 percent of Medicare recipients, 44 percent of Social Security beneficiaries, 53 percent of people with student loans, and 60 percent of homeowners with taxpayer-subsidized mortgages answered 'no' when asked whether they were using a government social program. But whatever their confusion, at least they're not running for president. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is. And on the campaign trail he's disparaging Americans who turn to government to get what he calls 'free stuff.'”—Jim Hightower in Romney Passes The Torch to Taxpayers | NationofChange
“Currently, individuals earning more than $110,100 do not pay Social Security taxes on income above that amount. Most poor and middle-class families pay 6.2 percent of their income in Social Security taxes; wealthy people making $1 million end up paying less than 1 percent. We can strengthen Social Security with one simple tweak: make everyone, including millionaires and billionaires, pay Social Security taxes on all their income. Then we can determine whether other sacrifices are necessary.”—
Robby Stern of Seattle in a letter to The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/sunday-dialogue-the-benefits-trade-off.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
This proposal is the most sensible one on the table for solving any problems with Social Security so that it continues to aid Americans as they become older for generations to come. Everyone who pays any attention to the issue knows that this step is one that should be taken if — and, with a lot of our politicians, if is a very big word — you want Social Security to continue to exist and be a solvent program. But why do so few politicians ever talk about this option?
“The bulk of charitable donations in this country are made by individuals, and the passions of individuals do not typically align with the broader exigencies of a particular social moment. Nationally, 32 percent of the $298 billion given away last year went to religious institutions, 13 percent to cultural organizations and 12 percent to social services, according to a report issued annually by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel.”—
Ginia Bellafante, writing in Bulk of Charitable Giving Not Earmarked for Poor - NYTimes.com
And there’s the rub for people who think private giving is more efficient than paying taxes to social safety net programs run by government. Giving a lot of money to your church might be a good thing and might make you feel better. Giving a lot of money to your university might be a good thing. But that sort of giving really does little to create a realistic social safety net for those in need. And in the real world some people will be in need, very often through no fault of their own. Or through no fault of our own or your own, because most of us will be vulnerable at one time or another.