a. I am incredibly good-looking
b. My husband makes a ton of money
c. I spend hours a day exercising and undergoing intense beauty treatments.
If you know me in real life, you may see a little irony my blog title.
Truth be told, I haven't always lived in the lap of middle-class luxury that I do now. Yesterdays Hope Studio's Feedback Friday got me thinking about a time when I was the recipient of several forms of government aid and I wrote the following rant based solely on my experiences.
I believe our current welfare system is broken and will be one of the driving forces of our eventual national economic ruin. No nation can survive when half the country is trying to support the other half. Politicians that try and change the system are painted as money-hoarding heartless monsters who laugh maniacally as widows and orphans painfully starve to death.
Let's face it rich politicians just can't take benefits away from poor people, but they should and here's why:
WIC Made* Me to Stop Breastfeeding
After the birth of my first child, I taught high school. Trying to juggle a classroom and pumping breast milk sucked, but I couldn't afford formula. The school secretary suggested I apply for WIC to get free baby formula. We qualified, and received free milk, juice, cheese, peanut butter, tuna, beans, and baby formula.
WIC is supposed to promote breastfeeding, but by giving me free formula, they made it possible for me to quit. **
My baby drank every ounce of our free formula, but lots of WIC moms turn around and sell the formula and actually make a profit. Go do a search on Craig's List if you don't believe me.
WIC is supposed to provide nutrition classes to moms, but every class I had to sit through was a complete waste of time. Sometimes they provided information that was just plain wrong. For example, I sat through an entire class on why I should eat corn tortillas instead of flour ones. They kept saying that each flour tortilla contains 30 grams of fat.
Food Stamps Made Me Fat
When we lived well below the poverty level, we tried to keep our food budget to about $200 a month. We always had plenty to eat, but couldn't afford a lot of junk food or prepared food. Then we went on food stamps and we were given $485 a month for the 4 of us. We could then afford to buy ANYTHING we wanted. Ben and Jerry's ice cream?-yep! Frozen California Pizza Kitchen? -no problem. Steak and Brisket?-BBQ at our house!
I think I put on about 10 pounds.
|People in Household||Maximum Monthly Allotment|
|Each additional person|
We are finally (and gratefully) financially secure and our family eats very well on the current food budget of $500-$600 a month. Moms all over Pinterest put my budget to shame and feed their families for $200-$300 a month.
A family of 5 qualifies for $793 in food stamps. In addition to food stamps, that same family might also still be eligible for WIC and free breakfast and lunch at school for the kids. So basically they just need to feed the kids dinner and meals on weekends. How could you not overeat with that food budget?
(just b/c I am curious leave me a comment telling me your family size and current monthly food budget)
I used to think it was silly that you could buy soda at the 7-11 down the street as long as you waited until after you left the store to put a straw in the cup. However, now you can even eat out at restaurants. Recently more and more fast food places are accepting EBT (food stamps)-Subway, Dominoes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and many many more. Here's a link to 17 pages of restaurants in LA that will happily take your food stamps.
(I couldn't find the source for this-but it is sadly true)In Texas, benefits come in the form of the "Lone Star Card" which acts like a credit card, except for the fact you don't need to show ID. This causes a huge problem with people exchanging their benefits for cash (and who knows what else).
Food Stamps Made* Me Rich
Food Stamps Made* Me Lazy
There are people in tough situations that might actually starve without these benefits. There are also people that just don't feel like getting a job. Either way, the government will pay you for doing nothing.
I think if you don't get a job, your benefits are supposed to stop, but in my experience, it pretty much went like this: "You need to get a job or else...I will ask you again next time if you have a job".
Food Stamp Made* Me High
Many states are trying to require mandatory drug tests in order to receive benefits. I guess some are offended that our tax dollars may being used to get people high. There isn't a test that will tell us if people are spending beneits on alcohol, gambling, women etc? I personally don't think we can stop people from misusing benefits and that drug testing will just end up costing taxpayers more in the end.
(although I did see drug tests at the Dollar Store last night)
Here Are Some of My Suggestions:
1. Limit the amount of food stamps to $150/ person over age 10 and $100 under age 10. In certain areas with high costs of living, allow for additional benefits.
2. Don't allow for double-dipping. If a family qualifies for free school lunch, then reduce their food stamp budget accordingly.
3. Get rid of WIC altogether. One national food program is enough and most of the services they offer are redundant.
4. Limit what types of food a person is allowed to buy on food stamps to healthier options and there is no way tax dollars should be used to pay for fast food.
5. Require a picture ID for all food stamp purchases.
6. Require recipients to do something (anything) in exchange for benefits. They could volunteer in neighborhood clean-up projects, schools, libraries, city landscaping, nursing homes.....Just think of how this could change our country for the better.
I don't ever see the changes going into effect, but wouldn't it be wonderful if someone applied some common sense to welfare reform? I am sending a copy of the post (and all the comments-so add your 2 cents) to my congressman.
I will now return you to the regular program of projects, recipes, and the normal housewifey hodge-podge of stuff I usually blog about.
** Please don't leave comments on how I poisoned my baby w/ formula. I realize breastmilk is best, but my formula fed baby is just as smart, good-looking, healthy and athletic as my 2 breastfed kids. Also being my only girl, she even has way better personal hygiene habits.
***I know they are no longer called Food Stamps,they are now SNAP, but if I kept talking about SNAP, many of you might think I was ranting about a blog conference.