Food Stamp Nation

The Numbers Keep on Piling Up. . .

03/04/11

The naivety showed throughout the lands’ never ceases to amaze me. More than 44 million Americans, the country with the world's highest GDP, are now on food stamps. That's already 13% higher than last year. The food stamp program is the modern equivalent of the old bread lines. To put things into perspective, one out of seven Americans is going hungry. There's more Americans on food stamps than the entire population of Canada. On a per capita basis, more money has been dumped into the food programs in Iraq.

Yet still we have economists, uh preachers, bombarding the virtues of corporate Keynesian economics "capitalism." What's causing this madness? A have a few theories, but rather than needlessly complicate the issue, I'll state that it comes down to one phenomenon: corporate mania accompanied by what I"ll call a "stupid man's" work ethic. What is corporate mania accompanied by stupid man's work ethic? It's the belief that corporate jobs, which stand for just over broke, are part of the holy grail. The belief that somehow if you just work a bit harder, a bit longer, or a bit stronger, that eventually you will see some payment at the end of the yellow brick road. You're in a complete state of mania. You never stop yourself to ask, "what I'm I doing?"

You continue to sit in front of your computer spamming resumes until your eyes bleed. You hustle from shop to shop around the neighbourhood throwing resumes. You attend social gathering after social gathering blowing your nickels and dimes on overpriced coffee. You do this all in the big chase for a job. You think it's admirable, you think it's hard work, and you think it's character building. Your family, friends, etc. will encourage you to mindlessly continue. They'll tell you to "keep positive," "keep going," etc. in true new-agey fundamentalist culture fashion. In the mean time, while you're busy spending all your time and energy on looking for a job, the government sends you some food stamps in the mail because somewhere along the way you forgot you need food to live or never bothered acquiring it.

There are two people who forget to feed themselves: Drug addicts and the impoverished. Congratulations, you've achieved both! Yes, my job searching maniac, you're addicted. You’re addicted to finding the job. You’re brainwashed into finding the job. It's a drug to you. You can't stop, you can't slow down, you can't question your irrational behaviour. What if you do? You'll be disowned by society! My parents, my family, my friends, they tell me I must keep on looking, looking, looking!

You may even toss the food stamp away for now and continue to frantically search. Next, you come across a website that advertises a college degree as the answer. You think this is interesting, so you apply. You get an associate’s and you're 10k in debt. Nope, not good enough, time to get that Bachelor's with 35K in debt. After all, I can run away from debt and starvation by taking on more debt! So you get that Bachelor's. Nothing still? Run away, run, run, run! Time to get my Master's with 100K in debt! Wait, what's happening? My life seems to be drifting away from me. I don't look so young anymore. What's this gray on my hair? I'm not even done school yet and haven't even landed that first big job! Now I'm in debt, still looking, what's this? I'm on food stamps again! But I'm a power maniac! I'll keep on job searching, won't the world be impressed with me?

No, no, no, they won't. I'm here to tell you martyrdom of the foolish isn't admirable. Nobody will remember or care about your sacrifice for seeking out the elusive job along the yellow brick road that's corporate America. People who risk their lives for a noble cause go above and beyond their time period. And I'm sorry, looking for a corporate job at all costs till the point of starvation doesn't make you a revolutionary. If you're to be remembered, you'll be portrayed as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, "my precious, my job, must keep seeking, searching, my precious! Oh my precious!"

Eventually you may find yourself old and alone, perhaps in a shelter, and still on food stamps. At this point you'll be asking yourself some serious questions. One of the questions you may ask is: Rather than spending every waking hour sitting on my butt spamming resumes, what were to happen if I tried something different? Maybe I could have taken some time planting seeds in my front yard? Maybe I could have got off my arse and helped to fix all the numerous decaying homes around my neighbourhood? Maybe I should have gone out for a walk? Maybe I should have come to the understanding that God didn't necessarily create my body and mind for the soul purpose of typing on a computer and getting a job? Surely there was something I could have done to at the very least get off food stamps? Last I checked, resume writing isn't exactly the most productive or educational material a person can do.

Or you can just keep on doing what you're doing and become a casualty, uh, I mean a statistic once 100 million Americans go on food stamps . . .

-Donovan D. Westhaver

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