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The Problem with Food Stamps

Updated on February 28, 2015

The Problem with Food Stamps

There is a great debate, well always a debate, about food stamps. You have one party trying to get rid of food stamps or at least limit who and how long a family can get it. Fast forward to today, now we have issues about who gets it. One article professes that 40% of the recipients are white, while the comments would argue that whites are the higher population. And then the race wars start.

My problem is this, why are we fighting each other for a few dollars? For one, there are a million arguments about safety nets and why we shouldn’t have them, though there are even more why we should. Very little comes out of the average family’s income for this, say 20-25 dollars a year. So, why do we act as though a few dollars is really going to make or break us? Do you not think that those that actually need the help would not want to make enough to support their families without government help and the subsequent poverty-shaming this country is known for?

Maybe we need to look at the real problem with government help and subsidiaries. Who are we really subsidizing anyway? Are we subsidizing all those poor Americans that just can’t seem to make it in this tough world or are we subsidizing the big business who have slashed wages for years (decades really) as opposed to a non-stop inflation rates. Do you know that if you work at Ford now, as they did in the fifties, you would make over fifty dollars an hour with inflation? How many people in factory jjobs make that?

So let us put some examples into play, to help you see what we are really subsidizing. I will use a personal example and you can take it as you will, though I would think that the rates are about the same. I was pregnant when I got diagnosed with a rare brain disease called idiopathic intercranial hypertension. I was put on bed rest at three months along and I was soon out of savings. I had to get some help. When my son was born, I was so far in the hole, I didn’t think I would ever get out of it.

So, as most dutiful American, I went back to work when my son was six weeks old. The government is quick to help a working mother and this is the subsidies they offered.

Food stamps 350.00 per month (even to me that was kind of high, but I was at the lowest possible level

Child care 600.00 per month – this is at a rate of 150 a week, the lowest I could find. I paid 5 dollars of that price.

So we are at 950.00 subsidized for a minimum wage job making less than 1200 a month. Does that make any sense to you? I actually brought home less after tax, than the government subsidized to work.

It didn’t to me either, so I started working from home and was far better off. The country was far better off for me leaving the traditional work place and getting rid of the subsidiaries.

Now the argument will be, get more skills. I have many skills and degrees, but something no one thinks of is finding a job that can be had between 8-6 p.m. While many think it would be easy to find, it was actually not as easy as one would think. So that was my plight as it were and I did get off the subsidiaries eventually, but it got me thinking. Who are we actually subsidizing?

While the benefits and all the hassle of them were in my name. The looks cast by everyone thinking and having an opinion about my EBT card, was to me. But was I the one that was being subsidized, or was there someone else, or others that were really the one being subsidized? Was I getting helped, or was the businesses I was working for, really getting the help. If someone is hired on SNAPS, did you know the business actually gets a tax cut?

And what of those that get even more help-

TANF for those making under 600/month, so those that cannot find a full-time job. Which I might add have declined since ObamaCare.

Or HUDD that subsidizes up to 800/month for those making under a certain amount. This amount is actually a bit more than a full time minimum wage jobs. While there may be a small amount the recipient has to pay, it is very small. Some HUDD users actually get a bit extra from the rent and it is used for electricity and water bills, as well as anything else needed.

So maybe the real problem with Food Stamps is the need for the country to keep wages stagnant and the need for our tax dollars to go to subsidizing the poor, instead of making businesses pay more. After the recession, we lost a lot of the good paying jobs that kept families in the middle class. You know, the class that pays a higher tax rate than anyone else.

And what are the arguments of raising the minimum wage to an actual livable wage that doesn’t need subsidizing?

Everything will go up--- well that didn’t happen in Seattle where it is 12 dollars. Funny thing happens when the poor get more money, they spend it. Unlike the 1% who do not. They hoard it and grow their wealth, probably why they are rich eh. So all this extra money went back into the community and business is better. Breaks that idea.

Not even military make a living wage. (18k) is the number I have read. Well, if the government stop subsidizing workers at minimum wage, maybe they could afford to pay our troops a decent living wage. That they don’t already says more about the government, than those wanting to feed their families without all of the hassles and judgment. Though let us be real, soldiers don’t have the same stigma as others. They work their asses off and keep our country safe, yet our government makes them stand in the welfare line as well, because many do not make a livable wage. Kind of sad huh?

So my idea is stop this “trickle-down” method that DOESN’T WORK and never has and let us try a “trickle-up” method. Put the money in the taxpayer’s hands by way of making a living wage a real thing. Yes, businesses will have lower profit margins, but dare I say, with more disposable income, the country would expand. I mean, poor and middle class spend and with a country’s GDP of 70% consumerism, where can we go wrong? There would be more taxes to the government, because well, middle class pays a higher percentage anyway. If the rich get the money, they will punt it into untaxable accounts and the government will see a very small percentage of it.

Stop fighting with those that work forty hours a week in a job that is below their education. You have seen the amount of college student underemployed and still cannot find a job. They did what society says they should do, they worked hard got a degree, but are still in the welfare line, because there is not enough good jobs to go around. All we have left is a large increase in service jobs, that we all have to subsidize. Instead of Walmart and McDonalds, don’t you think your fellow man is a better person to help? And by help, I mean, make company’s pay a living wage so no one would have to be in the Food Stamp line.

I will leave you with a thought…

It would be cheaper to give all people making under 100k a year, 20k a year, than to subsidize in our current welfare system.

And while you may not like Ryan or others that push this, the math is sound. It was an idea created by economists and it really makes you wonder. Who are we really subsidizing with the trillion in spending each year?


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    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Thanks for your comment Billybuc. Cynics are always welcome here. I would agree that many would have to walk the poor road to really get it, but it makes you wonder from an economics look, why we haven't figured it out yet.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The problem with your argument and proposal is that it makes sense. When was the last time the government made sense with legislation? Yes, I'm being cynical. Those who argue against fair wages have never tried to live on $15,000 per year or they would vote responsibly.