Food stamps again a vivid symbol in poverty debate

House votes to cut almost $4 billion a year from food stamps, a 5 percent reduction to the nation's main feeding program used by more than 1 in 7 Americans.
Associated Press
Sep 21, 2013

 

Food stamps have figured in Americans' ideas about the poor for decades, from President Lyndon Johnson's vision of a Great Society to President Ronald Reagan's scorn for crooked "welfare queens" and President Bill Clinton's pledge to "end welfare as we know it."

Partisans tend to see what they want to see in the food stamp program: barely enough bread and milk to sustain hungry children, or chips and soda — maybe even steak and illicit beer — for cheaters and layabouts gaming the system.

Those differences were on display Thursday when the House voted to cut almost $4 billion a year, or 5 percent, from the roughly $80 billion-a-year program.

The House bill would tighten eligibility standards, allow states to impose new work requirements and permit drug testing for recipients, among other cuts to spending. A Senate bill would cut around one-tenth of the amount of the House bill, or $400 million a year.

Republicans argued that work requirements target the aid to the neediest people. Democrats said the swelling rolls — more than 47 million people are now using the food stamps, or 1 in 7 Americans — show that the program is working at a time of high unemployment and great need.

A look at the history and future of food stamps:

NO MORE STAMPS

These days, people in the nation's largest food aid program pay with plastic.

These special debit cards are swiped at convenience store or supermarket checkouts to pay for groceries. The cards can't be used for alcohol or cigarettes or nonfood items such as toothpaste, paper towels or dog chow. Junk food or high-priced treats are OK.

The first food stamps were a temporary plan to help feed the hungry toward the end of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The government subsidized the cost of blue stamps that poor people used to buy food from farm surpluses.

The idea was revived in the 1960s and expanded under Johnson into a permanent program that sold food coupons to low-income people at a discount. Beginning in the 1970s, food stamps were given to the poor for free. Benefit cards began replacing paper in the 1980s, a move designed to reduce fraud and ease the embarrassment food stamp users felt at the cash register.

Food stamps aren't the government's only way to feed those in need. There are more than a dozen smaller programs, including the one for Women, Infants and Children, and free and reduced-price school lunches.

In 2008, food stamps were officially renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Most people still know the name that's been familiar since 1939.

ONE IN EVERY 7 AMERICANS

In a nation of 314 million people, more than 47 million are eating with food stamps each month.

Who are they? Children and teenagers make up almost half, according to the Agriculture Department. About 10 percent are seniors.

The vast majority don't receive any cash welfare. Many households that shop with SNAP cards have someone who's employed but qualify for help because of low earnings.

The average food stamp allotment is $133 a person per month. The monthly amount a family gets depends on the household's size, earnings and expenses, as well as changing food prices and other factors.

Households can qualify for help with earnings up to 30 percent higher than the federal poverty level, making the limit about $30,000 for a family of four this year. These households are limited to no more than $2,000 in savings, or $3,250 if there are elderly or disabled residents.

In addition, most states allow people to qualify automatically for food stamps if they are eligible for certain other welfare programs, even if they don't meet the strict SNAP standards. Although food stamps are paid for with federal tax dollars, states administer the program and have some choices in setting requirements.

Language in Clinton's 1996 welfare overhaul required able-bodied adults who aren't raising children to work or attend job training or similar programs to qualify for food stamps after three months. But those work requirements across most of the nation have been waived for several years because of the high unemployment rate.

People who are living in the United States illegally aren't eligible for food stamps. Most adults who immigrate legally aren't eligible during their first five years in the country.

RISING LIKE YEAST

The cost to taxpayers more than doubled over just four years, from $38 billion in 2008 to $78 billion last year.

Liberals see a program responding to rising need at a time of economic turmoil. Conservatives see out-of-control spending, and many Republicans blame President Barack Obama. While seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, Newt Gingrich labeled Obama the "food stamp president."

Some of the growth can be attributed to Obama's food stamp policies, but Congress' budget analysts blame most of it on the economy.

The big factors:

—The SNAP program is an entitlement, meaning everyone who is eligible can get aid, no matter the cost to taxpayers.

—Millions of jobs were lost in the recession that hit in 2007. Unemployment is still high, and many people who have jobs are working fewer hours or for lower pay than before, meaning more people are eligible.

—Obama's 2009 economic stimulus temporarily increased benefit amounts; that boost is set to expire on Nov. 1. Time limits for jobless adults without dependents are still being waived in most of the country.

—Food stamp eligibility requirements were loosened by Congress in 2002 and 2008, before Obama became president.

—Fluctuating food prices have driven up monthly benefit amounts, which are based on a low-cost diet.

FEWER TO FEED?

The number of people using food stamps appears to be leveling off this year, and long-term budget projections suggest the number will begin to fall as the economy improves.

Why is it taking so long? Although the jobless rate has dropped from its 2009 peak, it remains high, leaving a historically large number of people eligible for food stamps. Since the recession began, a bigger portion of people who are eligible have signed up for food stamps than in the past.

Many people who enrolled during the worst days of the recession still qualify for SNAP cards, even if they are doing a little better now. For example, they may have gone from being laid off to working a low-paying or part-time job.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts in about a decade the number of people using food stamps will drop to 34 million, or about 1 in every 10 people.

FOOD AND FRAUD

Abuse was a worry from the start. The 1939 food stamp program was launched in May and by that October a retailer had been caught violating the rules.

There's been progress along the way, especially after the nationwide adoption of SNAP cards, which are harder to sell for cash than paper coupons were. The government says such "trafficking" in food stamps has fallen significantly over the past two decades, from about 4 cents on the dollar in 1993 to a penny per dollar in 2008.

But many lawmakers say fraud is still costing taxpayers too much. Some people lie about their income, apply for benefits in multiple states or fail to quit the program when their earnings go up. Recipients must tell their state agency within 10 days if their income goes over the limit.

Some stores illegally accept food stamps to pay for other merchandise, even beer or electronics, or give out cash at a cut rate in exchange for phony food purchases, which are then reimbursed by the government.

FOOD AND FARMS

In Congress, it's a marriage of convenience.

Food stamp policy has been packaged in the same bill with farm subsidies and other agricultural programs since the 1970s. It was a canny way of assuring that urban lawmakers who wanted the poverty program would vote for farm spending. That worked until this year, when conservatives balked at the skyrocketing cost of food stamps.

In June, a farm bill that included food stamps was defeated in the Republican-led House because fiscal conservatives felt it didn't cut the program deeply enough.

In response, GOP leaders split the food and farm programs in two. The House passed the farm version in July and the food stamp version on Thursday. Both passed with narrow votes.

The House and Senate versions must be reconciled before the five-year farm bill can become law, and that won't be an easy task.

Food stamps remain in the farm bill passed by the Senate. That bill made only a half-percent cut to food stamps and the Democratic-led Senate will be reluctant to cut more deeply or to evict the poverty program from its home in the farm bill. Obama supported the cuts in the Senate bill, but has opposed any changes beyond that. The White House threatened to veto the House food stamp bill.

WHAT NOW?

The current farm and food law expires at the end of the month.

If the two sides can't agree by then, a likely scenario, Congress could vote to extend the law as it is, at the expense of many planned updates to agricultural policy. There won't be much urgency to do that until the end of the year, when some dairy supports expire and milk prices could rise.

Other farm supports won't expire until next year, but farmers have been frustrated with the drawn-out debate that has now lasted two years, saying they need more government certainty as they manage their farm operations.

SNAP benefits would still be available for now. While farm bills set food stamp policy, the money is paid out through annual appropriations bills that so far have left benefits intact.

Comments

donutshopguy

I'm sure most people don't begrudge those who truly need the program to get back on their feet from some type of setback.

The rub is when the use of this program has become a generational accepted lifestyle. The program was designed to be temporary in nature not entitlement. And, with any large government run program the abuse is beyond anyone's scope.

It's time to reduce government on all levels.

Contango

Re: "The cost to taxpayers (was)...$78 billion last year."

And fraud only amounted to, "a penny per dollar in 2008."

Why heck, that's ONLY $780 million that taxpayers are being scammed!

Let's not bother figuring in the additional tens of billions of dollars that can probably be attributed to waste and abuse.

Pres. Obama and the Congressional Democrats, just need to tell "The Bernank" (blessed be his name) to kick up those Federal Reserve printing presses and fund any and all increases.

SNAP cards for the masses!!!

Think of all those new Democrat party voters that it will buy.

Contango

Re: "Economists say that providing food stamps might be the most stimulative action the government can take. Tax cuts for the wealthy ranks around 12th."

Great article!

Like I wrote: Have "The Bernank" crank up the presses and "print" trillions of dollars more.

SNAP for the masses!

Let's tax, print, borrow and spend, spend, spend this economy into prosperity with more and more food stamps!

deertracker

Yeah, think of all the CONservative votes you will buy! We all know that cutting taxes for the wealthy hardly stimulates anything but their own bank accounts! Thanks for pointing that out though!

Contango

Re: "cutting taxes for the wealthy hardly stimulates anything but their own bank accounts!"

Yea, that's correct. Those rich one percenters that live around DC, only hoard their money in a shoe box under their bed or on a shelf closet, right?

The Big Dog's back

Another moronic statement by pooh.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Don’t worry lil’ pup, no one will ever come close to breaking your record. :)

AJ Oliver

The Righties stand up and cheer when kids go hungry. Shame on them !!
Meanwhile, they just love welfare for the ONE PERCENT such as hundreds of millions for the CLE Browns. And they'd never dare suggest that Walmart pay their employees enough so they would not need food stamps. Part of Walmart's employee training is showing them how to apply for food stamps - so the business model is that the taxpayers subsidize the Walton family billionaires. Gag me !!
Corn ethanol is another great example of welfare for the wealthy - it's a giant scam.

From the center for budget & policy . .
Who gets food stamps?
The most recent Department of Agriculture report on the general characteristics of the SNAP program's beneficiaries says that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010:

••47% of beneficiaries were children under age 18.

••8% were age 60 or older.

••41% lived in a household with earnings from a job -- the so-called "working poor."

••The average household received a monthly benefit of $287.

••36% were white (non-Hispanic), 22% were African American (non-Hispanic) and 10% were Hispanic. [USA Today, 1/18/12, emphasis original]

2cents's picture
2cents

Boycott Walmart and football then! It would be a good start.

Contango

Re: "they just love welfare for the ONE PERCENT,"

So no "Lefties" can be counted among the Politcal Ruling Class?

So no "Lefties" live in the DC suburbs which (according to 2011 stats) contain 7 of the top 10 richest U.S. counties?

So 7 of the 10 richest Congressional representatives aren't Democrats?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/money...

Reads more like you're presenting a fallacious wrongheaded partisan argument, rather than coming to grips with any form of reality.

Contango

So for you, "The Bernank's" "trickle-down" monetary policy ain't working too well?

Maybe time to "print" trillions more!

deertracker

That's what you got from the article??? Exactly why I almost never post links!

Contango

Re: "That's what you got from the article???"

And that article had what to do with my response to AJ Oliver's comment about welfare for the one percenters?

Besides, who in the h*ll do you think is benefiting the most from the Federal Reserves' ZIRP and QE policies?

Nothing more "magical" than producing "wealth" outa thin air and helping make the rich richer is there?

There you go again

When have "the Righties" stood up and cheered when someone went hungry?

You are spewing lies just like our president. Stop believing everything you hear in the media.

8ballinthesidepocket

If you really believe that those are the only people getting food stamps, you are a naive ignoramous and so is the govenment, but then we already knew they were stupid.

The Big Dog's back

The Repubs new strategy? Starve them into voting for us.

deertracker

LOL!

shucks

Another nail in their coffin.

What say you , From the Grave ?

donutshopguy

AJ,

Kids are dying around the world from hunger. Why don't you start a movement that all of our citizens on food stamps donate 10% of their entitlement to those who have less.

Shame on you and those on entitlement for not taking care of those in need.

deertracker

What do you do to help the hungry kids around the world?

donutshopguy

deer,

When do you want to sit down and discuss what we each do for local and other citizens of the world?

I will match up my personal participation in improving the human race against yours any day.

If I don't match up to your participation I will apologize to you on this website.

deertracker

Apology accepted! Now answer the question!

Contango

Re: "What do you do to help the hungry kids around the world?"

"United States foreign aid":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uni...

Plus, I often buy foreign made products which help support their families and them.

Why, what do you do?

deertracker

Quit lying pooh! You don't buy foreign made products to help feed the hungry around the world. You buy them because they, like you, are cheap! Nice try WRONG guy!

Contango

Re: "foreign made products,"

The reason doesn't matter Bambie, it helps give foreign people jobs so that they can improve their quality of life - it's called capitalism.

Again: What do you do?

donutshopguy

deer,

What my wife and I do is personal and we do not wish to share with the masses. But, I'm willing to meet you and give you a brief overview of our participation. I'm sure you will be discreet in not passing on our involvement.

When can we get together?

Informed

We make a very good living. I do not for one minute begrudge helping others when it comes to things like food. There are too many people struggling out there. Even many college-educated people are working only part-time or low paying jobs right now. As long as my family is blessed (and lucky!), we will continue to support the less fortunate with basic human needs.

deertracker

Thank you! We don't punish the poor in this country for being poor!

grandmasgirl

Lots of good comments on this subject. I know some one who gets food stamps,lives with her dad who makes $70,000 per year. Do I think this is right? No. Do I think that there are people out there who really need help? Yes, but as long as the government doesn't distinquish between them, I will continue to not support this program. I will however, continue to give to the ones I KNOW who needs help.

deertracker

If she receives food stamps with a 70k annual salary she is committing
fraud! Her dad probably gets the stamps!

Contango

Re: "know some one who gets food stamps,lives with her dad who makes $70,000 per year."

Reads like a case of fraud.

Time to send out a highly compensated taxpayer funded bureaucrat and check this out!

If ONLY the Feds would hire hundreds, MAYBE thousands more highly compensated taxpayer-funded bureaucrats; perhaps billions in waste, fraud and abuse would no longer exist in the SNAP program.

grandmasgirl

Thank you for letting me know. I am not for sure if they still get them, but was told by the dad that she did. Now I am wondering if this is fraud, isn't the fact that someone is on welfare but lives with a person who has a job also fraud? Just questioning. I have been lucky in my life that I have always found a job and never had to use either service.

Susi1110

Her fathers income should be accounted for as. Household income. Your friend must be LYING on the application

ashamed

After two years of being on food stamps due to job loss, next month we will no longer be on the program because I have finally found a job that will support my family. In that two years, I went back to school (full-time) while raising my kids and shopping carefully to stay within our budget. I never looked at the program as a long-term solution. I realize that puts me in the minority, but to those tax payers that helped support us through this difficult transition, thank you. Now, I'm happy to get back to working and doing my part and paying taxes.

deertracker

Thank yourself too. Before you lost your job you were paying taxes and when you needed help you rightfully received it. I don't think you are in the minority. I believe most people don't want to be on food stamps forever but they do need to eat forever. Do the elderly and disabled really have a choice? The jobs are just not there. Also, most people receiving stamps have a job!

pptrsha

99 million dollars in food stamps were used by military families.
i hate what that says about our country. shame on anyone that would try and take foodstamps away from a military family. there are so many circumstances why a family would need help. i don't believe that any of us have the right to decide who gets them or what they buy with them.

AJ Oliver

Second Harvest Food Bank does great work in getting food to area struggling folks. They have a fund raiser coming up, and deserve our support.
But we STILL need food stamps, a program that has a MUCH lower rate of fraud than other federal programs. Lots of big-time agricultural interests cheat like hell on the farm program.
Why don't the righties go after them ? Answer, because they are not poor.

deertracker

Exactly!

Contango

Re: "Lots of big-time agricultural interests cheat like hell on the farm program. Why don't the righties go after them ?"

How about those "Lefties" like Tom Harkin (D-IA) and other good Dems from farm states???

shucks

.

The Big Dog's back

pooh, what about him? C'mon, make another moronic statement.

Contango

Warren Buffett:

“The Fed is the greatest hedge fund in history,”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/20...

See, no need to raise taxes on ANYONE. No need to cut entitlements on ANYONE.

H*ll, raise the Federal debt ceiling by a couple trillion dollars!

Who knew that it was 'so' simple that the U.S. can just have "The Bernank" leverage the country to prosperity?

SNAP cards for the masses!!!

Hedge funds never go bust do they? :)

The Big Dog's back

pooh couldn't stay on topic if his life depended on it.

Contango

Re: "couldn't stay on topic"

So where's the money gonna come from to help fund the ever increasing transfer of payments and entitlement programs schmuck?

deertracker

Topic? What's that?

AJ Oliver

Would it be too much to ask the Righties to stick to the topic of the article? They might get motivated to do so if they had the guts to post under their own names. But for them, cojones are in short supply.
Warren Buffett, BTW, gets all kinds of welfare.

Contango

Re: "Would it be too much to ask the Righties to stick to the topic of the article?"

Money is fungible.

What the h*ll do you think has been majorly responsible for keeping this economy afloat these past 5 yrs?

And what's the topic anyway? Isn't it that those EVIL Repubs wanna starve children by cutting SNAP funding?

If you wanna increase or maintain funding, where's the money gonna come from?

What's wrong with getting it from the Federal Reserve?

What's your answer?

Yea, but "Warren," a Lefty favorite, is one of those kinder-gentler rich people, not like those other EVIL "Righty" one percenters.

As I give a sh*t about your "real name," mine should not matter to you.

dontknowmuch

The one side of aisle accuses the other side of starving people. Think about this --- the obesity problem in the USA. Lots and lots of empty calories being bought on SNAP cards. Too bad the hyprocitic left has no stones to revamp SNAP and require healthier purchases instead of sodie pops, chips and candy.

The Big Dog's back

You're right, you don't know much. It would take more food stamps to purchase healthy foods.

Contango

Re: "It would take more food stamps to purchase healthy foods."

So where's the money gonna come from to help fund expansion of the program schmuck?

deertracker

@BD
LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

donutshopguy

deer & dog,

Less government and more personal responsibility is Right ?

shucks

How about more businesses hiring people ?

Contango

Re: "How about more businesses hiring people ?"

"Why Companies Aren't Hiring Now":

http://moneymorning.com/2013/07/...

Maybe the govt. should just hire ALL the unemployed, OR "the Bernank" could just cut a $50K check for every American and say: Have fun spending!!!

Contango

"Budget Office Warns That Deficits Will Rise Again Because Cuts Are Misdirected":

"Budget experts have been warning since at least the Reagan era that in the early 21st century, aging baby boomers will drive entitlement spending — chiefly for Medicare and Medicaid, and to a lesser degree for Social Security — to levels that will crowd out all other military and domestic spending.

Interest on the debt will also be a major and growing expense."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/1...

Didja catch that from above?

It "...will crowd out all other...domestic spending."

Pres. Obama ORDERED the bi-partisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Simpson-Bowles) and then promptly IGNORED their recommendations!

Again: Want more and bigger spending for food stamps?

Simple: Just have the Federal Reserve manufacture assets outa thin air and buy more U.S. Treasuries (IOUs) to help fund increased spending.

The Big Dog's back

So we borrowed from those funds, Repubs and Dems, so we could lower taxes on the wealthy, and now you don't want to pay it back?

The Big Dog's back

So we let the rich "keep more of their money", and what has that gotten the rest of us?

Contango

Re: "we let the rich,"

YOU'VE “let” them do squat dunce.

The Federal Reserve through ZIRP and QE is helping to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

donutshopguy

Dog,

All you give is negative responses to other people's opinions. How about offering your suggestions on creating more jobs, reducing the amount of unwed mothers or reducing the working poor.

How about real suggestions not snide remarks. We await you input.

The Big Dog's back

1st thing that needs to be done is infrastructure repair. The only ones that can do this is the Government. This would add millions of good paying jobs and the spinoff jobs would add even more. Then I would put a 90% tax rate on those would don't invest in their work force, i.e. living wages. If these 1% want to keep all the money for themselves then tax the crap out of them. Gov needs to pay for abortions and more importantly contraception and education.

Contango

Re: "I would put a 90% tax rate on those would don't invest in their work force, i.e. living wages."

A totally stupid communistic approach which would lead to capital fleeing offshore and an economic collapse which would make the Great Depression look like a Sunday picnic.

"If these 1% want to keep all the money for themselves then tax the crap out of them."

Gonna have a lot of rich Democrats, i.e. the Kennedys, the Kerrys, the Reids, the Pelosies, et. al. that aren't gonna like that.

The Big Dog's back

It wouldn't go offshore without being taxed. Good, tax those people you mention. I don't have a problem with it do you?

Contango

Re: "It wouldn't go offshore without being taxed,"

Nope. Your level of economic and financial knowledge is strictly pre-school.

As I've written MANY times:

When the Dems start taxing themselves heavily, then I 'might' start believing their spread the wealth BS.

The Big Dog's back

Why would Dems only tax themselves?

Contango

Re: "Why would Dems only tax themselves?"

Allow me to re-phrase:

When the Dems propose legislation for a wealth tax (1-3% annually of ALL assets) THEN I 'may' believe their share the wealth BS.

Besides, shouldn't a "rich Dem" be an oxymoron?

What the (bleep) do the Kerrys need with multiple houses? Wouldn't your idea of govt. be to confiscate all but one of 'em?

http://www.snopes.com/politics/k...

donutshopguy

Dog,

What do you consider a living wage? Please be specific in dollars and benefits.

Should this living wage be the new minimum wage?

The Big Dog's back

BTW, these are my opinions, unlike the right where opinions are formulated at right wingnut think tanks.

Contango

Re: "these are my opinions,"

You give yourself too much credit dunce.

Marx and Engles' economic idiocy was way before your time.

shucks

@ donutshopguy

"Less government and more personal responsibility is Right ?"

You left out the business factor.
If they don't hire , and according to Contango, they have "good" reasons not to hire, what's a person to do to survive?
They can only look to gov't , right ?

Contango

Re: "They can only look to gov't , right ?"

And govt. gets it's funding from where?

donutshopguy

4sizzle,

There are so many job available throughout the country. Just not the high paying, low skill positions the former generation had available. "What's a person do to survive?" Get a better education or skill.

The uneducated, unmotivated and unskilled workers need to step up and improve themselves. It's not the government's responsibility. It's your life, Right.

shucks

It's not as simple as that.

donutshopguy

Please explain in more detail. I am interested in your thoughts.

shucks

Thank you , but Informed's comments below are basically my thoughts.

2cents's picture
2cents

"step up and improve themselves. It's not the government's responsibility. It's your life"

Yeppers! My old boss froze my pay because I did not finish college, I started a company and every step of the way people tried to push me down, even the Fed said sorry no construction funds for you, your a single white male. He-- now I pay 52% income tax and they want more! I lived and breathed my company for five years before seeing any return, after thirty years things were looking good until the downturn. Now time to realign everything and move on. It only takes commitment, you never know what is around the corner, so true with the current non direction administration.

Informed

You do realize that may of the people out of work or working low-paying jobs are college graduates, right?
When you are unable to leave the area because of family reasons or your spouse's job, do not have the funds to go back to college for a second degree because you are helping to put your kids through college, it's not as simple as the way you make it out to be.

donutshopguy

Informed,

These are personal decisions that are being made. Choices made that direct your life.

So you want the government or businesses to bring you high paying jobs that fit your skill set without any involvement on your part. Really? How do you suggest we incorporate this concept on a national scale?

Informed

Of course not. I was simply responding to a post in which someone stated that people who are out of work or working low-paying jobs are uneducated and lazy. I was just pointing out other reasons why people are out of work or working low-paying jobs, and that it's not as simple as the poster stated. Many new college grads cannot find work in their fields, and are working in places like restaurants, or working several part-time jobs. I am sick of people assuming that everyone who is struggling is in that position because they are slacker drop-outs.

LadyC

Thank you! I agree! And some of those are facing paying back the student loans as well. Should they keep furthering their education, driving them deeper in debt, or cut their losses now?

LadyC

And some of the "regulars" on here say that we are "whining." I wouldn't call it that. We are discussing very real problems.

Contango

Re: "You do realize,"

Every generation tends to think that the time in which they live is WORSE than has ever been experienced in the past.

Whiny spoiled rotten Americans who SOMEHOW think that the world owes them something. The impoverished world laughs at and envies us.

Our news media never showed us the throngs worldwide who CHEERED at the events of 9/11/01. In their mind, the U.S. was getting what it deserved.

Through excessive debt and military adventurism, the U.S. will eventually fall to second-class status. Many believe that the "day of reckoning" is not far off.

Informed

What does this have anything to do the false assumption that everyone who can't find a good paying job is uneducated, unmotivated, or unskilled?

Contango

Re: "What does this have anything,"

Who is making the "assumption"?

The point:

Those that can DO what they must. Those that WON'T just b*tch, moan, whine and wanna blame ANYONE but themselves.

To quote Carly Simon: "These are the good old days."

The U.S. has been living in a sweet spot of a Golden Age since the 1950s. Many believe that it only goes down hill socio-economically from here.

FYI: My mother was abandoned by her mother and raised in an orphanage.

With a HS education, she worked every job that she could find, while always trying to better herself.

She worked in a factory and eventually became a supervisor over two departments.

She had many other personal challenges along the way.

In many ways, she had every right to be bitter. But I've NEVER ONCE heard her complain about her past.

She is the bravest & smartest woman I have ever met and besides me, she's been an inspiration to many others.

shucks

"In many ways, she had every right to be bitter."
.....................So,that's how you got your start - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

" But I've NEVER ONCE heard her complain about her past"
.................that's probably the only thing she didn't complain about - everybody is wrong except themself - just like you.

donutshopguy

Informed,

So why don't they have a high paying job?

Unwilling to move ? Unwilling to take a chance? A theater degree? A high school education? Being from a generational entitlement mind set?

Informed

They don't have jobs because sometimes for every job, there are 200 applicants. That leaves 199 people without work. And no, I'm not talking about theater majors. Even some people with bachelor degrees in nursing are taking almost a year to find a job. Many people with teaching degrees can't find a job.
Some people cannot move due to their spouse's job, or because they are caring for sick and/or elderly parents.
There are many reasons. That's my point. Not all people are uneducated, unmotivated, or unskilled.

donutshopguy

I understand your point. People have to make personal decision about the direction of their lives.

But, due to those personal decisions why is it our responsibility to feed those who have chosen this path? It was their choice to not take the necessary steps to be employed in a living wage job. Now it's our responsibility to feed them?

Contango

Re: "why is it our responsibility to feed those who have chosen this path?"

I often thought that Sam Kinison's take on world hunger was on the right track:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P...

Informed

How on earth is someone supposed to predict that in the future, four years after they graduate from college with a degree that may be currently marketable, that they might have trouble finding full-time work with benefits? Or how can someone predict that in the future they may have serious medical issues? There are many situations that are beyond a person's control. What about military families--many of them qualify for SNAP? Should everyone just quit entering the military?
You are still failing to comprehend my point. In some cases, many cases, the alternatives only make the future more bleak or uncertain. And I never said anything was anyone else's responsibility. But if we cannot help out our fellow countrymen who are trying to do their best to help themselves, what kind of country are we? I'll tell you what kind--the third world kind.
I request that you make a list of those career fields where you think people either currently don't have trouble finding a good paying, full-time job, and won't have trouble finding that job five or ten years from now.

Contango

Re: "the third world kind."

After decades of of excessive debt from transfer of payments, entitlement spending and military adventurism THAT is EXACTLY where the U.S. is headed.

Every great nation or empire in the history of the world, i.e. Spain, France, Rome, Britain, the USSR, eventually went broke from excessive borrowing and spending. The U.S. is no different.

Nations like people DO GO BROKE.

AJ Oliver

The Register really needs to open up a comments section where people use their own names. There'd be way less uninformed drivel, and Jr. High level discourse.

Contango

Re: "There'd be way less uninformed drivel,"

Off-topic.

Regardless:

So other than spewing sophomoric political partisan rhetoric, you'd actually regurgitate a fact or two?

I don't know who in the h*ll AJ Oliver is and I could care less.

I 'sincerely' regret if my questions to you have been too pointed and difficult for you to response to.

Economics is about the allocation of limited resources. It's always been and will always be that way.

Even socialist "spread the wealth" nonsense eventually succumbs to market forces.

2cents's picture
2cents

It's call the "Readers Forum" Did that back in the 80's! The big problem was that as the Register changed editors, more of what you wrote was rewritten before the public saw it and in a lot of cases the comment was lost from their editing. It became embarrassing at times to have your name on something they wrote!

Contango

Re: "your name,"

1. Many papers link through Facebook.

For a number of reasons, I don't have and won't have an account.

2. A couple of these "blog idiots" are NUTS. One that occasionally attacks me referred to his Glock as his "sweet."

It's not so much for me that I'm concerned about, but why risk potential danger for members of my immediate family?

3. I believe in disagreeing without being disagreeable. Healthy debate can be fun and educational. Name calling for me typically starts with the replier and I will often respond in like manner.

Informed

You are so right--there are way too many irrational. unstable people in the world for me to put my real name on a blog like this!

JudgeMeNot

And the usual flock of brain dead obamabots show up to dismiss the lies... shocker...

tk

Don't know who you are calling brain dead, but I think it might be the ones who say "keep government out of our lives, but on the other hand they want government to tell people the kind of food they can buy." Now that's brain dead.

LadyC

Ha!

Contango

Forget $17T in debt. The U.S. according to one university economics professor has a projected unfunded liability of $211T.

"'If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That's the fiscal gap,' he says. 'That's our true indebtedness.'"

http://www.zerohedge.com/contrib...

It's a real (bleepin') mess isn't it?

The country has been pushing the bills for entitlement spending onto future generations and many are up to their eyeballs in debt from student loans ($1T and counting) and many are also stuck in crappy part-time jobs or are unemployed.

So other than the Fed "printing" more money, where's the $211T gonna come from?

KURTje

The food stamp program is needed. Typical of you Contango. You need to read "My Rifle," it quotes a Marine General - alas you will call him nuts. Nice name calling by the way. Have been called liberal,anti-business, etc. You can call me Marine. (I think you hate those that aren't intiminated) Enjoy your free speech that has been given to you; you non-veteran.

shucks

Right, the crybabies talk about their freedoms being taken away , but they're too dumb and spoiled to realize that they have freedom of speech.

If they talked the way they do here , in this comment section, in other countries ... they'd be dead.

LadyC

Unfortunately, the debt has trickled down into many households and businesses already and it seems to be getting worse. Many of us are not poor, but we are broke. Wages aren't covering expenses, prices are rising on everything, and we are required to pay for intangibles such as taxes and insurance, which are also increasing. I am not whining, I am continuously thinking about it, because it is in our faces, right now. Blaming political parties and groups isn't working either. Slipping from middle income to low income isn't a fun ride, and a lot of us are on it. We can't give up, we have to separate needs from wants, and keep pushing forward. This country is full of resources and ideas. Now if we could just put them together and get ourselves out of this mess.

Contango

Re: "Wages aren't covering expenses, prices are rising on everything, and we are required to pay for intangibles such as taxes and insurance, which are also increasing."

Look no further for your answer than the weakening of the US Dollar under the workings of the Federal Reserve.

Using the rate of inflation, a $1.00 in 1983, (as an example) is now worth .43¢.

The buying power of a US Dollar has been reduced by 57% in 30 yrs!

http://www.davemanuel.com/inflat...

Kinda like monetary junk food.

AJ Oliver

Very sorry about your plight, Ms LadyC. Go see Robert Reich's new film which details how we are getting ripped off by the ONE PERCENT. Personally, I have been very fortunate - but I fear for the country when I look around and see what is happening. The working and middle classes are under sustained and deliberate attack.

Contango

Re: "Robert Reich's new film,"

As the fascist Dr. Reich is a member of the Political Ruling Class (nomenklatura), as well as a highly compensated public employee and media consultant plus an overall recipient of the largess of the 1%, his hypocritical propaganda should be as usual most nauseating.

The most recent piece I found interesting was Oliver Stone's:

http://www.sho.com/sho/oliver-st...

Dr. Information

Its a Michael Moore film. Moore's motive was to get rich and he did by playing on emotions.

Contango

Enjoy how Reich's film "Inequality for All" has a globe as a backdrop for the logo.

Since the U.S. is in the richest 5% in the world, perhaps some of the liberals would like to share with the other poverty stricken 95%?

If one earns $40K annually in the U.S., they are in the richest 1% IN THE WORLD.

It's ALL relative.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2215...

bucknut36

@ kURTJe Great Post! "My Rifle" says it all. People like Contango won't be able to comprehend it. He thinks his " free speech" is an entitlement! Thank you for your service.

Contango

Re: "free speech" is an entitlement!"

See the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution.

Freedom of speech is a NATURAL RIGHT. It does not stem from govt.

And 'especially' NOT from the roughly fifty years of the military industrial complex's global adventurism.

IMO, close every foreign military base, reduce the military to about 250K and protect our own shores.

Think of all the additional food stamps the "saved" money could buy??? :)

Dr. Information

You have a good point about reducing the military size. Especially that of which we have out of our nation.

Contango

“I do love my 40cal. Glock. “ (kURTje, June 25, 2011)

“My Glock is my sweet.” (kURT, Dec. 10, 2010)

And then add to the above, the "The Rifleman's Creed"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rif...

Yea, go ahead, put your "real name" on your posts with this "level of mentality" out there. :)

arnmcrmn

We all are where we are 99% of the time by the choices we make. Not all millionaire's were handed their fortunes. Matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet there are just as many do nothing rich kids that were spoiled and didn't turn out how mommy and daddy thought vs kids that broke the poverty cycle, became educated and made something of themselves.

Im tired of the complaining in this nation. Do you have a flat screen TV? iPhone? Computer? Car?.......All of these were accomplished, and bettered throughout the years because of capitalism. What incentive would someone have to invent something or better something if they don't reap the benefits from it? There wouldn't be anyone putting in the long hours, the failed projects, the failed theories and trials and money, the frustration, tears, long hours and night, neglected family members and friends. There wouldn't be any incentive to do such. Nobody is that dumb. And its not greed but its the drive to better yourself, buy that bigger house, nicer car and take vacations when you want. That is not greed at all that is called the American Dream, the American Drive.

We all have nobody to blame for where we are in lives but ourselves. Its time for this "hold your hand through life attitude" to stop. If you don't like it, only YOU can change it and that is the way it should be.

Washington (both parties) have screwed this nation up big time. Welfare was a temporary thing that has now become a lifestyle for a large chunk of recipients. Unemployment was to help those who were actively looking for another job and now its a way to live for a nice chunk of the pie. Our government keeps handing out things which does one thing. It takes away ownership, and personal responsibility for ones action for a large portion of Americans. Im not talking about granny or gramps who is 80 and has worked his whole life and now needs help. Im not talking about Mr. Smith who is mentally handicap or Mrs. Joe who was in a car accident and now cannot do the job she once use to do......Im talking about the millions of able bodied Americans that CAN WORK but refuse to. They'd rather sit at home playing Grand Theft Auto 5, while smoking on a blunt. As long as the checks come in, they don't care. They just keep having kids and creating more and more who think their lifestyle is normal when it is not.

Until the government starts putting limits on things and making people responsible for their actions, we will have these same arguments 10 years from now.

Its sad that service men and women have to default on their house while serving overseas, yet millions of Americans sit on their butt collecting checks and not working to be a contributor to this great country.

You are either a contributor to this country or a taker, bottom line. Im glad Im a contributor.

Dr. Information

Quite easily one of the best posts I have read in a long time young man. Can I call you young man because I assume you are bit younger than I?

8ballinthesidepocket

Amen and Amen!

KURTje

Look old man; just because you aren't a Christian, or "I ain't a Christian." You & your ilk are what is wrong with American. You act like you are owed. You aren't. Glad you are paying attention.

Dr. Information

I fail to read where anyone thinks they are owed. What I see on these forums on a daily basis is the left hating the right because the right wants more personal responsibility given back to the individual and not in the form of more government; and the right hating the left because they want more government, more handouts and more insight from big brother.

I think there is a fine line in the middle that we need to get back to. Our nation has went way past that line in the form of more government, less personal responsibility. I think what many fail to realize is the right side does not want to throw out all help to those that need it. Personally, I'd rather someone receive food stamps, and aid to help them along as long as they are trying and working. Who cares if its a low end job and they need additional help, thats what the help is there for. America is lazy, kids are lazy and the welfare system is broke. If anyone cannot realize that, then they really need to look at the numbers.

Contango

Re: "Personally, I'd rather someone receive food stamps, and aid to help them along as long as they are trying and working."

IMO, the process has been institutionalized into a bureaucratic industrial complex with too many players who have a financial interest in it's continuation and expansion.

It needs to be returned to the community level on a charitable or not-for-profit basis where improved oversight and validation can help relieve the system of it's massive waste, fraud and abuse.

Regardless, it ain't gonna happen until perhaps one day the SNAP cards come back NSF.

Dr. Information

I can agree with your points. It seems as though anything the government touches turns bad. Keeping it more local would cut back on the fraud and waste.

8ballinthesidepocket

Food stamps should be for food only, and only that food sufficient to sustain life. No Ho Ho's, no Twinkies, no McDonalds or other such nonsense. And if you are caught selling them for cash or other things, automatic suspension from the program and mandatory 5 years in jail. This is not supposed to be a way of life, it is supposed to help out on a temporary basis, those in need. Nobody that weighs over 250 pounds needs food stamps!!

LadyC

In most of my posts, I probably appear to lean to the left more than the right, politically speaking. However, I think this system has been abused and life-long welfare recipients have repopulated way too much. This would never fly, and I'm sure there will be backlash, but how about after 2 kids from a deadbeat dad that hasn't paid support in x number of months/years, SNIP! the guy. And after two unsupported, 100% government-paid kids to a momma, tie up those tubes! Food stamps should help people, not sustain entire families for generations.

Dr. Information

Lady C, while I agree that there has to be some reprimand for reproducing without a care on the taxpayers back, if anyone brought this idea up, the ACLU and every liberal would scream about a breech in civil liberties.

donutshopguy

LadyC,

You don't need to snip or tie anything. Every woman is entitled to one "oops". The second "oops" your public entitlement gets cut 25%. Next "oops" 50% and so on.

Money talks folks.

queenjhb

lady C and donutshopguy, It is so obvious , great solutions, problem is, it makes sense , so therefore it will never even be considered. Simple solution, great ideas, so sad it wont have even a consideration. This could motivate people to do better, be better parents, and citizens.

LadyC

I don't have anything against large families, but I just can't understand how these single moms can keep on having kids. I was a single parent back in the 80s, and was only off work a month after he was born. Even working, it is hard to afford things, and it is pretty scary financially. Don't these people want a good life, out of poverty, for their kids? And if they are partying so hard, like a lot of them are, don't they realize the little boogers are gonna get in the way of the party eventually? It's crazy.

donutshopguy

LadyC,

First, you have morals , common sense and a work ethic. The people we are talking about have had these traits breed out of them by generational entitlement. We are talking at least three generations of support by the government. Have more kids get more money. Free housing, utilities, food, transportation and cell phones are available with more kids.

Kottage Kat

1081.00 per month
Rent 350.00
Utilities 130.00
Insurance 100.00
Medicare 104.0
Drive a 13 yr. Old car
I do the best I can. No internet, cable, cell phone 45.00
Please DO NOT

Kottage Kat

lump all who genuinely struggle and try to make end meet with those who " play the system".
Thank you