Commentary: Food Stamps for Dope Dealers?
Mario Cuomo once told me my perception of welfare was wrong. The late Governor of New York insisted most welfare recipients weren’t a troop of lazy men “guzzling beer” on a street corner (they sounded like fun guys). Instead he argued most recipients were children and found themselves hungry and in threadbare clothes through no fault of their own. Welfare actually has a very large definition. Economist and Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson identifies welfare as all government transfer payments. By the definition of Mr. Samuelson, Governor Cuomo was right. He did not, however, attempt to solve the scourge of the beer guzzlers on the corner.
What was it Joe Biden said about government waste in the stimulus package long forgotten in the early Obama Era? The Vice President admitted there would be waste. For lefties like Biden, Obama and Cuomo waste is always acceptable. These people argue better waste than starving waifs. I’m reminded of all these men after reading a column this morning in the Washington Post. Columnist Dana Milbank, noted for buffing his liberal allies, is ranting about mean-spirited state legislators attempting to curb food stamp abuse. You can read Milbank here.
We aren’t supposed to call the program food stamps. When I was a teenager during the Carter Era there was a public service announcement where a poor and older black couple were setting plates on a table. The pair talked about the delicious dinner they were going to have. The husband looked at the camera and said, “Food stamps, they’re good for you!” Admittedly I’m piecing together a forty year old memory and intense Internet searches for a video of the historical artifact have failed. My parents sneered at the 30 second spot, which they considered additional government waste of their tax dollars.
Milbank’s chief complaint is people will have their feelings hurt. Give us an issue and today’s liberals will paint a narrative of mean people versus victims. Think about the recent flap about Christian bakers refusing to bake cakes for same-sex weddings. Or anti-bullying campaigns. No one appears to consider what we call bullying may be an ingrained part of the species. Hazing is as old mankind. It’s part of the social sorting process.
Milbank is also annoyed some food stamp recipients could be tested for drugs before getting benefits. “Entitlements” is the Orwellian word used for a very long time. The guy guzzling beer on the corner is “entitled” to having you pay for his 6-pack. The only people who aren’t benefiting are the people still playing by traditional rules. Lefty can’t fathom why you might be miffed. Let’s be clear, drug testing may appear onerous but try some logic here. Let’s say I’m a baker. I’m told I must violate my religious beliefs because my business license binds me to government. Courts call it a contract. Welfare is also a contract. You are supposed to meet certain government requirements to collect, right? Then pee into the cup!
The reason Milbank and his dastardly fellow media devils object is because drug testing may overwhelmingly show a serious drug problem among recipients and if you’re puffing pot you may dealing dope. If you’re dealing dope you have another source of income. Which may explain why you can use your food stamps for filet mignon. Doubt me? A friend was fired from a local deli after losing her temper with customers. The patrons were coming in and ordering expensive submarine sandwiches, as many as six at a time. The five children would all grab individual bags of chips and 44 ounce sodas. Small bags of chips are more expensive than a combined larger bag and according to Mrs. Obama a snack people shouldn’t eat. Why? Because the liberals fear we’ll be paying for their future health troubles. Of course you can’t directly say anything because someone could have hurt feelings. This wasn’t isolated. The staff at the store couldn’t afford these luxuries and these were people working every day.
When you fritter away your EBT account in just such a manner it’s clear you have another source of grocery money. Once more, Lefty wonders why we think he’s clueless.