Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, July 5

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In defense of food stamps

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter in Sunday's paper regarding the EBT/food stamps. I would gladly stop using my EBT/food stamps card, if I could, by some miracle, get myself gainfully employed.

Using food stamps is not all peaches and cream.

I do not wear the best of clothes. I have not bought a new t-shirt since 2002. What clothes I do have are wearing thin except one outfit I keep, in case, I luck out and even get a job interview.

I do not own one cell phone, let alone two, and what jewelry I do have is generic. I lost my job in January of 2001. I lived off my unemployment checks and my savings before I would apply for food stamps. By the time I became employed again, my savings was wiped out.

Then, it happened again. In January of 2003, I became unemployed again. By the time I did find work again, the income did not keep up with my living expenses. I gave up my apartment and moved in with my brother in August of 2003.

WHen I first moved here, I followed up on job leads. It will be six years in August, and I'm still unemployed. It is not easy to look for work without a way to seek it.

I would get into job training if it was offered to me, but then again, the lack of a way to get there stands in the way.

After six years, I've lost the faith in myself I need. As I say, it is not peaches and cream using food stamps.

In closing, maybe women need to stand up to the men that thinks our country's problems started when women wanted equal rights and the right to do the same type of work as a man can.

Or this thought: "This is a man's world. It has always been a man's world, and it will always be a man's world, so like it or lump it."

Yes, ladies, they are out there that think that way. Or may this looking after aged, sick or handicapped parents is always the dughter's job and never the son's. Maybe the daughters should rally on that one.

Mamie B. Douglas


Thanks for Dairy Month support

To the Editor:

I would like to thank everyone for making June Dairy Month a great experience. I had a wonderful time promoting the Dairy Industry to the citizens of Bedford County.

I would like to thank my 4-H agents for helping me set up events. I would also like to thank the 4-H Honor Club members for helping me with June Dairy Month.

I also want to thank my parents for helping get me to all the events. I had a great time. Just remember to "Fuel Up With Milk!"

Joseph Davis

June Dairy Month Chairman

Nursing home shouldn't be leased

To the Editor:

The employees were not asked by the county commissioners how they felt or what their opinions were to the lease of the Bedford County Nursing Home. What happened to the people of Bedford County being proud of a nursing home being county owned?

What happened to being proud that Bedford County Nursing Home is the only county-owned facility around? They accept people who other facilities won't even consider, whether it's for insurance reasons or their medical condition. Bedford County residents, board members and commissioners should be proud of their nursing home, embrace the fact that your family members have a place to go when they can't be cared for at home.

Some of these residents have been here for many years. The county gave them a place to call home when other facilities wouldn't consider taking them. Residents here come from all walks of life. What makes them the same is they need county-owned employees to care for them.

The employees are there when they are sick, when they are well, when they are alone. Some have no family to be by their side, through the dying process the employees are there to take care of them. Employees often become their families and for some, the only people they know.

Just think of your loved ones. If something happens to them and they can't be cared for at home, where will they go? To another county close by if you are luck.

Bedford County Nursing Home takes all kinds of patients, from people with trachs to people with Alzheimer's and dementia. If anything happened to your loved one that required long term care, wouldn't it be nice to know that they are welcome at Bedford County Nursing Home and would be cared for no matter what is wrong with them?

The question asked isn't whether or not a company who leases the nursing home couldn't provide the care our residents need, but would they take in and treat the different kinds of people the county does.

Can the person living next to you be assured when and if the time comes for them to have to leave the home they know and go somewhere else be assured it isn't outside the county they live in. How far have you come when you put a value, such as money, on the welfare and lives of our elderly and young peole in this long-term care facility.

As residents of Bedford County, we need to be thinking of our loved ones currently in long-term care. Then we need to be thinking of what we have to look forward to when we get to that age to be put in a long-term care facility.

Where will you end up? For as many years as this facility has been open, it has always been with open arms to people who live here and also to surrounding counties.

To the board members and commissioners who have or have had family here, we applaud you. For those of you who haven't, someday you may. It would be nice to know that if you had to put your loved one in a long-term care facility, it would be a place like Bedford County Nursing Home. All I am asking is that before you decide to lease, look inside your hearts.

Is $10,000 a month worth more than a dedicated, open-armed facility who embraces your family members and gives the quality of care they need? Most people don't realize the changes that will take place to our nursing home if it is leased. I have dealt with private companies, and let me say the residents' rights aren't taken into consideration, such as the right to smoke, get late night snacks that the facility won't provide.

This nursing home provides a standard of care, compassion and loyalty that I feel a private company can't compare. I have a family member currently at Bedford County Nursing Home, and it's sad to think our nursing home may not continue to be a place our elderly and young residents can express their rights and live in a place that they can call home.

Connie Harris


-- EDITOR'S NOTE: This letter was received prior to Tuesday night's County Commission meeting, at which commissioners voted to lease the facility.

-- The Times-Gazette publishes letters to the editor as space allows, and reserves the right to refuse any letter and to edit for content and length. All letters become the property of the Times-Gazette upon submission. Letters must be typed or clearly handwritten, and must include the phone number and address of the writer for verification purposes. Letters must be 500 words or less, and may not include personal attacks against private citizens or businesses. Please submit letters to jcarney@t-g.com, or mail them to: Times-Gazette, Attn: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 380, Shelbyville, TN, 37162.

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  • "What happened to the people of Bedford County being proud of a nursing home being county owned?"

    Maybe the question should be..... Why in the world were were in the nursing home business? If you think that counties do a good job with health care, then let me ask you this. If you get hurt while in Nashville, where would you choose to go. Vanderbilt Medical Center or Metro General Hospital? If you said Metro, then you are lying. Counties should never be in the health care industry. They can't afford it. Bedford County can't afford it and we were one good lawsuit away from being in REAL trouble. It appears the employees are upset. So what? They were upset when the hospital sold and we didn't see a massive turn over.

    -- Posted by sameoldstory on Sun, Jul 5, 2009, at 1:34 PM
  • Can't find a job in six years???? Sorry, but that makes me wonder how hard you are really looking.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 5, 2009, at 2:20 PM
  • I am a woman and I have always been able to find work. I get tired of having to support people who will not work. If the lack of employment is due to a handicapping condition, that is one thing. However, it sounds like this woman enjoys living off the citizens of Bedford County. She says that she does not have a way to get to work....walk, or buy a bike at a yard sale for ten dollars and use it!!!

    -- Posted by shelbyvillemom on Sun, Jul 5, 2009, at 7:44 PM
  • I have to imagine that we were in the nursing home business to provide some services that private ownership would and could not provide. I have no problem with private ownership, but there are instances when public ownership has benefits.

    You see, to turn the nursing home into a successful private business, it has to be put into the position of making a profit. It would be fairly easy to do that. Streamlining purchases and controlling daily expenses could help some, but will not likely make the difference that is needed. It will most likely come in the form of service reductions and increased revenue. Once it is privately run, there is much more discretion about who qualifies for services, and which ones are offered. Some of the services that are a drain on the bottom line will be cut or eliminated, much like the hospital attempted with the OB dept. as soon as it had an opportunity.

    I would like to think that all of our elderly deserve a level of service regardless of someone else's ability to profit from providing that service. These are our parents and our friends and neighbors parents. They are the people who have collectively worked their entire lives building the infrastructure we depend on, the society we live in and fought the wars that preserved this society.

    It saddens me to think that we care so much about gaining and protecting wealth that we can write off the people who have given us so much as being nothing more than another financial instrument for the gaining of profit from the ending of their lives. I further imagine the ones who will suffer the most from the changes made will be the ones who have done more than their fair share of suffering throughout their lives anyway. The ones who have generally worked harder for less than anyone else in our society, achieving very little acclaim and just getting through the days, weeks and years to the best of their ability.

    There is a place for public ownership. That place is to ensure the public good whenever there is no motivation for private ownership to achieve it. The elderly who have been lucky in their lives and are in a position to enter the private market, or who have children who are, will get the benefits of market choice. Those who have not been able to save much due to working lower wage jobs, the effects of inflation on their savings, or just plain bad luck will suffer from the lack of it. Don't get me wrong, in an ideal world, we would each take care of our own, but I won't start with that, and there are some who have no one anyway.

    Let me ask this, as I think it represents a better analogy to the subject: if you were hurt and bleeding to death in Nashville and had to choose between General and nowhere, where would you choose? It may not be the best hospital in town, or the most technologically advanced, but I have no doubt, they fulfill their need to the population who consume their services, a good percentage of whom are employed and/or contributing to their communities.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 12:15 PM
  • A long time County Commissioner once told me that if any private business wanted to run something, then the County needs to get out of that business ASAP. The private industy beats government owned services any day of the week. I give you the sick conditions at the nations VA Hospitals as just one example. If the health and welfare of the BC Nursing Home residents where the only consideration, then I would be for the County running it, but this is not reality. The Health Care Business is too costly for even a large county to run much less a small county like Bedford. The insurance is too high and frankly, the care is substandard. I know this because I have a relative there and I see the level of care. It's minimum at best and could use a lot of improvement. Now if the good citizens wish to have their property taxes raised to pay for better service, then go for it. As it stands now, we loose money every year on the Nursing Home. We are required by law to run public schools, legal systems and highway departments. All other is just extra that must be cut or cut back on in these lean times.

    With a private company running the NH, then the county can stand up and demand certain conditions be met. In the past we didn't bring up problems because we were the ones who had to fix the problems. The only problems that were fixed came after the State of Tennessee told us we had to fix something and then we still had to find a way to pay for it.

    -- Posted by sameoldstory on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 1:17 PM
  • Can't find a job in six years???? Sorry, but that makes me wonder how hard you are really looking.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 5, 2009, at 2:20 PM

    I agree quietmike . . . she could have gotten a job at McDonalds if nothing else. Places like that are always hiring if she was really looking to work.

    -- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 2:29 PM
  • No doubt!

    It's a lot easier to sit on the couch and make excuses(woman, no car) for your failure than to go out and make opportunities for your success.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 4:00 PM
  • Food Stamp Comments, The only thing easier than sitting on the couch making excuses for yourself is sitting on the couch in judgment of someone else's. It seems to me like some of you guys are very qualified to do both simultaneously.

    You must feel pretty comforted in your knowledge that every person who is not living in a similarly productive fashion as yourselves must be inherently lazy, shiftless, good for nothing or in some other way "unworthy". That must be some sort of defense mechanism for you guys to explain away the realities of inequity we see around us every day and to somehow justify to yourselves, not only the condition of the "have nots", but also explain the condition of the "haves" in our society.

    We all want good and productive lives, I would bet even Mrs. Douglas does. The desire is not likely the problem. She told you exactly what the problem was. "I've lost the faith in myself I need" There is not one person that I have ever met who would rather be poor and sitting at home wasting their life doing nothing as opposed to making a decent living and shaping the world around them, preferably doing something they love to be doing anyway.

    It is very easy to have an egocentric view of the world around us, but social reality does not work that way. It is all too human to project our own understandings and experiences to the people we come into contact with, but it is a mistake to accept those realities that rule our own lives as being universal.

    I imagine Mrs. Douglas has lost her faith in herself because she was conditioned to accept her position in life as being out of her control. It may be a given that some of you believe with all your heart that effort is rewarded and that there is a better day coming. That is wonderful, and in many cases an accurate understanding, but it sounds to me as if Mrs. Douglas has learned the hard way that is not always the case. While I do not know her, or her history, I would be willing to bet her past experiences would reflectively demonstrate her current understandings.

    Mrs. Douglas (and many others in the same position) are not living a live they chose. They live every day in a created reality full of self doubts and inadequacy that is not only a mere shadow of what life is supposed to be, but in many ways equates to an imprisoning of the consciousness, of which there is little chance for escape.

    Food stamps, or their use, in and of itself is not bad. It is a method of resource management. The environment that creates the need for them and then further attaches a stigmatism to those in need is the problem. The problem is not that she does not work; the problem is that she does not believe her efforts will change anything or culminate in her success, and depending on her age/education/abilities she may just be right. From reading her letter, I imagine to a large extent, she is. That is the problem.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 6:46 AM
  • same old story, Much of what you wrote I agree with completely. My issue however is with the people who will face the negative impact directly. Some consumers of the care will see improvements and many will not notice much of a difference. The ones who fall between the cracks and are denied service, or a percentage of the services they require to maintain optimal health, dignity and comfort are the ones I am concerned about. In other words, I do not believe the private sector is asking to take over the operations as you implied, but instead asking to take over most of the operations, with some being offered by no one once the public is out of the picture.

    The commissioner was right in his assessment. However, the issue comes when we realize the private sector is not going to run something with no motivation for profit. If it is not profitable, then it must be assumed by the taxpayers or not done. To me, the question is not whether or not the taxpayers want to pay, but how could they not accept that responsibility.

    How many households are in the county anyway? What is $10,000 a month between them? Not much. These people had good faith in a social compact that they would be taken care of, in exchange for their labor throughout their lives. Who are we to deny them what they were promised? Those who are on Medicaid have already gone through anything they accumulated in life. They have nothing. It is a debt owed to them and like it or not, we are responsible, not only at the federal level by providing taxes for the funding, but at the local level to ensure that in extreme cases, care is not abdicated in lieu of profit.

    I have to also question the ability of the county to be able to demand much of the new management, but I admittedly do not know the specifics.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 7:13 AM
  • I imagine Mrs. Douglas has lost her faith in herself because she was conditioned to accept her position in life as being out of her control.

    Mrs. Douglas (and many others in the same position) are not living a live they chose. They live every day in a created reality full of self doubts and inadequacy that is not only a mere shadow of what life is supposed to be, but in many ways equates to an imprisoning of the consciousness, of which there is little chance for escape.

    Food stamps, or their use, in and of itself is not bad. It is a method of resource management. The environment that creates the need for them and then further attaches a stigmatism to those in need is the problem. The problem is not that she does not work; the problem is that she does not believe her efforts will change anything or culminate in her success, and depending on her age/education/abilities she may just be right. From reading her letter, I imagine to a large extent, she is. That is the problem.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 6:46 AM

    It is a choice to accept the "conditioning", self-doubt, and inadequacies you speak of. All it takes to break free of them is to decide you are better than that.

    I understand what you are saying about a person's feeling of self-efficacy, but it is their decision alone to develop it.

    Is it not the everyday small victories that bouy the self-esteem?

    The welfare system gives just enough "help" to let a person meet their needs, but not thrive. It also removes much of the fear and pain of being really desperate. Fear and pain that could be the motivation needed to change a person's situation.

    Pain is a signal to the brain that something is wrong and needs our attention to correct a situation.

    By removing the pain you are also removing the lesson.

    Think about how these programs are administered:

    Have another out of wedlock baby that you get no, support for-get extra money.

    Lose your job-Get more money

    Get a job- Lose money

    Get married- Lose money

    The system itself is unconsciously training people to make poor life choices.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 12:53 PM
  • quietmike, I find myself agreeing with most of your comment. There are a couple of things that I may see differently than you though.

    The first is your assertion that the individual in question has the ability to choose the way they view the world and their place in it. That is just not the case. It is not the case for Mrs. Douglas and it is not the case for you or for me. We all are nothing, if not a culmination of our experiences. It is not a matter of you "believing" you have some control over your life, you "know" it. You know it through what you have lived through, seen and experienced. It is not a matter of your choice, it is a truth based on your perception. The same is true for Mrs. Douglas. She has not "chosen" to doubt herself, and she cannot "choose" to change her beliefs and break free of them. Much like our debates here, it takes substantial and sustained proofs to counter what has already been accepted, and even then, it is questionable. What she believes, I imagine she has every reason to believe based on what she "knows".

    The other part I have a hard time with is your continued assumption that a "lesson" will eliminate the problem. What kind of lesson did you have in mind? I would guess a good lesson to counter her beliefs would be if she could find a job that provided a wage above the poverty level or one that she could excel at and work her way up, be appreciated and have a sense of accomplishment. That would be just the thing she needs. She is not likely to find it though. In our employment reality, she would likely be faced with wages at, or pegged to, the minimum wage with no opportunity for advancement, few if any benefits, and most likely, either a part time or temporary job. Depending on her age, physical abilities and education level, she may have a hard time even with that. You see, that is the lesson she has already learned all to well. If the lesson you are looking for is that she must work for less than sustenance wages in order to eat, well that is an easier lesson to provide. We just have to see how the slave owners reacted in such a situation to get an idea of what needs to be done now. Maybe enough lashes will make her see the importance of providing her utility to those who would benefit from it. It could be that starvation would motivate her, and if not, that is one less mouth to feed. It makes no difference that we currently produce more food than could ever be eaten every year and much of it rots anyway. For any lesson to be effective, it has to end with a gained understanding. About all that Mrs. Douglas is likely to gain from any "lesson" she may get is a further affirmation of her current understanding.

    The welfare system did not create this problem. If there were no problem beforehand, there would have been no need for the welfare system to be involved to begin with. I agree the welfare system does very little to really address the needs of the people who are dependant on it, but that does not indicate that the blame should fall on the welfare system, it is guilty only of perpetuating the problem. It seems that no one at all is really concerned about the root problems, and the people who are concerned about the root problems in most cases are unfairly stigmatized as bleeding-hearts, pink or red, because the root problems are the lack of middle class jobs, the inequality of wealth distribution, the extreme difficulty in overcoming our caste through hard work and education, the outright assault of our purchasing power from our labor resulting in an ever shrinking middle class while creating abject poverty among our lowest classes and the fact that the prevalence of all this is increasing more and more each decade, in spite of the battles fought and won by those who came before us to ensure that we would not become a society of wage slaves.

    You see, it may not be Mrs. Douglas that needs a lesson. It could be that those of us who believe she does have just not had our applicable lessons - yet.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 5:41 PM
  • Memyselfi

    I understand your argument, and lots of who we are is because of what has happened to us. However to believe that we are unable to overcome it would mean we are but robotic slaves with no free will.

    The lesson I refer to is that as adults we should realize that our choices carry with them consequences. If I was to grab a hot pan on the stove the pain would tell my brain to let go and the lesson would be to be more careful or I would get burned again.

    Likewise a person who does not take opportunities to educate themselves, learn a trade, or even just be a harder worker than most folks out there, will in all probability find themselves with an employment crisis. The lesson is to improve themselves so the chances of it happening again are lessened.

    Eighty percent of millionaires in this country are first generation rich. That means they started average and through hard work and preserverence they made their fortunes, and didn't get an inheritance from a rich relative.

    If one person can do it so can another. It's all about the proper motivation.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 5:37 AM
  • The fact that we are to some extent robotic slaves with no free will is exactly what I am asserting. We have free will only within the confines of our understandings and the perimeters of our experiences. When we make choices, we (for the most part) always choose "correctly" based on what we know and what we believe at the time. We do not make "bad decisions". We make decisions based on limited knowledge and assumptions that may or may not be proven incorrect or misguided at some point in the future. Further, I am also claiming that these realities are in many cases created and that outside influence has the ability to shape our understandings in order to manipulate what free will we do have available.

    I appreciate your analogy, but I think in many situations a better one to keep in mind when dealing with a topic like this, is that of a dog being confined to a cage with an electrified bottom. Once he realizes there is no escape, he accepts his reality and eventually does very little to try to change his situation. To choose to remove the pain in your hand from holding the pan, you would necessarily have to be able to choose to let it go. In many cases, that choice is simply not available.

    Opportunities are not distributed equally and neither is the innate or learned ability to recognize them and to take advantage of them. Again, you project your own beliefs and understandings concerning the benefits of productiveness as a universally accepted reality to explain and quantify the individual's deficiencies. While the concept of "improving oneself" through productiveness may make perfect sense to us, and also be an accurate description of what needs to be done, at least for modest achievements, for someone who doubts either their ability to improve, or society's ability to accept them as improved, it may as well be a foreign language.

    Don't let the numbers confuse you. A millionaire is just an industrious member of the middle class today. I know many of them and I guess you do too. It would not matter if every US citizen were a millionaire. That represents only an accumulation of tokens with no intrinsic value of their own. The only true measure of wealth is the ability to manipulate those tokens to gain advantage from others and to gain access to limited resources with them. Make no mistake, wealth produces wealth just like poverty produces more of the same. The extent of likely social mobility is very limited and in the vast majority of cases, it is limited to very small changes in either direction. The American Dream of hard work and persistence leading to generational changes in social class has become a pipe dream. Even with estate planning, most of these new millionaires will have large percentages of their savings eaten up by healthcare costs, taxes and inflation, if they are lucky enough to live long enough. Those who don't go through it all will have something to pass on, but the true value of that may not be much, if they live long lives after retirement, and the values of those dollars continue to tank, which is almost inevitable at this point.

    There is undoubtedly a monopoly of wealth in this nation. It is propagated through educational opportunities, social and familial networking and cronyism. It touches every aspect of our daily lives including the political to a large extent. It is instrumental in determining what we buy, the wars we fight, what we believe and virtually every action taken whether individually or collectively. While the exact numbers are somewhat cloudy and ever-changing, a good (only very slightly exaggerated and maybe completely accurate by now) rule of thumb that is easy to remember is that 1% of the US population controls about 50% of the wealth and that the bottom 50% of the population controls about 1% of the wealth, with all trends and predictions indicating future disproportional accumulation. If you are taking the position that we all ultimately get what we deserve, what you are claiming is that half of the people in the US deserve almost nothing. Is that what you believe, or what you see around you? What I see around me are many people who work very hard for very little, a few that work very hard for a decent wage, very few that have given up or knowingly play the welfare system because they have no better alternatives who accumulate nothing and then finally a tiny percentage who do very little and earn and maintain fortunes on the backs of the majority. That is not cream rising to the top, it is just crap stubbornly floating there.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 9:18 PM
  • Pray tell what is keeping "the dogs in the cages" in regards to the poor, if it not their own lack of motivation and poor decisions? All it takes for them to "escape the cage" is a change in their behavior.

    How many times does it take to realize that doing the same thing over and over will get you the same result? Expecting a different out come while doing the same thing is the definition of insanity.

    The original poster understands she should work, otherwise she would not have written about "searching" for work. She just lacks the proper motivation, because she is relying on the crutch of our welfare system.

    To assert that we are robotic and can only operate within the confines of our experience ignores the human ability of analytical thought and imagination. If what you say were true there would never have been any new inventions, and we would all still be living in caves and arguing whether a rock or stick were best to dispatch a sabretooth tiger.

    Yes I am arguing that in the majority of cases, financially, people get what they deserve.

    Of course there are some exceptions, such as a legitimate disability or disease, and those people should be helped, but people who are too lazy to get off the couch and work should be left to their own devices.

    Money can be equated to a magnifying funhouse mirror that gives a reflection of how hard a person works and the wisdom of their decisions.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 5:47 AM
  • I am guessing what is keeping the dogs in the cage is the lack of opportunity for their escape. The absence of decent jobs is just one of the more effective chains on the door. In many cases, even if the desire to improve oneself is great and opportunities are everywhere, people are often limited by their situations. Let's knock out some of the easy ones. Regardless of what you may believe, there are segments of our society who are underpaid and discriminated against. Age, gender and racial inequalities are prevalent even today. Even comparably minor physical disabilities regularly prevent the consideration of some types of rigorous or strenuous employment which is prevalent in areas like we reside. Often times, even small menial jobs locally depend a lot on who you know and what you look like. Without some marketable skills, many are just simply left out. It is extremely difficult to further your education if you are so far behind, you do not even have the ability to pass un-credited remedial collage classes, or perhaps even pass the GED test. To take that a step further back, it is extremely difficult to graduate high school when you have trouble passing classes anyway, especially when you have trouble passing because the teachers and the system have given up on you. To take that a step back, it is extremely difficult for the system to invest too much time when there is no effort, no effort because no desire, no desire because no sense of importance, no sense of importance because it was not taught and so on and on.

    I do agree it is about bad choice. These people by and large made the wrong choice of who their parents would be. They should have chosen parents who would send them to the best private schools, or who at least would emphasize the importance of any education through encouragement, assistance and example. They should have chosen parents who were respected community leaders with a sense of civic duty, or who at least kept up with and appreciated the work and dedication of those leaders. They should have chosen parents who felt the responsibility to ground their children with a religious/philosophical outlook that freed the minds of their children, or who at least did not attempt to close those children's minds altogether.

    Am I blaming the parents? You bet, but more importantly, I am blaming their parents as well. Poverty is cyclical and generational, it is virtually a self fulfilling prophesy, and it is entirely avoidable - provided that avoidance is the objective. It is unfortunately also very easy to create.

    I imagine she does know she needs to work. I also imagine she knows she could get a job at McDonalds working 20 hours a week walking there and back with no benefits. She explained that as well when she wrote "keep up with living expenses".

    I am not at all sure I can agree with you in your assumption that societal advancement undermines what I was getting at. First, we have to seriously consider the amount of time that these advancements took place in. It was not like someone woke up one morning and decided they were tired of the cave and then started building their 3 BR ranch with 2 car garage and Wal-Mart just down the road. Our advancement and our inventions have occurred within a framework of understandings, much like the bricks upon one another eventually building that home. There have been no inventions or discoveries that were not predicated by relevant observable and consequential realities. It does not matter if you are looking at Turing, Einstein, Darwin, Newton or any other, the source of inspiration is always the same, and is "on the shoulders of giants".

    At the end of the day, we finally appear to be back where we started. "You must feel pretty comforted in your knowledge that every person who is not living in a similarly productive fashion as yourselves must be inherently lazy, shiftless, good for nothing or in some other way "unworthy". That must be some sort of defense mechanism for you guys to explain away the realities of inequity we see around us every day and to somehow justify to yourselves, not only the condition of the "have nots", but also explain the condition of the "haves" in our society."

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 11:35 PM
  • What type of "living expenses" would one have while living with their brother for the last six years?

    She could have been working a minimum wage job all this time and saving her money since apparently she has no expenses now because she has no job.

    As for bad parents, that can be blamed...Yes poverty is cyclical, that is why we have third and fourth generation welfare recipients, but at some point you have to take responsibility for your own life and stop leaning on your parents, good or bad.

    If someone has truly been "discriminated against" there are multitude of advocacy groups that would represent the person for no charge, especially a female or minority.

    It is not a "defense mechanism" of any kind to say that someone who refuses to work is lazy, I believe is is a dictionary definition in fact. Too many people who have been minorities, females, born poor, or come from disfunctional childhoods have gone on to prosper. What did they all have in common? They refused to listen to people who made excuses for them and told them they couldn't. They made up their mind that they were going to be successful, and they never stopped working.

    In fact it is more likely a defense mechanism to blame all a persons failures on someone else. In fact most defense attorneys use a form of that to defend their clients.It is always easier to avoid responsibility, than to look on the mirror and honestly see the problem.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 3:55 AM
  • I've lived here all my life. I am now approaching the age of retirement and I have NEVER had trouble finding employment here. I've sometimes had to work at jobs I didn't like. I've sometimes had to work for little pay, but I have ALWAYS worked somewhere doing something to put food on the table. It has only been within the last year or so of this economy that jobs in Shelbyville have been scarce. If the lady in question has not had a job in six years, she has either not been looking or she needs to lower her expectations a bit. She does not need to continue her apparently chosen lifestyle of living off of the taxpayers.

    -- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 2:28 AM
  • quietmike, Instead of me rewriting the same thing over and over again to try to make the point that I am trying to make, let me try a different approach.

    Where do you imagine this condition of laziness comes from? Do you consider this condition to be a natural state of humanity in general, or just certain people specifically? Have you ever seen an infant who was too lazy extend the considerable effort to nurse? Have you ever been around a physically capable toddler who refused to crawl, and even with extreme difficulty pick themselves up and walk in order to achieve what they desired? Better yet, have you ever heard of a young child neglecting play because it was just not worth the effort? We are all born with a desire to learn and a will to effect change within our environment. We are all born greedy, selfish and insatiable with the desires of kings and queens. Where does it go? Our disagreements do not lie in the fact that I am defending laziness. I am only attempting to explain it, whereas you seem to believe it is a choice or inherent condition.

    Tattoos & Scars, I am glad you have never had any problems, but that really does not indicate that no one else has. You should be proud of your accomplishments and abilities. At the same time, you should also recognize that what makes you who you are is not universal to all other people. It is easy to judge anything or anyone from your own shoes, but it is something entirely different, and almost impossible, to do the same from their shoes.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 6:58 AM
  • Yes, I believe laziness is a natural human condition. No one really likes to do more work than is necessary. It is the very thing that makes people say "there must be a better way" and invent or find a more efficient way of doing things.

    I understand what you are trying to explain. You believe environment is all important in a person's personality development. It's the age old argument of nature vs. nurture. I agree that nurture is very important in this development, it's just that humans have a free will "trump card" that is more powerful than either nature or nurture.

    Instead of trying to explain why someone is lazy, why not create a situation where laziness is unacceptable and goes unrewarded.

    I find information on how a person got where they are much less useful than information of how they are to get where they need to go.

    If the original poster went to work, worked hard, and spent less than she made, she would have a productive life. The hows and whys would be irrelevant.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 1:45 PM
  • I would guess that the opposite is more accurate. The desire to "find a better way" is not laziness. The objective may be less work ultimately, but more effort is expended in the search. What you describe is not striving for inactivity's sake, it is striving for advancement's sake and it takes effort and determination. People who search for a better way are seldom ever content when they find one, or two, or even many. For the most part, they do not do it for a tangible "end result"; they do it because they are driven. To me, that is just the opposite of what we are thinking about, and exactly the situation we would like to see all people in.

    Nature or nurture, it does not matter if the opportunities are not there. Free will is just not the issue here. Let me ask you this seriously: Do you have the ability to make a free will choice to quit working and depend on food stamps to survive? You may reply that yes you do, but do you really? I do not think that you do, any more than I believe many who are in that situation have the ability to discount everything they have learned to believe the way you do. You may find yourself in that position one day, but it will likely be a result of forces out of your control. That is how most people get there.

    I just do not know how to get this across: no one ever chooses to be poor and dependant on food stamps for their livelihood. I do not care how many kindergartners you ask, you just do not find this response ever given in a serious way, even from those who you know are living in those conditions already. You will find that every one of those children desires a comfortable and respectful living. Something happens in the meantime though. It is called real life and tough choices. It is called survival of the fittest and the deck is stacked against some. It is called the process of socialization and created realities that obliterate the will and cripple the conscience of some among us.

    How could we even begin to find information about how to rectify a problem if we don't even look at what has caused it? We cannot even think about preventing it if we do not seriously examine the root problems, much less the ability to address the current conditions. I can write with some certainty that condemnation and criticisms will not do much to help the situation though.

    If Mrs. Douglas went to work, worked hard and spent slightly less than she made, while we do not know for sure, but based on averages, she would likely have exactly what she has now. She may at best be ahead one case of carpel tunnel that she has to live with for the rest of her life with her employer denying responsibility. The hows and whys are very relevant.

    I do not know where you fall in the socio-economic scale here in town, but I cannot imagine that you have experienced what I and many others have. The job opportunities for many who are lacking in education and job training are at best sorry. I have personally been in a position where I needed any job and could not find one at all. I have always been in a position that the most I could ever hope for was a job paying slightly more than minimum wage and hopefully full time and on a permanent basis.

    If you believe that there are many gracious employers out here who even care about, much less have a desire to work with and promote their lowest level employees, then that tells me that we move in entirely different circles. I do know some people who believe that though. They are for the most part, the employers who have finally succumb to their own B.S. and attempt to disguise their only objective from even themselves, which is to make a profit from the labor of their employees, and make no mistake, the more the better.

    I am not against employers. I am not against profit. I am actually very supportive of both. What I am against is the use of many different tools to completely eliminate the value of labor in the name of more and more profit. If you want productive members of society, they need to be able to earn a wage to provide them a living. It is as simple as that. When you imagine a single parent working at Wal-Mart or McDonalds, does that make you happier than to see them on food stamps? Neither is a good answer. There are many that work very hard at similar jobs and still validly rely on welfare, that is even worse.

    Food stamps are not a reward for bad behavior except in the sense that they reward the Wal-Marts and the McDonalds for paying crappy wages with no benefits, which in turn drives down the cost of labor for everyone. They also reward the agricultural giants for super inflated prices when most food should be low to no cost anyway when we consider the subsidies they are given from the public coffers anyway.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 12:39 AM
  • You say that there were NO opportunities for her in the past six years and that NO ONE chooses a life of dependence on government services.

    If you truly believe that, you are probably the most naive person I have ever encountered.

    Yes real life and CHOICES happen to everyone. If you make your choice to spit out illegitimate children, drop out of school, get in legal trouble, addicted to drugs,etc., then yes, your future will probably be tough. But YOU made your choice.

    Yes, good jobs are hard to find if you don't have an education or job training. Then educate yourself or learn a trade. There is no job fairy that waves a wand and suddenly you have a six figure salary with no qualifications.

    People have to understand that through an employers eyes, employees are an expensive but necessary evil. NO ONE has a "right" to a job. At every turn jobs will be cut if they are not absolutely necessary. The trick is to do your best to make yourself valuable to your company. Make it where it would cost the company more to lose you than keep you.

    If jobs are so hard to find, why oh why, do we have 30 million illegal Mexicans here in the U.S. "doing jobs Americans won't do"?

    BTW-30 million is 10% of the U.S. population, and unemployment hasn't been at 10% for six years.

    If every able bodied, sound minded person on government assistance who said they couldn't find "any" job were taken outside, horse whipped, and told if they didn't have a job within 3 months it would be done again, I would bet most would find a job.

    Instead too many people think "I'm too good to do "that" type of work for "that" kind of pay". Instead they would rather be a parasite than swallow their pride and do a menial job, and too many apologists (ahem) make it easy for them.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 6:38 AM
  • Well, it looks like your lesson of choice is just what I predicted it was several comments ago. I wish you would have admitted it then so I could have explained what I really think about all of this without mixing words. You call me naive, but then you attempt to explain to me about all the pipe dream opportunities available for everyone while any rational concept of reality fully contradicts that assertion. I am not going to continue with the choice and free will debate back and forth, but I will get to the heart of this though.

    What I really think is that it is people exactly like yourself who both help to create and to propagate the plight of others who depend on food stamps. People like you who have been propagandized to believe that they are patriots with apparently mandatory thoroughly skewed world-views and a smug sense of superiority when in all actuality, you are the hall monitors and flunkies of a system that is crushing you as well as the ones you decry. You have been given the assignment of blaming the most victimized among us for usurping the wealth of the nation and of the middle classes, and you are foolish enough to not only accept that assignment, but to believe in it as well.

    You want to throw around figures? You really should try understanding them first. The majority of those 30 million are children and the elderly creating a disproportionate ratio when compared to the rest of society. What in the world does the unemployment condition have to do with them? Furthermore, most recipients of food stamps are working households. What do you imagine 30 million illegals have to do with them either, except to drive down their wages even further below the poverty level?

    Here are some figures for you. The annual total of all food stamp distributions in the US is approx $30 billion. Of that 30 billion, approx half is best understood as profit to someone down the line. The total cost of administering is approx 3B, even with the advancements in technology lowering the costs by half recently. A good percentage of that administrative cost goes directly to corporate giants like JP Morgan. So right off the bat, we have an investment of 33B with 15B directly benefiting the poor and 18B benefiting either the already wealthy or higher class employees of the government and the corporations. We already see the true beneficiaries of the food stamp program clearly. Not to mention the annual 16B just in the first tier farm subsidies that do not even begin to include or to itemize the bulk of USDA's reach and influence, which is pretty impressive and is much more interested in expanding global markets to benefit big business than in feeding the people who live in those markets. That also does not include the fact that the vast majority of all food stamp distributions equate to nothing more than another subsidy to anyone who does not pay a livable wage to their employees. Without their use, fewer and fewer workers would entertain the idea of working for such low wages and the price of labor would increase with the true costs of employees actually being paid directly by the employers as opposed to being paid by the public.

    At the end of the day, what you are complaining about is some poor lady getting $150.00 a month for food when in reality, the bulk of your tax dollars are not spent to feed her. They are spent to "feed" those who you claim an allegiance to. Those who work very hard draining the average citizen and the public coffers and who by your standards deserve everything they get for their hard work and insightfulness. The amount of welfare given to these people annually would make even the most jaded proponent of a welfare state blush. 30B a year to feed hungry people and you want to cry over it? Lets be serious in our assessment of the situation here, the USDA "loses" 30B a year with absolutely no benefit and that is okay, but the same figure given to the poor is the root of every problem we have as a society? Come on, you can do better than that.

    I do hope you can forgive the poor for believing that they have some say in what they will do and for what wage. You see, they may not have learned yet that they are just slaves with no ability to organize or to expect livable wages. At one time, the true patriots of this nation believed that the demos deserved a say and deserved to be treated equitably. Now, with the global agenda in full force and bearing down directly on the lowest level workers of this nation, it is those very same sentiments that carry connotations of the "daring depravity of our times". I wonder where these people ever got the idea that they should be free from competing directly with illegally sanctioned immigrants or with oppressive and third world nations for their livelihood. Without the pressures from artificial outside influence, the lower classes of people would have more of a say, and a better quality of life. We could not expect that to ever become a reality again though because it would bring profits back in line with reasonable expectations.

    I wish you would get off your conservative high horse parroting hate and divisiveness and think for yourself. I know you are a smart guy, use it. What is shameful is not the use of food stamps, it is the need for their widespread use and the completely irrational belief that those who do are somehow "getting over" on the rest of us. Any idiot should be able to see it is not the users of the food stamps who are accumulating our collective wealth, nor should they be blamed for the condition of our economy. That would be like blaming the condition of the plantation on the slaves, or perhaps blaming the slaves for eating a small portion of the crop to sustain their lives. If you want to assign blame for the condition of the plantation, look no further than the plantation owners.

    Ever wonder why it is so easy for you to rationalize your beliefs and find justification for them? It could be that if you are busy looking to assign the blame in the wrong direction, you may not ever focus in on the right direction. Don't fall for that. Use your own insightful intuition and determine for yourself who the parasites really are and who their apologists may be. The parasites are not the ones who depend on public funds to eat, they are the ones who depend on both public funds, and the cannibalization of well distributed private wealth, creating poverty and misery along the way in order to increase an already disproportionate percentage of wealth and political domination. The parasites are never satiated. They will instinctively turn to the next in line when they can gain no more advantage from the least of us here and abroad. It appears as if you will be next. I just hope when it starts happening to you, that you will accept full responsibility for your choices and the results of those choices. Oh, I almost forgot, it is too late for that, and you are already blaming other people for your situation, just not necessarily the right people. Get past the misdirection, false logic and framing that you are bombarded with every single day and you may see that I am not quite as crazy as you may believe me to be, or not, either way is okay by me.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 4:48 PM
  • I have proposed doing away with food stamps, because I don't believe they fix the problem of the "poor" and in fact exacerbate it.

    You disagree, but now you give figures about how much money JP Morgan makes from the program. Talk out of both sides of your mouth much?

    The unemployment numbers and illegal immigrants go together to show your assertion that there are only pipe dreams of employment opportunities is a bunch of bull. What jobs are the illegals doing? There are jobs enough available that word makes it to Tijuana, someone decides to leave Mexico, makes it here, and get the job, all while your folks on assistance are unable to find work for years. If there were no jobs, the Mexicans would stay home.

    I wish you would discard your Kumbaya, flower power fantasies of how "the man" is keeping everyone down. It is a self-defeating, self-fulfilling outlook. If money were a finite resource, then maybe we could say that the rich were taking the slice of the pie that belongs to the poor. But there is too much pie for that to be a reality.

    The truth here I believe, is that you defend those on assistance for selfish reasons of your own. If it is OK for them to live off the work of others, then by extension it was OK for you to do the same.

    The purpose of your argument is an attempt to assuage you own guilt.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 6:50 PM
  • memyselfi,

    After following this posting session, I finally had to comment. I am a single parent of 3 children, by choice. I do not have a college education. But through perseverance and hard work, I managed to get a very good job. Yes, I get child support but because my ex husband apparently doesn't want to better himself, it is very minimal. I wish you would read over your last post. You answered yourself! If I could not afford to feed my children, I would not hesitate to do whatever was necessary to get the money to buy food within legal standards. What good would I be to my children in prison? Cleaning toilets, frying hamburgers, cleaning horse stalls....whatever was within my physical and mental capacity. If the able bodied people on welfare could manage to raise the quality of their lives by getting a job, guess what? We quit giving the rich more money!!! Society has enabled these unfortunates to remain unfortunate. I do not disagree with you in regards to the elderly and children. But as far as the children go, they are only on government assistance because their parents have placed them there and yes, it is a learned behavior. They see their parents not trying harder to better themselves so they think when they get older that is an accepted way to live. The government has to quit enabling people to live this way. It is a vicious circle. The best way would be to treat it like a job. That would be a quick way to weed out those who definitely do not need these services. I have to take random drug tests where I work in order to keep my job. Why shouldn't they have to take a drug test to keep their benefits? Keep the services limited to a certain time period and in this time period, you have to show proof that you are searching for employment or attending college/tech school. Make these services harder to receive for those who apparently abuse them and available for the people who truly need them. How hard is that to see? America has basically become a country of lazy whiners. I am tired of hearing 'It's not fair!' You have control of your life and only you can make the changes necessary to improve the quality of that life. Just my opinion.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 7:51 PM
  • quietmike #1, You advocate doing away with food stamps with no alternative. We are in complete agreement that there should be no food stamp program, where our differences lie is that I do not believe there should be a need for them in the first instance. You apparently think that the availability of them causes the problem whereas I believe that the availability of them does not cause the problem, their availability addresses one of the effects of the real problem, namely hunger and starvation. We are not talking about stock options, Senate seats and yachts here, we are talking about food.

    To assert that Mexican nationals do in fact come here for work entirely discounts what options they have available there, and the benefits of currency exchange used in the process. If your point is that we are, as a whole, better off than Mexico, I would have to agree with you. If your point is that we should strive to have an economy like theirs by keeping their lower classes desperate and destitute, I would disagree wholeheartedly. They have just recently developed any protections for workers to speak of, or safety nets for the poor. Their lower classes have existed entirely at the leisure of the wealthy there (and here for that matter) for years. The hard workers who risk life and limb to get here for sustenance wages do so because they have no choice. They are driven to achieve more. However, your analogy leaves out a lot. What about those who come here on the backs of those hard and driven workers? The mothers, fathers, wives and children of those workers are not so productive in all likelihood. For your argument to have any merit, all Mexican immigrants would be working these jobs and that is just not the case. You see, it is not the driven and able bodied workers who depend on these programs, except in cases where the wages for all their hard work is not enough to live. Those people would be fine and lead productive lives whether or not they were born here, emigrated from Mexico or stayed in Mexico. I personally know many Mexican nationals who have accumulated a lot from absolutely nothing, that does not indicate that every one of them have that ability, will or luck. It also does not indicate that those who do not, should have to work all day every day just to eat and to provide food for their dependants while neglecting other necessities such as shelter, basic health care, electricity and heat, or that those who are not able for any variety of reasons should starve either.

    Your perceptions of me being some old stringy haired hippy are wholly inaccurate, but humorous none the less. It made me laugh. "The Man" is without a doubt keeping some of us down. You see, as you have pointed out many times in the past when it suited your argument, money is indeed finite. Not necessarily in quantity, but in quality. There is no way to create a completely equitable economy and there will always be a ruling class and a class of the ruled. I accept that as being a necessary evil of a collective existence. My issue is only with the degree of equity.

    Seriously, all of the social programs that you detest, all the advancements in worker rights and improved working conditions that we see all around us did not just fall out of the sky one day delivered to us under our pillows by the pinko commie fairy. They were concessions made for, and the victories of, those who came before us who wanted a better life for the majority. If they were not desperately needed and fought for, we would not have them. I would be willing to bet that you would not be in your position now today if it were not for these laws and programs. They have been the catalyst for the creation of the expanded middle class in this nation. Now, after a generation or two, people who do not find themselves directly affected or in need of them are convinced that these programs are not justified and constitute an unfair burden on the elites whom they align themselves with. I can only imagine that they are under the illusion that they themselves had the ability to break free from the ranks of the impoverished and overcome the natural state of the peasant based solely on their work ethic and good decisions. History and world affairs even today contradict that illusion.

    The only reason your hard work and good decisions have helped you at all is because they occurred within a framework of protections and rights. I would go so far as to say that there have been many peasants of many societies who have displayed a good work ethic and made excellent decisions, but never once escaped their caste, or even dreamed it was possible. The food stamp program is a protection for the poorest among us and it is not only morally justifiable in our economy, it is needed, both for immediate relief of hunger, and as a fixture of our society to prevent a complete economic monopoly and subsequent reversion to indentured servitude.

    You are somewhat correct in your assessment of my guilt. I have experienced first hand how it is when some who choose to live off of the work of others plays out in real life, but I never ever thought it was okay for me to do the same though. You see, I always related more to those who were being taken advantage of. The ones whose labor actually paid the country club dues, green fees and marina fees, the brand new cars, the plush RVs and the fat retirement accounts. The ones who never enjoyed any of these things and in many instances purchased their groceries with food stamps.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 1:21 PM
  • quietmike #2, I am glad you decided to comment. I am also glad that you have achieved what you have and I am not criticizing you for that. You should be proud of yourself. Yes, I bet you would do whatever was necessary to feed yourself and your children. That is sort of my point. Without some protections in place, some among us would be doing a whole lot for very very little and those who were not able, for whatever reason, would find themselves left out completely.

    The rich are going to get their share, whether it is through the food stamp program or another means. We will never quit "giving the rich more money". That is the sole purpose of money. The rich do not even want our money; they want what our money represents. Eliminating the food stamp program will not change that. I am just pointing out that the costs are wholly insignificant when looked at fairly in comparison with everything else and that it is not only the poor who benefit from the program.

    I have no problem with some of your suggestions. I would not even object if there were mandatory education or even charitable work expected in return for benefits, provided quality childcare was not an issue.

    My question to you is: What would happen if your place of employment closed tomorrow? I am going to assume that you are well groomed, communicate effectively, have mastered the skills necessary to perform your job and are more than competent in many areas within your field. The worst case scenario for you may be that you take a cut in pay and start over somewhere else. What if though, all of those qualifications were taken away from you and more importantly, the ability to regain those qualifications were impeded? What if the most you could hope for was a job working 30 hours a week spread out so that you work 6 days a week for $6.00 an hour with no benefits? Could you feed your family on that and your child support while also paying the bills necessary for you all to live? Could you snap your fingers and have the IQ needed to complete that college/trade school you advocated going part time for years and years while still working? Could you will yourself the ability to gain the skills needed to thrive and advance in any given employment?

    I am sorry I do not have more time to reply to your comment, but I have been typing for an hour now. I am glad you decided to join and I hope you continue to assist quietmike #1. He needs all the help he can get.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 2:16 PM
  • How did those Mexicans you know, who were able to make something out of themselves, escape from under the oppressive thumb of "the man"?

    If the "thumb" were as heavy and pervasive as you suggest, surely these folks have some secret knowledge that allowed them to break free. I bet "the man" is searching for these escapees as we speak. Be careful if you are close to them, I would hate for you to be a victim of collateral damage from "the man" when he exacts his revenge on those ungrateful souls who dared believe they were responsible for their own destiny.

    As you say they have no choice and they understand they must work or starve. The fact that they have non-working relatives here only underscores my point that hard work and perseverance is the answer. If only one worker in a Mexican household can provide for his family, then an American can too. Mexicans are not spoiled prima donnas who are afraid of work, sadly, many Americans are.

    The replacement plan for foodstamps, and all other assistance, would be for it to be a purely voluntary plan. If a person is truly in need, and not a bum, they should be helped, as long as they are willing to help themselves. Sadly I have encountered many who wouldn't work as a taste tester in a pie factory.

    I think charity should start with the family, neighbors, local churches, community organizations, and, maybe, the local or state government. That way there could be more oversight and folks who were freeloading could be told to take a hike.

    the problem with ANY government program is that the first requirement is to grow the government, not achieve their stated goals.

    Why, when a suggestion is made that folks on assistance meet some requirement such as drug/alcohol free, mandatory birth control, or education, do liberals scream like they've been stabbed?

    It is not just me who believes that the "system" of assistance is designed to keep the poor from advancing, and that hard work and rejection of excuses is the key to success, it is the people who have escaped the plan themselves.

    I recommend you read the book "Uncle Sam's Plantation" by Starr Parker.


    I would be glad to send you a copy if you'd like.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 4:16 PM
  • memyselfi,

    I am not sure why my username was not posted instead of quietmike's?!?!? But anyway, I have considered your question numerous times because, being a single mom, for that matter, anyone should plan ahead. After my divorce, I worked 2 full time jobs and on occasion, when my hours were cut at those jobs, I worked a 3rd job. I was blessed with parents who believe in working hard to take care of their family and that was also instilled in me. Yes, I would love to take a break on occasion because it does wear you down. But I chose to bring those lives into this world and I will make sure they have what they need. That was what I was referring to in regards to Americans being lazy whiners. We have progressed so much in the technology field that we are spoiled sometimes to our own detriment. Some people are looking for handouts at every turn. But I also feel that since I have worked almost solid for over 20 years(time off for births), have I not paid enough taxes in that if I absolutely had no other choice I could feel justified in using government services until I could find another job to sustain my family? But the hunt for a job would be fierce. I would not live off of these services long if I had things my way. That is what they should be used for, not a lifestyle choice. I have overheard and seen many people abusing this system and it infuriates me because they are spending tax dollars that could very well be used for something else. Especially when they pay for their food with an EBT card then whip a roll of $100's out of their pocket to pay for beer and cigarettes while talking about their weekend on a cell phone. Afterwards, loading said groceries and beer into a brand new SUV. Would that not disgust you? If you can't afford groceries, how do you afford a cell phone, an SUV or the gas to go in it? To those people who are trying, I have no problem. To those who abuse the system, get a job. You say there are no jobs? All depends on how bad you really wanna work. Just another one of my opinions.

    -- Posted by bcpwoman on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 10:18 PM
  • bcpwoman, You were blessed with parents like that, but that ethic you were instilled with represents just another qualification that I would like for you to imagine was never given to you when trying to empathize with those who we are writing about.

    It is very important for everyone to plan ahead, but much easier to do when already in a better position, and nearly impossible when just getting by.

    I have never noticed any of the things you have. I make a conscience effort to not pay attention to the people in line with me at the store. It is none of my business. I am not implying that you are nosy, just that it is not my own concern. The way I look at it is that we all live with ourselves, and however someone pays for groceries is between them and the system. If I did see someone in that situation, I would assume that what they had there represented everything they had period with no savings, equity in their house or car (if they even owned either), retirement, ect. However, if that were not the case, there are much worse problems in the world and I definitely would not let it bother me.

    I agree that there are jobs for many people; all I am trying to get across here is that many people receiving benefits for a variety of reasons may not be able to get those jobs or keep those jobs and in many instances, they really are crappy jobs that are available to begin with. Those that in most cases would never even completely disqualify them from the benefits, especially if there are children involved. In some situations, the check may pay for childcare and the lost food stamps. What is the point?

    I do not intend to get too personal here, but from what you have written, you will be looking at collage very soon, if not already. I just wonder if you have been fortunate enough to prepare for the considerable expenses coming your way. I am guessing you are hoping for 3 graduates with a bachelor's degree at the least. That is very expensive if you just write a check every year. For 4 years it will be somewhere around $40,000 per child and that is going to state schools and living at home. The costs can quickly rise to about $100,000 living at a state school and the sky is the limit when looking at private schools. A large percentage of students attend school with the help of financial aid programs like the Pell Grant and various federal student loans. Even some who could afford to write a check choose to accept the federal loans, as it is a good alternative. The cost of these programs is comparable to the food stamp program. Where is the indignant condemnation directed at these programs? For that matter, can you fathom the staggering amount of cigarettes, beer and pot purchased by these welfare recipients, or the blatant instances of fraud perpetrated by a few? Please do not get me wrong, I not only support these Ed programs, I support the expansion of them. Not only to help every able minded child attend collage, but to help every high school graduate have that ability, and not just those who are easy to teach, which itself is another factor in the welfare debate. I am just trying to point out that it is likely not just the expense of the food stamp program, or the fraud, that is driving your resentment.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 4:21 AM
  • quietmike, Hard work, persistence, a positive attitude and most importantly - a little luck.

    There is no doubt the man is currently looking for them, and the man will find them soon enough. However, it will not end in the fiery explosions from a direct assault with reason for us to be wary of collateral damage. It will end quietly with their accumulation going the way of their bodies, if they are lucky enough to hold it for that long. You see, the man is very patient and is not bound by the same constraints that we mere mortals, who are not a part of something much larger than ourselves, are faced with. The passage of time is nothing more than a rebirth to the man. The man can be born into any image it chooses, provided it always has a fresh supply of eager to please and preferably hungry young minds to develop.

    Yes, I already understand your admiration of the Mexican economy. I would not personally want to be a part of it, especially anywhere within the majority, but I will give them this: they really do know how to extract the most from their workers. One underpaid Mexican cannot support their family without assistance any more than an American can. As you have said before, again when it suited your argument, those illegals are using our resources.

    Some Americans are indeed spoiled prima donnas who are afraid to work, and many of those have never worked a day in their lives. They usually sit in a big soft chair and play golf in the afternoon.

    If charity begins at home, then what about the other letter on this posting about the nursing home? We will not even bother taking care of our own elderly, in large part because we are worried about being inconvenienced or paying a little bit of our own wealth to get it done.

    I agree with you 100% that the first objective of any government agency is it's own propagation. I don't even have anything to add, except if that is the case, have you ever considered the judicial system or the various LEA's in that light? I have - interesting, but off topic.

    I do not know why liberals scream when someone brings up stipulations for benefits. I do not consider myself to be a liberal. I do have a problem with the mandatory birth control though, and also the alcohol stipulation as it is legal for an adult to consume. The stipulations I prefer would provide for active participation in the community, building a sense of worth and accomplishment, while at the same time doing something worthwhile and actually providing a benefit to others who may be in similar or even worse situations.

    That sounds like a good recipe for success. There is just one problem with that, we cannot all be successful (depending on your definition of successful) within the framework we currently live in. I have already agreed that welfare programs do little for the recipients, except to provide the essentials for living, but again, that does not indicate that the condition is originally caused by them.

    I appreciate the offer for a copy of Parker's book, but am pretty sure I already have two copies. It seems like I got one from my father and one from my father in law - both Christmas presents. I have yet to read it. I threw them in the pile of books that I have reserved for "drunk enough to confuse propaganda for satire" so that I might enjoy it a little bit anyway. I do not get to that pile often though. On your recommendation, I will put it in my "need to read pile" since something or someone apparently has you thoroughly convinced.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 4:45 AM
  • Some Americans are indeed spoiled prima donnas who are afraid to work, and many of those have never worked a day in their lives. They usually sit in a big soft chair and play golf in the afternoon.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 4:45 AM

    I didn't know golf was a big sport among those on welfare?!?! I guess you can learn something new every day.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 5:27 AM
  • memyselfi,

    Yes, it probably could be considered being nosy, however, when you live week to week, praying there will be enough money to buy groceries, it is very hard not to notice when they are blatantly waving the card around. Yes, there probably is some resentment due to the fact that I am working my rear end off (figuratively speaking unfortunately!) and sometimes I would love to take it easy for a change!!! The welfare program will always be what it is and nothing will change that. I still wish sometimes that we lived in a world where everything was fair and just, but am completely aware that world will never exist.

    You mentioned college. Yes, I have one fixing to graduate in another year but I am blessed that she works really hard to get good grades and scored a 26 on her ACT. I am praying for scholarships!!!! I want my children to have an opportunity to excel and have a chance at great careers and eventually, families. We will see!!!

    -- Posted by bcpwoman on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 5:51 AM
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