One Conservative Estimate

Conservative Views for Concerned Americans

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nanny State or I'm Not Giving Up My Teat!

Years ago we owned a small store when you could only buy staple goods with food stamps. The idea was that if you are broke, flour and milk are better purchases than Twinkies and a Coke. Some in government said, “No, we all have to be equal. Folks with food stamps should be able to buy the same things as everyone else.” There are 2 sides to this argument and both are slippery. During our years of owning the store we saw the abuses of the Food Stamp Program. It was truly sad. It was sad to see folks having tough times and sad to see how easy the system could be gamed. People actually sold their food stamps to unscrupulous store owners for cash, literally pennies on the dollar. They wanted the cash and the storekeeper could deposit them at face value. An old proverb states, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Tragically, many of the people with the stamps had no money management skills which may have added to them being in the program. The longer they were on the program the more immune they became to stretching, even breaking the rules. If you called the state offices for assistance with abuses they would tell you that it was up to the shopkeepers to police the program; they didn't have but 2 agents for the state. Sound familiar. Create a program and then take no responsibility for it nor oversight of it. That said. I don't favor the "dole" though I have been on it myself during hardship. I also don't favor big government or programs that can be easily abused. So then what?

As a kid I stood in "relief lines". They were aid places for people in need. My mom had died and my dad was raising 5 of us with the help of hired housekeepers; when he could find one (Who wants to raise someone else’s five kids?) Anyway, standing in the Relief line was painful for us but even more so for my dad. However a couple of us kids would tag along with him in hopes that someone would toss in an extra pound of butter or something. It is hard to see hungry kids. The attendants of the line almost always tossed in something extra: rightly or wrongly. It was very confusing. We were proud to help and ashamed at the same time; people were supposed to strive to make it on their own. We knew good from bad and right from wrong. Oh well. Right doesn’t seem so important when you are hungry. Seeing that, good, decent, well meaning government employees bestowed extras on us. I guess it was some form of this program that re-emerged as “Food Stamps”. Things are different now.

It seems to me that many if not most Americans have a sense of entitlement now. Who knows why? It just somehow became part of our society like Welfare, Medicaid, ADC, Unemployment, Agricultural Price Support, and to some extent Social Security as well as many others. To be fair most of us have paid for decades into programs with the hope of using the benefits when we retire but “Government Knows Best”. In all their wisdom they have created generations of de facto “wards of the State” whom they will never wean from the teats of the American taxpayer. We all see it and complain about it but I wonder who can or will do anything about it. They won’t say that these programs are broke. There is no money in the program but it is not broke. You can redefine the meaning of any word so that you are not “technically” lying. Remember, “It depends on your definition of what “Is” means.”

When all sides have been heard on this matter it really comes down to the people. What will the people do? What will the people tolerate? What types of entitlements will the people pay for? This all begs to the nature of the modern person. Being one I am amazed by us. We all have a solution but can we pay the price as individuals? America is asking to cut the spending but I wonder what it is that we will willingly give up? Ask the elderly if they will take less of Medicare for the benefit of their grandchildren; then see if you can whip Granny ‘cause the fight is on.


  1. The situation with the poor is always difficult. I grew up with nearly nothing, living with a grandmother who was poor by anyone's definition. We lived rural, so you could raise vegetables very inexpensively and can them. Same with fruit. During meatless times, I hunted, and out-of-season, I poached. It wasn't wanton slaughter of helpless woodland creatures. They provided protein to the table. We didn't ever take state aid.

    Many years later at age 94, my grandmother came to live with me and my family. Two years later, when we couldn't provide the level of care that she needed, we put her in a nursing home. Parasites came out of the woodwork encouraging us to put her on Medicaid so that the government would care for her bills. It turns out that she was the only one in the facility who was NOT on government assistance. I paid for her bills out-of-pocket because to me, that's what children did.

    I was raised in an environment where you did what you could on your own.

    I have no problem with a social safety net for those in dire need. But it has become a security blanket and I think it needs to be a NET, not a blanket.

  2. Ken, you are hinting at something that is coming down the road. All the spending is unsustainable. It looks like we are NOT going to be able to have all of these programs. The question then becomes, what goes?

    That's a great post Ken.


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