Congress shouldn't cut food stamps

  • Article by: New York Times Editorial
  • Updated: May 14, 2013 - 11:46 AM

"Families who are living in poverty did not spend this nation into debt," says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, "and we should not be trying to balance the budget on their backs."

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basia2186May. 14, 1312:03 PM

What is morally wrong is the refusal of able-bodied people working to support themselves. It is morally wrong to have children if you cannot even support yourself! It is morally wrong for the government to enslave citizens to a life of poverty on the dole. No work requirements for those receiving thousands of taxpayers dollars is obscene. The poverty industry is a bloated, self-serving behemoth that is perpetuating and encouraging poverty and sloth.

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kleindropperMay. 14, 1312:07 PM

With a trillion dollars in welfare spending, yes, people in poverty ARE responsible for our debt. They should be working and contributing to the tax base instead of feeding off of it. How about mandatory military service for those on welfare? They will learn new skills, contribute to society, and would lower the casualty rates for our more highly trained and exceptional troops.

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Don9539May. 14, 1312:23 PM

For the first 175 years our country did not have the Food Stamp Program. Somehow we figured out ways to feed ourselves. And now we cannot cut this "vital" program by even a meager amount. Is there any hope we can solve our debt problem short of a major meltdown?

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herby2013May. 14, 1312:28 PM

Many able-bodied welfare recipients are collecting multiple forms of government benefits. Food stamps, monthly cash payments, subsidized housing, subsidized or free health insurance (Medicaid)...some of these able-bodied people are costing HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars over their lifetimes. My friend's mother was able-bodied, divorced, and she spent the last 25 years of her life on welfare until she died at 71 (obviously collecting Social Security in her final years). She was married, did not work while married, got divorced in her 40s, held a job at McDonald's for a few months until she got fired then spent the remaining 25 years of her life on welfare. Never once was she required to work. Everything was handed to her courtesy of the Democratic Party. Decent apartment, too. How many people like that will vote Republican? None. No able-bodied welfare recipient is going to vote to eliminate their free cash and benefits.

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squeezemeMay. 14, 1312:42 PM

Trillions of dollars have been wasted giving non handicapped people welfare benefits over the past 50 years almost. The poverty rate now is about the same as it was when Democrats started their vote buying "War on Poverty" welfare programs in the 1960s proving without a doubt it is a failure. Have you ever spoken to someone who works at a grocery store? You will hear tales of people buying steaks, cakes, soda pop, chips, snacks and other luxury items using their food stamp cards. In fact, I was behind a couple several years ago and each one purchased a case of soda pop using their food stamp card. They drove a nicer car than I did, too! Many of these welfare recipients living in subsidized housing have central air conditioning and automatic dishwashers, too. Many of them live better than people who actually work for a living!

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buttlesMay. 14, 1312:42 PM

"What is morally wrong is the refusal of able-bodied people working to support themselves. It is morally wrong to have children if you cannot even support yourself! It is morally wrong for the government to enslave citizens to a life of poverty on the dole" == Most the people receiving food stamps are working. What is morally wrong is that we allow companies (like Walmart) to pay lousy wages and to use our sad excuse for a safety net as its employee benefit program. BTW, while there is no lifetime limit on food stamps, section 8 housing or Medicaid, there is a 5 year lifetime limit for how long a family can be on TANF (which replace AFDC when Clinton was president) In Minnesota only 10% of the families who use that program max out their time on it.

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ffedericoMay. 14, 1312:50 PM

"But the program has very little fraud,...." Four Pinocchio's for that statement. The program is rife with fraud and has doubled in size since the current president took office, and we now know that he is the king of fraud.

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beaglemomMay. 14, 1312:52 PM

Use the same standard as the WIC program for foods that are available. If what is available is life sustaining but not a steak and lobster option I think tax payers would find the program more palatable and those on the program might be more motivated to utilize it as a temporary assistance as opposed to a permanent solution. When government programs are established in such a way that food, shelter and cell phones are easier to get free than via working we end up with people who factor in childcare costs and decide it is more affordable for them to rely on their fellow citizens than on their own efforts. This is a land of opportunity but one where people must be willing to help themselves and that those working are not burdened with the costs of their neighbors at the detriment to their own families!

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jarlmnMay. 14, 1312:56 PM

Want to save the government some money on the 'food stamp' program? Crack-down on all the fraud and leave the truly needy alone!

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callmeronMay. 14, 1312:57 PM

"What is morally wrong is that we allow companies (like Walmart) to pay lousy wages..." While it is true that many collecting food stamps are employed, the root of the problem is that these welfare programs are not short term, but long term. Here's a hint: If somebody does not like working for that pay, they can go work somewhere else or work there for a while while getting some training and education to get a better job. I worked at Target while in college and I started at above minimum wage (I worked night shift) and I finished making $8.75 an hour or so (17 years ago). What Target (which pays similar to Wal-Mart) provided me was a flexible schedule so if I needed to take a week or two off to study for finals I could get that time off. Many jobs do not allow that type of flexibility. Could I have gotten a better paying job? Perhaps. But I would not have had that flexibility that Target provided, which was my most important criteria for a job. Nobody in their right mind would consider an entry level job at Wal-Mart or anywhere else a career. It is a stepping stone onto other things and those jobs are perfect for those in high school, college, working after getting laid off from another job and while searching for a better job (I worked with many people like that), or for one of a married couple to work for a while to earn some extra money. Anybody intending to make a career out of an entry level job is severely lacking in ambition and there is nobody to blame for that but themselves. Giving those types of people food stamps does nothing but encourage and reward that lack of ambition. If you want to motivate people to be self sufficient, you cannot give them free stuff.

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