Okay, old lady rant here, from someone who once qualified for WIC, but did what we had to* to refuse it. I’m seeing complaints about a proposal to change the SNAP (food stamp) program from money/cards/vouchers for dollars to a mix of money and commodities.
Most people complain that it would be a big government boondoggle. And I’m sure it would be bloated and subject to all sorts of agendas and unintended consequences. I’m not sold on a change.
However, I’m also seeing comments that SNAP should be “supplemental,” rather than basic. That rather than interfering and deciding to only provide nutritional foods, we should trust recipients to know and meet their own needs. And kids on SNAP should be allowed the “dignity” of having Cheetos and a birthday cake.
I started this post because I have a real problem with measuring a child’s dignity by whether their parents can use some one else’s money to buy Cheetos or other junk food. (And, come on! A birthday cake is flour, sugar, milk, and eggs and time.)
Taxes aren’t charity. And I know I’ve seen abuses at the grocery store and with Medicaid in my practice.
Charity is giving someone a ride to the store or offering to shop when you go. It’s giving whatever without government force and, sometimes, when it hurts in the long run. But tell me, who among us would be happy to see even a freely given gift abused by the recipient?
SNAP, WIC, etc., are helping hands, a bridge over hard times. it’s hard work – nearly a time-consuming job – to meet the requirements to access government assistance, I know. And I know there are gaps. I’m sorry, but they shouldn’t be something that is comfortable.
*(Came within minutes of getting utilities turned off several times, nursed those babies until they could reason, baked my own bread with wheat I bought by the big bag and ground myself, joined a cheese and vegetable coop, bought in quantity and learned to store it in smaller portions, made do with one car and shared rides with neighbors, and taught my kids to eat what they were given – when their cousins lived on French fries, Dairy Queen and cookies. Eventually, I was lucky enough to enroll in the local Junior College and then on to medical school and Larry worked harder and harder. I know we’ve been lucky, but…)