Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Road to serfdom, indeed

From the Collegian:
Food stamp use not about hunger

What a sublime headline. Sums up government programs perfectly. Thank you, Collegian, for that.

Food stamp use is on the rise in Kansas, but it may be for a different reason than many people think.

The increase in the number of people using food stamps has little to do with an increase in hunger, said Wanda Esping, program administrator for Economic and Employment Services at Social and Rehabilitation Services.

"We've done a lot to reach out to people who are entitled to benefits but aren't receiving them," Esping said.

Dear lord, I sure hope vomit doesn't stain carpet. The government is actively reaching out to enlist people in a program that admittedly don't need it? And we're paying for this?

SRS, the organization that distributes food stamps, has recently put applications for food stamps online. It has also partnered with community organizations to educate the public and to help people apply.

Mindy Lesline, executive director of the Flint Hills Breadbasket, said this improved accessibility is the reason for the increase. "In the past, food stamps were hard to get. There was lots of paperwork, and they weren't as accessible.

They've been proactive in making them easier to get," Lesline said.

God forbid, paperwork. Lets remove all stops so people can suck directly from the government teat. If people actually needed food stamps, I think they would or should be willing to do some paperwork.

"There are some folks who felt uncomfortable with the idea of receiving welfare, so coming in to apply was a deterrent," Esping said. "This allows them to be anonymous."

[...]

"Food stamps are no longer the oddly-colored check that everybody sees you using. There's less of a stigma involved," she said.


Why are they saying that like its a good thing? Somebody? First they reach out to enroll people in a government program that don't need it. And now they remove all stigma for being on it? What mentality does it take to perceive this as a good idea? Am I so boggled that all I can do is formulate rhetorical questions?

They seem to be actively courting moral hazard, that is, encouraging people to engage in behavior opposite the spirit of the food stamp program. They are encouraging government dependence, encouraging a client society where the cowed citizens look first to the government for help. The party that will come off the worst in this situation? The food stamp recipients. Conditioning people to feel an entitlement to handouts, and handouts that are administered quickly and painlessly at that, is a horrible lesson.

"A lot of people are working very hard just to make ends meet, and sometimes they just can't feed their family. We're there when they need us," she said.
What blithe stupidity. Or is that arrogance? Is she taunting me? She's taunting me, isn't she? Taunting me through the newspaper, the most peaceful of all media. How dare she.

They can't feed their family? Is she in denial? First she starts off saying that these people aren't enlisting because of hunger, and now she says she is nobly leading the crusade to lend that firm helping hand, to be "there when they need us"? Her rhetoric doesn't square with reality, and her reality scares me.

Witness the expansion of a government program: the administrator of the first food stamp program back in 1939, Milo Perkins gave this mission statement: "We got a picture of a gorge, with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other. We set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm."

Well now farm surplus abounds on both sides of the hill, and the city folk aren't stretching out their arms, for fear that someone might see them. And the bridge is no more than an apparatus for funnelling the wealth of productive citizens into the hands of people to lazy to fill out some foodstamp paperwork. God bless America.

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