Oh, Snap!

Whose job is it to feed the unemployed?

I saw an article this week that stated 15% of Americans are using food stamps. I don't know how we can reduce the national debt while paying over 6 billion dollars a month to feed people. Not only is $6,000,000,000.00 a month not sustainable, the benefit is negligible.

The average SNAP family is getting $136.00 a month to supplement their low or no income. I don’t know any families who can subsist on $136.00 a month. I don’t see that allotment is helping a family of four a great deal. According to USDA, the average cost to feed of a family of four (on a low cost plan) with two children between 6 and 11 years is $821.10

So, we are increasing the national debt by 6 billion dollars a month to feed an average family six days a month. What do they do for the other 24 or 25 days?

What if we just stopped issuing food stamps? Could we ask family and friends, neighbors and strangers who are still employed to open their minds and their wallets to the idea of feeding one family a month for six days? I would be willing to do that, would you? Would 22 million people be willing to feed a family of four for six days a month?

If the government stopped issuing that stipend of $136.00 a month, how much would it shave the national debt? Well, the total cost of SNAP in 2011 totaled $78,000,000,000.00! That big ticket includes not only the benefits paid, but an additional 6 billion to administer the benefits. What would happen if instead of trying to feed families for 6 days a month, the government used those funds to create jobs by repairing, replacing and building infrastructure?

Instead of letting foreign interests buy our roads, our buildings and our bridges, could we once again do that for ourselves? Could we put America back to work just by teaching people to become self sufficient or reliant only on each other again? Is it possible to revive what was once a proud American spirit? Could you reach out to help someone get back on their feet instead of expecting the government to take care of them? If we could do that, we could save an additional $100,000,000,000.00 a year in unemployment benefits. If you want to see what it’s costing for Americans to remain unemployed read this. Then try to add the medical costs the government is paying for the unemployed who can’t pay for their own. I couldn’t find a breakdown specifically for that figure. I only found the 789 BILLION for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP shown on this page that provided a great overview of where our tax dollars go.

 I will do anything to help anyone as long as I see that person is making an effort to improve their circumstance, so let me make this clear: I am not suggesting unemployed or underemployed people don’t need help. They very definitely do. What I am saying is that a job to provide for yourself and your family is a lot better than 6 days a month of meals assistance from the government.

Assistance is giving a hand up, not a handout. The thing I love most about Habitat is no one gets anything for free. Those potential homeowners build sweat equity by working on their homes. The new homeowners also assist building the next home. It’s like the barn raising from Colonial times.

We require bold action to change the face of our nation, to redeem ourselves instead of begging for mercy from the government. We could once again become a proud people who lead the world and command respect but it would require commitment from you and anyone who is able to help would need to do so. You would need to engage with your friends, your family, your neighbors and the strangers who need you. Can you?

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Robert Morris September 26, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Connie, I believe the answer does lie within communities. Rural and suburban communities can help by providing areas of land for the unemployed people to grow vegetables. Local charities could provide seeds, hoses and sprinklers, equipment for tilling the ground for the gardens as well as freezer bags and canning equipment, and even small freezers to preserve their harvest. In WWII, these were called Victory Gardens and did a world of good to feed everyone, not just the poor. Perhaps now would be a good time for government officials (are you listening County Supervisors?) to find unused land that can be allocated for such use. Authorized users would have to prove they are below the poverty level to claim a plot. A 10' x 20' plot will supply quite a lot of fresh vegetables that can be enjoyed throughout the summer and preserved for use well into the winter. There are many farmers that would be willing to help answer any questions and help train the people that will be using the gardens.


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