Go Fish!

23 Aug

Fox news, is an amazing program channel with an obvious agenda all its own. Their recent special “The Great Food Stamp Binge” was all about how the U.S. Government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, was turning our once great nation into a happy band of greedy and lazy freeloaders living on the public (Fox news watchers) dole.

What they did was profile a 29 year old jobless California man who drove a nice car, surfed all day, hung out with his surfing friends and received $200/month from the SNAP program which he spent, as far as I could tell from the newscast, on a seemingly unlimited supply of lobster and sushi.

What Fox news didn’t tell anyone was that In reality this man bears no resemblance to the overwhelming majority of SNAP recipients, many of whom are elderly, children, or who rely on the program for a short time while looking for work. Instead Fox News portrayed the California Surfer dude as the new face of food stamps in America just as President Reagan had once touted his fictional,  high living, New York “Welfare Queen” as the face or Welfare in America over 30 years ago.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, the fraud and waste rate in SNAP is roughly 1 percent, contrary to Fox News claims that the program is rife with fraud…and if one simply goes to the SNAP website you’ll see this:

Under federal rules, to be eligible for benefits a household’s income and resources must meet three tests:

  • Its gross monthly income — that is, its income before any of the program’s deductions are applied — generally must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line.  For a family of three, the poverty line in federal fiscal year 2013 is $1,591 a month.  Thus, 130 percent of the poverty line for a three-person family is $2,069 a month, or $24,828 a year.  The poverty level is higher for bigger families and lower for smaller families.
  • Its net income, or income after deductions are applied, must be at or below the poverty line.
  • Its assets must fall below certain limits:  households without an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $2,000 or less, and households with an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $3,250 or less.

That’s not much to have and if you further read the amount of assistance that one is given if one meets the guidelines you’ll find that that’s not all that much either. $200 is not going to buy you a lot of lobster and sushi and even if you try to turn those food stamps  into cash well… anyone with a serious drinking, smoking, drugging or eating habit knows that $200 probably wouldn’t get you through your first addictive week.

In fact, 41 percent of food stamp recipients live “in a household with earnings,” and use SNAP benefits to supplement their primary source of income. 76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits.  And the USDA reports that most food stamp recipients stay in the program for only a short period of time and that single parent families and elderly individuals tended to stay in the program longer than did working poor individuals, childless adults without disabilities, and noncitizens. Seventy-four percent of new participants leave the program within two years.

So Fox news’ attempt to demonize food stamp recipients was just plain wrong and mean and incorrect and unlike their lazy, flippant, surfer dude  the majority of those who receive SNAP benefits are on the program not because they are lazy but because they are hungry.

And sadly they are mostly hungry children and senior citizens…not surfer dudes…who live in a nation of  great wealth and surplus…perhaps the greatest wealth and surplus that the world as ever seen…

So why demonize these unfortunate individuals? What is to be gained except more wealth and surplus for the wealthy and surplus worthy?

It has been said that, “Give a hungry man a fish and he will eat for one day. Teach that man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. In the world of Fox News and their ilk, Give a hungry person a fish and he will just quit his job, lay on the beach and make communist sushi on the public dole…better to just tell that hungry person to…

“Go fish!”

8 Responses to “Go Fish!”

  1. RAB August 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Well said.

  2. serendipityherbals August 23, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    Perfect! Many people who do consultations with me, looking for nutritional herbal information, are on food stamp benefits. Most of them are people who are chronically disabled or in a situation of bad health. Some are simply run down from working insane amounts of hours at jobs that do not provide enough income for food. OF course, solid nutrition is warranted for someone who is sick. I sit down with people and their food budgets to tailor their budget and diet to get healthy and live. Fresh food is necessary. Food stamp benefits keep declining in my state of WA, and those that I see on them are working damn long hours, and losing their health in the mix because of being poor.

    What bothers me the most, is propaganda that pit working class people against working class people. I believe it is intentional. Most SNAP benefits are going to those who are elderly, disabled, and single, working Mom’s making minimum wage (like at Walmart) who can’t afford to feed their children, despite working endless hours, not to mention childcare.

    I’m all for self responsibility, it is my mantra, but self responsibility in a system that is compassionate. I know single mom’s working 50 hour weeks, with not enough money to feed their children or to pay for high quality child care (remember, these are our future citizens we’re talking about) working their health away, for a system that doesn’t care one iota about them.

    Let FOX News reveal how Walmart is wasting tax payer dollars by forcing our communities to subsidize their employees health care, food, and section 8. That’s a dream!

    While I AM opinionated, I will say, I see so many people working themselves to death and STILL cannot make ends meet month to month. It is very sad that there is a big hole in our society that abuses people so…

    EXCELLENT article!!!

  3. appletonavenue August 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Beautiful, well laid out post. Very well said. I’ll reblog if I can figure it out. I definitely posted it to my Facebook page.

  4. mike olley August 24, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Agreed, well said. It’s a shame when the news resorts to sensationalism. But that’s the way to sell a distorted view.

  5. kqduane August 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I think you missed Fox New’s point. Obviously, NOBODY is watching the store and there is a tremendous amount of abuse within the system, not only by recipients but by the supervisors of the programs as well. Charity was only espoused in the Bible between people who personally knew each other. Charity was to be given to people who were truly needy due to death of breadwinner, fire, loss of income or similar catastrophes. Charity was NEVER intended to be coerced from strangers in the form of taxes and then distributed, by a government agency, without any accountability to the giver or the taker. A government agency is incapable of the personal commitment to the recipient and is ripe for corruption. Charity, whether its cash, food, housing or help, should first be dispensed from family member to family member or neighbor to neighbor, and if that is not possible then the next best choice is the churches. the government should never be a choice. Our government has NEVER had a successful go at solving social problems because it was never designed for that purpose. Our federal government was created by the Founding Fathers for just 3 purposes, to defend the country, print the money and set foreign policy, and to assume that it is capable of handling the personal problems of individuals, is just plain folly. Read Gary North’s book “Unconditional Surrender” if you need more convincing.

  6. Sheri de Grom August 25, 2013 at 12:54 am #

    Once upon a time families took care of families and churches took care of its members. However, those days are long over. If it weren’t for the assistance provided for food, many of our children and elderly would literally starve to death. The elderly are far too proud to ask for a hand-out. Time after time it’s someone from the church that helps them get the assistance they need. Instead of the church being the direct link as in days gone by, they become the venue in helping with the complicated red tape. Great post.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Go Fish! | appletonavenue - August 23, 2013

    […] Go Fish!. […]

  2. Staying Hungry | Eradica - August 30, 2013

    […] Go Fish! (ipledgeafallegiance.wordpress.com) […]

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