The Good Old Days

by digby

This Corner poster (via Rumproast) thinks food stamps are making people lazy:

Today's NYT says that food-stamp usage grows by about 20,000 people per day:

MARTINSVILLE, Ohio — With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. ... While the numbers have soared during the recession, the path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program’s stigma, calling food stamps “nutritional aid” instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply

Seems like there ought to be a stigma attached to the use of welfare. A little bit of shame can go a long way toward encouraging people to find jobs. The federal government may think it's doing people a favor by providing them with access to food, but it's doing them a disservice if it also robs them of the motivation necessary to break free from dependency.

One wouldn't think you'd have to make an argument in favor of America being generous enough to make sure that 25% of the children in this country aren't going hungry. You would think the immorality of allowing kids to starve or be publicly shamed due to conditions over which they have absolutely no control would be obvious. But apparently it isn't.

Since common decency obviously isn't even a factor with people who think this way, perhaps someone needs to remind them of the kind of society their preferred feudalism really was --- exceedingly dangerous. How about this, just for the sake of argument?

In places where there are no jobs, rather than being "robbed of the motivation to break free from dependency," people will be highly motivated to rob people like you of your life and property in order to keep their kids from going hungry. And if you publicly shame those kids for things they can't control, they are very likely to grow up hating you and yours with such fervor that they will rob whatever's left of people like you of their life and property.

I would think that providing a little help for people to get through this economic slump without turning them into pariahs is a small price to pay to prevent such an outcome. Call it self-interest.