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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

 
Daily Squalor

by digby

No this wasn't written at Free Republic. It's at little Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller, which must be convinced it needs the white supremacist audience to succeed:

For those of you who missed it, several months ago “Mr. EBT” went viral with his hit tune “My EBT.” Classic examples of Shakespearean prose from the song include this passage: “Damn, I just want some jam. Walkin’ down the aisle ’cause I’m lookin’ for the haaaamm. Wham! Where da hell da cheese at?” And who could forget this line: “I wish I could buy some weed with my EBT, but the drug dealer frontin’ me. I mean, who cares? I mean, who cares? It’s an EBT, it’s not food stamps.” Catchy and brilliant! Mr. EBT is quite the wordsmith. Of course, he would lose his street cred without his Yankees hat and leather coat. Heck, it wasn’t even his Electronic Benefit Transfer card! He “borrowed” it from his sister! And now we have Jesse Jackson telling us Barack Obama should be honored to be the “food stamp president” because food stamps pay for everything under the sun and save lives.

What’s going on, America?

These are fine examples of what many Americans witness on a regular basis. The other day, while my family and I were waiting in a check-out line at Wal-Mart, I noticed that the woman checking out in front of us was texting on her $200 cell phone (which probably costs at least $100 a month in service fees and may have been paid for by the government as well) and holding what my wife says was a $100 designer purse, with a stack of junk food, beer and cigarettes on the belt behind a line of subsistence products like milk, cheese, cereal and meat.

People pay for “necessary” items with their EBT government debit cards and then use cash for their smokes, beer and munchies. Yet, I have to fork over my hard-earned dollars for every item in my cart (and in essence theirs as well, since I pay taxes while they probably get “refunds” every April). Something is wrong here. Why is the average taxpayer both screwed by the system and forced to watch his tax dollars being wasted on people who abuse the system?


That's such a familiar old trope, it makes me feel young again. I think the older racists were a little bit more colorful though:

The term "welfare queen" is most often associated with Ronald Reagan who brought the idea to a national audience. During his 1976 presidential campaign, Reagan would tell the story of a woman from Chicago's South Side who was arrested for welfare fraud:

"She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000."


That was, of course, a lie, but then I would imagine this alleged first hand story of standing in line at the local Walmart is too. (Designer purses don't cost a hundred bucks, by the way ...)

This gets to the heart of the right's loathing for government programs. In their minds they are getting ripped off by "those people" who are freeloading and living high on the hog. (And you know what I mean by "those people" because he subtly opens the piece with a rap tune.)

This fine fellow has a solution:

Dharma-style food stamp reform would have four basic components. First, the federal government would create a government “brand” of essential food items such as milk, cheese, meat, cereal, vegetables, bread, peanut butter, beans, juice, soup, baby formula, diapers, etc., and would package the items with simple black-and-white labels and basic descriptions. The word “Government” would be stamped across the top in bold letters so everyone would know it was a welfare item. These items could be manufactured by major companies through government contracts, thus not creating a net loss to private industry. Because competition is not an issue, taste and quality, with the exception of the baby formula and baby food, would not be a top priority. Snacks, soda, cigarettes and beer would not be available through the program.

Second, the government would lease existing store fronts and set up “government stores.” There are typically several grocery store locations that have gone out of business in any given area; these would make ideal settings for the new government stores. The number of store locations would be chosen based on the size of the area and its number of food stamp recipients. The stores would be placed on public transportation routes for convenience.

Third, and most importantly, all food stamp recipients would be required to spend their government dollars at these stores. Private grocery stores and chains, such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, would no longer be allowed to accept EBT cards, and the money loaded on the cards could not be withdrawn and used for any other purpose. Each card would have a set dollar amount sizable enough to purchase essential items from the government store. For example, a family of four could expect to receive enough government-brand beans, rice, bread, milk, cheese, meat, cereal and vegetables to last a month with careful planning. In other words, they must be ready to stretch a food budget. Families with babies would get a month supply of formula, baby food and diapers.

Fourth, anyone who accepts government aid would have to submit to a monthly tobacco and drug test. Food stamp recipients are, after all, wards of the state. They are slaves to the government and should be reminded of that fact. If a recipient is found to have tobacco or drugs in his system, he would be dropped from the program. People on government aid would also lose the privilege of voting. That way they couldn’t vote for greater benefits or easier terms (most of them don’t vote, but now they couldn’t).


What an interesting idea. And who says conservatives believe in vote suppression?

I think this is good though. It's a straightforward portrayal of exactly what many of these folks think. I appreciate the honesty.


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