ShareThis Page

America's food-stamp mentality

| Friday, July 19, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

As a woman and advocate for limited government, I find it is pretty natural for me to try and break down complex public policy matters to how they impact the kitchen table.

So let me give you this one:

You know how your family food budget has gotten tighter and tighter — the harder you work, it feels like you're stretching every dollar just to feed your family.

Well, there's a reason for that. You're not just feeding your family anymore. Nope. You're feeding someone else's family as well.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released statistics showing the number of Americans receiving some sort of subsidized food assistance from the federal government has risen to 101 million, or roughly a third of the U.S. population.

This means that the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of full-time private-sector workers in our country.

I care about the poor and sick and needy. But there are entirely too many people receiving public assistance, including food stamps, who simply do not need it.

There. I said it.

I have a family to feed, too, and the fact is my husband and I work a lot — like so many other husband and wives — and it gets harder and harder for us to feed our family and have the kind of life we want because there are too many people in the wagon and not enough people pulling it.

When FDR started the food-stamp program, people could use the stamps to get the basics — bread, rice, milk. Now, it's a debit card, administered by big Wall Street firms making major dollars off the program.

I believe Arthur Brooks said it best: “While food stamps are ... an important part of the American safety net, the program is no longer fulfilling its intended purpose. Over the decades, the restrictions on food-stamp purchases have been lightened dramatically. ... While we need to protect those falling on hard times, we also must take care to avoid teaching dependence and encouraging behavior that reduces one's ability to delay gratification and earn success.”

There is also a broader concern we must take into account : What happens when the government grows so big we can no longer sustain it?! Isn't this the tricky question that must be a part of every spending conversation? What happens when more people are on Social Security than working to pay into the system? What happens if we expand an already broken and bloated Medicaid system? How much debt do we want to leave our children and grandchildren?

Too many working families — working multiple jobs — are struggling to pay the bills and feeling like they are working to support other people's lives.

This is the legacy President Obama and the big spenders in D.C. have given us. If you haven't spoken up, you better.

Jennifer Stefano is with Americans for Prosperity — Pennsylvania (americansforprosperity.org/pennsylvania/).

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.