Let’s Talk About Food Stamps
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Recent feedback from several sources in Mesquite exposes that there is a lot of misperceptions about the Food Stamp program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP). The following information is intended to shed some light on the realities of the program that feeds so many of our poor and hungry, including many of whom we see every day in Mesquite.

The food stamp program is targeted at the most vulnerable in our society. 76% of SNAP households include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits. Do you support taking food from them?

We hear a lot of rumbling about the increase in food stamp use in recent years under President Obama, and it HAS risen. SNAP participation historically follows unemployment with a slight lag. SNAP participation grew significantly during the Bush recession that was just beginning in 2008, responding quickly and effectively to increased need. As the number of unemployed people increased by 94% from 2007 to 2011, as the recession hit its lowest points SNAP responded with a 70% increase in participation over the same period. If people must complain and try to blame someone for these increased costs of feeding the poor, then blame the recession, not the President who inherited it from his predecessor. And remember what Jesus said – “…go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…” Mark 10:21-22

We also hear a lot of accusations about fraud in the SNAP program, usually followed with an anecdote like “a friend of mine saw a person with food stamps buy some booze!” Of course you can’t buy alcohol or cigarettes with food stamps, but a person who gets food stamps is free to buy whatever he/she wants with any other money that they have. Do you think it should be different? How? SNAP error rates have dropped by 57% since 2000 from 8.91% to a low of 3.8%. That accuracy rate is among the best among government agencies, and two-thirds of the errors are caseworker errors and 20% of those result in underpayments of benefits. “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:11

The average monthly SNAP benefit per person is $133.85, or less than $1.50 per person, per meal. Do you begrudge your brethren in Mesquite this meager food subsistence? Do you really think people aspire to this? Some say that the SNAP program doesn’t do enough to encourage participants to get a job, and the program needs stronger work requirements, but the program has strict time-limits for unemployed workers. Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) may only receive 3 months of SNAP benefits during any 3 year period, unless they are working in a qualifying job training program. In addition, The SNAP benefit formula is structured to provide a strong work incentive – for every additional dollar a SNAP participant earns, their benefits decline by about 24 to 36 cents, not a full dollar, so participants have a strong incentive to find work, work longer hours, or seek better-paying employment. “….A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them. “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing tpo the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty.”” Mark 12:42-44

And then there is the myth that a lot of illegal immigrants get food stamps. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for SNAP. Additionally, there is already a strict waiting period for documented (legal) immigrants. Documented adult immigrants (those with a greencard) are subject to a five-year waiting period before they are eligible for SNAP and such legal immigrants make up a very small portion of SNAP participants – only 4% of participants are noncitizens “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18

Many think that most SNAP recipients are also on cash welfare and that trend is getting worse. This too is false. The primary source of income among SNAP participants has shifted from welfare to work. In 1989, 42 percent of all SNAP households received cash welfare benefits and only 20 percent had earnings. In 2009, less than 10 percent received cash welfare, while 29% had earnings. The vast majority of those who don’t have earnings are children and the elderly or disabled. “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Luke 14:12-13

Many of those who most loudly repeat these mean spirited myths also support increased funding for military contractors, tax breaks for oil companies, subsidies for the most profitable multinational corporations, and historically low taxes on the wealthy. “Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and becomes judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” James 2:2-6

What Would Jesus Do?

Note from the writer: You won’t often see me quoting the Bible because I strongly believe that a persons’ religious beliefs and prayers are very private and have no place in the public square, just like Jesus preached “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on street corners to be seen by others…when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen” Matthew 6:5-6.) In this column however I am not preaching or praying – just wondering out loud what Jesus would think about feeding the poor and if He would worry if a few folks got a free meal.

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Comments

Let’s Talk About Food Stamps — 17 Comments

  1. Ah I remember the days where it was embarrasing to get any sort of government handout. People would not get them even if eligible. It was a stain on ones character. Now we see ads PROMOTING getting “free” stuff. Remember NOTHING is free. Somebody is paying.

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    • You are right hamacher. This is a direct result of progressive liberal indoctrination.From cradle to grave.

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  2. “…go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…” Mark 10:21-22 Do you think Jesus or his followers would consider it a stain on ones character to feed hungry people, or for those people to accept the help?

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  3. It is a great feeling to help the poor and others in need BUT NOT to the extent to make them a dependent class. That IS not help. My help is through private organizations > I believe help through the Government results in a dependent class. That is a tradegy.

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  4. Another fairy tale about food stamps….YAWN! Good thing plagiarism isn’t enforceable on this site.

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  5. After the blatant lies you told about Sherry West and the Elkins case,then stood behind them,I’d expect nothing less than you twisting the words of Christ to fit you liberal lies about welfare.Only an idiot would associate the Democratic welfare plantation to a foreign country and government that existed two thousand years ago.The Romans wouldn’t have paid out welfare to it’s poor to begin with,that’s what the arena was for.The Romans wouldn’t have tolerated millions of able body parasites to drain their wealth as the parasites are doing to this country.I’m not talking about the sick or elderly.
    What would Jesus do?He would tell them to get off their lazy asses and take care of them self.He wouldn’t be teaching victimization and dependency on others.
    Your favorite selective,out of context scripture has NOTHING to do with welfare,“…go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…” .It was about a rich man that thought he could get to Heaven by good deeds.Jesus wanted to know if the man was serious,he would sell his possessions and follow him as a disciple.The man decided to keep his riches and went away sad.As the rich man went away sadly, Jesus told His disciples about the difficulty of riches…
    “It is hard for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into Heaven” – Mk 10:23-25
    You throw out all these Biblical examples but I think YOU are too much of a hypocrite to follow any of them.I’ll be looking for your full page ads inviting the elderly,disabled and poor to your house.Any time they are hungry,in need of clothes or money.

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  6. rheades it,s great to have another right of center (and on my part sometimes FAR right) contributor on this site.

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  7. Why don’t you tell us why liberals keep changing the name? Food Stamps to Welfare and now SNAP.Is it less embarrassing to the able body parasites too lazy to find a job?

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    • “76% of SNAP households include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits.” Damn Parasites!
      Welfare (cash assistance) and Food Stamps have ALWAYS been separate programs!
      It gets tiring to have to keep providing basic known facts and information in response to your ridiculous and unfounded comments.
      Please show me where Jesus said anything about putting restrictions and rules onto the poor who need help! Please!

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      • NOW your talking about SNAP? Your story is about FOOD STAMPS! It gets tiring trying to discuss anything with you when you change the subject half way through the conversation. In your ‘food stamp’ story I already said I’m not talking about the sick or elderly.I’m talking about the ABLE BODY parasites scamming the welfare system.
        Out of DESPERATION you’re going to bring what Jesus MAY have said.Again,only an IDIOT would try to associate Food Stamps,Welfare or SNAP that only exists in the United States TWO THOUSAND years after Christ’s death.It’s easy to try and put words in the mouth of a man that died 2,000 yrs ago. There was no leftist indoctrination on dependency or victimization when Christ was alive.Your Pathetic attempt twisting the teachings of Christ to fit your liberal interpretation isn’t working.

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        • “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),[1] formerly and still popularly known as the Food Stamp program, provides financial assistance for purchasing food to low- and no-income people living in the U.S.” The two terms are interchangeable in common usage today – why do I have to keep telling you things that any child would understand!
          So you are saying that what Jesus said has no relevance to the real world today? I think we might agree on something again – alert the press! However, my quotes were directly from the Bible passages of the new testament, so do you believe these are the things that Jesus actually said – or not? The “leftist indoctrination” in that era WAS Jesus! Twisting the teachings? Tell me how directly quoting the Bible passages is twisting them? I ask again “Please show me where Jesus said anything about putting restrictions and rules onto the poor who need help! Please!”

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          • Now you’re saying Food Stamps are interchangeable with SNAP, but before you said they’re separate.A child might understand,but I guess you don’t.So predictable.I knew you personally believe Jesus is irrelevant,yet you quote his teachings as examples of how to live and how we should follow them.That makes YOU a hypocrite. And you would say Jesus was a liberal. I’ve seen that claim on other leftist sites.Keep telling yourself that.I’m sure it makes liberals feel better.Your twisting them by taking them out of context,as I’ve already shown. Jesus didn’t say anything about restrictions,but then Jesus isn’t the US Government handing out free food.
            You throw out all these Biblical examples but I know YOU are too much of a hypocrite to follow any of them.I’ll be looking for your full page ads inviting the elderly,disabled and poor to your house.Any time they are hungry,in need of clothes or money.

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  8. Where are all the liberal commenters? Amazing how when the TRUTH is told,liberals avoid it like the plague.

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  9. John,ALMOST to the archives .Whew!! Bet you’ll be glad when this embarrassment is off the Front Page!!

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    • BTW – I could pull any article I want off at anytime I want to so your supposition that “I’ll be glad…..” is just another foolish and unfounded statement.

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  10. For the King and Sir John
    For the King and Sir John
    You two need to settle things once and for all. Since a pi**ing contest is likely out….. due to age, how about a one legged race for the truth teller crown? LTN could even ask for donors to sponsor the event. The winner would be given the title “Grand Imperial Truthspeaker” and the proceeds could be used to provide thanksgiving fixins for a needy local family or group. Double dog dare ya.

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  11. or…. how about a golf match… or a shooting contest… or ??? WAIT – I just looked up one-legged race: Urban Dictionary:

    “One-legged race
    The one-legged race is a highly active sexual position which involves the man lifting the woman off the floor and holding her against the wall with one leg raised holding one of her legs up and the other planted on the floor to provide the thrust. Can be painful if you overbalance at all.
    ex I totally gave her a one-legged race last night, but broke my arm up when I fell over.” How would we determine a winner? ;-)

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