Quoting A Commment Elsewhere

I actually care quite deeply about the poor. My problem is that I cannot reconcile the huge and growing gap between who is actually impoverished and who my government defines as poor (and who my government thinks they need to redistribute my wealth to.)
America’s poor aren’t. Only a miniscule few suffer food insecurity, actual hunger, lack shelter or serviceable clothes.

Not mine; it’s a fellow on Ricochet who is amusingly named “Instugator.”

One of the things that make me spitting mad are the constant radio ads from Catholic Charities that goes something like “they say America is the land of opportunity, but over XYZ thousand people are poor.” Very emotionally manipulative and flatly irrational, trying to confuse the point between having opportunity and results. The quality of the research they’re most likely quoting would be a whole ‘nother post, too….

Thing is, almost everything we hear about poverty in America is this.  They find a few poster-children and try to act like they are representative examples.  The role of mental illness in long-term involuntary homelessness is ignored. (at best– sometimes pointing it out gets you attacked as– you guessed it, evil)

Don’t get me started on “food insecurity”– good heavens, some regional food pantries claim a 95% use rate among those eligible.  (MAYBE roads have that high of a level of utilization by those eligible to use them– but food pantries?  If someone handed me those results, I’d want to see their numbers, methods and find someone to double-check, and if it didn’t change much I’d start looking at how the fraud was being committed.  For comparison, the type of figures for food stamps is that 90% of eligible adults don’t apply– that’s from people who want to make it easier to commit benefit fraud, but you get my point.  Even school lunch discounts, which schools push and you don’t do any paperwork for, don’t reach 90% utilization. {My family had an ongoing fight with the school I went to as a teen, because they kept signing us up for discounted school lunches without even asking; eventually I stopped eating school lunches because I didn’t want to deal with fixing it every freaking month.  In a school where almost everyone with a license drove to school, most of the lunch-ticket box was free or reduced lunches.})
All of that to get to the point that “food insecurity” gets horribly abused as well. I do NOT want anybody going to bed hungry; that doesn’t mean that I believe the bull feces that gets shoveled trying to claim that it’s common for lower income families to miss meals.  (On a rational level, I also suspect that a lot of the few kids who do go to bed hungry are officially counted as provided for, and the benefits collected in their name get washed for parental gain.)

I can’t really blame Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake for accepting EBT cards when they’re eligible, but I don’t think they should be eligible.  Perhaps shift things so EBT (electronic food stamp cards– make it a bit harder to do fraud) only works on the same things as WIC?  (Women, Infants, Children– another food program, you’ve probably seen the stickers at the store.  When I was in the Navy, one of my shops had a gal whose husband spent most of his time looking for programs to exploit, or working under the counter.  Gave them a lot of disposable income, with the two boys.  He helped two of the guys commit what I’m pretty sure was fraud to get cash from Cali for college classes…which the Navy was already paying for.  One was getting money from his home state, as well, same guy who had never had an official job before joining the Navy and constantly complained about how he didn’t qualify for all his favorite programs anymore.)

Want to help the really poor?  Stop grouping them with folks who are just relatively poor, stop punishing those who work, stop confusing things by manipulating data, stop pushing to make it easier to steal money from the system, start looking for ways to get the seriously mentally incapacitated off the streets and look to build folks instead of just handing them a care package and patting yourself on the back.  ESPECIALLY if you didn’t even pay for the care package you’re handing out!

I hate it, but there really are people who flatly refuse to work. There really are people who go all grasshopper about what the world owes them for existing.  There really are people you can’t help, who will destroy rather than build, who will blow off the opportunity they assured you they wanted before you worked your tail off to get it for them.  It sucks.  I don’t think it’s solvable.  We should NOT build policy around making sure that they get what they want!


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