Washington, DC (TFC) – An often displayed meme that makes the rounds periodically whenever the subject of welfare comes up displays everything wrong with the US. It shows a refrigerator stuffed with food under the label “No Job in America” and an almost empty refrigerator under the label “Working class in America.” The implication is obviously that those on welfare live better than those who work.
Obviously, it’s false. Pages could be written about the reality of welfare. It could be mentioned that the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) requires that people work 30 hours per week. One could point out that thousands of active duty military are receiving food stamps, or that 1.5 million veterans are receiving them. About 15% of Wal-Mart’s workforce in Ohio is on food stamps. The list of little factoids to disprove the implication goes on forever because the implication is plainly false, but it’s the unnoticed implication that is the real problem with American society.
Some people don’t deserve food. That’s really what this is saying, isn’t it? Some people made bad choices and are in a bad situation, so they don’t deserve food. Let them die. More to the point, some children had parents who made poor decisions, so screw them too. 82% of all food stamp benefits go to households with children, and 1 in 5 American children are dependent on food stamps.
Those opposed to the program will say that those lazy welfare queens should get a job and stop having babies. Well, first it should be noted that the average family size of someone on benefits is 3.7 people. The average family size in the United States is also 3.7 people. The number of women having babies to increase the size of their payment is statistically insignificant. As we’ve already covered, most have a job or are disabled and unable to work. Besides, the children are already here. Do we allow them to live in hunger or starve to prove a political point?
The people that utter these statements typically fall on the Republican side of the aisle. Are they going to tell the children of the thousands of active duty military personnel that are receiving benefits that their mommy or daddy should stop being a leech and get a job? Of course not. That doesn’t fit the narrative. Troops are heroes.
What is the narrative and why is it being pushed? It’s pretty simple. The idea is to keep the middle class blaming the lower class for the decisions of the upper class. By doing this, the middle class never notices that the ruling class in DC is handing companies (that they are tied to) billions in corporate welfare. The government wants you to blame the greeter at Wal-mart for the tax burden, so you don’t notice that companies like Bank of America and Citigroup paid nothing in taxes even though they posted billions of dollars in profit. That’s right Americans, it’s very likely that you personally paid more in federal taxes last year than two of the largest banking establishments in the world combined. But, it’s the single mom working at McDonald’s that you call a welfare queen.
If you make $50,000 per year, you pay about a dime per day to fund the food stamp program. That ten cents per day feeds 1 out of 5 American children. Meanwhile you pay about $16.43 per day to fund subsidies for multi-billion dollar corporations, many of which don’t pay any taxes at all. The corporate welfare for Boeing alone would feed America’s 47 million food stamp recipients for two months.
So, no, the problem with our society is not that some people need food, the problem is that we have a system that has forced 47 million Americans into a situation that makes them dependent on the government. The problem is not the recent high school grad that joins the Army and winds up needing food stamps. The problem is that we have a government more concerned with the interests of the ultra-wealthy than those of their citizens.
The obvious solution is to raise the minimum wage. After all, these working Americans that are on food stamps shouldn’t need assistance. They should be making enough to live. Many will immediately scream “Inflation!” Inflation will occur if those companies raise prices instead of taking a smaller profit. So when those that make this pronouncement do so, what they are actually saying is “I would rather keep the working poor in poverty for the sake of profits for billionaires and pay for needy’s food myself.” The simple answer is to strip the corporate welfare from any business that engages in a concerted effort to raise prices to compensate for the minimum wage increase. Yes, the businesses will make less money. Doing away with food stamps without a minimum wage increase at this point is an impossibility. These people won’t just lay down and starve politely; they’ll do whatever they have to in order to survive. That means a crime wave unlike any we have ever seen.
Many people make the above proclamation because they believe at some point in the future, they will be members of the ruling class. They won’t. Social mobility in the US is a myth. Whatever class you born into will be the class you most likely die in, if you’re lucky. Gregory Clark, researcher at the University of California found that
“America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England.”
Some may argue against a minimum wage increase on ideological grounds. The idea that consenting adults should be able to make whatever agreement they choose is one that holds a great deal of sway over many people, including this journalist. However, this isn’t consent. It’s coercion. In essence, the statement is “take this deal or starve.” If those that would argue on ideological grounds ever decide to take a stand and form this anarchist utopia, let me know the date and place. I’ll bring my kit and be on the front lines with you. Until then, that is not the society we live in. The society we live in uses your ideological fervor to support an oligarchy that is destroying and impoverishing all of us.
You now know the truth behind food stamps. If you choose to continue in a false narrative, I only ask that from now on, instead of calling them lazy leeches, you say what you mean:
“I’m so overridden with propaganda that I prefer these people die of starvation than face the truth that my government is slowly but surely driving us all downward and that soon, I’ll be the one needing assistance.”
If that’s too much to remember, just say “let them eat cake.”