Archive for Monday, June 10, 2013

Letter: Food stamps vital

June 10, 2013


To the editor:

Whatever could the U.S. House of Representatives be thinking as it proposes deep cuts to the food stamp program? Food stamps, which have worked very well for several decades. Food stamps, which help millions of hungry people of all ages living all over our country, even in the suburbs. Food stamps, which help to keep the economy flowing as people on the edge can then use some food money for other necessities such as laundry soap or gasoline. Food stamps, which provide a steady market for farm surplus.  Food stamps, which return $1.70 in revenue for every $1 spent. Food stamps, which support sound nutrition that we well know is supremely important in all stages of life.

Oh, don’t worry , says the House. We’ll give the states block grants to make up the difference. Ha! Block grants can be shifted from one agency to another. Any state experiencing revenue shortfall in the wake of major tax cuts will not be compelled to spend the money as was intended.

Related nutritional programs will take a hit from sequestration. These cuts will deny food to pregnant women, infants, and women with young children.

Could it be that the House of Representatives is just not thinking at all?


Brock Masters 2 years, 1 month ago

Can anyone provide a source for the 1.70 in revenue claim? Just not buying it.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

I don't have a source, but I recall the claim from somewhere.

The idea is that circulation of money is good for an economy, and that those at the bottom will spend most if not all of their money, so things like food stamps will circulate a lot, helping the economy a lot.

In high school, my economics teacher had us sell a pen for a dollar, and then continue that with each person for a few times, so that we had sold the same pen to 4 people. He then asked what the pen was worth - we said $1. He said no, it's worth $4. That's the general idea.

2 years, 1 month ago

Well, the last owner should have sold it to the instructor...But of course he would not need one so it was worth nothing to him.

You can ignore supply and demand if you wish, but eventually a relative value will be produced.

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

It's easy to find and provide sources for the claim:

"When Moody's Analytics assessed different forms of stimulus, it found that food stamps were the most effective, increasing economic activity by $1.73 for every dollar spent. Unemployment insurance came in second, at $1.62, whereas most tax cuts yielded a dollar or less."

"In findings echoed by other economists and studies, he said the study shows the fastest way to infuse money into the economy is through expanding the food-stamp program. For every dollar spent on that program $1.73 is generated throughout the economy, he said.

"If someone who is literally living paycheck to paycheck gets an extra dollar, it's very likely that they will spend that dollar immediately on whatever they need - groceries, to pay the telephone bill, to pay the electric bill," he said.

"Tracking that single dollar spent through the economic chain shows what economists call the ripple effect, Zandi said. For example, that dollar spent at the grocery store in turn helps to pay the salaries of the grocery clerks, pays the truckers who haul the food and produce cross-country, and finally goes to the farmer who grows the crops." "

"The report pointed to expanding unemployment benefits as the program that gets the next biggest bang for the buck. That's because, although the unemployed are already getting checks, they need to spend the money. For every dollar spent here, the economy would see a return of $1.64, Zandi said."

You'd do well to investigate your "not buying" the findings of economists. What's behind your resistance to accepting that food stamps have a demonstrably positive economic effect for children and families and the economy at large? Seems that your own prejudices might be getting in the way of accepting facts and beneficial public policy.

overthemoon 2 years, 1 month ago

"Economists consider SNAP one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus. Moody’s Analytics estimates that in a weak economy, every dollar increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity. Similarly, CBO rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy. "


ontheright 2 years, 1 month ago

Free food, gas, housing and insurance for everyone! I need some of that free stuff!

oldvet 2 years, 1 month ago

Don't forget your free obamaphone...

elliottaw 2 years, 1 month ago

You realize Reagan started the free phone service (land line) and it was Bush that modifidied the program to cover cell phones

elliottaw 2 years, 1 month ago

Feel free to go ahead and read some facts on the matter, you may be surprised, the full answer is provided at the link

Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?

A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it.

Brock Masters 2 years, 1 month ago

I just don't buy it. If it were true then why not increase food stamps a hundred fold and we'd all get rich because of the yield.

Think about it, how does someone putting a dollar into the market change that dollar to 1.73? Defies logic. Plus what about the government costs to get it to the recipient?

Joe spends a dollar at the grocery store to buy a dollar candy bar. Someone explain to me how it becomes 1.73 because I am not seeing it.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

I think they're assigning a numerical value to the value of circulation.

It's of course true that $1 can't magically become almost $2 literally.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 1 month ago

I think its because if more people spend food stamp money then the stores will sell more and they make a profit on each item sold, and then they have to hire more people to keep the shelves stocked, more trucks and drivers to haul the items to the stores. A lot goes on between the fields/factories and the consumer.

tomatogrower 2 years, 1 month ago

I imagine it has something to do with the employment of the cashiers and the profits for the groceries. If you stopped feeding people, they would do without and go hungry. Some would start stealing to feed their kids. Here's an idea! We get corporations to stop taking jobs overseas, and start paying people enough, so they can have a roof over their head and to eat. I wonder if the rise of food stamps correlates with the rise of the new business model - that employees are just a deficit, not an asset.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

If you want money to feed the poor, take it, but don't try to convince us $1 becomes $1.70 just because the government takes it from one person to give to another.

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

The real question is why you don't buy it. Either provide sound economic facts that disprove what Moody's Analytics demonstrate, or admit that you simply don't care that food stamps are an economically positive policy — that you're against them even though they benefit citizens and the economy at large.

Then you can reflect on why you'd be against something that's proven to help people and the economy and how your being against it — the facts be damned — actually helps anyone.

kawrivercrow 2 years, 1 month ago

Spare me your flimsy and foamy little spurt of indignation.

elliottaw 2 years, 1 month ago

Sorry but not true, you can only buy unprepared meals (I.e. no McDonald's) with food stamps, you can't buy soap, pop, toilet paper, ect with them

colicole81 2 years, 1 month ago

Not true......I watch the same woman buy a package of donuts and a Monster energy drink every morning at the gas station. In addition, I worked as a cashier through college and was shocked at what people can buy with food stamps!

Linda Endicott 2 years, 1 month ago

You can buy pop with food stamps...just not non-food items...

Cassie Powell 2 years, 1 month ago

You can buy pop, bottled, canned, fountains. You can also buy certain energy drinks so long as they say nutritional supplement. I don't agree that cutting funding for food stamps is good, but the abuse of food stamps is over whelming.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 1 month ago

Yes, like farming, except the wealthy farmers who receive massive handouts for the most part have the wherewithal to support themselves without our assistance. Ask Brownie.

verity 2 years, 1 month ago

"sort of like farming."

Whatever you think of welfare to farmers, your food would be more expensive without it. So you also benefit from that welfare.

tomatogrower 2 years, 1 month ago

And so businesses like WalMart benefit, because their workers can get food stamps, and the don't have to pay so much. I guess that makes their prices cheaper. But maybe we need to have less stuff anyway. It used to be as an adult and you stopped growing you might only have a small closet full of clothes. They may have cost more, but they lasted a long time, and people took care of their clothes. Unlike nowadays. Have you ever seen the end of year lost and found in a school. They could open up a thrift shop, and most items go unclaimed. The parents just go out and buy more stuff.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 1 month ago

You can buy soda including cold bottles out of the case with food stamps and you can get deli food after it has been placed in a separate case just not while it is hot.

You can also use your food stamps at Dollar Tree and they now have a dairy case along one wall in addition to the other food.

You can use your food stamps to buy food at convenience stores where you get gas.

elliottaw 2 years, 1 month ago

Yes but you can't get prepared food, such as fast food, mall food, ect., that was my point. People like to believe that those on food stamps are just eating out and buying beer/cigarette with them.

bevy 2 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps because they never learned how to cook? This is true of many on food stamps (as well as of many of the well-educated computer programmers I work with.) Perhaps because their power has been turned off, and they don't have a way to cook anything? Should their children be forced to eat cold spaghettios every night?

Yes, I have been on food stamps, when I needed them. For every donut-buying Monster-drinking food stamp abuser out there, there are scores more who use them as they are intended - to feed themselves and their children. Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Sam Crow 2 years, 1 month ago

For jafs: Your high school teacher was wrong. In your example, after the pen is sold four times, or any number, in the end one person has the value of a pen and everyone else has their original dollar back. The only actual economic activity generated is the manufacture of the one pen. This is an example of simple money changing. Almost like a Ponzi scheme.

Additionally, do you think those at the top dont spend their money like those "at the bottom"?

For KansasConscience: Moodys used the classic static thinking of a liberal, where one action has no effect on another. What Moodys did not consider is that when you take a dollar from me and give it to someone else, I cant spend that dollar, and that economic activity is lost. It is a mere substitution of economic activity. Moodys also did not consider the expenses of the government to administer the program. The government does not generate economic activity when administering such a program, because nothing is created.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

Well, I'm not sure I accept your opinion as superior to his.

Circulation is valuable to an economy. If I sit on my money, it doesn't help anybody. If I spend it, and then those folks spend it as well, it benefits numerous people and businesses.

The particular example may not be the best, since it's the same pen, but in reality, it doesn't happen that way - I go out to eat, the employees at the restaurant spend their income on other things, ...

Sam Crow 2 years, 1 month ago

It was your pen scenario.

In your restaurant example, actual economic activity, including profit, is generated.

Circulation of money is valuable only if something is created economically. Money in a Ponzi scheme circulates, but it is the the same dollars, and nothing is created.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

"Money in a Ponzi scheme circulates, but it is the the same dollars, and nothing is created."

Sounds like Wall Street.

Brock Masters 2 years, 1 month ago

But jafs if you spend 20 dollars at the restaurant your 20 doesn't become 34.60.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

I've answered this question twice now in response to your comments.

I'm pretty sure they're using some sort of numerical analogue for the value of circulation - it's not a literal equation that money somehow magically multiplies.

tomatogrower 2 years, 1 month ago

If the rich can sustain our economy with their spending that would be fine and dandy, but when you cut into the spending power of the middle class and the poor, then we suffer. Of course, we have to pity the poor rich people.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 1 month ago

“Some people are so poor, all they have is money."
- Patrick Meagher

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

Your premise that a dollar has been taken from you to give to someone else is woefully simplistic. Rather, it's like using .000000001 cents in revenue from many, many people to account for each dollar provided in food stamps.

Your thinking is faulty on this, fyi.

Trumbull 2 years, 1 month ago

Gross domestic product is the measure of the economy. This includes goods and services produced. The manufacture of the pen was goods produced. The subsequent sale of the pen is services provided.

Joyce pays Joe $1 for to cut her lawn, Joe uses the $1 to at the barber shop. The barber uses the $1 to buy a new pair of scissors, etc. etc. This is the multiplier effect. To not recognize this, you must then conclude that the economy cannot be any larger than the money supply.

kawrivercrow 2 years, 1 month ago

I know a woman, married with one child, who is on food stamps. She also gets an unclear number of other state benefits because the kid has some mild learning disability (a nonspecific apraxia), even though he is at the head of his class. She works part-time in a clerical role at a small business and her husband works full-time in the capacity of unskilled labor. She has calculated her margins of eligibility for the food stamps and other benefits and she won't work more than X number of hours per week so she won't exceed the income criteria. She and the husband smoke cigs and she buys her kid organic gummy bears. She always has pot, even if it's cheap Mexican schwag. She has satellite dish TV and one of the best smart phones on the market.

How many 'needy' recipients meet some or all of this woman's profile traits?

Linda and Bill Houghton 2 years, 1 month ago

Probably not many. It takes more calculation and self-discipline than most people on food stamps are willing (or able) to deal with.

kawrivercrow 2 years, 1 month ago

In terms of "She has calculated her margins of eligibility... so she won't exceed the income criteria. ", you are probably right. However, how many have the unfrugal spending and lifestyle habits that are enabled by subsidizing poor choices and lack of personal sacrifice?

bad_dog 2 years, 1 month ago

FYI, my satellite service is 40% cheaper than Sunflower/Knology/Wow and I get a lot more channels.

bevy 2 years, 1 month ago

Nice how you assume that all who need or use food stamps are stupid. Poor is not equal to stupid. I have been on food stamps in the past, when my husband lost his job and we couldn't survive on just my pay. I later graduated cum laude from Washburn University and am now gainfully employed in a high-tech field.

The larger issue with the example above is that instead of making a transition possible, we have made it all or nothing. If she works more hours for one or two weeks a month, she loses benefits. The risk of loss is greater than what she gains by working a few more hours. We need some kind of middle ground for transitions to full-time work, so people can eventually get off these programs, as I did.

tomatogrower 2 years, 1 month ago

Then why don't you turn her in, if she is defrauding our government?

kawrivercrow 2 years, 1 month ago

Technically, she is not defrauding the gov't (only morally, IMO). There is no line of questioning on the form that asks: "Do you routinely not answer the phone if you know it's the office asking if you can come in and work extra this afternoon?" or "Do you buy frivolous treats for your kids and cigarettes, pot, or cable TV for yourself?"

Furthermore, I suspect that the overwhelming majority of other assistance recipients would fail the means test if these questions were asked.

elliottaw 2 years, 1 month ago

They report their income and bills so the frivolous spending does not weigh not the equation, unless she has undocumented income

pizzapete 2 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I think I'm going to quit my job so I can start living the high life, too. Organic gummy bears, satellite TV, a cell phone, and a six pack of beer is all I need. Pass the potato chips, this is heaven.

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

"How many 'needy' recipients meet some or all of this woman's profile traits?" -- Good question. Now, do the work and provide an answer.

Or, do you base your conclusions on a single example, without doing any of the actually difficult work of thinking your conclusions through, and determining if your sample size is inadequate to generate conclusions?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

The important point is that funds that go into food stamps don't just vanish into the ether. Those dollars are spent 100%, and by far most that spending is in the private sector.

Another important point is that a very high percentage of food stamps goes to feeding kids. Kids who go hungry thru their childhood are less likely to be fully productive members of society after they become adults.

So while it may feel good to assert your inherent moral or other superiority over anyone who uses food stamps, a society that lets people go hungry just to fulfill the Schadenfreude quota of some of its members is one that's surely on a downward spiral.

Sam Crow 2 years, 1 month ago

It is one thing to call food stamps, or more precisely Electronic Benefit Transfer, a welfare program with inherently significant fraud and abuse that has been well documented.

But don’t try to justify it as an economic development program.

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

"But don’t try to justify it as an economic development program."

Why not, when it has positive economic effects? And more accurately it's an economic stimulus program, one would think.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

Right, Bozo, that dollar spent does not "vanish into the ether". Of course, it wasn't created that way either. It was earned by someone else, then taxed, then laundered through the government bureaucracy who then spits out fifty cents. So for each dollar being given away in the form of food stamps, two dollars have to be removed from another earner.

We may deem that to be good public policy. I'm not arguing that. But to suggest that the dollar's worth of food stamp originated with the government is not true. It is nothing more and nothing less than wealth redistribution, something you argue vehemently against when it flows the other way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

"Of course, it wasn't created that way either."

Actually, it was. It's an abstraction created by the US Govt.

"It was earned by someone else, then taxed, then laundered through the government bureaucracy who then spits out fifty cents. So for each dollar being given away in the form of food stamps, two dollars have to be removed from another earner."

Every cent collected by the government gets fed back into the economy, whether it's in the form of food stamps, or in the form of salary to administrators (who spend that salary,) payment for supplies and services to private vendors (who spend those payments,) and on down the line.

"We may deem that to be good public policy. I'm not arguing that. "

No, you're arguing something that doesn't exist.

"But to suggest that the dollar's worth of food stamp originated with the government is not true."

Aside from the initial issuance of a dollar by the US Govt, there is no "place of origin" for any dollar circulating the economy.

"It is nothing more and nothing less than wealth redistribution,"

Wealth redistribution happens all the time, in both the private and public sectors-- that's essentially the definition of a currency-based economic system. And over the last 30 years, that redistribution has been extremely lopsided in favor of the very wealthy.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

No, Bozo, it wasn't created by the government. Whenever any government, ours, the Roman Empire, whatever, issues currency, it's simply trying to put a value on something, relative to something else. How much value does an ounce of gold have relative to a pound of wheat relative to a plot of land relative to an hours worth of labor. Even in a barter system, where currency isn't used, values are assessed to those things. That, for the lack of a better term, is the "place of origin". This isn't a chicken and egg thing, where we never really know which came first. Here, we do know what came first. That being that something of value. All the government is doing by issuing currency is the recognition of that.

I guess every cent gets fed back into the economy, just like corporate welfare, welfare for the poor, etc. The question is, do we desire to take from one person so that we may give to another. That question is equally valid for the wealthy getting corporate welfare as it is for the poor getting welfare or for the bureaucrat being the middle man between the two. The answers to those questions will always be simply what values you have. For me, I have no problem with any of those, if they can be justified.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"Every cent collected by the government gets fed back into the economy, "

Some of it goes to other countries, so that's not 100% true.

Besides, it raises the question of whether it is ethical to take (collect) then give to other people. In the case of people who are poor and have no means of getting into a better selection, I think it is ok to be unethical if you keep fellow citizens from starving or not having a roof over their heads. It isn't so ethical to take money from one person so another can read books or surf the web for free, or build sports complexes or bus lines that never break even.

"Wealth redistribution happens all the time"

Sure. My boss redistributes me some wealth. He does it because I provide a service to him, not because I can garnish his wages or put him in prison. While the end result is the same, taking money by force is different than being paid to do a job.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

Food stamps bring tax dollars back home to the community and help keep people employed. Nourishment helps keep bodies healthy otherwise taxpayers pay medical bills.

What's wrong with that.....

Far more productive than throwing $47 million tax dollars at AMC to move across the state line. Yes Sam ALEC Brownback did exactly that.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"Food stamps bring tax dollars back home to the community"

Where did they go before they came back, these wandering dollars?

Brock Masters 2 years, 1 month ago

Maybe they would get stuck in DC after DC first took them out of the community.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 1 month ago

A parents obligation is to provide for the child and then for themselves. Spending money on alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana is highly immoral and is teaching the child/ren that flaunting the law is acceptable.

What do children think when they eat junk for supper and watch their parents drink beer and smoke dope? Are those parents in any state of mind to provide love for their children? Can they tend to them if there is an emergency or will they be so "mellow" they don't care?

I get food stamps and am very aware that I should be a good steward of them though I am not always. I have to stop indulging myself with so many sweets for that is what it is, sheer self-indulgence. A treat now and then is acceptable. Several times a day is not. But, everyone has to come to this realization themselves, it can't be forced on someone.

Those of you who were raised with parents who were loving and knew how to properly discipline, not too much, not too little, should thank God every day of their lives for it, because believe me those children who are being raised by pot smoking, beer drinking parents have no solid foundation.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

So where exactly did the first dollar come from, the one for that first food stamp? One of two ways; either the government simply printed it, like they print money. The government simply printing money causes a certain harm to the economy as the value of that money eventually has to be lowered. The other way the government got that initial dollar was that it came to the government by way of a tax on someone else. Of course given the way the government works, it would need to tax that taxpayer two dollars, launder it through the government bureaucracy, and then spit out the one dollar food stamp. So no matter how much business activity it produces, $170 for each dollar, etc., as long as the government is compelled to tax two dollars to produce that one dollar food stamp, the net benefit will be less than what it is removing from the economy. The real beneficiary of this scheme is the bureaucracy, which of course is the 900 pound gorilla sitting in our living room that no one wants to talk about.

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

Your thinking is simply faulty on this.

Provide authoritative support for your claim that "the government is compelled to tax two dollars to produce that one dollar food stamp," or admit that you're simply making things up or repeating other faulty claims.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 1 month ago

Both the US Senate and House of Representatives are proposing cuts to SNAP aid; they differ only in the percentage of the cuts. From the New York Times:

"The Senate bill would cut $24 billion from current spending levels, including about $4.1 billion from food stamps over the next 10 years. Groups fighting hunger said the cuts in food stamps would put millions of poor families at risk. A House version of the bill would provide for food stamp cuts of $20 billion, just one major example of how far apart the two houses are in adjusting spending."

And from the Washington Post:

Kate Rogge 2 years, 1 month ago

Most of the jobs that were lost are never coming back. If we are not willing to spend money to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure - hiring and retraining people to do that work - and if we are not willing to create jobs by shoring up new manufacturing and new technologies with Federal monies, then we will continue to have a big group of able-bodied people who ARE dependent upon us because they cannot find jobs to sustain their families. Do you really think taking food away from under-employed and/or unemployable people will magically create jobs for them? Jobs or dependency. Take your pick.

Tomato 2 years, 1 month ago

I just wanted to help explain how $1 becomes more than one dollar.

Jafs manufactures a pen for 10 cents and sells it to Obama for $1. Jafs now has 90 cents after expenses.

Bozo manufactures organic gummy bears at the cost of 10 cents. He sells them to Jafs for 90 cents. Bozo nets 80 cents.

Liberty manufactures bullets for 10 cents a box and sells them to Bozo for 80 cents. Liberty nets 70c.

.90 + .80 + .70 = $2.40

Obviously the real economics of it all involve much more complicated math. And if Obama took that dollar from Liberty in the form of taxes, then it throws a wrench into it.

Tomato 2 years, 1 month ago

By the way, just a casual Google search indicates that every dollar spent on NASA is worth 8 dollars to the economy. So really, by this logic, we should cut food stamps and explore space instead, because the country would be better off as a whole.

I tried to find some data for how much a dollar of tax cuts are worth to the economy - but I don't have time to wade through all the partisan articles about tax cuts! But the problem with the $1.70 argument is that there are plenty of things (NASA, for example) that are better for the economy than food stamps and it easily becomes an argument AGAINST food stamps.

After all, what if we cut food stamps and people had more money in their pockets due to tax cuts, so they bought more expensive dog food and it turns out that every dollar spent on expensive dog food brings $2 of economic benefit.

ontheright 2 years, 1 month ago

What did people do before free food, section 8, health care, education, and obamaphones?

Linda Endicott 2 years, 1 month ago

They died...would you prefer that?

Please stop obsessing over the free phone thing...the Life Line program started long before Obama...

Would you like it better if we just rounded up all the poor people in a field somewhere and just waited for them all to die?

deec 2 years, 1 month ago

"The food stamp program pumps billions of dollars into the economy each year. Rather than turning to food banks and pantries for free groceries, SNAP recipients spend those dollars at retail groceries. In 2010, the USDA distributed nearly $65 billion in benefits. Supermarkets captured about 85 percent of food stamp dollars which meant nearly $55 billion in business. Small retail grocers, farmers markets and small specialty grocers earned about $10 billion from food stamp transactions. SNAP advocates argue that food stamps are an economic stimulus for the grocery industry that creates jobs and generates commerce. According to the Food and Nutrition Service, $5 in food stamps represents up to $9 of economic activity."

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

Again, where did that $5 worth of food stamps come from? If the government simply printed it up, like currency, then the value of the dollar will decline and the overall economy will suffer. More likely though is that the $5 came from $10 being removed from other earners in the form of taxes, then laundered through the government bureaucracy which then spits out $5 in services, or in this case, food stamps. It's wealth redistribution, plain and simple. Maybe that's a good thing. But saying it's good for the economy because it generates business activity, when it began it's existence by being a drag on the economy, is not an honest argument to make.

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

Your premises are faulty, and thus, as certainly as the sun rises each morning, your conclusions are faulty as well.

And your use of the term "laundered" reveals the partisan / political ideology behind your beliefs. You apparently see the government as separate from yourself, and evil, when in American, we the people are sovereign.

I share the Founders' view as seen in the Declaration of Independence: the American government was instituted to protect our inalienable rights. Government is not the problem: citizens who vote in representatives with no clue about the genius of the American government are the problem.

And citizens who can't accept rational thinking, but rather base their actions and claims on faulty premises, are the problem, too.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

My use of the term "laundered" may be revealing, but your guess as to what I meant by it is wrong. I do not believe the government is evil. Just the opposite. I have an inherent trust in our government and am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. However, I do believe that the larger a bureaucracy gets, the more inefficient it becomes. And the bureaucracy driving our government certainly has become very large and therefore, very inefficient. Taken to an extreme, you have a Soviet style collapse and it will happen to any government, regardless of whether it's a left thinking government or a right thinking one, or something in the middle. When the bureaucracy becomes too big, it eats it's young. That would be us.

Now tell me Alyosha, how exactly does the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution address that issue? What is said about the size of the bureaucracy, it's inefficiency, it's effect on the economy, etc? Maybe I'm wrong, I don't profess to be a Constitutional scholar, but I think those two documents are silent about the issues I addressed. So while I applaud your flag waving and stand at attention when you bring it up, it's still not in keeping with the issue I raised.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

Define "too big." And is it only government bureaucracies that can become too large? Or can it happen in non-government bureaucracies, as well?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

The definition is the same as Justice Potter Stewart's of pornography, I know it when I see it. As for other entities besides government, of course. But since it's their inefficiency, it's their problem. When it's my government's inefficiency, then it's my problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 1 month ago

"The definition is the same as Justice Potter Stewart's of pornography, I know it when I see it."

That's not a definition-- just a flimsy excuse to be arbitrary.

Regardless, the very purpose for bureaucracies is that they are more efficient in dealing with certain tasks required for civilization than dealing with them in an ad hoc, onesy, twosy way. As a matter of fact, civilization could not exist without them.

That's not to say they shouldn't be made as efficient and user-friendly as possible, but railing against government simply because it's government is just so much pointless whining.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

You're half correct, as usual. Civilization cannot exist without them. But it's also true that civilization cannot exist with too many of them. See the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"Define "too big"

Too big is when government has time to care about our health, what we put into our bodies, whether we buy sex retail, whether we wear a seatbelt, whether we abort fetuses or whether our Coke is over 20 OZs. Government should be in the business of guaranteeing rights, not protecting people from themselves. Government that has enough time to worry about me hiring a prostitute is too big.

Hope that helps.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

"You apparently see the government as separate from yourself, and evil, when in American, we the people are sovereign."

We are the sovereign, government is our employee. The government is utterly and completely separate from us. I don't even want it close to me. The help can keep out of my sight.

As for rights, don't confuse welfare, libraries and eating with inalienable rights. You are making a mockery of the constitution when you do that.

Your premises are flawed.

seebarginn 2 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps the smartest, most humane, and best letter the LJW has ever published. Thank you, Sarah Casad.

Satirical 2 years, 1 month ago

If we put $1 into the food stamp program $1.70 spits back out?!?!

If that is the case, we would be morons not to increase the current level of spending times 10. In fact, we would be crazy not to spend every discretionary dollar on this golden goose.

Demand Side Economics is infallible! Those who don't see the logic hate children and eat puppies for breakfast.

anomicbomb 2 years, 1 month ago

When it comes to feeding potentially hungry people, I worry less about whether or not a person asking for food assistance is 'deserving' than I do about feeding hungry people (whether through a food pantry or through programs like food stamps).

Think of it this way. Say you run a food pantry and 10 people come to you for food. Of these ten, five of them truly need the help, and five of them are trying to take advantage of you, but you can't say for sure which of the five truly need the help. What is the best thing to do? Feed them all. It is the only way to know for sure that you are doing your job of feeding the hungry. I'd rather feed five people who don't need it than potentially leave empty stomachs to suffer merely because I picked wrong when I tried to decided who 'deserved' to be fed.

I know there are times of the year when food pantries run low, but the problem is getting more food to the pantries that need them, or in the case of food stamps, providing enough resources so that the program can help those it is designed to help. Will some people take advantage and should you try to limit this? Yes. But I'd rather err on the side of feeding hungry people even if a minority of people abuse such a service. This means keeping resources in such programs.

And in my experience with volunteering and working for food pantries, the vast majority of people seem to genuinely need the help. I'd rather feed 80 hungry people and let 20 liars get a few free meals too than deny 20 hungry people by accident to keep those liars honest.

Satirical 2 years, 1 month ago

What time should I come over for dinner?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 1 month ago

anomicbomb - You're argument is sound as long as we're talking about private non-profits. When we enter the world of government spending, you've go to realize that the pie is only so big. Once you begin to serve 20 meals per day to people who are genuinely non-deserving, you're taking money away from something else. And since we tend to know that the bigger interests, those with the most political clout will probably be able to protect their interests. So the money for those meals will come from schools, or other deserving social programs. Given that, I'd rather that those who do give away taxpayer meals do a better job of figuring out who really is deserving and who is not.

Trumbull 2 years, 1 month ago

Good letter and true. Food stamps is among the most moral ways the government can stimulate the economy.

Where have we come when some economists do not recognize the multiplier? This is pretty basic stuff.

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