Day 232: Blame Welfare Recipients.. or Implement a Solution?

Think People On Food Stamps Are Eating More Lobster Than You? Think Again

Stories of SNAP recipients using benefits to buy shellfish and junk food abound.
"I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards," Rick Bratten, a Missouri Republican who this year proposed prohibiting SNAP recipients from buying seafood or steak, told the Washington Post. "When I can't afford it on my pay, I don't want people on the taxpayer's dime to afford those kinds of foods either."

In Maine and Wisconsin, lawmakers are pushing legislation to restrict SNAP benefits to foods deemed healthy. The Wisconsin State Assembly approved legislation this week to ban junk food and also "crab, lobster, shrimp, or any other shellfish." The bill's sponsor cited "anecdotal and perceived abuses."

Frankly, I don't know how someone could really afford to regularly eat lobster on food stamps. You don't really get enough money to eat comfortably. I mean, sure, you could buy some lobster this week, and maybe go a bit hungry the next. But really, who cares? You can do that with your hard earned wages too if you want. But it really doesn't matter.

For those who would be concerned that individuals on food stamps are eating more luxuriously than you can on work wages, look – the problem of you not being able to afford expensive food on your wages is not caused by someone on food stamps buying lobster. Therefore, the solution is not contained in trying to prevent those on food stamps from buying lobster or what have you. That would actually likely have more of a negative effect. It would take much more bureaucratic oversight to impose stricter limitations on what can be bought with food stamps, requiring more government work, paid by your taxes.

Wages are low because the economy is low because nobody has any money to spend into the economy. It's a vicious cycle that just feeds itself and more and more we feel the squeeze. What boosts the economy is people having money to spend into the economy. At this point jobs can't be counted on to provide enough income to individuals and that's why we have a support system like food stamps. We have a lot of welfare programs in the U.S., taking up a lot of government resources because it is already divided into so many different programs to ensure that it's spent on certain things. So much added bureaucracy and tax money going into a lot of double-work, essentially, filling out and processing applications for each different program.

This is why I support the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal, because it proposes to simplify and streamline the welfare process by providing a basic income to those who need it, to be used to cover all one's primary needs. There doesn't need to be multiple programs with multiple application processes and reporting processes and so on, when it can be done from one platform. And there doesn't need to be restrictions on how/where it is spent. That can be up to the individual, as it is the best way for individuals to learn financial responsibility, by going through the consequences themselves, and studies have shown that when individuals are given the chance they do not generally make poor choices, as some would seem to imply or expect. Certainly deciding for individuals promotes dependency as it does not encourage or provide an opportunity for an individual to learn and develop self responsibility.

So let's make sure that we focus on the real problem and therefore the real solution, and not get caught up in a form of blame game and 'it's not fair' point, like 'if I can't have it then neither can they' I mean, how does that help anything at all? Rather, look at how do we go about creating that which we would like, for everyone, and realize that things don't have to be the way they are. We live in a world where there is plenty, we need to stop getting lost in blaming each other, and focus on bringing about the changes that will actually solve the problems we're experiencing.

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Day 231: The Ick Factor that Prevents Self Movement

For this post I'd like to bring through a very important point that came up in discussion after a recent google hangout, which you can watch here: Revolutionizing Social Reintegration. The point was briefly touched on within the hangout, but I want to now go a bit deeper into it, because we noticed that it is really a crucial point that can kind of be overlooked, not only in regard to the topic of the hangout which centered on the prison problem in the U.S., but really relates to any of the problems that we face in the world today.

What I noticed was that when I decided to go deeper into the prison problem and take the time to do research and consider solutions, was that in the moment that the consideration came up to do so, there was initially this kind of resistance, like, 'ehhh, I don't really want to go there' was the essence of the sentiment. What I realized from this is that we tend to see such things as 'unpleasant' and something we'd rather not get involved with, like it's 'too messy' or 'heavy' a problem that it would rather be avoided. But, is that really the case?

I mean, it's easy to look at problems from a distance, and see that things really need to be fixed and that we really need to implement solutions. It's easy to agree to that. But when it comes to really getting into the nitty-gritty, it just seems like it's too little, too slow, not enough impact. Because the mind wants instant gratification. It's easy to see the 'overall' solution for things. Like if you were to consider not just looking at solutions in general to the prison problem, but for example actually working with individuals released from prison, creating programs to assist them to transition back into society, or even just really researching the issue, putting in the time and effort to find materials to read about it, watch videos about it, maybe even write about it, getting to know the actual details of the situation, the history of it, and so on, the mind balks, like it would just be so slow, too tedious, with such a minimal effect.

Who wants to step into that issue with the poverty, the racism, the tension of a tense situation, the reality of people being put through extreme conditions, and individuals shaped by the undignified conditions that we've allowed to exist as a society and who have never really known or learned or experienced what it's like to have a dignified life because they have never had access to it.

What I found with that initial resistance that came up toward going deeper into a point that we tend to see as 'unpleasant', is that that 'unpleasantness' isn't really real. That sinking feeling of, 'gosh, who wants to deal with that' is really just my own perception or projection where I am seeing that thing as negative/undesirable/unpleasant, but in reality it's more like the opposite is the case because those things that we tend to resist, often would be the most rewarding. I mean, why wouldn't you want to be a part of bringing forth solutions in this world? Most individuals out there really want something better and would be unimaginably grateful to have an opportunity to improve their life. Isn't that what we've really all been waiting for? To be able to really find solutions to the problems we face, and bring them into fruition? But it's like we've accepted the idea of this world as 'tainted', 'icky', and we'd much rather just find a new planet to possibly live on so we wouldn't have to actually deal with the whole mess we have here!

Well look, if we can't sort out our mess we've created here, we're just going to create it wherever else we'd go, so in that respect, we don't really have a choice but to sort out what we've got going on here. And we actually have here as this physical reality, is actually a really amazing foundation for living on and exploring what life really means. The problem is not with the world itself, but with the mess we created on top of it. So it's time we got around to actually doing something about it.

So I challenge you, to challenge that voice inside yourself that would tell you 'you don't want to' for whatever reason, because it is precisely that voice that keeps us from moving in this world to do what needs to be done, to fix what we have created. And which would keep us from doing things that would actually be, dare I say, truly rewarding. Certainly it won't be easy and it won't be all rosy and wonderful all the time. But what it comes down to is what are we doing here? Is it really better to keep your head in the sand, and ignore reality while the problems just get worse and have increasingly more impact in our lives? Or would the real satisfaction be in working toward solutions, instead of accepting the way things are, thinking it's just 'too messy' to deal with?

So when you see something that you could do to expand yourself or your reality and that resistance comes up, don't just immediately accept it, have a look and question it because, it may just be turning you away from something that could actually be really rewarding that you would ultimately truly enjoy.