So you should like this post if you agree with its sentiments. And what are those sentiments? Well, clearly, if you need assistance to buy food, you should not be spending the government benefit you receive on a pleasurable experience, namely, dining out. The person(s) who developed this visual clearly believe in its message, since they chose to make Like the preferred answer. Note the exclamation point at the end of “if you agree”. There is no such punctuation at the end of “Comment if you disagree.” So it’s safe to assume the developers believe their boxed statement to be true.
Consider that the purpose of food stamps is to help people buy food to eat. That’s what the guidelines for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program say: “Foods for the household to eat.” It further specifies that the ‘foods’ include “bread and cereals, meat and poultry, fish, dairy products”, things that most people think of when they think of food. But it also specifies that “In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.” So using them in restaurants was contemplated and specifically laid out in the statute providing the SNAP benefits.
And why not? Dining out is a pleasurable experience. Why should people on food stamps be denied that? It’s not like they’re going to the Ritz Carlton’s dining room. And in order to qualify for SNAP benefits, they’ve got to demonstrate a need. So there’s no offshore account in the Cayman Islands hiding in the background. Frankly, if the restaurant accepts the food stamps, there’s no reason SNAP recipients shouldn’t eat there.
So what’s behind the obvious animus in the visual? I believe it’s this: our inherent belief that the other guy is ripping off the system that we pay into. We so easily accept the belief that people who require government assistance are lazy, shiftless, scheming cheats, and the meme travels at lightning speed within our limited worlds. We-and I mean all of us-have a tendency to assume the worst about our fellow passengers on Spaceship Earth. Put two people in a room alone and I give them 30 minutes before they find a reason to look down on each other.
Look how it affects people who do use SNAP benefits. Here’s one mother’s comment:
I am furious at some of the comments posted here. Yes there are some that take advantage of food stamps and welfare. But there are a lot of individuals that are going through a rough patch and need the help like my family. I work full time, I pay taxes but because I hit a rough patch. I don’t deserve to eat a restaurant, even it is only once a month. My kids don’t deserve to be treated every once in a while. So they don’t deserve it. Most of you on here are so ignorant. I don’t think restaurants should accept it but to say we are lazy because we are on food stamps. Tell that to my kids who dont get to see their mom because she is working 12 hour days to pay the bills.
The sad part of this is that the developers of the visual above, and the people who are sending it around the internet, would most probably describe themselves as loving christians, and if they didn’t belong to an organized church, they would no doubt subscribe to christian principles. It is these same christians who, like Pharaoh long ago, have hardened their hearts against the weakest of us. They need to take a long hard look at how they express their christian values, because to us nonbelievers, they sure as hell look like hypocrites, mountebanks, and phonies.
- 26 Members of Congress to Live Off Food Stamp Budget to Protest Cuts (rinf.com)
- Rep. Matsui Adopts Food Stamp Grocery Budget in Protest (fox40.com)
- Democrats take food stamp challenge to highlight GOP’s proposed cuts (tv.msnbc.com)
- Record 23,116,441 Households, 47,792,056 People On Food Stamps (patdollard.com)
- Number of the Week: 140% Increase in Food Stamp Use Since 1990 (blogs.wsj.com)