Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's like her father was killed by a food stamp...

Seriously, she just can't let it drop despite the fact that she makes no sense at all. Oh it hurts.

Protect them from themselves:

A number of people in my commenters have come out in favor of food stamps not as a political expediency, but as a first best policy option because they force people to spend money on food that might otherwise have gone somewhere else. This comes in two varieties:

1) If I'm giving you my money, I damn well get to determine how you spend it

2) Poor people might make bad decisions with cash, so better force them to use it on food.

Both of these arguments are somewhat undone by the fact that food stamp recipients can always monetize their grants to some extent, by buying food and then exchanging it for cash. It's just that the process is extremely inefficient, and the sale will net much less than the full value of the food stamps

Well, she goes for the trademark and inexplicable move of blockquoting her own statements. First, these arguments may be somewhat undone if by "somewhat" you mean "pretty much not at all." How successful does she thing a bunch of poor people standing outside grocery stores trying to sell their food stamps would be? Oh yes, person of questionable character, I will gladly engage in your attempt to defraud the government for a minute monetary gain! Now be a good crack whore and spend it on drugs! Tah Tah!
More broadly, do I get to attach strings to the money you get from the government? If you have a mortgage, and deduct the mortgage interest, thus getting a hefty government benefit paid by those of us who are not homeowners, does this entitle me to go over to your house and make sure that you're not spending the money on something I disapprove of?
Brilliant analogy! Tax refunds for money spent on living expenses are EXACTLY the same as providing basic necessities to those who can't afford them at all. Why didn't I see this glaring correlation?
As to the second argument, I recognize an obligation to ensure that those who are genuinely incapable of earning a minimally decent living for themselves have the ready needed to secure the basics. I do not recognize an obligation on my part to ensure that they actually do so. Nor do I think that I am the best judge of what people need.
Projecting much, Megan? I think food stamps are a good idea, but not because I think poor people are too stupid to spend their money wisely. See, like you, I recognize that any attempt to give aid by the government will be abused by some people. Unlike you, I have a heart, so I'm willing to allow for this negative because I feel the positive of feeding poor people outweighs it substantially. Ensuring the money is spent on food is the best, albeit imperfect, way of reducing graft.

If people are genuinely so screwed up that when given enough money to buy what they need, they fail to purchase enough food to sustain life, then what they need is not food stamps, but 24 hour supervision. If people will buy alchohol or some other unnecessary instead of feeding their children, then they are probably neglecting their children in other ways requiring a stronger intervention than an EBT card. One could argue that right now, incomes are not high enough to purchase basic necessities (and indeed, I think the EITC should be increased, as I've said numerous times.) But that still doesn't make the case for food stamps for me; if the poor take money out of their food budgets to buy something else, it is presumably because they think they need that something even more than they need their next meal. Who am I to second guess them?

This has nothing to do with the appropriate level of spending on the poor, or even the structure. But assuming a basic basket of cash that we are prepared to spend on improving peoples' lives, it seems clear to me that none of that cash should be handed out in the form of food stamps.

I'll ignore most of this since it's largely based on the patently ridiculous assumption of the previous quote. I will note that I've been reading MM's blog for quite a while and never heard her mention, other than in passing, her desire to see the EITC increased. I have heard her talk about how her taxes are too high, the Jena Six should be jailed, and that it's totally worth it to spend more than $1000 on a fucking coffee maker. I love you Megan.

You know, they say that only men can be colorblind but Megan's inability to see the world in anything other than black and white clearly disproves that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Both of these arguments are somewhat undone by the fact that food stamp recipients can always monetize their grants to some extent, by buying food and then exchanging it for cash."

Oh. My. LORD. The fucking ignorance.

I know things have changed a little nowadays with the transfer from paper food stamps to the EBT/debit method of distribution. I don't really know anyone on the program right now, but I did when I was in college. There were rules in place that were meant to keep recipients from exhanging the stamps as money, but they were hardly effective and they were pretty much passed around like regular money between a lot of people. I even knew of drug dealers that accepted them as payment. Even if you were to argue that this is a flaw in the program and that anyone can manage to turn food stamps into beer with a small amount of effort, that does not change the fact that, no matter how often these things get passed around and for what purpose, they can only be used to buy food, which means they will inevitably wind up in the hands of someone who needs it.