And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

>>No Shame at Being on the government Dole.

Posted on: March 31, 2010

Food Stamps on Campus | Cato @ Liberty

I am old, yes I am because I remember well when even small children were ashamed of being on the government dole.  In fact in the 1970’s I  did a research  paper on children and welfare trying to determine at what age awareness of being on welfare began and how the children reacted to the knowledge.  My findings indicated then that ages 6-7 was the first awareness and the reaction was confusion as to why they were different than most of their classmates  in that they received free lunches and most of the class did not.  Ages 8-10 were aware that their family received more government handouts that just the free lunches.  This group was deeply shamed and embarrassed by the fact and in most cases tried to hide the facts.   However by age 12 there was acceptance and a beginning rationalization for their family’s eligibility for welfare.   By age 14 this turned into a cynical  sneering “if “Uncle” wants to give me money I’ll take it and ask for more.”

This research was all conducted by survey and there were no interviews.  The only criteria measured was age, I was not concerned with race or sex and because I did not confirm the race and sex of the children taking the survey my professor deemed the research incomplete.  I remember being quite put out at the time by his attitude.

I believe if I did the survey today I would find the attitudes considerably changed from the early 1970’s.  I don’t believe shame would go much past age 8 if that, and the cynicism would be a bold declaration of entitlement.

Food stamps have long been a part of our military families budget because the wages are so low.  The Department of Defense uses the food stamp program to pass some of their  expenses onto and into another department in the government.  (I would like to point out an erroneous belief that most of the public has concerning the military commissaries.  Many believe the commissaries are subsidized by the tax payer.  this is not true.  The  commissaries and base exchanges are self supporting non-profit entities there for the convenience of the military personnel.  Any profits   are used  to build and maintain recreational facilities on the posts.)

This article tells us that food stamps (welfare, government dole  has now become a part of the college experience.  Welfare acceptance moving into the middle class!

Food Stamps on Campus

Posted by Tad DeHaven

Food stamp usage is on an upsurge as a result of the economic downturn and liberalized eligibility. Thanks to some good journalistic work from Aleksandra Kulczuga of the Daily Caller, we’re getting a better picture of how government dependency is spreading to a new generation.

Kulczuga reports that college students are increasingly going on the dole thanks to encouragement from college officials and poverty organizations dedicated to fomenting government dependency.

From the article:

Adam Sylvain, a sophomore at Virginia’s George Mason University, recounted a recent conversation with friends in his dorm room. “My roommate told me he applied for food stamps, and they told him he qualified for $200 a month in benefits,” Sylvain said. “He’s here on scholarship and he saves over $5,000 each summer in cash.”

“A few of our other friends who were in the room also said if there were able to, they would get food stamps … They think that if they’re eligible it’s the government’s fault, so they might as well,” Sylvain said.

Students at GMU can buy a meal plan for $1,275 that provides 10 meals a week for the semester — that’s $71 a week.

When I was in college, my friends and I worked during the school year and through the summer to fund our expenses. My father worked multiple jobs to pay his way through college while supporting a young wife. He grew up in a family headed by a single mother that relied on extended family and charities to help them through tough times. He may have been eligible for food stamps in college, but he would have never taken a government handout.

Today’s generation seems to be different. This Salon article tells of unemployed college grads using food stamps to purchase organic food at high-end grocers like Whole Foods.

From the article:

At Magida’s brick row house in Baltimore, she and Mak minced garlic while observing that one of the upsides of unemployment was having plenty of time to cook elaborate meals, and that among their friends, they had let go of any bad feelings about how their food was procured.

“It’s not a thing people feel ashamed of, at least not around here,” said Mak. “It feels like a necessity right now.”

Savory aromas wafted through the kitchen as a table was set with a heaping plate of Thai yellow curry with coconut milk and lemongrass, Chinese gourd sautéed in hot chile sauce and sweet clementine juice, all of it courtesy of government assistance.

Remember that many of these students probably had their college educations subsidized by the government as well.

I believe as a nation we need to make dependence on the government a shameful  situation again!  BB

2 Responses to ">>No Shame at Being on the government Dole."

I just wanted to complement you on this. I was raised on the adage to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”. When times were tough and us kids were eating them out of house and home, I clearly remember my parents cutting every comfort, luxury, and stretching the grocery budget almost to the point where they weren’t in it to provide for their kids instead of going on welfare. It just wasn’t an option. Many years later, my wife and I looked at our budget and outlined everything that we could cut out if we had to, if one or both of us lost our jobs. We’d flip burgers, bag groceries, dig ditches, whatever we had to, but government aid wasn’t even discussed as an option. To do that would mean that we would be accepting money that we didn’t earn, that we didn’t have a _right_ to have, because we weren’t willing to do whatever we had to do. To do that would be something shameful.

Somewhere along the line, we as Americans seem to have forgotten that sense of do or die, earn it or don’t have it. The shift was from knowing we had the right to _pursue_ happiness, and it went to a feeling that we had the right to happiness itself. It seems sad, because going down that path means that you don’t have the feeling of pride that goes with earning your victory, of knowing that you got there by brains and effort and sheer force of will. That sense of entitlement seems so dull and plastic by comparison.

I am so sad to agree with you on all issues. How far we as a people have come towards and acceptance of socialism. this is why the take over that is now happening so quickly will be so easy for our present government and so very difficult for the rest of us to fight. I do however have very high hopes that the Republican Tea Party group will win out in 2012. But their winning is just the beginning of the game because there will be so much evil in the form of regulations and Presidential decrees, growth and proliferation of government offices agencies and personnel and hidden taxes to get rid of that any Congress and President would have to give it full time attention. Obama has harmed We the People far beyond our understanding I am afraid. He has weakened and destroyed the America I was born and raised in and believed in. BB

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