Letter: Myths About Food Stamps
To the Editor:
I was incensed when I read the opinion article you reprinted from the Heritage Foundation on Nov. 10 headlined, “The Farm Bill Not About Farms And Costs Billions.” The authors perpetuate a very distorted myth that the food stamp program is primarily benefiting the lazy and undeserving, and that nonworking, “able-bodied” people are taking billions from you and me. Their position is that we can’t afford to continue funding the food stamp program at the current benefit level.
They conveniently ignore the fact that the food stamp program is meant to supplement recipients’ paychecks. It won’t make anyone rich, and, by itself, it won’t adequately feed anyone either. Hunger is only one of the multitude of struggles that many working and unemployed people are facing. They often must choose between eating, housing and health. The issues are very deep and interdependent, and food insecurity is only one part.
Instead of looking at the root causes of hunger and the toxic inequality of wealth distribution (one out of four corporations in this country does not pay federal taxes), the authors chose to divide people — those who have just enough against those who have barely anything at all. What about providing dignified work that pays a wage that can sustain a family and shoring it up with help from taxpayers when it doesn’t exist? What about paying what you can and getting what you need, when you need it?
The truth is that in the shadow of enormous abundance (held by the 1 percent), we (the 99 percent) are arguing over what is stingily being doled out. The able-bodied work argument is a false solution to solve a whole host of complex problems. All this does is ostracize a group of people who need help the most (veterans make up a large percentage of the needy).
I am pretty sure that the authors who wrote this disingenuous piece go home every night to a heated or air-conditioned home, an overstuffed refrigerator (much of which is wasted), two (or more) cars, and a job that pays them too much for the mean-spirited words they write.