It’s often said, if you give a man a fish, he will eat for one day but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. Attributed to Benjamin Franklin is a similar sentiment: “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
And we see this theory playing out right before our eyes, in a very negative way. Hat tip to a friend of mine, a New York Police Department detective, who sent this my way from Americanoverlook.com: “Residents of Los Angeles’ Skid Row threatened to riot this weekend because their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards stopped working temporarily. The brief EBT card outage was the result of a routine back-up check on the vendor’s Xerox Corp. systems. The system began working shortly after it was restarted, however, California welfare recipients weren’t happy about the inconvenience.”
“My heart goes out to people who don’t have food right now,” one welfare recipient told the media. Another man said, “We had to cancel a picnic today cause we were gonna use EBT cards to buy hamburgers and stuff.” While these men were fairly understanding about the outage, one man threatened, “They had better resolve something because if it stays like this there is gonna be an uproar in the city of L.A…A Rodney King, baby.”
My heart goes out as well. It goes out because we have completely destroyed the individual initiative of Americans and destroyed the opportunities for them to be able to feed and care for themselves — now they just sit and wait to be given their fish.
But what is amazing is how this poverty state and food stamp dependency have skyrocketed under the Obama administration. The numbers are staggering — to include taxpayer-funded government advertisements for food stamps south of our border. Today we refer to the Food Stamp Program as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and what was intended for good has now become an addictive drug.
We now issue EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards which are loosely controlled and regulated, and can be used almost everywhere — don’t believe me? Check out your local gas station convenience store.
And so I decided to do a little research for you via the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and present the original intention of the Food Stamp Program (FSP):
On Jan. 31, 1964, President Johnson requested Congress to pass legislation making the FSP permanent. Secretary Orville Freeman submitted proposed legislation to establish a permanent FSP on April 17, 1964. The bill eventually passed by Congress was H.R. 10222, introduced by Congresswoman Leonor K. Sullivan. Among the official purposes of the Food Stamp Act of 1964 were strengthening the agricultural economy and providing improved levels of nutrition among low-income households; however, the practical purpose was to bring the pilot FSP under Congressional control and to enact the regulations into law. The major provisions were;
– the State Plan of Operation requirement and development of eligibility standards by States;
– the requirement that recipients purchase their food stamps, paying an amount commensurate with their normal expenditures for food and receiving an amount of food stamps representing an opportunity more nearly to obtain a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet;
– the eligibility for purchase with food stamps of all items intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages and imported foods (the House version would have prohibited the purchase of soft drinks, luxury foods, and luxury frozen foods);
– prohibitions against discrimination on bases of race, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs;
– the division of responsibilities between States (certification and issuance) and the Federal Government (funding of benefits and authorization of retailers and wholesalers), with shared responsibility for funding costs of administration; and
– appropriations for the first year limited to $75 million; for the second year, to $100 million; and, for the third year, to $200 million.
So I ask you to consider, how far away from the original intent and purpose have we come? This is yet another example of a “Great Society” program that has only served to promote a sense of economic servitude and individual enslavement.
We’re certainly spending a whole lot more than $200 million, even if you adjust the dollars for inflation.
Yes, those words of Franklin have come to fruition but shrewd politicians know they’ve created a permanent welfare system which plays into their hands as people will always vote for those promising more benefits and largesse from the public treasury.