Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Stamping Out Food Stamps

By Cap'n O

AUGUST 16, 1999:  It is a crazy time in which we live. Right is wrong and wrong is right. Free speech is free as long as it conforms to the views of those who make the rules, and good news is bad news.

Two weeks ago the stock market and its traders went into a deep, deep funk and started a frenzy of selling when they got the terrible news that the income of Americans was rising. The market plunged more than 200 points in two days. The fact that you and I are making more money is apparently unbearable news to the fancy suits and polo shirts who exert control over our economy.

Now, another piece of good news is troubling government bureaucrats and social policy experts and is causing them to wring their hands, furrow their brows and search for ways to reverse what they say is a disturbing trend. The good news that's bad news is that since 1994 there has been a huge drop in the number of people receiving food stamps.

In 1994 about 27 million people got food stamps from the government. Since then that figure has dropped 27 percent, so that today 18.5 million get food stamps.

You would think that in America, the nation that built itself on personal freedom, self-reliance and personal responsibility, the news that fewer people are depending on the government for their food would be welcome.

It isn't. At least not to the bureaucrats and social engineers whose jobs depend on Americans being dependent on the government.

A new report by Congress' General Accounting Office has the dependency pimps worried. The report says that the dramatic plunge in the food stamp rolls has occurred, not just because the booming U.S. economy has created jobs for welfare recipients, but because of harsher rules that came with welfare reform, overzealous caseworkers who don't want people getting food stamps and because the government isn't publicizing the $12 billion-a-year program well enough. The report says that many of the working poor are eligible for food stamps but aren't getting them.

This news has the dependency pimps huffing. "There has a been a breakdown, a misunderstanding of what moving from welfare to work was all about," Democratic Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan was quoted as saying. "I don't understand it, frankly. We fought to make food stamps and child care and health care part of welfare reform. And now kids are hungry. What sense does that make?"

It makes a lot of sense. It's just that people like Levin and others in government who would lose their jobs without dependency programs either can't or don't want to understand.

No doubt there are a lot of people who probably need food stamps and who aren't getting them because of restrictive regulations and overzealous caseworkers. But a drop of nearly 10 million people from the rolls suggests that something different is going on. It suggests that millions of Americans have come to their senses and no longer want to be dependent on government handouts. They are opting for the freedom to make it on their own -- no matter how tough this is -- rather than becoming slaves to the government and its bureaucrats.

Because slavery is exactly what living off the government is for individuals. The small monthly checks that people get from the government ensures that they can do almost nothing. They can't splurge on steak or lobster when they want to. They can't rush out and buy the kid a new bike when one gets stolen. For vacation they might be able to walk to a public park, but that's about it. Forget going to the movies or buying some books or an extra pair of shoes or even a new computer. And forget about someday getting a new car that doesn't have to be taken into the shop every three weeks.

But that's the way dependency pimps want it to be. If you are beholden to the government, then they and their friends become your masters. They keep you in line by threatening to take away your measly benefits. To prevent that, you keep voting for their dependency pimp friends, and they remain in power, in control, and in the high paying jobs while you and your neighbors scrounge around for crumbs. They're infuriated at these new statistics because it means they're losing their control and power over millions of people.

Maybe Levin and the others don't understand that humans, no matter how tyrants try to crush us with their clubs and machine guns, and no matter how governments try to co-opt us with their programs, hunger for freedom and dignity. And to millions of Americans, freedom and dignity means making it on our own and not being beholden to bureaucrats and politicians for our food.

Get used to it, pimps.

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