I was at Kmart yesterday buying a battery for a watch I found at a flea market (an older L.L. Bean watch...pretty neat actually...and worth the $2 I paid for it) and I had the misfortune of being behind a group of ladies who, among other things, were buying several bags of potato chips with an Access card. Now I don't know all of the specifics of how some of these programs work; hell I still use the term "food stamps". Anyway, it just seemed strange/odd/wrong that these folks were buying something like potato chips with a benefit program that seems more designed to provide food that I would think should fall into the "staple" category.
Returning home, I conducted about ten minutes of research and found what I think are the "Food Stamp Rules" on-line. USDA Link here. They seem pretty reasonable to me, although there is no mention of potato chips anywhere to be found. Oh, and I am glad that someone can't buy booze or smokes with an Access card.
All of the above points to a larger issue, namely what our society has become, thanks in part to what I think has been a overly consumer-driven economy where "having" becomes more important "needing". This isn't to deny though the real fact that we all have free will and make personal choices that ultimately dictate how we act. Never the less, here we are, living in a society where I once saw...
...someone using an Access Card to buy groceries in a Quickie Mart (way over-priced)
...while talking on their cell phone
...and after the Access Card transaction is complete, using cash to buy a pack of cigarettes
Somehow our society has decided that there is nothing wrong...hell, there doesn't even seem to be something ironic...with someone begging for money from the government on one hand for food, but yet having the money for a luxury such as a cell phone on the other. Oh, and I could send an hour ranting about the tobacco thing; suffice to say that I find it horrible that the public pays for free healthcare for someone who destroys their own health via smoking.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just turning into an angry middle-aged white guy. Maybe I am slowly becoming "The Man". It all though just sounds so very, very wrong. I want the government to help people up, not subsidize bad choices and behaviors.