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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Enough is Enough

I try not to pay a whole lot of attention to what goes on in New York City. We’ve plenty of problems down here without taking on any more.

But, I couldn’t help shaking my head in wonder when New York City Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Governor Paterson asked the federal government to ban the purchase of soda pop and sweetened fruit drinks with food stamps.

You know what food stamps are, those federal vouchers used by 42 million low-income Americans to buy food.

According to Reuters, the two gentlemen from New York called sugar-sweetened beverages the largest contributor to the growing obesity epidemic.

Said Bloomberg, ‘There’s nothing wrong with an occasional one. But the kids are dinking a enormous amount of full-sugar beverages.”

And then the American Beverage Association jumped into the fray and started swinging by insisting the proposition is “just another attempt by government to tell New Yorkers what they should eat and drink, and will only have an unfair impact on those who can least afford it.”

Sound familiar?

Well, it isn’t much different down here in Texas. Forty percent of New York’s public school children are obese. Here in Texas, it is 35%--and growing. (no pun intended)

Now the food stamp regs do forbid purchase of harmful items such as tobacco and alcohol, but jiminy crickets, even a rocket scientist can get around that. Who out there has not witnessed items purchased with stamps or cards, then cash paid for the cigarettes or beer?

New York’s request has nothing to do with telling Americans what they can eat. All it does is state, ‘if we give you free money, then you are giving up the right to spend it anyway you wish. You must spend it according to the guidelines laid down.”

What is difficult about that? And what is wrong about that?

On the other hand, people are mighty slick at finding ways around rules and regulations.

My wife and I were waiting to check out at a supermarket in Beaumont when the lady in front paid for her groceries with a Lone Star card. I didn’t think much about it until the checker handed her twenty-five dollars in cash. Then the lady used the card to pay for her teenage boy’s one liter orange drink, and once again received twenty-five dollars in cash. She laughed and told the cashier she needed extra cash for the boat in Lake Charles. (for those who don’t know, the boat is a gambling boat)

I didn’t know welfare recipients could get cash, but when I went online, I discovered I was wrong. Recipients can receive a percentage of their benefits in cash-at least with the Lone Star card.

It isn’t my place to judge others, but you can’t help wondering upon witnessing another situation where a young couple, both seem perfectly healthy, paid for two baskets heaped with groceries with a Lone Star card.

Oh the other hand, when friends and acquaintances are subjected to various drug tests in order to keep their jobs, it somehow seems unfair that no such tests are required for those who apply for welfare. What it boils down to is that many must take drug tests to work so their taxes can buy drugs for those who do not have to take drug tests to draw welfare.

Am I wrong? If so, explain it to me.

Now this isn’t confined to just Texas and New York. The abuse is rampant across the entire country.

The LA Times reported that 69 million in California welfare funds to help the needy had been spent outside the state on a variety of luxuries including Las Vegas slot machines, Hawaiian vacations, and luxury cruises out of Miami.

How is that even possible when the benefit for a single parent of two is about $500.00 in California? It isn’t possible, which means those individuals have additional and unreported income. I think they call that fraud. Obviously those agencies involved are doing nothing about it.

I sympathize with the lady who told the president she feared for the American dream. We all should. This sort of abuse is pushing the dream far beyond our reach.

Let’s help those who really need it, not the moochers who are always trying to get something for nothing. Let’s hold their feet to the fire for once, not the American workers’.

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