HomeEconomic IssuesAfghanistan Veteran on Food Stamps Writes Letter to ‘Caring’ Conservatives

Afghanistan Veteran on Food Stamps Writes Letter to ‘Caring’ Conservatives

Some people measure a society’s condition by the lifestyles of the rich and famous — and those people are usually the rich and famous. For the rest of humanity, a society’s success is measured by the living conditions of the poorest. And who exactly the “poorest” are.

This letter, posted on September 19th by a combat veteran named Jason, speaks volumes of what American poverty looks like on the side streets of our society, and of the people who sleep on them.

“My name is Jason.  I turned 35 less than a week ago.  My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17.  I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college.  I’ve never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan.

Oh, and I’m now on food stamps.  Since June, as a matter of fact.

Why am I on food stamps?

The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving.

I mean, if that’s okay with you:

…Mr. or Mrs. Republican congressman.

…Mr. or Mrs. Conservative commentator.

…Mr. or Mrs. “welfare queen” letter-to-the-editor author.

…Mr. or Mrs. “fiscal conservative, reason-based” libertarian.

I do apologize for burdening you on the checkout line with real-life images of American-style poverty.  I know you probably believe the only true starving people in the world have flies buzzing around their eyes while they wallow away, near-lifeless in gutters.

Hate to burst the bubble, but those people don’t live in this country.

I do.  And millions like me.  Millions of people in poverty who fall into three categories.

Let’s call them the “lucky” category, since conservatives seem to think people on welfare have hit some sort of jackpot:

Those living paycheck to paycheck?  They’re a little lucky.

Those living unemployment check to unemployment check?  They’re a little luckier.

Those living 2nd of the month to 2nd of the month?  *ding* We’ve hit the jackpot!

The 2nd of the month being the time when funds gets electronically deposited onto the EBT card, [at least in NY] for those who’ve never been fortunate enough to hit that $175/month Powerball.

I fall into the latter two categories.  But I’ve known people recently - soldiers in the Army – who were in the first and third.  They were off fighting in Afghanistan while their wives were at home, buying food at the on-post commissary with food stamps.

And nobody bats an eye there, because it’s not uncommon in the military.

It’s not uncommon – nor is it shameful.  It might be shameful how little service-members are paid, but that’s a separate issue.

The fact remains anyone at a certain income level can find it difficult from time to time to pay for everything.  And when you’re poor you learn to make sacrifices.  Food shouldn’t be one of them.

The whole concept is un-American.  People living here, in the greatest country on Earth, with the most abundant resources,  should be forced to go hungry because of the intellectual notion of fiscal conservatism and the ideological notion of self-reliance.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I didn’t risk my life in Afghanistan so I could come back and watch people go hungry in America.   I certainly didn’t risk it so *I* could come back and go hungry.

Anyone who genuinely supports cutting food stamps is not an intellectual or an ideologue – they’re a bully.

And nobody likes a bully.  Except other bullies.

It’s time for regular Americans to stand up to these bullies.  Not cower in the corner, ashamed of needing help.  Because if there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that you never know when you’ll be the one in need.”

There are some who despise the American poor because in their minds, you’re not “poor” unless you look like this:

But the people who look like that live in the poorest nations on Earth. We can’t start applying those standards to our own society, because that’s the quickest way to become just like them. Standards slip from the bottom like a foundation sliding downhill. In America, we’re rarely OUT of food…we’re just out of food that won’t kill you.

Say what you will about the idea of “American exceptionalism,” but we have to draw the line somewhere. We have to draw the line at a place that we will not accept…a place we can look at and say “We’re better than THAT.

Intellectuals like Rand Paul don’t see us as a society…they see us as a Petri dish for their thought experiments. And because they’re smart, a certain number of idiots will stand behind them.

But when we start believing that these guys

are fighting to come home to the living standards of these guys

then we truly have lost everything that it means to be American.

We owe soldiers like Jason a better nation than that.

h/t: IACWE

Due to our error, this article has been UPDATED to read “Afghanistan Veteran” instead of “Iraq Veteran.”

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About Richard Rowe

Richard Rowe
Richard Rowe is a full-time freelance writer who has written over 3 million words in the last four years alone -- mostly on automotive and technical subjects. He's also a seventh-generation native Floridian, and was born and raised in the Ocala National Forest. Richard's passions include cars and machines of all varieties (including guns), building hot rods and engines, engineering, history, philosophy, theology, gardening and stopping Florida's Corporate Republican invaders. He doesn't believe in following any one party, group or ideology, and prefers to think about each situation as it comes. He has several projects in the works right now, including a series of books on driving, fuel economy and the future of the automobile, one on applying the principles of thermodynamics to global economics, a Taoist perspective on applying physics and mathematics to sprituality and religion, and another on the role of the Industrial Revolution in ending slavery. Sooner or later, he'll write some fiction. The first edition of the first auto book (titled "The Hypermiler's Bible -- Basic Edition") will be out for sale on Amazon by the year's end; specialty editions of the same book will follow, as will the rest of the series.

118 comments

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  2. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    Mat 25:35
    For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    Mat 25:36
    Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    Mat 25:37
    Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungy, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    Mat 25:38
    When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    Mat 25:39
    Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    Mat 25:40
    And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    Mat 25:41
    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    Mat 25:42
    For I was an hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    Mat 25:43
    I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    Mat 25:44
    Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    Mat 25:45
    Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

    Mat 25:46
    And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    The Authorized Version or King James Version (KJV), 1611, 1769.

    • Whew. Luckily, this nation is not filled with Bronze Age tribal Jews. In other words, the above scripture, while useful to those addicted to Middle Eastern mythology, is totally irrelevant to the US in the 21st century. US law isn’t based on anyone’s religious scripture. Not in any way. It’s based on English Common Law. The Constitution was written by Deists who lived during the Age of Enlightenment. They did NOT consult invisible deities or comb thru Jewish myths to create our country.

      You see, altho those passages have to do with helping those in need, NO ONE needs Bronze Age literature to do what is UNIVERSAL: helping those in need.

      Billionaires don’t care about Bronze Age myths. Millionaires don’t either – unless they’re televangelists. None of the people who have voted to dump food stamps are televangelists. Sadly, those Teatards and other assorted Republicans who voted down food stamps are minions of a handful of **BILLIONAIRES** whose sole purpose in forcing those who they purchased in Congress to vote that way, did so because they have a single goal: no more taxes.

      Dumping food stamps is about billionaires demanding that they aren’t taxed anymore. That’s it. There is no other reason. Scripture doesn’t affect a billionaire in any way whatsoever. In fact, it doesn’t even affect those in Congress who identify as Christian as seen by them totally ignoring those passages.

      So, instead of quoting random Bronze Age Jewish scripture, I suggest you FIGHT. With REAL weapons.

  3. Bottom line..if you don’t believe in helping the poor you are not a Christian and you won’t get into heaven. read Matthew 25!

    • There are more christian’s that give to the poor than any other group in the world…If you say you will not go to heaven because you don’t give to the poor that’s not what the bible say’s.You must accept Jesus as you savior to get to heaven.

  4. Who is this man, so I can offer him a job?

  5. I think life would be better if everyone was working and not living on government handouts, and I am sure there probably are a few that will not work under any circumstances. However, there is always the other side of the coin. There are those that have worked at jobs that have enabled the wealthy to become wealthy. When they become wealthy, They say they did it all by themselves and the poor don’t deserve anything because they have not earned it. To me, there is no reason in the world why someone needs a multimillion dollar house in each state of the union. If we were to look at what makes the wealthy wealthy, I think we would find that they got that way because someone gave them a leg-up somewhere in there life. I think Reagan’s Idea of a filter down economy is great in theory, but the trouble is the money didn’t filter down. It filtered into off-shore bank accounts and went to build up businesses in other countries.

    • Reaganomics is not even good in theory. There’s a reason that Bush referred to it as “voodoo economics”, and it has played out pretty much exactly like those on the left predicted it would. I had never felt more embarrassed about being an American than during the Reagan era…and then George W. Bush came along and set a new low…

    • The problem is that everyone can’t work. 83% of food stamp recipients are children, elderly or disabled. Children, rightly, are not allowed to work because we’ve evolved enough to have child labor laws. The elderly shouldn’t have to work anymore and in many cases they can’t anymore. The disabled can’t work either. Yes some of them could with accommodations, but in an economy where there are 100+ applications for every job opening why would an employer want to make those accommodations? They wouldn’t because hiring the younger, able bodied worker is a lot cheaper.
      Government assistance is there to protect those that are vulnerable. They should NEVER have to beg for charity or have to betray their conscience and convert to get help from some church. We must never give in to the demands of those who would dismantle the safety net. The idea that everyone does it alone is nothing more than the bootstrap myth. It is physically impossible to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and Nobody gets into a position of success alone. Libertarianism is a disease and like Communism it has never existed as a form of government (there has been Lennonism/Stainism and Maoism..but never pure Communism) and the closest thing to it is Somalia. In a civilized society we realize that everyone really is interconnected and therefore interdependent.,

      • This comment is SO full of win that it lightened my mood from days of dumb crap I’ve been reading on other sites. Thank you for that.

  6. Can you fix the title about him to state what he is….an Afghanistan Veteran? I understand you just wrote a title and it has nothing to do with the credibility of the author. However, it gives ammunition to those who don’t believe that the cuts to food stamps are going to affect active duty military and Veterans. Thank you.

  7. Right, so, also military here.

    I guess, according to Jason, I’m a bully. I came back from the military and went to work. I started my own business and put myself through school. I learned very quickly that my military skills were not transferable to civilian life. Pulling a trigger is not a life skill. Yes, not everyone shoots people for a living while in the military but military training for military jobs is specific, and seldom applicable in the civilian world.

    I suppose I have no sympathy because I have never understood why it is greed for me to keep what I earn but it’s not greedy to reach in to someone else’s pocket and take what they earn for yourself.

    How am I responsible for the lives of others? I do not make decisions for them. I did not put them in their current position. I do not owe them anything simply because they are alive.

    In some ways I can understand his point. When you look at actual government spending, there are a plethora of programs that could be cut first. Food stamps would be one of the last things and would be easily affordable if we slashed defense spending, subsidies, etc. But food stamps is hardly a worthy cause. It is a band aid on a bigger problem. That problem is jobs. Jobs are not here because of government legislation.

    People like Jason don’t get it. The people they’re crying out to save them are the same ones making a living off their suffering. Politicians don’t care about you. Giving them more power just gives them more ways to hurt you.

    • There are those of us who disagree whole heartedly with you on the jobs situation. You’re entitled to your opinion on how to solve the jobs situation, but he’s not taking money out of your pocket, he’s taking money out of “our” pocket. Which he paid into. When I say “our” I mean everyone’s.

      We still live in a democracy, and the majority of us disagree with cutting social safety nets, so we do what we do in democracy. Majority rules. I don’t like that your business has tax breaks I don’t think it needs. Well I can just suck it up and go vote.

      My point is, you have an opinion and that’s fine, but you didn’t back it up with any facts, you just displayed a lack of empathy, sympathy and good ol’ altruism. Fine, so if I was hanging off a cliff you wouldn’t try to save me because you might fall too. That’s really the only for sure thing you got across.

      • Hate to Rain on your parade but we live in a Republic which stops the Majority (Mob) rules. I do not disagree with you I just wanted to point out the we don’t live in a democracy.

        • This is simply just not true. What is the definition of a Republic? It is a form of government where governance is a public, not a private matter. This means the government is not run by a Monarch. Besides that, there is nothing in the definition of a Republic that says there is no “mob” rule. Switzerland is a Republic, and they have many elements of direct democracy (aka “mob” rule). The US Constitution says that every state will be guaranteed a Republican form of government. California, amongst many other states, has an initiative system where the people can directly vote to amend their state constitution. IE, “mob” rule.

          Almost everything in the US is done via majority rule anyway. All US Representatives are elected democratically. To pass laws, the House has to have a simple majority. The Senate is a little trickier but assuming nobody filibusters, they pass laws via majority vote too. The President is elected via majority vote – at the state level.

          You are making the false assumption that Republics and Democracies are mutually exclusive terms. The US is both. As for “preventing” “mob” rule, there are other features in place that you could name, because the fact that the US is a Republic isn’t one of them. Federalism or Liberalism, for example.

    • I worked for three years in unemployment claims and there are peeps who work hard and even harder and sometimes life gives them obstacles and they have to have food stamps to eat. it is not a disgrace. what is a disgrace is the one sided sociopath of the repugs and tea bags and other bully mentalities who think they are so great and should not help others……they are the weak ones who live in another universe made for sociopath behavior. God Bless the soldier who wrote this wonderful letter.

    • I agree that Food Stamps is a treatment and not a solution to the problem of poverty, but “we need more jobs” isn’t a solution either–it’s little more than a nice idea. If nice ideas were themselves job opportunities then we’d be onto something, but as it stands there are millions of people who did not have the good fortune to have whatever education, upbringing, access to resources, solid mental health, communication skills, and social connections that helped you to start your own business.

      Please note that I am making no excuses, and neither am I placing blame. Maybe Jason’s story is that he dropped out of school, made poor financial decisions, got into serious debt, and has been unable to get back afloat because he has no education, no access to capital, and is more worried about getting his next meal than how his 401k is doing. Do his decisions mean that he deserves to starve to death? In no way am I suggesting that is your personal, private responsibility to provide for people who have made poor decisions, but I will posit that there have been times in your life where somebody threw you a bone.

      So let’s think outside the box, shall we? Regardless of what the politicians are doing, you started a business, yes? Need a janitor, or somebody to wash the windows? Find Jason, or someone like him. Or, better yet, talk to someone living in that situation, see if they have any skills or are trainable, connect them with somebody who needs a worker for manual labor. You can be the source of the jobs rather than wishing more jobs would fall from the sky and magically land in the laps of the homeless–who are certainly known for their ability to respond promptly to online job ads with a resume and list of references.

      No, hayeksplosives, it is not your personal responsibility to support people because they may have made poor choices. But I believe it is, collectively, our social responsibility not to dehumanize someone because they may have made poor choices, and treating the problem of poverty as if it’s someone else’s problem is dehumanizing to our society as a whole. Maybe it’s never felt like you needed a leg up, but you know that other people helped you get to where you are–people who were not responsible for your life, your decisions, your position, and people who didn’t owe you anything.

      It’s not about “owing” someone. It’s about doing something good because you can. Indifference to the suffering of others is not a capitalist ideal; it’s an isolationist ideal, which has no place in an increasingly globalizing society. Do more, not because you’re indebted to anyone (even though you are indebted to people you can never repay directly), but more because you *can*, because it will improve someone else’s life at practically no cost to you at all. Having that option and ignoring it is the same as pretending that everything you’ve ever had came only from yourself, as if no one else was involved.

    • Putting yourself through college and starting up a business is commendable, and I can understand your point in that my dad was laid off from a well paying UAW job in 1982 and instead of collecting unemployment benefits that he was entitled to, he also started up a business, which he operated until he became ill and eventually passed on. It is easy when you are in that situation to not realize the extreme hardships a lot of people face when trying to climb from the bottom up. With respect to my dad, he worked long hard days, and paid heavily into health insurance for years that was cancelled in a matter of months when his health rapidly declined, and because a number of details were not wrapped up, he did not qualify for public assistance of any kind.

      I would say, if you worked your way up from near nothing to a decent wage, say $200,000, you probably have a point and you are probably taxed unfairly. It’s not the middle class or upper middle class that is really the problem in this country. If you are making above $500K, then very likely you do owe society more than what you pay and keeping it would be greedy in that case. Why? Because at that point you would be the beneficiary of a number of loopholes that would allow you to be taxed at a lower rate than people earning less than you, and to say you owe society nothing… well, that’s a bit ludicrous because you do live in a society, like it or not, that offers you benefits as well as protections, and these do contribute to your success.

      Not everyone has the organizational and people skills necessary to become successful at business. Not everyone has the educational background or intellect to go through college in first place; and second, pay their own way receiving no grants, loans or other forms of public assistance, which I assume you did not by your post. For these people, there once were decent paying jobs in manufacturing. Now, most jobs are service oriented and not everyone is up to the task for various reasons. Most jobs don’t pay well enough to climb out of a hole. Why is this your problem? Because these people, WE, are part of your society, and if the current trends continue, civil unrest is inevitable. The disparities are great, and the extremely rich are exploiting poor working class in every conceivable way DRIVING UP POVERTY. You can be part of the problem or you can help solve it, but the attitude you present does not suggest you are interested in solving anything.

      • We need that civil unrest to rid the country of the types of which you write. The civil war never ended, really, to their ilk. Lincoln’s mistake was not just rounding up the slaves, rehabilitating them in the north, treating them like humans, and integrating them into progressive society, while letting the small-minded, intellectually-underemployed slave owners and southerners rot in their own filth. The “confederacy” would have been begging to re-unite in five years and we, the progressive states of america, could have said “no”. A country without the burden of the anti-intellectual south would be a better one.

    • Instead of joining the military, I worked in restaurants, pumped gas, and cleaned toilets. I was also hungry a lot of the time. Whatever. At least I never got shot at. Oh wait, yes I did. Still, I’m an American and I refuse to own a gun. Even though I’ve been shot at. So, yeah. There’s that. BTW: If I hadn’t been able to get food stamps when I was younger, my dish-washing, gas-pumping, toilet cleaning self probably wouldn’t have eaten after paying 1. Rent 2. Cell Phone. I’m tellin’ ya, you can’t make shit on minimum wage, and you’re too dog gone tired after 1. work and 2. a 45 minute bus ride to do much about it. Living the dream!

    • You put yourself through school.

      Without taking Government backed Student Loans ?

      Without taking the Pell Grant ?

      Without taking the New GI Bill benefits ?

      Many Conservatives are QUICK to take any benefit from the Government they can; but just as quick to complain about taxes.

      Paul Ryan banked his father’s Social Security Survivor’s benefits, and thus paid his way through college.

      There’s a dozen stories, I’m sure.

      My favorite is the Tea Party Congressman who’s family had eight kids, and his parents only achieved their dream of owning a horse ranch with Federal Subsidies. It wasn’t quite a money-making concern on their own.

      Once he got into Office, he immediately voted to cut that very Farm program.

      http://www.senatemajority.com/2011/10/news/blog-posts/nebraska-gop-senate-candidate-decries-federal-spending-rakes-in-federal-benefits/

      http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/16/511807/tea-party-car-leases/

      Let’s set a bottom line here. When you were out risking your neck for OUR Country, every dime you were paid came from taxes.

      So… if taxes are bad, buddy, the Military is bad.

      “I do not owe them anything simply because they are alive.”

      I am a bit ashamed of you now. I wonder if you’d say those words to any of your fellow soldiers.

      Because the words of Jesus Christ come to mind:

      Matthew 25:45

      “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”

    • Because when you have more than you need, helping those who don’t is good thing.

      at least if you’re somewhat fuckin human.

      • Richard Rowe

        This is the best comment I’ve ever read in my entire life. I’m just going to start pasting it into the text window of every article I do. Job done.

    • That’s all great, but you have to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Not everybody has the ability, no matter how hard they try, to do what you did. And no soldier who serves their country should have to fend for themselves at home. We, as a society, have a responsibility to other members of society. You may think of these things on a smaller scale, that your tax money simply goes to food stamps and that’s it, but tax money is used for an assortment of hospitable acts: it fixes roads you don’t use, it creates schools you and your family will never use, it goes to medical services you will likely never have a need for, like disease treatments for low income folks. Food stamps are one social and public service in a field of many others. But here’s another thought: if you’re mad about food stamps, why are you not mad about wasted education. Money is plugged into public education that will go to waste because a lot of kids won’t use it to find a good job, they will just end up on social services because of a lack of jobs. Or what about a cancer patient who is too poor to afford insurance and gets put on a public system tax dollars are used for, despite the fact that their treatments may be futile. There are likely thousands of social services that cases could be made against because of how useless we perceive them and how we perceive the people who use them, but without understanding each and every single individual on said program, we cannot make accurate judgements and have no right to condemn them or their situation. Just as well, as a soldier you should know better than to judge another soldier and their situation. You should know personally the struggle many have to make to get back on their feet. Maybe it all worked out for you. Maybe all your hard work paid off. That does not apply to everyone, and we should not believe it should unless we are willing to give them a helping hand to get out of their situation. If you extend your hand, and they refuse it, then you have every right to judge. But until then, save your judgements and maybe try to put a little more human compassion and social conscience into your thoughts.

    • Smh… You’re exactly what’s wrong with this issue. You ARE a bully.

    • So you think because you were able to come home and go to school and start up your own business, that everyone else should be able to do the same? Not everyone has the same opportunities as you did. And why should you pay for anyone else in this country? Simple you pay for the privilege of living in this country. Nothing in this world is free. You have money well you have to pay for it by giving to those who don’t. If you don’t have money you pay for it in form of shame and embarrasment and now a days even more since soical media has a way of showing how many people actually begrudge the poor using EBT card. Lets not forget the very rich got rich off the sweat off the backs of the working poor in one way or another. hayeskplosives, I think you are a good example of the part of the bible that says “It is easier for the camel to go through the eye of the needle then it is for a rich man to go to heaven” MINE MINE MINE!

    • For helping you get to where you are by paying your wages and through those programs that helped you, even by paying for social programs that keep the roads intact so you can get to work, you’re welcome.

      Time to give something back to the rest of us.

  8. I think that if conservatives want to use ‘surfer dude’ as an example of the typical welfare recipient then we will just use Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as examples of typical gun owners, Father Roemer as an example of ALL Catholic priests and to represent all Americans….Honey Boo Boo.

  9. Because if the government doesn’t take our money by force to give it to those in need, giving voluntarily and being ACTUALLY charitable is completely out of the question, right? If we truly as a nation care about the plights of those who are impoverished, we will take care of them when we are able individually. Advocating a program which steals money from people to give to others is still advocating theft. It’s simply horrifying to suggest that if the federal government doesn’t meet people’s needs, no one will step up. At the very least it’s pessimistic and assumes only the worst out of society.

    • apparently you don’t get around the streets of major metro areas very often…

    • Yes, we have all seen how well “trickle down” philosophy works.

    • If charitable people were truly taking care of those in need, those government social programs would have never existed in the first place. People seem to some out in droves to support monetarily some huge cause that everyone knows about –hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes or fundraising drives for cancer or whatever if a cause is publicized enough–those publicizing create a windfall for themselves and a few bigwigs tied to a cause, but much greater problems go ignored. Besides, how many people are helping when you’ve got so many people saying these days that no one deserves to be helped, that they dug a hole for themselves to figure out how to climb out? Plus insensitive remarks about families trying to care for kids doesn’t really help the kids, who exist in this world through no fault of their own. BTW, those kids are our future and shall we keep them unhealthy and uneducated or help them learn to survive?

    • It’s simply horrifying to think that some people BELIEVE Churches and private organizations can help even a fraction of the Americans that would starve without aid.

      After all, in hard times, Church donations dry up.

      And even if the Church in question WOULD rather run a soup kitchen than donate to build a chapel in Haiti… they can’t afford to help enough people.

      And my experience with Churches is, building a chapel in Haiti is a far higher priority than helping hungry American children.

      And the “advocating a program that steals money to give to others is theft” line is PURE Ayn Rand.

      You know. The Sociopath and Russian immigrant that came to the United States, wrote a few really bad books, and started a movement based on Selfishness ?

      Rand actually SAID that Altruism was “EVIL”.

      Because to Ayn Rand, any emotion that caused you to care about other people was, indeed, evil.

      She also mocked Jesus Christ, religion of any sort, cheated on her husband openly, and basically, hated Democracy.

      What she wanted was an Oligarchy of the Rich; people that by luck or inherited wealth had risen to the top.

      There’s no way to tell if she paid Social Security taxes on her book income, such as it was.

      But there IS a record of Ayn Rand taking Social Security in her husband’s name.

      It seems either her books didn’t sell well enough, or she blew all the profits while she was young.

      Objectivists and some Libertarians believe taxes are evil.

      But let me put this in terms you might understand.

      You were born here; that was free.

      You were educated here; that wasn’t free, your parents had to pay taxes for the service.

      You choose to live and work here; that’s NOT free.

      You want the privilege of working in America?

      You pay for the privilege in the form of taxes.

      If you don’t pay taxes, it’s YOU that’s stealing from the Government. You are getting Police protection, Fire Departments, the Air Force, Marines, Army, and Navy.

      You OWE a debt.

      Now, if you want to go live in the woods like a hermit, that’s okay.

      But if you’re making money, you have to pay your debts.

    • Jake Jacobson, taxes are not stealing anything from you. There have always been taxes in every civilized country in some form, from shares of wheat in the Bible to I’m sure furs for the Native Americans. You pay a small amount that is combined to a larger pot that in turn can help many. The problem with your version is that “you” will be the judge of who is worthy. You can see the effects of that in India the poor don’t even have clean water because the Wealthy with all their gold only built safe water for themselves. They are a very rich country, with very poor citizens who live and die on the streets. Shameful is what it is your attitude is too.

  10. Rhonda – Thanks, I was wondering the same thing. The author should have sourced this.

  11. If you cannot feed them don’t breed them! It is not my responsibility to feed all the children in this world. I am tired of large families on food stamps. Birth control if free through the health department. Have responsibility for your actions. Work hard and pay your own way. Otherwise let the churches take care of the poor the way it is supposed to be.

    • People can’t predict the future. Lots of people on food stamps were feeding their families just fine before the economic decline. I suppose, though, you think it’s FINE for rich execs to exploit the middle class, drive them into poverty and then point the finger….

    • Birth control is non-existent thanks to Conservatives like you fighting to eliminate Planned Parenthood. “Compassionate Conservatism” is not compassionate, it is mean, nasty and controlling. The churches are the ones that actively work towards making things worse for people in the guise of supposed “help”. I hope someday that you find yourself in those circumstances, then maybe you’ll be a little more compassionate to those around you instead of mean and spiteful. There is nothing more hateful than a conservative.

    • Belle, I think you missed the entire point of the article. Maybe you should read it again.

    • No, actually it is. As an American citizen, you are part of a SOCIETY that does not tolerate people starving in the street. And some day, it could be YOU that is at risk of starving in the street.

      Welcome to civilization. it’s pay-to-play.

    • You’re a f*cking *sshole.

    • Your day will come. Good luck.

    • I do agree that having children when you are on food stamps is irresponsible. However, you have a much more ruthless view than just it being irresponsible. A scary one in fact. By the way, most of the charity organizations will tell you that they can’t handle all the needy by themselves. But yeah, let those churches help the needy. That’s how they use their money anyway, right? Their theatre quality moving lights, chandeliers, trips to Africa to build a church instead of houses, etc just fall out of the sky. Smh.

      • Sometimes hard times happen AFTER children have come along you know. My mother ended up being single when I was eight years old, and she was incredibly ashamed of using food stamps, but she had to feed me and my brother somehow. You can be perfectly responsible in your family planning and still end up on food stamps. Crap happens any time, anywhere which can leave most Americans in poverty in no time flat, don’t pretend like you’re so special that it couldn’t ever happen to you. Your job could get outsourced, your household breadwinner could get injured or die and you don’t have sufficient life insurance or savings to get kids to adulthood, you could have a catastrophic illness in your household (even with insurance 60% of all bankruptcies are medical based and 75% of those have health insurance).

        To those that think we should stop funding welfare we have a social safety net to keep us from becoming a third world turd-box of a country.

        The other problem with relying on charity is the person in need has to KNOW about the charity to gain access, and there may be other prerequisites, like requirement to be a member of that congregation and/or attending meetings or working for the food in the case of the Mormons.

        Also, those of your deciding that the poor people should rely on church charity organizations, how terribly Christian of you. Christ would be ashamed of how any one who wants to defund welfare treats or thinks of the poor. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars and if you’ve done it unto the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it to me.

    • Really? Where is that free birth control? I’ve never seen any.

    • Belle How do you feel about supporting profitable corporations? Each family in the US spends $6,000 of their tax dollars supporting corporations, that’s a total of $100 Billion per year. Now there is some misleading information out there that says welfare is the single largest budget item which simply is not true, the Military by far and away it the largest budget item. Most of your tax dollars go to the profit of major corporations, wealthy individuals who live on the upper east side of NYC and to the military to kill people, (which really translates into corporate bottom lines since we have mostly privatized war.). The amount of your tax dollars going to keep people alive and fed is minimal and pales in comparison to these other figures. As to free birth control through local health departments, maybe if they live in the right states, a blue state, otherwise birth control is being banned as a pre-abortion tool. The conservatives don’t want people having sex, but if you have sex you must have babies. Kinda biblical ya know. Most churches have no outreach programs for local people in need. Most church people only help those who are deserving, not those in need. Churches with this mind-set are not Christlike.

    • It’s not anywhere close to being that simple. Do you honestly believe that these millions of people were simply careless and/or lazy? Why don’t you try sitting down and talking to any of the people that need these programs? You’d learn how wrong you are. In fact, I’ve been on these programs before, you can ask me and I can prove you wrong.

    • “Otherwise let the churches take care of the poor the way it is supposed to be.” Or you could nut the fuck up and quit bitching about having to contribute to a civilized society. You know, like what has been done for thousands of years? Surrender surplus, “Render unto Caesar’s that which is Caesar’s” and all that jazz? If that’s too difficult for you, please stop burdening my country with your selfishness and get the hell out.

  12. So which was it Iraq or Afghanistan? Hard to believe the story when the “simple” facts are not straight…

    • That’s right. Take attention from the subject by pointing out a simple mistake by someone other than the author. Slick move. Do you think thinking people believe your bullshit. You’re so full of it. Typical conservative ploy…..”Look,look! That guy made a mistake. Everything about this article must be questioned. Call the gestapo….I mean the police”.

      • Yeah, I must not be a thinking person at all, I’m just a lonely Soldier that has spent 5 deployments overseas in the last 10 years, I also have a family of 3 dependents that I have taken care of, I have made the decisions on should I go home to see my parents on leave with my family or stick around locally because I couldn’t afford it and wait another year, buy a new car or buy a trusty used one, buy a house that takes every last cent out of both of our pay checks or one we can live comfortably in. A lot of good personal desicions can set you on the right path. But, I guess I’m not much of a thinker Jack, just a good desicion maker with what I have earned.

        • Richard Rowe

          In answer to your question, James, that was technical error on my part. I originally wrote “Iraq” in the title, did the article and saved it to drafts. I fixed it before publishing it, and then proceeded to go back to the previous tab (and thus version) to hit “Submit.” D’OH! Sorry about that…it’s fixed now. But, I promise…the rest of the article is actually right.

        • Why do people automatically assume they are smarter and superior just because they have served in the military. Guess what, you’re no better than the rest of us. If military men are always so perfect, why was I raped by one? Get off your high horse and pay attention to the real issues here!

        • You’re a lonely soldier who is raising 3 kids? They have only one parent? I would say, according to the “conservative family values,” that you’re not a good parent because you’re not smart enough to have or hold onto a wife. Anything that might have happened to her must be your fault, so you shouldn’t have had those kids in the first place.

  13. Very typical Liberal attack. Cutting SNAP is not an effort to cause those that really need it, to starve. It is an effort to get the free-loaders off of it – ie the surfer dude that was in the news a few weeks ago that doesn’t even look for a job nor wants one. I personally know over a dozen people that sell their food stamps to buy cigarettes, liquor and drugs. This is the problem with the whole program, there is no incentive to get off food stamps. Now before you start categorizing me, I too had to use SNAP a couple of years ago. I broke my back and with the system in place for disability, I had to file for assistance to feed my family. I was on it for about 5 months, until my wife made an $80 bonus at work and they kicked us off. I then feed a family of 3 on $45 a week and had meat on the table 6 out of 7 days. So, I’ve been there. I understand how it works. I understand that it has problems. But I also understand how you are trying to skew a cut as Republicans trying to starve people. Most of the assistance programs need to be addressed, mainly due to abuse. Oh, and if the economy wasn’t continually swirling down the porcelain and unemployment wasn’t at the steady level it has been for over four years, with the only bump down caused by people quitting the job search all together – then maybe the need for assistance would decline. You have tried to twist a view to back your political view, that’s all. The fact is, there are people that need it due to situations beyond there control and there are many, many abusers of the system… but if this Government, parties inclusive, was doing it’s job the problem would start fixing itself. It isn’t one party or the other, that’s the problem (and why it won’t be fixed pointing fingers) it is the inability on both sides to work together and compromise. This problem has started at the very top. With the biggest gap between rich and poor, since the Depression, only an idiot would try to blame it on one group or affiliation.

    • “I personally know over a dozen people that sell their food stamps to buy cigarettes, liquor and drugs.”

      “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

      Rather than stand idly by and watch this happen, take action. Help these people that you “know” by getting them involved with a ministry, or with some type of volunteer program. They need a purpose, and it’s up to those “good men” to make it happen.

    • ” I then feed a family of 3 on $45 a week and had meat on the table 6 out of 7 days. ”

      You are a lying sack of bullshit!!!!

      • It’s actually possible to do this. It’s not going to be organic meat, and it’s probably going to be mostly chicken and burger bought in bulk, but I can attest it can be done.

        • Do your kids get milk on the table for meal time or kool aid/water?
          Milk is important for growing children and it costs close to $5 a gallon here and powdered milk is expensive too I think it was $8 for the box I bought that might have lasted the week but would your kids drink it? If you have two kids you would need at least 2 gallons at $10 and that is just milk. A one pound package of hamberger even if you streatch it cost between five and six dollars and that is just one meal, now if it was every other day that would be maybe $15? Now you are up to 25 dollars and there is no breakfast food, no bread for sandwiches which costs around $2.50 when it is on sale that is $27.50 now and I didn’t cover breakfast – you could have toast but you would need butter to make it edible or peanut butter. Margerine even the cheap kind is over a dollar that would be 28, when on sale you can get planters peanut butter for two dollars $29, potatoes – 10 lbs run anywhere from $3 – $5 depending what kind you get let us say you get russets for $3. Now you are up to $30 for your total cost and you have no spices to mix with the hamberger or vegitables. Carrots long whole ones are $2.00 for 5#, onions $2.00, tomato sauce I’m not even sure I don’t buy mine I make it myself and that isn’t free either. My point is the little things add up and it isn’t really possible to feed a family of four on $45 a week. Rice and pasta are expensive and so are condensed soups now days – you are lucky if you can get one for $1 a can. Eggs (my poor mom’s standby for supper when we had nothing ) are almost $3 a dozen.

      • Ever heard of hamburger??? It can go a long way…….aren’t we lucky??

        • Hamburger meat and potatoes go a veeeery long way when feeding a family. You learn to be creative in the ways you serve it.

    • Oh, quit being an asshole. I’m a Republican, so I refuse to accept the current douchebag belief, expressed so clearly in your post, that anything advocating a Christian attitude towards the poor is a “Liberal attack”.

    • Your comment discounting the author’s argument as a “typical Liberal attack” is ironic, given that all you’re doing is throwing the “typical Conservative attack” back at him. Conservative news outlets report examples of food stamp fraud and then claim that its rampant and uncontrollable, so the program needs to be cut. The most recent report from the USDA says that the fraud rate for SNAP benefits is 1.3%. If you think that should be tackled, fine, but don’t pretend that the Republicans’ call for cutting the program is anything more than their usual line: what’s mine is mine and screw everyone else- if I’m doing OK, society be damned.

      • Richard Rowe

        More ironic yet since the author isn’t actually a liberal lol. You’d think people would read the author box before saying ‘you’ so many times in a reply. As to the soldier being liberal…I don’t remember him saying one way or the other.

        • To be quite frank, it doesn’t matter if anybody is liberal or not. Correct is correct. Putting a big “L” stamp on it isn’t going to change that no matter how hard these Conservative crybabies try.

        • Yeah Richard you cant argue with knowitalls. I am a war veteran and would do it all over again, yet some of my friends call me a bleeding heart Liberal because I believe in taking care of Americans in need over buying a new F35 from Lockheed to the tune of $300 million per x 2500 units. If they knew just how many of our homeless were veterans they should be ashamed, but they wouldn’t be…. because they’re heartless.

    • I’m not going to argue that there are a few people out there that misuse food stamps, but as you’ve probably heard, it costs more to address the few fraudulent cases out there than it does to provide the benefit, so this in no way is a step toward healing this economy. The primary problem in this economy is not food stamps or people on welfare, but the dearth of viable jobs that offer a future above merely skating by. If we should be angry about anything, it’s in the way corporations use their big money to lobby for big tax breaks for themselves to pad the pockets of the execs, and rarely passing any benefits onto the working class. The outsourcing of jobs means that other nations benefit from our consumerism (and not usually their working class citizens either), while directly hurting us by 1) less taxes paid into our economy (because the workers are not our own), 2) lack of productive jobs and 3) further tax incentives these companies get for outsourcing depletes our resources even more. Before you blame people for not getting a job, first ask, are these people employable in today’s economy? Today’s economy is service oriented, and as such, requires a certain manner of dress and appearance and solid command of the English language and its formalities. Not only that, employers look for polished resumes, and to get promoted, good credit standing is often a requirement. 30 years ago, various people could get jobs in manufacture, whether or not they even graduated from high school and even with a few flaws in their backgrounds, but no longer. Keeping in mind that MOST PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS HAVE JOBS and MOST PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS REMAIN ON THEM ONLY TEMPORARILY, there are others whose chances of getting a decent job are so slim that they have given up. And yes, you may see some fraud among them, but I’m certain a good many of them would also be working if only they saw a future in it. There is no reason for big corporations to employ a few at the top who receive enough in pay to cover the entire food stamp budget. I’m sorry, that’s not capitalism in any decent sense of the word, but outright exploitation.

    • I’m glad you think that the “surfer dude” that Fox News conveniently uses for their argument represents all 3.8 million Americans on food stamps. Or the handful of people you know who use food stamps to buy cigarettes, liquor, and drugs because it might actually be difficult living in extreme poverty where your only solace is these items. Now imagine during your time of need that you DIDN’T have that $45 to feed your family. What would you have done then? This is what Republicans just did. All of them. This is an obviously partisan issue. This is an entire political party that claims to be the “God party” that just threw away access to food for nearly 4 million of its brothers and sisters. Please, remind us again how Democrats are to blame for all this.

    • There is not equal blame for this situation that may be applied to both parties. Democrats do indeed deserve some blame for their coziness, in the past, with banks and market funds, but they have, at least, made steps to make up for that past indiscretion. Republicans have no such actions from their side, and frequently hold up progress on legislation for their own highly partisan reasons and refuse to compromise on even the most basic of points. They have pulled Democrats to the right for so long that Democrats now are to the right of people such as Richard Nixon or Dwight Eisenhower. When Democrats try to hold their ground, they’re branded as obstructionist or unreasonable, while Republicans have long been lauded for similar actions as brave or conscientious. Those of us who are left or left of center have found ourselves in an untenable position of being unable to agree with the very party that supposedly represents our side, while Republicans further play to their most irrational, and in some cases, psychopathic constituents. They have people such as Louie Gohmert and Michelle Bachmann, neither of whom seems capable of saying anything without invoking a visceral response to move to another country. You will have to excuse me if liberals such as myself are tired of giving up ground to selfish and entitled special interests who consume vast portions of our economy and natural resources, while simultaneously jealously deriding the poor as “takers.” You seem a reasonable man. You made a few valid points, but the entirety of your statement betrays your lack of understanding of the situation. Taking “facts” provided by “independent” media, who are usually conservatives in independent clothing, is unwise. I would suggest going to truly non-partisan sources like the CBO or the USDA for actual raw data on this particular matter. You would see that liberals are actually going in the correct direction on this.

    • How does one go about selling their food stamps for cigarette money these days, anyhow, considering all benefits are now on an EBT card that you would have to report as lost to get another, and thus would no longer work for whoever bought it, and would, after a couple of times, get you kicked off of the program because they’d want to know why you keep “losing” your card? Perhaps if your local office is that lax, you should bring it to their attention.

  14. Since the veteran said he was deployed to Afghanistan shouldn’t the title of the story say Afghanistan instead of Iraq? Inconsistencies like that make people question validity.

  15. Dispatcher: [to Richards] Yankee Nine-Niner, what’s the status of the crowd?

    Ben Richards: Food riot in progress. Approximately 1,500 civilians, no weapons are evident.

    Dispatcher: Proceed with Plan Alpha, eliminate anything moving.

    Richards: I said the crowd is unarmed! There are lots of women and children down there. All they want is some food, for God’s sake!

    Dispatcher: As you were Richards. Proceed with Plan Alpha. All rioters must be eliminated.

  16. Figures a raving liberal lunatic cannot express himself without using profanity. Stay classy, Progressives!

  17. Iraq Veteran on Food Stamps Writes Letter to “Caring” Conservatives…I didn’t risk my life in Afghanistan.

    Which one was it, Iraq or Afghanistan? Hard to believe the story from the get go…

    • Please check the original story. The original author did not mention Iraq as far as I can tell, and there’s no reason to doubt the credibility of this story.

      • There is reason to doubt it, I’ve been in the military long enough to pay attention to the details.

        • the details that the author accidentally mentioned a war that happened to be fought whilst simultaneously another war was being fought. http://thesterlingroad.com/2013/09/19/my-name-is-jason-im-a-35-yr-old-white-male-combat-veteran-and-im-on-food-stamps/ I was in the military too and know how to do the work to find out if something is correct or not instead of just posting some snarky comment because i don’t like what was being said. I apologize that the author who cited the story isn’t very good at being detail oriented. I also apologize for having to do some work for you. Even though you obviously pay attention to details.

        • yes, you pay attention to details so good that you missed where the vet’s letter was in quotes and the rest of the article is written by the reporter. Good job at paying attention and not realizing the error is the reporter NOT the vet.

          • So if they are attempting to tell a story that is true, don’t you think they would start with the title? What other details are wrong?

        • James, I am so very glad you were successful, this isn’t the case for everyone. Churches can’t help everyone and why would you fight for a country that let’s poor children and the disabled go hungry? Even if their parents make poor choices those kids didn’t ask to be born and the SNAP program here in WI has a five year limit and it is on a card – you can’t sell it. Many, many people are working full time with a part time job still qualify for it because minimum wage doesn’t pay the bills not even $3.00 over the minimum wage pays the bills. Don’t you see how much it costs to pay rent these days? It costs me $50 to put gas in my car and you have to fill it every week when your work is 20 miles from home, rent around here for a studio apartment is $400 a month and sometimes doesn’t include utilities. Then you have student loans – I am quite sure you used your GI benefits and you don’t know that this soldier was a gunner, he might have worked in telacomunacations, my brother did and it should translate to another job but doesn’t – another taxpayer waste as they pay to send them to college to learn that and they can’t use it any other place. You assume a lot about this fellow you don’t know.

          • Ann, I fight for this country for the idea that it was established on and obviously people that feel the same as you do won’t. I’m not assuming anything about this person, just asking questions about the validity of the story, since the Title didn’t match the persons story. And speaking of assuming, No I haven’t used my GI bill, my wife went to college while I was training or deployed, but when I do, as should Jason or who he would like to give his benefits to since he says he has already been, I will use it wisely.

    • Richard Rowe

      Yep…my bad. I think I responded to you before, but the “Iraq” thing was a draft error on my part. Published the wrong title. Mea Culpa.

  18. Everyone who talks about the poor ‘hitting the jackpot’ with public assistance should be compelled to spend at least 6 months trying to live on it. They can’t call on their rich friends or relatives for help.

    Even better, they can also work for minimum wage for that same period of time. Then ask them how they feel about getting rid of it in the name of padding the quarterlies.

  19. Combat infantry vet, Vietnam 1968. Spot on dude, you rock.

  20. This makes me really, really mad. Idealogues are so hell-bent on taking everything from everyone just so the poor put-upon rich a**holes can keep their tax breaks that they’re willing to let men who risk their lives for American freedom go hungry. THAT is shameful.

  21. Why not include the source of this important letter? I mean, people need to hear these viewpoints, but the authors of these types of things should be referenced clearly and directly so that they may be given credit due. His name is Jay Kirell and his post is here:

    http://thesterlingroad.com/2013/09/19/my-name-is-jason-im-a-35-yr-old-white-male-combat-veteran-and-im-on-food-stamps/

    • Very powerful and down-to-earth-post. People need to see the face of the proud who have had to swallow some of their pride in order to take assistance.

      (Also, I agree with the above poster. This taking of other people’s content, without clear attribution, is getting old. I write original content myself, that I am paid very little for to begin with, and it gets snagged all of the time by other blogs and “content curators.” Writing is how how I feed my family, so theft makes me want to unfollow this site.)

      • Richard Rowe

        @ ACL and Rhonda: Thanks for bringing it up, and for posting the link. I’m not really sure what happened with the hotlink to the original story. It was originally linking to the words “this letter” in the opening paragraph, but somehow it didn’t make it through to the final edit. I’m not really sure what happened there, but I assume it was for the same reason that the original title said “Iraq”…I messed up and submitted the wrong draft after switching tabs. It wasn’t my intent to not give the source…I write for a living, too, and it drives me batshit insane when people pirate my work. my apologies for the mistake…I promise, I’ll start paying a little more attention in WordPress.

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