The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Food Stamps Are So Great!

You can get food stamps over the phone now? Apparently:

I applied for the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a.k.a. SNAP—today’s term for food stamps—in the bleak early days of January 2011. First I filled out a form online, and then amassed a stack of documents proving my income—or lack thereof—to the state. There was a paperwork mix-up, then a round of voice mail tag before a phone interview. In the end, I received a plastic card bearing my name and, on the back, a magnetic strip swipeable for the small-yet-helpful sum of $16 a month—the federal minimum benefit. With this, I reintroduced a modest amount of meat and leafy vegetables to my diet. By summer, my caseworker had found an error: I was actually entitled, by dint of my own poverty, to $200 a month for food. What’s more, I was entitled to this retroactively. [E.A.]

Here’s a leaflet telling you how to get food stamps by phone (sample reason: “I can’t come to the DHS office because of bad weather”) …

P.S.:  Gourmet contributor Tracie McMillan really may not be the best Real Person to argue against food stamp cuts:

I have never won the lottery, but I doubt it can improve on the experience of learning, after a long winter with a monochromatic diet, that you have $1,000 to spend on summer produce. . It was the dietary equivalent of opening a gray, dusty door and stepping, Dorothy-style, into Technicolor Oz.

It’s almost as if the Obama adminstration wanted to throw money at McMillan. … I’d feel like a paranoid right-winger writing that line, except that I’m not sure the Obamaites would dispute it. Put together the need for stimulus with a bipartisan decades-long campaign to remove the stigma from food stamps and you get McMillan’s gastronomic ecstasy. …

I’m not sure the stigma has been entirely removed, though. McMillan wouldn’t go to such great lengths to defend her food stamp experience if she didn’t feel just a little guilty, maybe:

I’ve heard conservatives say that food stamps lull the people who receive them into complacency and dependency. … I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but getting food stamps just made me work harder. All that “free” food made me feel as though I must be doing something important, and I’d better have something to show for it. And a little over a year later, I do: a best-selling book, and a taste for government cheese. [E.A.]

Convincing, no?

P.P.S.: More defensiveness …

About the only “typical” trait I had as a food stamp client was the fact that I was working: Roughly one third of SNAP recipients have jobs …

Doesn’t that mean that two thirds don’t have jobs? So why is she “typical”? Hello! Editor? …

The point isn’t that it’s bad for people on food stamps to not have jobs–we’ve been in a recession and people can’t find jobs. The point is that any program, like food stamps, that doles out cash-like assistance to people whether or not they work is inevitably, and rightly, stigmatized–in part because it carries the potential for creating a non-working dependent class. That’s true no matter how many recipients–10%, 80%–are actually working. That two thirds of them aren’t only reinforces the point. …