May 25, 2014 by David K. Sutton
Facebook, Food Stamps, Politics, And The Megaphone Of The Uninformed
When you use Facebook as a megaphone to pronounce condemnation of people who happen to own certain material possessions while simultaneously using food stamps, you perpetuate a stigma that already exists. You are simply pouring salt on a wound. You are standing on your soapbox and demeaning a system that helps people in need, while disparaging people you don’t know, to make a political point, about something you evidently are not informed about.
And to what end? What good are you trying to bring into the world with your accusations and judgments?
Maybe someone gave them that iPhone as a gift. Maybe someone else is paying the cable bill. Do you know? Of course not. And even if that wasn’t the case, we are all human. People think their low points are going to be short blips on the radar. I’m not going to judge their situation when I don’t know all the facts.
But instead, people who complain about these things seem to have a strange desire to create an “us against them” situation in society. I don’t know, maybe their brains require this for there to be some sense of order in the world. I know I will never understand it. They have to believe that a certain type of person exists in the world, being lazy, living off government subsidy, and they also believe they must respond to some unwritten rule by announcing to the world their disapproval of these people, who by the way, are mostly hypothetical, and in all cases, a fabrication of their minds, because they rarely have real-world examples to point to.
Now, do I think people like this really exist? I’m positive they do, but unless you are crunching the numbers, you are railing against an abstraction, and I fail to see what good that brings to the world.
And if you think you’ve never benefited from a government subsidy, you are wrong. This is just one example of many, but if you’ve ever taken a tax deduction beyond the standard deduction, that is a subsidy. In essence, someone else is paying for you to be able to take that deduction (or it’s simply adding to the national debt, which is the same thing), because it was deemed a public good to have that deduction, just as its deemed a public good to make sure people don’t starve when they are in financial turmoil. But see, the mortgage interest deduction (to use that as an example), doesn’t have any social stigma attached to it like food stamps, and well, that’s actually a pretty sad statement about society in general. We applaud people using a government subsidy to buy a home, and we censure people using a government subsidy to feed their family.
And then how about all the people on food stamps who do indeed “play by the rules.” How do you think they feel when the program they are using, which people already are typically uncomfortable about revealing, continues to get disparaged by people who apparently take pride in demeaning the “other” in our society? The argument of “my tax dollars” is insufficient to justify your condemnation and nastiness towards people in need. If you don’t know their specific situation intimately, then the best thing you can do is step away from the keyboard, or refrain from clicking that Share button.