Note: I am aware that only TANF gets the official welfare designation, but for the purposes of this blog post, I lump all forms of taxpayer-funded assistance as being welfare.
Raise your hand if you have received any government assistance for any reason.
One, two, three…
Then the title of this post will resonate all too well with you.
I am here to tell you that you are worthless…you have done nothing…will do nothing…deserve nothing…and I cannot be bothered to look at you or share oxygen with you.
Never mind my precious taxpayer dollars. Are there no workhouses?
What? You’re on break? Your kind get BREAKS?!
Oh, all right then. Read on.
Anyone who has been in FA/SA for any length of time can tell you that while fat hatred is often its own entity, it very often intersects with other forms of bigotry, including racism, classism, and healthism/ableism. Nowhere are these undercurrents more prominent than when discussing food stamps.
Way back when, you have massive sheets of colorful stamps that stood out like medieval peasant regalia and called attention to your impoverished, government-sponging status. The sophisticated welfare queen of the 2010s has updated her image with plastic, usually with a expertly crafted backdrop of a state landmark and the name of the state you’re sponging off of written in calligraphy. Look out. It could be coming to a DHHS office near you.
With that, any Section 8 sultaness in a sequined Goodwill beret can come into a store looking like a normal person whose entitled to bank accounts (She’s working? You don’t say!) and credit cards. What is the world coming to?
That is, essentially, what many of these debates (if you can call them that) are about. If you want to criticize government assistance programs, or the principle of government assistance, that is your prerogative. You would even be somewhat correct to do so, as government assistance programs are not perfect and the welfare solution is but a partial and temporary one. Prudent counsel on the improvement of the lower economic classes would be much welcome.
Prudence is in short supply, sorry to say. Read any newspaper feature on food stamps and I can guarantee you that you will be treated to a barrage of comments to the effect of lazy school drop-outs are getting fat off of junk food purchased with food stamps.
The underlings are evil, let us count the ways…
- People on food stamps are poor, first of all. Enough said.
- They are fat, which is a sign of their unwillingness to cut back and to work more. Classic sin symbolism.
- They are stupid.
- They are stealing from us.
The issue of food access is one that deserves its own blog post, and I addressed it to some degree in a previous post Why I’m Against Food Access for the Poor. Whether or not it is an issue, how it manifests, and what we should do about it are not the focus here, but it is relevant nonetheless. I will explain how in a minute.
The crux of the matter is that, if you are on food stamps, you cannot win. Ever. Not you, no way! Go back in your hole!
In these very same articles, people will complain that people on food stamps have too many food choices. They are buying lobsters, steak, organic produce, yogurt, and everything else that THEY cannot afford to buy despite the fact that they WORK! Why are they not eating from the Dollar Tree, or better yet, garbage cans?
I never understood what all the fuss was about. A couple hundred a month is a couple hundred a month regardless of what it’s spent on, and it’s not like you can get more if you run out. If you run out before your card gets refilled, too bad. Anyway, what exactly is stopping THEM from buying lobsters, soda, and sundry luxuries with their own money? Your couple hundred is just as green as theirs, so why don’t you spend it how you want if it bothers you that much that you haven’t had a Coke in ages?
I’ll tell you what the issue is, and it’s not the fact that the people launching the attacks are disadvantaged in any way by these food stamp recipients. It’s because someone somewhere occupies a station in life less privileged than their own and yet, they are not paying the price for it.
On the other hand, if you do choose to go the cheap route and live on Velteeta, Spaghetti-Os, and Dollar Tree cuisine, you will be openly hated for that as well. You are using their taxpayer money to buy junk, and once you have consumed this dumpster fare, you will send send more of their taxpayer monies down your funnel by getting deadly lifestyle diseases and forcing the government to pay for it. It’s a double-whammy. It does not occur to them that the food they want you to eat is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE for you, and that you would deplete your food stamps in two weeks. Even those who consider themselves passionate about food access are not getting why you aren’t smart enough to buy our favored produce with your free government money.
At this point, you come to realize that some people will look for any excuse to hate you for the sin of needing help. No matter how many times or how foolishly they contradict themselves to do so, they will openly hate you because they can and you cannot fight back.
Something else I noticed about people who are hostile towards those on assistance is that they are constantly looking for examples of frivolous spending on your part. If your handbag looks new, a total stranger will tap you on the shoulder and ask how you got it if you’re on…uh…the dole. You could tell her you bought it at Goodwill/went dumpster diving/panhandled/got it donated by a cousin having a yard sale and she would still tell you to sell it for a whopping 50 cents.
Welfare recipients are not only to starve to death, but to be naked as well or wearing gunnysacks. I’m sure some hipster will turn said sack into poverty chic and the poor will eventually have to pay top dollar for that too, but for now, it is more than appropriate for your underling self. The upside is that they come in all sizes.:)
This ends up being a catch-22 as well because if you want to go to a job interview or any other opportunity-enhancing activity in public, you will need some decent clothes. That costs money. If you are fat, it will cost you even more money, because you may not be able to shop in mainstream clothing stores. You need to pay more at specialty shops, have them tailored, buy online and pay for shipping, or travel farther away. Since a large subset of the welfare-dependent population will be heavier than average for whatever reason, many of them NOT related to food or lifestyle, like different racial characteristics, this means a lot of government money will be “blown” on fancy clothes. You might also need to have work done on your hair-nothing fancy, just enough to make it presentable. That costs money. If you are of minority race, you might need to find a hairdresser that knows how to work with your hair. That costs money. If you do it yourself, the products cost money. You can’t do that, oh no, not with taxpayer dollars.
Granted, it’s probably not in your best interest to shop at places like Talbots or Amisi if you are on assistance, but it is usually not necessary to do so to get decent clothes. I doubt that most people on assistance do. In the end, it doesn’t matter anyway, because, for the millionth time, you’re on assistance so you’re not entitled to buy anything ever.
Of course, you could do without that and simply wear your unwashed gunnysack to your interview, but then you probably would not get the job. And then you will be accused of not trying hard enough to better yourself. You will probably be accused of being too stupid and lazy to take care of yourself in general, which is why are you are on welfare.
With that, my dear readers, I bid you adieu, and I implore you to never forget, O guttersnipes, that you are on welfare, your very sustenance fueled by the labors of citizens worthier than yourself, and you must accept whatever is handed to you. You mustn’t expect to achieve more than this, to petition to your betters for redress of your grievances, and this shall be your fate until the end of your days. Rest assured your lot will not improve with death, because you, like all the other underlings before you, shall be dumped in a mass grave and forgotten, another anonymous dirty face that said nothing, did nothing, and will be given nothing. Such is the price you pay for your folly and the sins of your fathers.