Jewish World Review April 27, 2010/ 13 Iyar 5770
Food Stamps for College Kids
By Tom Purcell
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Let them eat baked potatoes.
Maybe I better explain.
I came across an interesting article at The Daily Caller website: More college kids are qualifying for food stamps.
Whereas government-funded grub has long been available to the working poor, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is eagerly expanding such benefits to college kids, too.
For starters, says The New York Times, the USDA has worked to take the stigma out of receiving government grub. It now calls food stamps "nutritional aid."
Recipients who used to receive actual stamps now receive a plastic card. It looks and works like a debit card. Only you and your grocer know who is really picking up the tab.
Though it's not like college kids feel stigmatized by food stamps. They can't believe their good fortune.
That's because the USDA has made it easy for college kids, regardless of their socioeconomic background, to qualify many college kids are "poor" on paper even if they're from well-to-do homes.
And if they live at home with Mom and Dad, they still may qualify so long as they can show that Mom and Dad prepare only half of their meals.
And so it is that many are receiving up to $200 a month in free grub.
I surely could have used free grub during my Penn State days in the early '80s, but those were the unenlightened Reagan years, when college kids would have felt stigmatized for accepting handouts.
Boy, was I broke.
When school was in session, I worked as a cook, janitor, bouncer, grass cutter and I managed the dump of a rooming house where I lived.
We had a community kitchen and never locked the doors (the cockroaches needed to come and go freely!). One day after I'd earned just enough dough to buy fresh turkey and bread, the lunch-meat thief struck no sandwich for me.
We never caught the jerk, but he surely suffered no stigma for receiving government handouts.
I concocted what I thought was a clever strategy to save money at the pub. I sold my plasma they'd draw my blood, spin off the plasma, then give me back the rest and always planned my donations around happy hours.
Lightheaded, my blood thickened that's what happens, because plasma is largely water, and the red blood cells you get back are much thicker than water I'd stumble to the pub. One beer had the effect of three and my bar-tab savings were enormous.
The only food assistance I recall receiving came from Ralph, one of our rooming-house tenants.
Ralph, who was in his 20s he'd earned his degree but his mother wouldn't let him return to the family farm until he found a wife spent all of his time baking potatoes.
They sat all over the house.
They never looked very appetizing, but to a fellow stumbling into the kitchen low on plasma and high on Budweiser, they may as well have been the finest cuts of expertly grilled filet mignon.
Ralph's "bakers" got me through Penn State.
In any event, our government is clearly eager to get more people hooked on government handouts President Obama's latest budget includes $72.5 billion for food stamps, almost double the amount from 2008.
And while most college kids probably are smart enough to figure they'd be dumb not to accept the food-stamp largess if we taxpayers are dumb enough to sit by quietly while the government gives it to them, I offer a different take.
Nobody minds when their tax dough is used to help the working poor and others who are truly in need, but … college kids?
Let the privileged brats eat baked potatoes.
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© 2010, Tom Purcell