She Pays for the Groceries with Government Assistance… While He Scratches Off Lottery Tickets… Really Classy.

Today’s headline was actually a Facebook status update authored by my friend Tim. Tim, admittedly, did not know the situation of the couple he referenced, and meant no harm by what he posted. He simply found what he saw humorous. We all know that a lot of people abuse every government assistance program. I’m certain the government abuses those same programs; I guarantee you pockets are lined in Congress, state and local governments to keep these programs going without anyone tracking the money.

Right around the same time Tim posted that, I was reading an article about food stamps and the government’s refusal to disclose data that could potentially make it possible to weed out the people who abuse the program.  So I responded to Tim’s update with this:

Me: $80 BILLION in benefits per year… Nobody will give up where it’s spent and what it’s spent on… I was just reading this: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/24/top-secret-what-food-stamps-buy/

So this woman, who doesn’t know me, proceeds to light me up with this (I’ll be cutting in to her comments, so bear with me):

Woman who finds me aggravating: Greg, I’ll show you every receipt. I’ve got the Ohio Direction Card, aka food stamps. I’m a single mom with a college degree (BFA from the very prestigious Cleveland Institute of Art) and no job.

I’m a single Dad with NO fancy college degree… but a really fun job.

I WISH I had a job!!! But having a job means having to pay for child care, and I haven’t the income to pay for that.

Actually…. having a child means having to pay for child care. Having a job is how one pays for that child care. This reminds me of the time when my ex-wife and I had two kids in daycare and I worked two jobs for five years to help pay for that daycare. One day, when I was dropping off the girls, this woman paid for her daycare with some sort of government vouchers; then left and jumped in her close to $40,000 Ford Expedition. I have no clue what this woman’s situation was, just that she had a vehicle with a value greater than both of our vehicles… and clearly wasn’t going to work based on her attire. Oh yeah…. another time I saw the same Expedition, it had new, huge chrome rims on it… when some dude was dropping their kids off.. paying with vouchers…

I have NO income. I have my home and utilities paid for by my exhusband [sic].

Yeah… I’m paying for my ex-wife to keep the home we bought, while I am forced to rent…

I have food stamps. This is all.

Yesterday I got to go to Giant Eagle, with a fist full of coupons, and was able to fill my cart with all kings [sic] of nutrition: onions, garlic, blueberries, cherries, bok choy, celery, avocados, carrots, pepoers [sic], pork tenderloin, chicken, spinach, romaine lettuce, dried and canned beans, ground beef, shrimp, mussels, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, whole milk, yogurt, frozen vegetables, tater tots, peanut butter, bread, honey, bouillon, Cheerios, Honeycomb cereal, Coco Wheats, pasta, canned tomatoes, olive oil, and more. I spent more than $200 on highly nutritious food for my daughter and me.

Your dollars go further at Walmart or Aldi, especially wh…HOLY CRAP… $200 for what are mostly perishable foods… That’s one week? FOR TWO? I’ve got THREE daughters and, though they’re only here half the time, I don’t even come close to that per week. Maybe it’s because I skip the fancy seafood?

I was NOT permitted to purchase diapers, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, kleenexes [sic], hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, aspirin, Tylenol, children’s Tylenol, trash bags, recycling bags, lawn refuse bags, shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, deodorant, lotion, sunscreen, bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, glass/multi-surface cleaner, soft scrub/Fantastik, swiffer [sic] refills (broom anybody? ~ editor), or countless other things needed in my pantry, medicine cabinet, under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, or laundry room. Nevermind gas, oil changes, wiper fluid. Dog food? Cat food? Cat box liners….

Dogs and cats? They don’t work, so they obviously don’t pay taxes into a program that would cover their expenses in the event they couldn’t find consistent employment, like doing commercials for Budweiser or Friskies. And as for cat bo…. CAT BOX LINERS? Wait…What are those? When I was married, we had like four cats and 6 boxes. I would scoop the pee and poop out regularly, but at some point I’d have to remove all of the litter, scrub out the box and then fill it up with fresh litter. Would these liners have made my job easier? Sounds like yet another luxury item… they must be in the Swiffer refill, shrimp and mussels aisle!

….and Prescription drugs?? Ha. Forget it. Forget ’em ALL. And just nevermind what responsibilities I face besides that of my daughter and me.

Do you know what was great about that grocery store trip? Actually, there are several things. I loved feeling free to put food of quality in my cart. I loved not having to worry about whether I had enough money to cover the grocery bill. Food stamps are a very literal and legitimate life-saver. Complain all you want.

That was two things, not several! I always have to worry about whether I’m gonna have enough money to cover the grocery bill. Also, I complained about nothing! I agree that food stamps are a necessity when one is struggling.

I’m certain there are twice as many dishonest people “working the system”as there are people like me in honest need. I’m certain they are lots of people using food stamps to buy things eithet [sic] of nil nutrition or of dubious legitimacy.

This part we agree on! Thank God! That was the entire premise of the article I posted. You clearly didn’t read it… This program needs to be investigated to eliminate those who are “working the system” and save tax-payers money.

But DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE PAINT US ALL WITH THE SAME PAINT BRUSH. A$$ho1e.

Alright… now you’ve inched closer to the line that you shouldn’t cross with me. I’m assuming you called me an asshole, though you spelled it wrong. Or maybe it was your smartphone that auto corrected? So I responded…

Me: WOW! I posted an article I read. An article that doesn’t paint anyone with anything; just describes how the government won’t release any data. I know it’s a necessary program; never said it wasn’t. There IS abuse and, unfortunately, no one can pinpoint where it’s at because the federal government won’t cooperate.

Ooh boy! Here we go!

Woman who finds me aggravating and wants to continue this: Yes. And I read the article you posted.

Not a chance you read it…

Please understand that, by posting an article of that nature, those of us reading it *because you posted it must assume you posted it because you agree with it. I feel free to assume that, because that’s how *I approach posting articles, photos, etc. [this is all sic’d because of abnormal asterisk usage]

I believe it’s likely you don’t know anyone personnally [sic] in such disadvantage as I and my daughter experience. Please don’t believe for a MOMENT that, just because it’s outside of your experience, such conditions (don’t?) exist.

Seriously? This is what happens when you mess with me without knowing me. The woman I love and adore has gone through much worse struggles than you over the last couple years. She’s supporting three children and receives nothing from her ex (she could have but didn’t fight for it.. in an effort to not hurt her children with an ugly court battle). Yes, her children are older, so daycare is not an issue. She worked hard to provide a good life for her girls, but because of her less than stellar income, was receiving assistance as well. She found herself a better job, making more money, and her food stamps were eliminated. It’s basically a wash, though. Now she works, including 2 hours drive time, 11 hours a day.

Furthermore, please don’t believe that, just because YOU would take larcenous advantage of government assistance that ALL OF US USING IT (please note: not “taking advantage of”) are likewise larcenous.

Show me where I said I’d take “larcenous advantage of government assistance.” You’ve officially crossed the line, missy!

I’m deeply embarrassed that I have to rely on such assistance. I hate like hell that I am this destitute. I want to be a good example for my daughter!!

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed for receiving help when you need it. So don’t! If you want to feel less destitute, find a job. There are jobs out there that pay more than what you’re paying for child care…

So, it’s likely I’m going to (ahem) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LIBERAL FUCKING GOVERNMENT (ha! I love sarcasm) and you toady taxpayers….

More often than not, the truth is said in jest, so the above is not sarcasm. You will take advantage. By the way,why do you have to use so much profanity?

…to go back to school and get my Master’s degree in order to earn a job. A GOOD job. A job with benefits and a livable paycheck. Jesus CHRIST, I hope that’s what results!!!!!

Keep in mind that a degree doesn’t necessarily get you a good job. I’ve seen people with awesome degrees get PAID and I’ve seen people with awesome degrees get hired at a bargain.

Please understand that I really can’t believe there is any kind of guarantee that this level of academic achievement will provide a good job for the support of my 2-person household; I was told back in the 80’s the very same of having a 4-yr degree, especially a 4-yr degree from an internationally ranked private college.

Again we agree!

Please also don’t think I’m fighting YOU, personally. I’m fighting EVERY misinformed Conservative. You need to know what it’s ready [sic] like for real Americans, NOT the political cartoons you prefer to believe that discredits us.

And then you screw it all up! You just called me a misinformed conservative, you liberal nutjob! I’m about as informed as they come! But, see, I don’t just listen to what everyone is telling me, especially when it’s the media. I look it up. I research everything. I go against the grain… ask anyone who knows me…. and ya know what? The wonderful, hard working woman I mentioned above?  She’s a “misinformed” conservative as well… but she busts her ass like none other! I’m a real American and so is she! There are no political cartoons about those of us who work hard!

I HATE being this dependent. I HATE TAKING HANDOUTS!!!! I’m not the only one. I’m not exaggerating when I describe my situation as dire and desperate. Again: I’m not the only one!!

I believe you WANT to be this dependent and you LOVE taking handouts! You are definitely not the only one doing it. There are millions like you singing the same tune, while keeping unemployment high.

This was my final response…

Me: You ARE fighting me personally. The fact that your initial response started with “Greg” and concluded with “Asshole” proves just that. I agree 100% with the article I referenced. I didn’t say, nor does the article, that the government shouldn’t help those who are in need with programs like this. I’m gonna stop here… you’ve inspired a post for me to write on my blog…

And her final response:

 Woman who finds me aggravating and wants to continue this, not only politically, and somehow bring religion into it: Fair enough, Greg. I suppose I am, then. But I’d really prefer to be fighting the perception you seem to have and society definitely has of “people like me”: that we’re lazy slugs and worthless leeches. It’s hurtful, offensive, inaccurate, and WRONG.

DEAR GOD! This woman doesn’t read anything…. certainly not anything I’ve written. I’m simply against those who work the system, and you, my friend, are not one of the people… sort of! She continues:

I, conversely, am open to and would love to be convinced that not all Conservatives are anti-poor.

We’re not “anti-poor”; we’re pro-work-hard-to-make-money!

I keep waiting for even the smallest evidence, but I haven’t seen it yet. I haven’t given up hope; after all, so very many Conservatives claim to be Christian. Jesus was a major proponent of caring for the less fortunate.

He was! When they ran out of wine during that wedding in Canaan, Jesus turned a bunch of water into wine to keep the party goin’! He was like the 21 year old dude I knew when I was 19!

 I’d love to see that value embraced by the Right, but I don’t have the faith to hold my breath… It’s bad enough I’m female, I’m poor, too. I’m extra icky in their eyes. Sigh. I can’t win, no matter how hard I try. And believe me, I’m trying very hard to get ahead.

Keep pushing, sunshine. If you quit listening to CNN and MSN, you’ll find that women nowadays hold more cards in most workplaces than men. You’re only icky in the eyes of those who say you are…. and shame on you for listening to them.

If you want to win, you will!

Oh… And lastly… I bet you’re one of those women who think that sexy women aren’t necessarily sexy, but silver-spoon fed harlots! Well, in an effort to calm myself down after you insulted me and for you being unreasonably crabby… I present to you Kate Upton and her wet nipples!

HI KATE!

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