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July 02, 2008

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What bothers me here is the statement "it's especially important with the July 4th holiday just around the corner". My interpretation of that is these people will throw parties or large gatherings and need more money for food. I think it highlights the main problem in American today, the inability to control our "wants" and consider everything a "need". If you are having trouble paying the grocery bill and have to rely on food stamps, why would you go out and spend more money on a gathering. Yeah it sucks that you have to deprive yourself of some fun, but people need to learn to sacrifice. I will admit that the reason for the statement may be better explained in the news segment making my rant irrelevant.

What stood out to me was the statement "and a lump payment that they don't have due on the house". I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like they purchased a house with a subprime mortgage they couldn't afford -- even before losing his job.

J: Although it's true that they should be focussing on decifering "want" from "need". I think it is unfair to chastise them for wanting to celebrate a national holiday like the rest of America. If they go overboard that is one thing, they don't need fireworks or steaks. But for many of the nation's poor, their social network is family, and celebrating with family and friends is important. If they deprive themselves of all fun, then life will be too depressing and it will be harder for them to mentally and physically get out of debt. Although it is true that everyone needs to make sacrifices with the economy the way it is, they shouldn't need to sacrifice so much that they can't celebrate with those they love.

Yes, folks, the latest installment in the Barack Obama/Katie Couric et al conspiracy! A conspiracy engineered by Americans whose education and work experience allow them to live WAY above the income and means of the average American (and I have no problem with that -- it's a free market, everyone is entitled). But they want to make YOU feel GUILTY about being middle class!!!

Fourth of July indeed. What happened to the American spirit of opportunity and everybody having a chance. Barack and Katie and the whole Democrat/MSM gang are all about Robin Hood economics....This segment, while interesting on the surface, is media manipulation to make YOU feel guilty....

I sure hope the cameras show what the shoppers are wearing on their feet ($100 Nikes maybe?) and the vehicles they load all that food into. I know first-hand many families that qualify for public assistance of one form or another who lease $50,000 vehicles.

I like the posts by dwr and artdogs. I think we need to be leery about what the media "reports".

I don't want to be harsh or anything, but to judge by the way some folks on food stamps eat, the amount of money they get would be more than enough if they were more careful about bargain shopping and eating healthier foods. I know for a fact that amount of food stamps that would be available to my family were we to need them would be a little bit more than I actually spend each month. I'm pretty frugal. The poor and destitute can (most of them anyway) be taught the same skills and strategies I use to keep our food bill down, so why isn't anybody doing that for them?

Seriously, though, it's not human nature to bargain shop with someone else's money, is it? So I can kind of forget that idea...

I agree with your comments Jo. This is where I draw the line on personal responsibility vs consequences. Feeding the family and celebrating a National Holiday as Americans are two things we should all expect to be able to do regardless of our situation. If we need to increase the Food Stamp amount to keep pace with rising food costs, then we should do it. We should also give more to our local food banks who are struggling.

Sadly, what DWR posted probably has some truth to it. But, if you are so rigid in your thinking to suggest that people and children should starve just because it conflicts with your overall philosophy, then I don't think you are a very nice person.

Mark,

How exactly is celebrating a holiday with money one does not have a human right?

How is it that taking other people's money (taxes) to accomplish this makes you a nice person?

Santos: I really get sick and tired of responding to morons who don't take the time to READ a post thoroughly enough NOT to misinterpret the meaning. I said nothing about a "human right" to celebrate a holiday. No matter what our situation is, we should all budget something to celebrate America. I'm not talking about a 7-course meal with filet mignon and champagne.

The whole focus of the CBS news piece was about how rising food and energy prices were making it harder for some people to get by. You can read between the lines if you want with regards to the liberal bias of the media, but be sure you're not hiding your own agenda. Don't assume everyone is behaving badly when it comes to how they use food stamps just because that's all you think you see. There are actually people out there, many of them elderly, who have been running out of food sooner because of higher costs. I suggested, at minimum, the food stamp allotment should try to keep up with the price of food. Is that really too much to ask of you, and others that hold such a rigid outlook on life??

Speaking of food stamps, last night, I was working my part-time job (which I took so I could pay down some debts) as a cashier at Walmart. A lady comes up and uses WIC to buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. Then she proceeds to spend another $25 on a gift and the assorted accoutrements (gift bag, tissue paper, card, ribbon, etc) for it. I was a bit conflicted about how to feel about that...

Justin: You shouldn't feel conflicted. You don't know the lady's situation. She only bought a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. If you follow the logic of some of the posters here, she should have plenty of money left on her food stamp or WIC allotment for the month. She appears to be a very frugal person when it comes to food. Why should anyone on public assistance automatically be barred from buying someone, perhaps a child of hers, a small gift for a special day?

I read FMF a lot, and I especially like what he posts about how saving money is not the only thing worth living for. Denying others very modest celebration of life just because they are taking "tax money" to support their family, is also a mark of a very rigid and unhappy person.

Only one person -- the very first poster -- said poor people shouldn't have a party to celebrate July 4.

It all starts with people being "entitled" to celebrate a National holiday.....and continues with people being "entitled" to relief from a mortgage they cannot afford....

Geez, learn to take some personal responsibility. I swear, the US is heading straight down the tubes due to an entitlement mentality breeding rampant laziness and persistent whining when things don't go exactly as we had hoped (the terrific American Dream of owning everything damn thing imaginable).

I understand what most of you are saying here but remember that those who are getting government assistance are doing the same as asking for someone to help them. This is no different than asking someone for a $100 to get you past a difficult time. Personally, if someone asked me for a bit of money, I'd be glad to help. If they went and bought someone a gift with the money, I'd have to question how much help they really needed if they felt that was a priority. I don't think I like people trying to make others feel guilty by saying "why shouldn't they be able to do this or that". It's because they aren't stable enough to stand on their own. That's why. They are asking for the American public to help them in a time of need (which I'm ok with. Everyone needs help on occasion). But to dishonor that help with spending money you really can't afford to spend is another thing entirely and you shouldn't try to make people feel guilty for feeling that way. Respect other people's money is all I'm saying. Don't shoot a deer and throw away the meat (analogy for those who don't hunt or abhor it). Buy someone a gift when you can afford to. Not when you can afford to by living off public assistance. When you earn your money, you get to make those decisions. It's rude, otherwise.

Concerning the CBS story: auto workers in Detroit (be they quasi-management/white collar, like the protagonists, or the UAW membersship) are to 2008 what steelworkers in Pittsburgh were in 1982: wrong place, wrong time. If this guy designed the Prius, he'd be golden. But if it waws the Suburban....

Why don't they give people money instead of food stamps? Then they would be forced to budget for their food and get the most for their money, like Spoodles. If they ran out because they were irresponsible or bought too much stuff they don't need early in the month, then tough.

A 4th of july party need not cost any more than a regular meal. You provide hot dogs and lemonade and ask guests to bring dessert, salads, etc. Even if you had to provide everything yourself, a gathering for 10 people shouldn't have to cost more than $25-$30. The important stuff is being with family. Go to a parade or fireworks show for free. Although there may have been another reason for mentioning the holiday in the broadcast.

And about the Wal Mart experience, I wouldn't be surprised if half of the $25 was spent just on the wrapping, ribbons, card, etc. Those things are such a waste of money if you ask me. They tear off the paper in 2 seconds and never even read the card. Much better to wrap it in dollar store paper or in the sunday comics and forget the card.

People believe they are entitled to extravagant holiday parties, just like they feel they are entitled to big screen TV's, new cars, mcmansions, and cable TV. Heck, I have the money, but I don't throw huge July 4th parties. I simply go downtown and watch the free fireworks with my wife and some friends. Maybe we'll eat some hot dogs on the grill before we go which cost me a total of $0.49+tax+stamp(to send in the rebate form) for two packs of hot dogs (the good ones) and buns, since I was frugal about buying them. I used a $5 rebate on the hotdogs, and they were on sale 2/$5 (Nathan's), and the store had a promotion if you bought 2 packs of hot dogs, you got buns for only 49 cents.

"But, if you are so rigid in your thinking to suggest that people and children should starve just because it conflicts with your overall philosophy, then I don't think you are a very nice person."

I really get sick and tired of responding to morons who don't take the time to READ a post thoroughly enough NOT to misinterpret the meaning. Where did I say they should starve, idiot? My point was that I won't feel sorry for these people, because I am sure 99% of them buy more expensive luxury crap than I do.

I watched the segment. I saw meat, meat, meat, fruit loops, frozen waffles. A local newspaper article here said a family of 4 gets $550 in SUPPLEMENTAL (i.e. add your own money to it) food stamps. I could feed my family of 4 on that and not need to supplement! It also said people on food stamps overbuy on convenience and prepackaged foods. How about oatmeal, dried beans, rice, peanut butter, using coupons??? I didn't see one coupon being handed over. Also everyone was well dressed and overweight. It's easier to complain about food stamps not being enough than to be frugal and put more effort into the grocery shopping.

Some of the local non-profits who help people in need (homeless shelter, home for abused women, etc) teach the people they're helping how to cook, prepare meals, etc. Many of these people receiving assistance are buying pre-packaged food because they have no idea how to prepare meals from ingredients. No one taught them how. Until someone teaches them, they'll just keep buying the overpriced, not-as-nutritious, pre-packaged stuff.

Yes, it's a problem. Thankfully, some people move beyond pointing it out to helping solve it.

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