(By Fay Paxton, cross posted at HubPages)
Yeah that’s right. I admit it. I have enjoyed a good life and fattened my bank account at the expense of taxpayers. I hire chauffeur driven limousines and fly luxury first class. I book a suite at a five-star hotel and wine and dine on the finest cuisine. I do it because it’s all a tax write-off; the government’s contribution to my wellbeing.
It’s May, so the landscapers have come and gone, pool maintenance is scheduled. I’ll hire someone to man the grill, mix and serve the drinks; invite a few business associates for a Memorial Day celebration and from the charcoal briquettes to the last drop of seltzer water, I’ll write it off as entertainment expense.
At tax time, I deduct all of these expenses from my tax return and then receive my five-figure refund, despite the fact that there were no tax deductions from my pay. It’s all perfectly legal and if you’re like most people, you think this is sensible, savvy business. It’s welfare; just another government subsidy wrapped up as a tax-break.
I was motivated to confess by the outrageous assertions I hear about food stamp recipients and people who presently receive unemployment compensation. On C-Span a caller yelled angrily about an acquaintance who buys Frosted Flakes with her food stamps…”They shouldn’t be able to buy brand name products with food stamps”. I’ve read articles by people who are livid because recipients of unemployment are just not vigilant enough at securing a new job; government assistance makes people lazy and dependent. Of course, there could be some truth to that because were I not able to write it off, I wouldn’t hire a limousine, I’d drive; I’d fly regular class and book a plain old hotel room.
What’s wrong with you people? Wall Street has raided your 401K’s, while they got rich. The mortgage bankers threw you out of your houses, while they collected multi-million dollar bonuses, the oil barons polluted your beaches and gouge you at the gas-pump, corporations are stockpiling money and refuse to create jobs and you worry over the abuse of a food stamp?
Welfare can take many forms; monetary payments, subsidies, vouchers, tax credits and yes, tax cuts. It’s all a giveaway of taxpayer monies. All of it. Every dime.
A Kansas farmer created a billboard that read:
ARE YOU A PRODUCER OR A PARASITE?
DEMOCRATS – THE PARTY OF PARASITES
Turned out that the farmer himself received over a million dollars in farm subsidies. It’s welfare!
Of course there are those who receive food stamps who probably don’t really need them or don’t use them wisely, just as there are corporate executives who scam the system for money they will never, ever need. They live in the lap of luxury at taxpayer expense and use their money and influence to buy more concessions and for some reason, that’s okay. You spend time berating food stamp and unemployment recipients…shame on you!
In 1976, Reagan told the story of the “Chicago welfare queen who had 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and collected benefits for “four non-existing deceased husbands.” It was a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud, but a story Reagan persisted in telling for years. He emphasized how upset “workers” must be to see an able-bodied man using food stamps. The food-stamp user became a “strapping young buck” buying T-bone steaks.
Perhaps you even agree with Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino who said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, “where they could work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in personal hygiene…the personal things they don’t get when they come from dysfunctional homes.”
Earlier this week Newt Gingrich called President Obama “the most successful food stamp president in history”. It’s tacit race-baiting that has the effect of polarizing the electorate along racial lines. It’s dog whistle politics and you hear the whistle. You’ll probably be shocked to learn that most welfare recipients are White.
Here’s another newsflash:
If you live in America, in some way you are directly or indirectly dependent upon government aid. You may not receive a monthly stipend from Medicaid, but maybe you work for a firm that receives government contracts, received a grant to go to school or you attend a state college. Perhaps you serve in the military, put out fires or serve and protect your community. Maybe you’re on Medicare or your doctor receives it. Perhaps you eat corn-on-the-cob from a government supported farm or put subsidized gasoline in your car. Maybe, like millions of other people in this nation, you receive unemployment.
Nearly 40 million people are receiving food stamps, 50% of those recipients are children. I’d rather have a dozen undeserving people receive them than 1 deserving person denied and one child go hungry.
A New York Times article tells the story of a 45 year-old widow who scrapes by on $15,000 a year. She receives $147.00 per month. And then there’s Alba Catano, who missed work after knee surgery and worried about her ten year-old daughter, “my refrigerator is empty”. She qualified for a whopping $170.00 a month. And you begrudge her that?
Where’s your sense of humanity? That Christian love and concern for your fellow man? Where’s your patriotism? Oh, I know, you struggled, taking whatever job you could find; raised your children without the benefit of food stamps or welfare. And if you could do it so can everyone else. Why should your taxes pay to support someone who isn’t willing to make the same level of sacrifice? For the same reasons millions contribute to education who are no longer in school or whose children have long since graduated. For the same reason taxes subsidize baseball even though most people will never attend a game. For the same reason your taxes are diverted to the tornado victims in Alabama and the flood victims in Tennessee. Because the government functions for the common good of all its citizens.
I’ve been blessed in my life. I’ve never had to take advantage of a “safety net” program that made a difference in whether or not I could buy groceries or feed my children, but I’ve certainly realized the advantage of programs meant for those who are not in need. Call it what you will, but whether it’s a tax credit, a tax cut or a monthly stipend, it’s all a government handout. One final lesson you need to learn as you look down your nose and sneer at those who have met with difficulty… whether it’s a welfare recipient, someone dependent on food stamps; an unemployed person or someone homeless; everyone you pass on the street has a story every bit as compelling as your own.