Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Booker's "Humble" Food Stamp Campaign Highlights the Immorality of the Food Stamp Program

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, a possible 2013 challenger to Governor Chris Christie,   recently drew attention the the plight of the poor food stamp recipient, getting his picture on the front page of NJ's largest newspaper, the Star-Ledger. David Giambusso reported:

In Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s career of glitzy photo shoots, this was by far the most humble.

He stood in his kitchen Tuesday, glumly assessing the 17 cans of beans, seven yams, two bags of frozen vegetables and two apples that will constitute his diet for the next seven days as he embarked on a week-long effort to shed light on the plight of roughly 46 million Americans who rely on food stamps to survive. 

Many commenters on this article, including some self-described "liberals," pointed out that food stamps were never intended to be more than a supplement. But, notice the switch taking place here: from taking care of yourself with some government "assistance," to relying solely on government for your entire diet.

Full, undiluted socialism is total dependence on government for all of our needs and wants. If our welfare state ever evolves into full socialism, it is by means of smuggling in the concept of total dependence as the goal of government programs.

Giambusso's article included a quote from Booker that served as the opening of my comments:

"People have a real lack of understanding of the struggles that many families have to go through — hard working families that play by the rules...."

Well, the hard working people whose money is forcibly confiscated through taxes to pay for SNAP play by the rules, too. Don't they count, or do we evade their existence? 

Championing the cause of alleviating "hunger" is one thing, and there are certainly some citizens needing assistance.  Whether someone is worthy of help is a voluntary private judgement that properly belongs to private individuals voluntarily donating their own money based on their own values. But any initiative that begins with theft is immoral.

Considering the monumental size of our government's fiscal woes, the food stamp program is small potatoes. I would start solving our problems by attacking, say, corporate welfare--all of it, including the politically correct sacred cows like solar subsidies. But, since Booker draws attention to it, the food stamp program is as good a place as any to highlight the basic problem. The "Fiscal Cliff" is really an ethical cliff, and we went over it long ago, when we decided that theft is ok, as long as someone "needs" something and the theft is legal. When we handed the government the power to redistribute wealth, we handed politicians a moral blank check, allowing them to side-step the criminal laws that private citizens must live by. 

The acceptance of the idea that someone's need is a license to steal from others is not the mark of a humane culture, but a corrupt one.

Related Reading:

From Middle Class to Welfare Class

Where to Cut the Federal Budget? Start by Killing Corporate Welfare, by Doug Bandow


Steve D said...

'I would start solving our problems by attacking, say, corporate welfare'

Practically, this makes more sense as well. Some ways of moving towards capitalism are better than others. As businesses become more productive, there will be jobs created and less and less excuse for people to even be on food stamps.

Mike LaFerrara said...

Good point. I think it's more practical politically, too.