Isn’t Being Poor Enough?

foostampsAs factions in Congress debate whether the federal government can afford to support needy Americans through extended unemployment benefits, food stamps, and social security benefits, millions of Americans live everyday in poverty. Researchers suggest that 1 in 5 American households need federal assistance for food security. Food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP at $80 billion a year it has doubled in five years.

And now those in the medical community are making the link between cutting food aid and higher medical costs. “If you’re interested in saving health care costs, the dumbest thing you can do is cut nutrition,” said Dr. Deborah Frank of Boston Medical Center, who founded the Children’s HealthWatch pediatric research.

Today, poverty is a painful reality for many Americans. States challenging expansion of Medicaid/Medicare, no unemployment insurance extension, minimum wages that are not living wages, a recovering economy with people who have given up looking for work and increasing empty shelves in food banks are logical explanations for why Americans live in poverty.

CBS News reported that Georgia State Representative Greg Morris introduced House Bill 772, which would force low income Georgians to pass drug tests to qualify for food stamps. According to Morris “it’s just fairness and protecting taxpayers’ dollars.” Georgia law currently mandates welfare applicants pass drug tests. Chances are House Bill 772 would be challenged as unconstitutional. Such details don’t seem to matter to some legislators.

Morris’ leadership is needed in Georgia to find ways to expand the economy, to support increased funding for every level of education from preschool through college and technical school, to adopt healthcare coverage for all needy Georgians. What a waste of taxpayer money to chase a bill that most believe is unconstitutional. Though democracy requires full participation from every quarter of the electorate, it is frustrating to have our legislators waste taxpayer money on such frivolous efforts.



  1. Sean Cotton says:

    When I was in school, people that picked on those who were weak or vulnerable were called bullies. It is very easy to pick on the poor. They often do not have a voice, or do not have the means to fight back. The irony of this type of legislation is that many who voted for and support Morris’s agenda are the same people that will be hurt by it.

  2. Burroughston Broch says:

    Why should taxpayers subsidize a lifestyle that includes substance abuse? If a person has enough money for substance abuse, they have enough money for food. Providing food stamps enables the substance abuse by providing more money for it.
    I think regular tests are a good idea because they would identify those who should be in a rehab program. Provide food stamps if a person is clean; do not provide food stamps if a person is not clean. When a person starts rehab, give them a reasonable amount of time to get clean and support them with food stamps during this time; cut off the food stamps if they don’t get clean in a reasonable amount of time.

  3. Burroughston Broch says:

    Let me give you an example from personal experience. I know a 64 year old man who has just gone on Social Security because his unemployment compensation expired. His wife cannot work and they have four minor children at home. In addition to Social Security he draws food stamps plus all of the other benefits provided by the State.
    He continues to look for employment, but says he will not accept a job that pays less than $80,000/year because it would reduce his standard of living.
    So I ask you, isn’t being poor enough?