SNAP Out of the Boom-Bust Cycle

March 22nd, 2013   Submitted by Darryl W Perry

CityHallThe Washington Post recently reported on the monthly boom-and-bust cycle that has supposedly kept Woonsocket, Rhode Island afloat for the last several years after the closure of the local textile mills. Eli Saslow reports, “At precisely one second after midnight, on March 1, Woonsocket would experience its monthly financial windfall — nearly $2 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Federal money would be electronically transferred to the broke residents of a nearly bankrupt town, where it would flow first into grocery stores and then on to food companies, employees and banks, beginning the monthly cycle that has helped Woonsocket survive… The local unemployment rate was 12 percent. The shuttered textile mills along the river had become Section 8 housing. The median income had dropped by $10,000 in the last decade.” The Post claims this cycle is happening across the country for two reasons: “So many people are forced to rely on government support. The government is forced to support so many people.” I’m not going to say that the writer of the article is lying so much as I would say that he is unwittingly espousing government propaganda.

Saslow reports on a grocer, Miguel Pichardo, in the town who relies on customers using food stamps to keep his business open; up to 25 percent of his profits for the month would happen on the 1st of every month, and three-quarters of his sales were to people using EBT cards.

Some would say this is why governments need to provide welfare; I say this explains why they should not!

“But, Darryl,” you may be thinking, “without food stamps, how would Miguel Pichardo keep his store open? And how would the people currently on food stamps get food without them?”

Good questions, and while I don’t have a perfect answer, I will do my best to provide a good one. In Healing Our World, Mary Ruwart points out that people receiving food stamps and other forms of welfare find it difficult to save money, because the “hand-up” they were hoping for is actually a hand-out. She writes:

“Those who remain ensnared eventually come to believe that they are incapable of supporting themselves and their loved ones. Some simply lose their self-esteem or bitterly blame society for their plight. Sometimes they lose their sense of responsibility… With the best intentions, we’ve hurt the poor instead of helping them.”

Poorer individuals are also harmed by minimum wage and licensing laws. Absent these laws and regulations, many people would be able to create their own jobs; a single mother could run a daycare out of her apartment, men could repair cars in their garage or driveway, or even run a handy-man service, the possibilities are endless. To a lesser extent the legal tender laws that force them to use money issued by the federal government’s protected central bank. Absent these legal tender laws, people would be free to barter and find alternative forms of exchange.

Additionally, there is no law prohibiting the unemployed/underemployed from leaving Woonsocket in search of work and wealth elsewhere. However, the short-term benefit of guaranteed food has kept them from pursuing their own self-interest. I once moved 1,100 miles with less than $200 in the bank & $60 in my pocket in pursuit of work; it can be done, it simply requires one to step outside of their comfort-zone!

If “Uncle Sam” weren’t around to bail-out Woonsocket, Rhode Island once a month, the people in the town would either find ways to provide the food necessary to feed themselves and their neighbors, and Miguel Pichardo would find a way to sell, barter and/or trade groceries to his customers, or they would leave in pursuit of a town that could allow them to provide for themselves. I’m not saying there should be no support for people who fall on hard times; I’m saying the safety net should not be controlled by the very same government that pushes people into hard times!

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5 Responses to “SNAP Out of the Boom-Bust Cycle”

  1. MAMNo Gravatar says:

    When I was a kid we were really poor. We were on food stamps and were barely surviving. My father was unemployed and my grandma had cancer and was unemployed, and my mother worked for the State.

    We grew our own food. I sold some of it and ate what wasn’t sold. My father who also grew up poor on a farm, hunting to put food on the table had a since of self preservation and went out and got a job even though he could have stayed on unemployment.

    Now life is all right. The point is that my father’s pride kept him in the game. He was mission oriented and got it done.

  2. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    I have met Dr. Mary Ruwart. She is a nice person.

    “It’s easy I’m waterproof; a little drizzle won’t wash away my doubt so don’t try.”

    – Number Six

  3. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    A lot of people really have a hard time with the idea that if an area isn’t sustainable economically, that people should get up and move. But imagine somebody living in the arctic tundra, completely devoid of civilization. Is it the state’s job to provide food, health care, education, etc. to this person?

  4. ルイヴィトン激安セールルイヴィトン私はさら より頻繁にしない利用しない家庭を持っている