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Monday, December 30, 2013

People Vs Animals

Seal of the United States Department of the In...
Seal of the United States Department of the Interior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 47 million people, as of the most recent figures.

    Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals."    Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."

      This ended up in my email box and I thought I'd share it as a bit of year end controversy.    What are your thoughts on the above statement?    Is it better to just hand out fish or to teach people how to fish?    What should we do to help people the most?

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  1. Truer words...
    Sometimes people need help. The temporary need is genuine. And sometimes people do grow dependent on the handout and teach their kids to expect it. Then we become a welfare state.

  2. Very good post and I have a personal post coming very soon about the why but there was only one time in the last 34 years that I really really needed help. They "taught me to fish and hunt instead." I have no clue how people get help, but they sure didn't help me when at a time I needed it. I know in WV if you have your first kid at 12 y/o and you have a kid each year after that you can then become a career welfare recipient. :/

  3. I see the issue with growing dependent, but it's still true that so many people need help, and I believe that our souls suffer if we don't help those in need. Sometimes you have to take the chance that people will take advantage. Wishing you a very Happy New Year, Arlee.

  4. I totally agree with Alex, I once saw a person with a dog begging for money for dog food. Instead of giving him money I went into the supermarket and bought him a tin of dog food.....his face was a picture.


  5. An old argument perpetuated by the 'haves'. We are about to go into 2014 and still we see outdated ideas about feeding people. I read Michelle's post btw.

    If we have an economy that puts people out of work in order to pad their corporate bottom line, then the economy (read government) needs to take care of those people. The government was established to take care of its people, not the other way around.

    Not everyone is a slacker. People should be fed, not the animals, IMO. Some pets are better fed than the humans on low-income.

    When schools need food programs because kids come to school hungry, who cares why? (whether it's poor parents or uncaring parents, that kid needs to eat)

    We need to quit quibbling about the basics. When governments act like children (can't agree on how to play), and yet don't want to feed children, something is wrong, dreadfully wrong.

  6. What I don't understand is why there are hungry people at all when this country throws vast amounts of food away.

  7. Alex-- Our country has created a dependent subculture and this is damaging our society.

    Gossip Girl-- This subculture of dependency does not help our economy or the recipients of the handouts. I look forward to your posts.

    Melissa -- Helping those in need is vastly different than supporting those who just want to scam the system.

    Yvonne-- Sometimes the help people are asking for is not really what they plan to do with the help when it's money.

    DG -- I agree with much of what you say, but at the same time we need to look at the culture of dependency on handouts to see what can be done to change it. I think the motivations of government and the haves may be of dystopian/sci-fi proportions. Can the vision of Soylent Green be very far off?

    Bish-- It is puzzling isn't it. No one should be hungry in our wealthy societies at least and we should be able to get other more broken societies on track. Things are messed up.


  8. >>... The government was established to take care of its people, not the other way around.


    The government was established to PROTECT the people (secure their individual rights and keep the country safe from foreign aggressors). It was the people's responsibility to take care of themselves!

    CONSTITUTIONALISM 101 - don't leave school without it.

    If we could just get our government OUT OF THE FRIGGIN' WAY OF THE PEOPLE, the people would find that it's not very difficult to take care of themselves.

    The government (call it CORPORATISM, call it SOCIALISM, call it FASCISM - it's all of like kind) DELIBERATELY sets up barriers that pushes people into poverty and other desperate circumstances. And then the government says, "We're here to help you. Fill out these forms and let the taxpayers fill your stomachs."

    Anyone who doesn't understand this, has yet to come to grips with the reality of present day America, and has not foreseen the reality of future world conditions... which, by the way, can be found in... THE BOOK. (It is written!)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  9. Protect the people - Stephen is absolutely right.

    People who really need the help have to jump through hoops to get it and those who just want a handout get it so easy. And it breeds - kids learn it from their parents and think that's the way they are supposed to live. We've raised too many sponges in this country.

  10. Feed everybody who's hungry! Nothing wrong with that! If you've got extra at your supper table, invite your neighbour to share it. Feed the birds at your feeder. Give to your local food bank. Feed the world... it's the right thing to do. As for me, don't feed me. I'm too fat as it is...

  11. This might get a lot of argument, but I believe in teaching people to fish.

    On the other hand, some people just won't ever try to help themselves even if they can.

    And others simply can't. :-/

  12. StMc-- For the record, DG, whom you quoted, is from Canada. But I do agree with what you've pointed out. I don't much trust the government even though it is supposedly "of the people, by the people".

    L.Diane -- You are right. A culture of sponges. That's another way of putting it.

    Cathy-- I agree with the essence of feeding the hungry, but I don't think it's right to keep people thinking they can do nothing else about their hunger than to depend on hand-outs.

    Misha -- Not much argument from me. If people don't know how to find the means to feed themselves they will be dependent on the free meal ticket and that's not right unless they are truly helpless.


  13. For such a short and simple post, this one is filled with all kinds of stuff.
    Unfortunately, I don't have time to elaborate on it at the moment.
    I'll just say two short things and leave you to fill in the blanks of my opposing comments.
    1. I am not for doing away with welfare or similar programs.
    2. Studies show that we become surprisingly quickly dependent upon things that are freely given to us. To the extent that we somehow feel we deserve those things.

  14. If 47 million people are in need of food stamps, then the issue is not as simple as teaching them to fish. There are social and economic variables at play outside an individual's control in addition to any personal skill, motivation or hard work issues that are within an individual's control. In general, I believe in policies and programs that empower people to act on their own behalf but the larger systems need to support those efforts.

  15. Let me add that long-term dependency is not helpful for anyone--not the individuals nor the larger society. The solutions to getting people help when they need it for a period of time while avoiding building dependency structures are complex and multi-faceted. I don't believe our political leaders--being as polarized as they are--have come close to addressing this adequately. Neither the right nor the left have the best or right answers--this one really does need a more integrative approach.
    Ooooh, Lee--good one--you got me going on this post. Love it.

  16. Andrew-- Welfare and provision programs serve a vital need to a civilized society, but they should never be used to sustain people and be an underlying part of the economy.

    Cathrina-- Agreed.

    Jagoda -- The fishing statement of course is an oversimplification, but I think you've expanded the concept in your statement. There are some broken parts of our system that need to be fixed.


  17. I would favor a system in which inspectors actually assess welfare cases individually. These inspectors would probably need to be middle-class immigrants (rare, yes, probably, but I'm sure they exist) in order to keep prejudice, etc. out of decision-making. If someone is permanently handicapped, they should be referred to extra-governmental sources of aid. The government may give money to those sources if they wish to provide aid. In order for an able-bodied person to get aid, they should first have a job, be working hard, and yet still live below the poverty line. Temporary unemployment (six months or so max) should be solidly case-by-case. This is a simplification, but I hope you get the gist of what I'm trying to convey. Not everyone milks the system, but some people do, and that hurts our economy. And economy only works when people contribute in the upper ranges of their ability. If there isn't a mainstream opportunity, create one for yourself. I wouldn't mind giving money to someone I watched picking up litter along city roads for an hour prior. I favor small government with the priorities of infrastructure, policing/protection, and foreign policy. Right now, the United States is doing poorly on all three of those. The economy is better controlled democratically rather than through our republican system, as very few politicians have true economic mindsets or education.

  18. I'm a food stamp success story, and while it embarrassed me when I was younger, I'm proud now to say that I clawed my way up. I relied on them when my daughter was a toddler, and I was no slacker. I walked to my waitressing job every day—I actually had to walk four times, as I had to walk my daughter to daycare, then back the other way to work, then do it again in the afternoon.

    I only needed them for about two years, and I'm so glad they were there. It was a helping hand when I needed it.

  19. I think that for people to help themselves, they must be helped first.

  20. An interesting discussion and a variety of views. For the record, Lee and Stephen, I grew up in the States, but I'm a Canadian citizen now.

  21. While I have no problem expressing my opinion in your comment box, rarely do I do anything to promote my own blog, BUT you and some of your readers might be interested in hearing about the welfare system in the US from the horses mouth.

    I posted this on Saturday and it got very little attention. I guess I'm just not one of the popular girls. It might be more relevant to you and some of these other folks now.

    I'm unable to make a link in the comment box, but my address is I would be interested to hear what you think after listening to Lucy. She may not speak for every person on the dole, but her remarks certainly prove you point about not 'feeding the bears'.

  22. In a country of 313,000,000 people - to bulk at feeding 47,000,000 of those shocks me. Especially since the elderly, and the very young make up that figure. Sure folks will take advantage, it is the nature of 'some'! Look at the welfare for the rich - you cut that and then I'll look more closely at these other idiotic arguments, but not until. Generosity, giving until it hurts, and taking care of our fellow men - that's what humanity - and this season (and the shame is it's just a season - and apparently a very short one) is all about!

  23. Patrick-- Very good points. A lot of people just get by scamming the system because not enough is done to stop it and the government wants to perpetuate the pattern anyway.

    Kelly-- Yours is the kind of case where the help is needed. If you were still on them then that might be a problem.

    Elizabeth-- That's true, but under our current system I don't think the rehabilitation follows the help and motivation is not often there for those receiving the help.

    DG -- Thank you for that clarification.

    Faraway-- I've been a bit handicapped in my media networking during my vacation time. I'll try to make an effort to get over to read your post.

    Yolanda-- I agree about those in the circumstances you mention. Some people have to have the help. I think the message applies to the able bodied and mentally competent folks who live off of government handouts and those who keep producing children that they can't provide for themselves. There is a problem in our country that's related to the government systems.


  24. let's face it, young people today have a tougher time of it.
    I rent a room out, and have come into contact with young men and women. So many of them work two jobs. Most of them don't have cars. They are hardworking and they are single.
    So what happens if two people get married in this socio-economic strata? maybe they can finally afford an apartment instead of a room in someone's house. SO they have a baby. One of them has to quit their job, at least for a while. So many of the new jobs being created today are NOT giving a living wage. Do the math. what the heck can you do with $8.00 an hour? and how many businesses shrewdly keep their employees working at less than a 40 hour week to deny them benefits?
    Sure there are people who think they are entitled. But there are many others who are just plain poor.
    Teachers see kids every day who don't get meals. What's wrong with making sure kids get fed? Why not tax a few more millionnaires so that kids can eat?

  25. Honestly, I want to know 'what a lot' is - what's the number? As far as I'm concerned if for every person who 'uses' the system there are ten people that get what they need. I'm okay with it - Our government is supposed to help. I prefer that my tax dollars go to help the poor, the weak, the uninsured! I prefer that - to war - to paying war lords and drug lords and corrupt governments. Yes, 'some' take advantage - due to poor management - another cut that this government makes - run it on a skeleton crew and that's what you get. Do I like the way the government runs - hell no - but the one thing we do that is right, is taking care of our own - or at least it used to be! The propaganda blaming, demonizing those in need is expert - but I've seen the truth, lived the truth, and will not shut my eyes to it because someone is ripping off a poorly run system, when those making the laws are all running scams to pocket more!
    Okay, I'm done, my apologies, but it isn't people vs animals. It's people - period - it's humanity!

  26. Hi Arlee,
    At the fag end of the year you brought out a good topic to discuss with. As you said at the bottom note!Hey, can we call this a "year end controversy."
    But I think its a good topic to discuss with.
    In my opinion in certain cases we need to extend a helping hand, of course that should not be a continued one, many people around us needs such help and we are supposed to extend our hands. But there are people who are just parasites! we need to identify them and put a full stop to it.
    Thanks for Stimulating our thoughts on this issue.
    May this year be a give and take year. :-)
    Let us reach out the people who are in need!
    May God Give You and Yours A Happy And Blessed New Year.
    Our wishes to all the dear ones with you.
    Phil & Ann

  27. Mimi--It is tough even for us older folks. Things are tough all over. For one thing people need to be more responsible about having families before they are able to afford them. I'm not a fan of coddling the wealthy, but programs should be in place for people to learn and acquire responsibility and accountability. Just doling out things does not help people in the long run.

    Yolanda-- Money should stay at home for the most part. Aid to other countries is another big problem. Should our government be helping other countries with unconditional handouts and no follow-up?

    Phil-- Thanks for your ongoing support of my blog. I believe in charity beginning at the individual level. When you put it in the hands of government there are too many opportunities for misuse and corruption.


  28. Part 1:

    I don't know whether or not my earlier comment was one of the "idiotic arguments" you referred to, but either way...

    Let's imagine that I storm into your house one night and begin taking money out of your purse. You holler at me for robbing you and I reply: "I am not taking your money for myself. I am taking your money because you have more than enough and I am going to give some of your excess to people less fortunate than you. And if you complain any more about it, I am going to lock you in your closet and leave you there."

    Would you think that was right, even if every word I said was true?

    Well, that is EXACTLY what our government - Uncle Sam - is doing to us. Change me into Uncle Sam and change you into Every Taxpayer and change the locked closet into a locked jail cell courtesy of the I.R.S. and you have the EXACT REALITY of my parable.

    There is NOTHING in the U.S. Constitution that gives Uncle Sam the legal right to take from taxpayers and give to poorer people (or to foreign governments, or to organizations to study bird droppings). Therefore it is literally robbery. Every single day the I.R.S. illegally confiscates property and money from innocent Americans and throws them in jail.

    Nobody is saying that charity is a bad thing. I'm all for it! In fact, unless you have been donating at least 10% of every dollar you made for over a decade, then I have probably donated more money to the less fortunate than you have. I have fallen on harder times recently and for the first time in probably 15 years, I stopped tithing (10% to various charities), but I still managed to give $45. to the Salvation Army this year and $150. to my favorite Christmastime charity. So, obviously, I am not some hard-hearted person who doesn’t believe in giving.

    Continued Below...

  29. Part 2:

    Giving to others is the Godly thing to do. But it should be done VOLUNTARILY on a person-by-person decision, based on what is in each individual’s heart. The evil government has no legal right (and should NOT have one) to force taxpayers to give money to causes they may not support – whether they be organizations like Planned Parenthood, or destitute people. Who gave Uncle Sam the legal right to play god with our money? Cetainly our Founding Fathers and their Constitution did not!

    One could make an argument that forced charity could be established legally, but only on a state-by-state basis. Not one of our Founding Fathers ever imagined that We The People would allow a massive National Government to come into our houses and rob us and redistribute our wealth to others. Our Founders would have gone to war AGAIN over such an idea.

    If you want to give to others, by all means do so. I will continue to do the same. But it is NOT Uncle Sam’s place to take from the working to give to the poor (whether they’re really poor or just scamming the system).

    At its core, our government (both Democrats and Republicans) is more evil than you could probably even imagine! Uncle Sam is not concerned about the po’ folks in this country. Uncle Sam does not care about YOU either. Uncle Sam is all about controlling the masses, and one of the best ways to control them is to make them dependent on Uncle Sam’s generosity – a generosity supplied by your hard work and the money in your purse.

    When you’re ready to really see our Good Uncle for what he really is, start researching in depth ‘THE REPORT FROM IRON MOUNTAIN’ (1966). That’s just the tip of the iceberg but it will give you a good starting point from which you can add a touch of realism to balance your idealism.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  30. This is an extremely thought provoking post. I believe that we, as fellow human beings to one another, have an obligation to help those in need. Although we are not required to help others, I believe that its just our duty.

  31. It's one thing to help those in need, but selecting them from those in greed is rather difficult sometimes. It would be so much better if these people had jobs and could provide their own meals. As in teaching them to fish.

  32. Against my better judgement I keep coming back here to follow the comment thread. I generally try to be nice and polite, but I have to add a comment that might not be politically correct or fit for the company.

    FIRST, I want to make it perfectly clear that I would loudly second what Mr. McCarthy has already said (I'm sure those of you who know me are not surprised). The US government is not in the business of being a benevolent organization, truly concerned for it's populace. Rather it is concerned about maintaining CONTROL over each and every one of it citizens, and the welfare system seems to be working quite well in that capacity.

    BUT, there is something else in several comments that really bothers me. It smacks of government type propaganda that helps keep all of us in line This is the illusion to the theory that if we are not in favor of our present government welfarce(this was a type, but I decided to keep it, because it seems appropriate) system, we are heartless people who would like to see children starving and people freezing to death sleeping in the gutter (we probably like to kick puppies too). I take offense at that inference.

    It's certainly easy to think well of yourself with respect to your willingness to help those who are less fortunate when you are taking some of that help from my pocket. It's easy to feel that you are doing your part when someone else is writing the check/cooking the meals/holding the dirty hands/wiping the snot from infected noses/putting themselves in danger by going into public housing where murders are committed daily/AND any number of other scenarios whereby the less fortunate are truly loved and cared for.

    Now, I don't know most of you very well (in fact there are only two of you here who I feel I know at all, one more than the other) and other that those two you have absolutely no idea who I am, where I've been or what experiences I have had. I can tell you that I have personally experienced every one of those above mentioned circumstances.

    Anybody can write a check and it is even easier for anyone at all, including those who might live at the poverty level to sit back and let their government write those checks and spend the money of the collective masses, AND then go on to make remarks that insinuate that those of us who are against the crippling welfare system are heartless.

    In my experience, the truly indigent who are not simply lazy and greedy aren't as concerned with a government handout (and other handicapping assistance) but would welcome you putting you arm around them and asking what simple thing you can do to help for today. Teach them a skill, find them a job, act as a reference, REALLY GO OUT ON A LIMB. Take one of those starving children home to play with and share your children's toys, risk contacting the head lice and scabies that they might carry, because they are not afforded the proper hygiene. Give them a bath and a home cooked meal (not just the canned goods that have been sitting on your back shelf for a decade or more). Or better yet, buy them a car load of groceries then sit down in their humble abode, and let them retain some dignity, while they prepare a meal for you in gratitude (don't mind the roaches that crawl over the kitchen counters or the strange ingredients that they pull from a back cupboard).

    Now maybe all of you or at least most of you do at least one of the above mentioned things on a daily/weekly/monthly/annual/or even once in a lifetime basis. If that is the case for even one of you, please accept my heartfelt apology for this little rant. But, if you don't, DO NOT try to color me heartless for stating loudly that a government welfare program that handicaps it's people into total dependance and subservience is anything but evil.

  33. Sadly, so long as we expand certain guv'ment programs and create all kinds of exceptions, people will be more than happy not do anything than sit on their butt all day.

    It really is disheartening to know that you can make more money annually sitting on your butt than you can actually working.

    And in my state, that is a recipe for keeping the same party in power for the past 25 years.

  34. Wow, the discussion has taken an outstandingly interesting turn:

    StMc--Nothing I can add to your excellent comment. I agree.

    Gina-- You said it truly and simply. Helping is an individual responsibility.

    Jo-- Government often screws up the ability to create jobs by interfering with business. Fixing that would be a big step forward.

    Faraway- Very powerful comment. You said it well.

    GB-- A sad truth. Thanks for stopping by to contribute to the conversation.



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