Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reason #297: Food Stamps

Okay, right off the bat--food stamps are, on average, $134 a month. That's around $4 per day. Whatever else there is to say about them, let's all understand just how little money we're actually talking about.

Moving on--I read all sorts of random stuff during the day, both in my free time and when doing research for this blog, and almost never do I come across something that reshapes my image of American society as definitively as "Hipsters on Food Stamps", an article on the blog The Last Psychiatrist (link below). It's very long and very expansive in its scope, but briefly, it's a response to an eponymous Salon article discussing the phenomenon of college-educated young adults, unable to find work in today's economy due to their crunchy liberal-arts degrees, turning to government assistance and then using it, alongside whatever income or family support they are getting, to buy organic this and gluten-free that at Whole Foods.

While the original is presented generally as a slice-of-life, what-are-ya-gonna-do type of story, The Last Psychiatrist's response turns the entire subject on its head to make the argument that, one, this situation is the responsibility of said hipsters' narcissistic parents for raising their children to believe that a Medieval History degree was as valid as any other, and more to the point, worth $100 thousand in guaranteed loans, and two, blames that situation on the college-industrial complex, so to speak, for selling the entire nation on the notion that a college degree will make you more valuable to employers simply by brunt of its existence.

That might have been true when people were going to college for engineering and  brain surgery and whatever, but back in the here and now, America has indulged my entire generation into economic irrelevancy--and the article makes the case that this is costing us far more in lost productivity, and the devaluing of everybody's degrees by proxy, than food stamps ever could. If every other Starbucjs barista wasn't paying off a mountain of student loans, their career prospects would be no different and they'd have one less bill to pay every month.

Food stamps, in other words, are no more of a subsidy for laziness and naïveté than are college loans--either way, we're all paying for it.

Further Reading

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