EBT recipients stole food this weekend (and every other weekend)

I want to be wrong about this. I don’t want to see it for what it is. I want to see it some other way. Yet I can’t help but draw rational conclusions, because I am, tragically, a rational human being.

Try to follow my logic, and tell me where I’m going wrong:

Logical statement #1: Something is “yours” — belonging to you, and nobody else — if you own it. You own it if you have ownership of it; a synonym of “ownership” is “property.” It is yours if it is your property. You might come to own something — making it your property — by earning it, buying it, growing it, cultivating it, producing it, making it, constructing it, or trading for it.

Agreed? Awesome.

Logical statement #2: “Stealing” is “taking what isn’t yours without permission, especially by force.” If you come to possess that which is another’s property, without his or her consent or choice, you have stolen it. You have, by any definition, “taken” what is not, in fact, “yours.” That’s stealing. That’s how any sane person would define stealing.

Agreed? I thought so.

Logical statement #3: If you employ a third party to carry out the act of forceful taking — or “stealing” — and then that third party hands the ill-gotten gains over to you, you are still guilty of stealing. Much like a husband who hires a hit-man to kill his wife is still guilty of murder.

Agreed? Of course.

So, with all of these statements in mind, how is the Welfare State NOT a giant machine of theft and redistribution? Yes, yes, I know. I’m a heartless SOB for asking the question. I’ve never struggled to feed myself (even though I have), and I’ve never been “low income” (even though I have), and I don’t care about poor people (even though I do, and deeply so). I get it. I’m a cold blooded scoundrel, I hear ya. Fine. But can you answer the question? If statements 1, 2, and 3 are all accurate, how does welfare manage to fall outside of these parameters? How is welfare not stealing? How, exactly?

It seems to me that there can be only one answer: It’s OK because the government is doing it. This is America now. This is what it’s come to. It’s OK because the government is doing it. And how far can that principle be stretched? And how many horrendous atrocities can be justified by this logic? If the government can erase any concept of private property on a whim, and defy every moral law against theft by simply calling it a “program,” what else can it do? If you’ve ever read a history book, you already know the answer. If you pay attention to the news, you’ve already gotten a glimpse. If you neither know history nor the news, you’ll find out eventually. And you won’t like it when you do.

That “Logical Statements” bit wasn’t supposed to be snarky or glib. I wrote all of that out because I truly believe many Americans haven’t connected these dots. I don’t think most people on some form of “entitlement” (what a horrendous word, given the context) think of themselves as “stealing” from their neighbor. Our collective ethical sensibilities have become so deluded in gray that many of us truly can’t identify north or south on the moral compass. Just look at what happened with food stamps over the weekend.

A “glitch” in the EBT system left many people with cards that didn’t show any limits. For those who aren’t familiar, the EBT card allows you to spend a certain amount of your neighbor’s money on groceries. Once you’ve reached the arbitrary threshold for the month, you have to wait a few more weeks for the card to be restocked with some more of your neighbor’s cash. But something happened at the EBT Command Center on Saturday, and the “limits” were temporarily deleted.

Some shoppers at Walmarts in Louisiana responded by stocking up grocery carts full of food and taking as much as they could before the limits were restored. After several hours of an all-out free-for-all, the system was back on line. At that point, many of them abandoned their full grocery carts in the middle of the store, leaving the employees to put everything away; a chore that took several hours.

In the movies, the looting usually starts weeks into a zombie apocalypse. In reality, it happened 20 minutes into a temporary food stamp malfunction. That’s no surprise, I suppose. We are, after all, the country where people get trampled to death during Black Friday TV sales and iPhone roll outs.

Nanny State apologists will be quick to point out that the thieves at these Walmarts don’t represent the majority of EBT recipients. That’s probably true, but still, they represent something, don’t they? Even more disturbing than the felony theft that occurred at these locations is the reaction by the public. I’ve seen interviews and read comments from people who, somehow, don’t consider it stealing to go on a “shopping spree” with a limitless EBT card. KSLA in Louisiana quotes one man in a Springhill Walmart as saying this was all a very “human reaction.”

Apparently anticipating my inevitable rant on this subject, a woman emailed me this morning to insist that these looters weren’t “technically” stealing because they did have EBT cards.

They had EBT cards, which mean they possess a mystical “entitlement.” And this entitlement allows them to take other people’s property, so why should this be any different? Right?

Yeah, actually, I agree. If you’re allowed to get 200 hundred dollars worth of stuff with another man’s money, why not 250? Why not 400? Why not 1,000? The government has said stealing is OK in some circumstances, so why not this circumstance?

Middle class families are forced to watch as food is taken from the mouths of their children and given to others, in an elaborate political scheme to breed dependence and ensure a loyal voting base. If we’re OK with that, why shouldn’t we be OK with what happened at a few Walmarts this past weekend? Sure, YOU can’t walk into your local supermarket and take things off the shelves, but YOU aren’t entitled. Only certain people are entitled, and the government decides who those people are. Don’t you get it?

I don’t think we really have the right to be permissive of the Welfare State in general, and then selectively outraged by the “abuses” that come with it. If you accept the Welfare State, you accept the government’s right to take from one, by force, and give to another. Once you’ve bought into that, how can you pretend to have scruples about how the Legal Theft Machine operates? In fact, you’ve acquiesced to the State’s godlike power to invent exceptions to moral laws that have governed Western Civilization for thousands of years, so who are YOU to question how these exceptions are granted?

That’s why I have a good chuckle when I hear someone say something like: “I don’t mind the food stamp program, but I DON’T THINK THEY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BUY JUNK FOOD!” That’s a pretty odd place to draw your ethical line. That’s like if you came home one day to find a burglar in your bedroom stealing jewelry, and you proceeded to have this conversation:

“HEY! You can’t take that! That doesn’t belong to you! You’re going to just go pawn that for drugs, aren’t you?!”

“No, I was thinking of trading it for a treadmill.”

“Oh. OK. Well that’s healthy and constructive. Carry on, sir.”

I’d like to at least believe that our tolerance for Welfare stems from some sort of charitable feeling. That still wouldn’t make it right, but it would make it perhaps more palatable. Yet, I know this isn’t the case. I believe strongly in giving to the poor, and my wife and I do just that. Anyone who wants to GIVE, and GIVE FREELY, is more than able to do so. It doesn’t, therefore, make sense to support the Nanny State simply because you wish to help the poor. You could help the poor without the government, and you know it.

On the contrary, I think most of us submit to and accept Entitlements because we lack the moral or mental energy to oppose them. We accept it because it is, and for no other reason. We’re like little Trumans, in our Truman Show bubble world, surrendering to the charade and the lies simply because it’s unpleasant and troublesome to question it all.

Many of us also lack vision. These entitlement programs are morally objectionable, unconstitutional, expensive, cumbersome, inefficient, rife with corruption, and they give politicians a profound ability to manipulate and blackmail the population, but we can’t think of a better way to help the poor and the downtrodden? Really?

I’ve got an alternative suggestion: Restore private property and liberty; let families care for their own first with the money they have earned, and that will put them in a better position to reach out to others in their communities. Put the ‘charity’ back in Charity. Let neighbors take care of each other out of their own freewill and kindness. Encourage families to stick together. Support your churches and soup kitchens.

Love and compassion. Family. Sacrifice and charity. Not to mention ambition and hard work. These are the ingredients for peace and prosperity — not a perfect peace and a perfect prosperity, but better than what we have. Bureaucracy, force, theft, and government expansion have never made anyone’s life better, and they never will. Just look at any inner city anywhere in America if you need evidence for that assertion.

This is where some Christians go off the rails completely. They make the wild claim that the Welfare State is in keeping with Biblical tenets. Nonsense. Utter, total, ridiculous nonsense. Jesus calls us to GIVE and to LOVE, and welfare has nothing to do with either of those concepts. Where did Jesus give anyone permission to take anything from anyone else by force? Where? Give me chapter and verse, please. Where’s the “if you don’t have it — take it” verse? Did he say it during the Sermon on the Mount? I’ve read the Sermon a thousand times and never seen it. Was it redacted? Jesus calls us to give. GIVE. Welfare doesn’t count because you don’t have a choice. And why are we supposed to give? Is it because we need to “eradicate” poverty and make everyone middle class, or some such drivel? Or is it the enlightening power of love that can be felt and experienced anytime someone freely gives of themselves?

If it’s the former, Welfare still doesn’t make the cut. If the latter, it definitely doesn’t. Government redistribution schemes are not forces of charity and love, and that’s evidenced by the fact that they don’t breed an attitude of humility and gratitude. I’ve put money into a homeless man’s cup on many occasions, and never once has he yelled at me for not giving him enough. That’s because he’s grateful and thankful for what he’s received. Yet anytime you suggest reasonable and necessary cuts to entitlements, you’ll be greeted with anger, vitriol and hatred. That’s because entitlements encourage people to buy into the illusion that they are “owed” other people’s money. Far from engendering gratitude, they blatantly and explicitly encourage feelings of entitlement, which is the opposite of gratitude. Is that what Jesus wanted?

For that matter, is this what our Founders intended?

Is this what any American should want?

I’d say ‘no,’ on all counts.

***Addendum*** Because this always comes up, I thought I’d address it ahead of time: I don’t include veteran’s benefits in this conversation at all. Those are a good example of a true “entitlement,” as in, the people who receive them ARE actually entitled to them. They served their country, potentially sacrificing life and limb, and these benefits ought to be part of the deal. They earned it, same as I earn my paycheck. The government might put VA benefits under the “welfare” banner, but I don’t. It’s an entirely different thing, obviously. A veteran earns certain benefits from the taxpayer. It’s outrageous to think that I can walk into a government office and claim “benefits” for doing nothing, whereas veterans are sometimes denied their rightful benefits, even though they served and sacrificed.

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862 Responses to EBT recipients stole food this weekend (and every other weekend)

  1. Stitched says:

    No offense, but I’ve been reading a few of your blogs, and must say that some are not bad but others are just delusional. SO—What are all those stay at home mom’s going to do to eat and survive when their husbands divorce them and they have no education or skills outside of being a mom? They have to eat and feed those kids somehow unless their value as a mother then doesn’t mean anything and they have to get out there and “work” for minimum wage so that the pennies that you and other self-righteous “taxpayers” chip into the system to help them isn’t going to a complete bum. It’s really funny that people want to condemn the government for “helping” people but I feel like if the government wasn’t “helping” people and you got to see children dying around you on a daily basis and crime increasing because some people become morally compromised when they are starving too death (which means that instead of going to Walmart which stimulates the economy which in itself puts back in all you lovely people’s pockets they might break in on others like all you “higher than thou” types to ACTUALLY steal what they want.) While you tackle an interesting topic that has the potential to discuss actual social and moral implications of the “welfare system”, your condescending tone toward and demonization of welfare recipients makes you little more than the Rush Limbaugh of blogging.

    • Dave says:

      If you want a better world – one that is less expensive for everyone, where people learn about personal responsibility and the consequences of their actions, where government force isn’t used by some to ‘correct’ some alleged inequity – you should be advocating that the government get out of people’s lives and end the welfare state.

    • Go down to the welfare office and watch who gets it for a day and tell me if you still think those people deserve it. It’s a joke.

    • kelly says:

      No offense, you didn’t read the blog at all, did you? First off, there is this thing called child support. Your entire argument is based upon a man ditching his family and then uneducated mommy goes out to work for 7 dollars an hour. Are you a speech writer for Obama? Your example of poor mommies with no skills is lame, yet, these people would greatly benefit from charity. Again, exactly what Matt was saying, yet totally irrelevant re: EBT fraud and what these people did in Walmart. How many stay at home moms do you actually know? Now take that number and divide by half. These moms might get divorced and be in that situation. How many of those women are not capable of getting a job and making it with the child support? Not all jobs are minimum wage, btw. Even at minimum wage at 40 hours a week and child support for 2-3 kids a mom can make it. Many of them do. Gonna be rich? No, probably not. But then again, who wants to be rich in this country? Rich people are evil, right?

      • Bo says:

        You’re getting it.

      • Heather says:

        Hey Kelly can you please talk to my ex because in the past 16 years I have gotten $154 total. Now I know that seems like a lot and I should have no problem supporting myself and my children with what averages out to $9.63 a year but for some reason I still struggle. And its not a one time struggle its an everyday every month struggle. I can’t even count how many times I have had my power cut off, my water gets cut off the most yet no one really wants to help. I get told to get 2 jobs. They may help out once but what about the next month and the next month. I guess its my fault for picking a loser of a dad but its quite a relief to know that at least we will have food.

      • Ali says:

        WOW! “There is thing called child support” LOL!!! Sorry – do some research and find out how many “men” actually pay. There are millions owed women all of this country, the child suppport services rarely put people in jail for not paying. Not only are you uniformed but you are showing yourself to be heartless.

      • christina says:

        I am a Welfare recipient because I need extra help. However, I try to make my groceries trips overlap so that I am never completely out of food and when the system went down I made due with what I had already gotten and did not raid the stores since I am on WIC as well and I got my food off that on friday I made grilled cheese. I do report ALL of my earnings to the Department of Human Services and have recently found a full time job making 9.50 an hour with NO benefits because well that is what was offered to me. I will still need to have some food, daycare and medical assistance my daycare which is $330 a week without any kind of aid the father of my children and i are struggling to make ends meet but we do not abuse the system I just wish everyone would STOP implying that ALL welfare recipients are lazy and just out to abuse the system and I will agree most of them are like that but NOT ALL as soon as I am able to do so I will be off the system and unfortunately my fellow neighbors are not able to help me either since i am in Detroit

      • Michelle says:

        I was one of those mom’s. I have a 7 year old at home now. His father married another woman and hasn’t seen in since December 2010. What did I do? I got a job. I didn’t take from the government. I was raised to pay my own way and contribute. I’m not saying I’m the average “single mom”. I actually make more money than my ex and I’m lucky that I can work from home some days and my job is 7 miles from my house. I do get child support, but that now goes to pay for daycare because I have to work. The point is, a lot of us “single moms” whose husbands leave are just as educated (sometimes moreso) and employable than the man who left.

      • Claudia says:

        Its called “get education and skills and GET A JOB”. If the EBT card had money for education on it, some would not even bother applying.

      • Bridgette W. says:

        I hear what you’re saying. At the same time, I think about the children who have food & shelter because of those “entitlement” programs. It would be great if people gave freely so that these programs became obsolete, but the problem is that people don’t give freely. And children suffer. I have no idea if these programs are a government tactic. But I’m not upset with the people who use them. My mom received government assistance after my dad left her penniless with two small children. When she got on her feet, she got off of the welfare and held 3 jobs until the day she died. She was a hard-working woman, not a thief. And certainly not a conscious part of a government plot to rob citizens and rig politics! I’m more upset with the people who have the means to give freely and make “entitlements” unnecessary, and don’t give but instead complain about government spending and poor people. How can people complain about the state of the world, yet do nothing else to change it?? The government consists of elected officials. If you don’t like how they’re running things, elect someone else. If you can’t change the people, change the laws. Bellyaching on social media (or anywhere you can find an audience–willing or not–I was once the unwilling sounding board to a Republican in an optometrist’s office) accomplishes very little. The EBT recipients who stole food were wrong. But don’t paint ALL recipients with the same low-moral, irresponsible brush. That’s how ALL Black people become thugs, ALL overweight people become lazy, ALL Muslims become terrorists, ALL Jewish people, ALL young people, ALL Asians, etc etc etc…..

      • Marty says:

        To the women who chose bad husbands or chose to have children outside of marriage, you need to live with the decisions you made. No one forced you to have children with those men. Yet, you blame everyone but yourself for your bad decisions. You could have paid attention and worked hard in High school, but you didn’t. You could have chosen a man who would stick with you instead of just choosing the prettiest boy you saw.

        You should live with the bad decisions you make. Not force everyone else to live with the bad decisions you make.

      • Patty says:

        I have not received a dime from my child’s father in child support, and it was hard but I went and got a skill. This program was created to help the needy and a woman left would be an emergency situation at that time, but the difference of then and now is the mentality that we are suppose to be given these automatically without doing a thing. Yes everyone’s situation is different but its what you do with what you are given that infuriates people. I do not know your situations so this is not in your regards, but I do live in an area where these women under the “entitlement” system continue having children. They get with men that have other children they do not take care of and yet they get pregnant thinking he will be different with this child. I hated being in that office because how they would treat me and promised myself to get my child and I out of it because honestly its sad to say there were more capable being able to work for themselves than really needy people in that office. I saw people throw away food because it wasn’t what they wanted. I saw people with their husband waiting in the car give the single mother in need story. I saw them pull up in range rovers, with MK purses, with gold jewelry, their hair and nails done. No not all are the same but seeing these people fill majority of the office has me thinking otherwise.

      • Stitched says:

        I read it, and no I am not a speech writer for Obama, but I wish if his speech writer gets paid as well as some of those other political associates. Could you imagine the salary his speech writer gets? I could help a lot of people by paying hefty taxes and contributing to charities then right? Rich people aren’t necessarily any more or less evil than poor people. However, the scenario I gave you does in fact happen ALOT in my community. Girl gets pregnant young, Maybe gets married, Guy ditches Girl and doesn’t pay child support, Girl doesn’t have family support or family can’t help so signs up for help, Some girls try to help themselves and some do not…The ones who try to help themselves will usually put their child in government funded preschool and try to either work, go to college, or both but it takes time for them to get to a place where they are doing it all on their own. However, there are not many jobs for women in my rural location so the best choice a lot of these girls see is entering into a marriage so….that kind of faulty thinking may repeat the same problem they had before as soon as some deadbeat man runs from his duties toward the girl and/or child/children. Educating girls and encouraging them to wait on marriage and children and get their education is one of the first steps to combating poverty. That is what they are trying to do in some countries in Africa…empower girls.

        • kelly says:

          Except that you didn’t say any of that! No one is talking about the girls that made bad decisions with losers. We’re talking about people that are married that decide to stay home with their children and why women take so much grief for not having “jobs” as stay at home moms. How many couples, when conversing about whether or not to work or stay home with the kids, include the possibility that daddy’s gonna leave mommy to die in the cold, poor and dependent?

      • christina says:

        To Marty,

        have you ever heard of a wolf in sheep’s clothing? I once knew a guy whom I had dated who seemed like a great guy said all the right things went to church etc….. but I had a bad gut feeling and he is now on his 3rd offense of Domestic Violence many people do not get these vibes about people and many men who are violent don’t show their true colors until after marriage. My cousin when she was 18 had gotten pregnant by some guy and another man who again seemed like he was a great guy at that time he had held a job for 5 years high school graduate at first took really good care of her and her son then they had another child and a few years went by and he started having troubles holding down a job and helping to support their family so yes my cousin got assistance but she just like myself pushed herself to find and pay for her own home and has worked her way up from being a part time bank teller to being an assistant bank manager at the bank she works at and is no longer in the system. were her choices bad looking back with what we know now yes but at the time she made her choices she thought she had made a wise decision so you never know what could happen. Also I know of a lot of women who did work hard in high school who still wound up on the system

    • lissakay says:

      I was the kind of mother you describe … stay at home, full time mom, no college, no job skills other than some waitressing during a college career cut short by marriage and children. My husband divorced me and I was left to manage on my own with help from family and church. I never took food stamps, or housing or welfare. The only government assistance I ever got was reduced price school lunches for the kids, Pell grants and subsidized student loans, which I put to good use getting two degrees and a certificate. My kids were fed, clothed and we even had some of the nice things … cable TV, internet, etc.

      No one begrudges anyone assistance when they need it. But there are far too many able bodied people on welfare … and the only reason they are on welfare is because it is the only life they know. There needs to be some major changes in the system, starting with strict limits on what people can buy with the EBT, and how long they can continue to receive those benefits.

      • stef says:

        you are a hero. i wish more people knew your story.

      • Sharon says:

        I agree with you I had that same story. Our Gov. of FL. tried to reform welfare by requiring drug testing & able body to work for it. He was quickly shot down by the cry of “unconstitutional”.(drug testing).

    • Bo says:

      You are insane. There is NO ONE in this country that should be going hungry. You can get birth control FREE. A pack of hot dogs for .99, and pack of buns .99, and dozen eggs for a bit over a dollar, a bag of potatoes for almost nil. Ramen noodles, I think are what 10 for a dollar? You must be one living off the working class, a bum in other words. People should not have children they cannot support, and if they choose to stay home and not work so they can provide for themselves and their children, that is their own stupidity. No one should rely on ANYONE, including a spouse to pay for them to live. They are just as capable, or worthless.

      • MizK says:

        Bo, can you kindly clarify this comment? I am a stay at home mom, one of those who Matt actually praised for choosing to put my family first. (Thank you, Matt!) Yes, I do rely on my spouse to earn the income for our family. I am grateful for what he does. I would like to think he values what I do, as well. We are partners in doing the best we can for our children, each of us contributing in our own way. Are you suggesting that, by choosing to stay home and raise my own children that I am “worthless”? Because it kind of sounded that way.

      • Joslyn says:

        I’m on EBT. That’s right I’m admitting it freely. I will also say that the only reason I am on EBT is because my husband and I have to pay over $1,500 a month is student loans and neither of us can find jobs that pay more than $2,000 combined, despite my husband working over 50 hours a week and me doing every odd job I can find since we’re juggling one car. The only reason all this has happened is because we started college in the “don’t worry about what it costs, you have a job waiting for you” era and we ended it in the “you actually expect a job? What a joke!” era. Worst of all my husband’s degree required a private college degree and now because it was a ministry related degree, there are no jobs left and the ones that are he’s fighting 40 year old doctorate holders for.

        But I also agree with everything Matt has said here and for everyone who was not stuck in the very small window of years that the crash created, there is little excuse. If I had graduated high school just 2-3 years later than I had or 2 years sooner, I would not have any problems with jobs or debt. I try to justify it by reminding myself that I’m going to pay into Social Security and never see a dime of it, but I also realize it is just my way of trying to make myself feel better about all of it. If there was a church handing out real food, instead of “food like substances” in a box, I’d be lined up, but no one is generous enough to buy me apples and bananas they just want to give me ramen and hot dogs that aren’t even real food. Not everyone on food stamps are lazy SOB’s. Some of us really are just down on our luck with no one to help us.

        • Karen says:

          Joslyn- Your comments about “real food” reveal a very ungrateful attitude! While my family always had food to eat growing up, my mother grew up in an era when “EBT” was government cheese and corn meal. Her family ate what they were given even if the thought of eating one more bowl of corn meal mush made them want to puke! There were times they sat down to eat with no food available. My mother was very impacted by being brought up in absolute poverty, and she taught us that “beggers can’t be choosers” – which is to say that if you cannot provide for you own needs, you have no right to complain about what is given to you. In my own home, we have to choose to drive ld, junky cars and buy clothes at Good Will, but we provide for our children and even give money to support a child in Nigeria thru World Help, as well as giving to some local charities. Is it nice to have fresh fruit – certainly, but I would not be out there complaining about the foods given from churches’ food pantries. It is just rude! Besides which, most churches do not have the facilities for perishable items. Incidentally, there are some charities that have been organized to provide fresh fruits and vegetables. You might check into this – it is possible that there is something in your area. Best of luck.

    • Layne says:

      Very few are “forced” to be mothers. If you’re willing to take the risk bringing a child into this world, then you’re on your own. Personally, I think it’s cruel to procreate.

      • Stitched says:

        True that few are “forced”, but we live in a hyper sexualized society that brainwashes children and teenagers from young age to believe that they MUST have a mate asap and that often results in children. Girls want to be brides and mommies and unfortunately people aren’t raising men anymore to be good husbands but rather take and throw away women and children.

    • Brian says:

      “makes you little more than the Rush Limbaugh of blogging”
      Ah, you reveal yourself, there. Well, actually, all your other statements did that, too.

      • Stitched says:

        Nah, you don’t know me. I work, I go to college, I don’t have kids but would like to one day be able to afford to have one before I’m too old. I have been a caretaker to a sick grandmother and mother with debilitating mental health problems. I was raised a “Christian” so I hold on to values that include being charitable, “suffer not the little children”, and so on and so forth. I’ve never received EBT, but I’m not to prideful to know that disaster can befall anyone. When disaster has befallen me at times I’ve had family who have been supportive in the way of giving me a clean bed to sleep in and a plate at the dinner table. However, I am not so naive as to believe that everyone has the same situation as me. I’m pretty conversative when it comes to viewpoints on having children, but realize that people are human and not perfect and other people are not always what they present themselves. I also think there needs to be a cap put on the number of children that the government will help with which will encourage family planning and education and start to improve the moral state of society. I am not however, I fan of pulling the rug out from under needy people and creating chaos, as well as ignoring that the needy include the elderly, the disabled, and orphans. I’m sorry I’m just not that judgemental of people and believe in the “social contract.” Life is brief, always remember that.

    • Mike says:

      To Stitched: Your eyes might have passed over the words of the article, but obviously nothing penetrated the darkness. You have the black soul of a pirate in feeling entitled (as is very well set out in this excellent piece) to the productivity of others, to what you haven’t earned. And what I wish for you is this: that you would live out your days in a 100% welfare, 100% state-owned country without ANY freedom of enterprise, or ownership of ANYTHING. Everyone takes from the common pot. Contribute if you want. THAT kind of country, Stitched. Wouldn’t you be so happy? No you wouldn’t you parasite.

    • TJR says:

      If you think that’s who’s receiving welfare, you are the delusional one my friend. I work with welfare recipients and they are largely single mothers all right, but as a result of their own irresponsible lifestyle that in nearly EVERY case includes alcohol and drug abuse. When I started working within this system, I wanted to believe I was helping people obtain independence. But in every case I’ve worked so far, there is not even a desire for independence. These moms absolutely feel entitled because they have a kid…or two.. or three. ~”Middle class families are forced to watch as food is taken from the mouths of their children and given to others, in an elaborate political scheme to breed dependence and ensure a loyal voting base. ” ~That’s the real reason for expanded entitlements. Getting off welfare is hard; harder than staying on. And that is why most people don’t do it. (In full disclosure, I work specifically with mothers who are being investigated for child abuse or neglect. During this time, these mothers will receive even more government assistance for counseling, substance abuse treatment and paid parent aide supervision.)

      • Stitched says:

        But you do realize you wouldn’t have a job if welfare was completely wiped out right? There wouldn’t be a need for ALL those Human Services jobs. I mean it would effect the economy negatively. What kind of jobs are going to be left for people to actually work after awhile? Unless you don’t think there would be a chain reaction in the economy when people can’t buy anything? Also a LOT of working families receive EBT so maybe you are just assigned the cases of the addicts and people with obvious problems since you work specifically with mothers being investigated for child abuse and neglect? There would be even more food thrown away from our government subsidized agricultural industry if EBT didn’t exist.

    • as3530 says:

      First, you take more seriously your relationships and who you conceive children with. (“Encourage families to stick together”). Love your children enough to choose a suitable mate.

    • Ali says:

      Thanks for an actual compassionate response. I am sorry but some of Matt’s comments sound racist as well. “Just look at the inner city” – what does that mean Matt? Only blacks and hispanics are on aid? Only blacks and hispanics vote for Obama? This author is clueless and HEARTLESS.

      • estesp1 says:

        Ali–you fully missed his point. When he says “look at the inner cities” he is trying to practically answer the question: what has government funding and involvement done to make anyone’s lives better? Our big urban centers are known as huge places of “investment” of government funding in many ways (not just food stamps), and yet they are the places with most of the worst social issues, be it murder rate, poverty, petty crime, significant drug problems, etc. If you want to link that to specific races, that’s your choice, but his point has nothing to do with racism–it’s just a clear picture that heavy government “help” rarely brings about the utopian state you would hope it would.

      • Jon says:

        Wait…so only blacks and hispanics live in the inner city?

      • Stitched says:

        Thanks. I’m sure Matt is a good person and like I said, I’ve enjoyed reading some of his blogs…but I loathe hate directed powerless people. He could have written a real good article about the welfare state and offered real solutions to how to resolve the issues, but he instead choose to demonize welfare recipients as thieves and layabouts.

    • emiliepoor says:

      THis is a very first world response! I live in the Dominican Republic where there is NO government help. To say that without government help people that people would starve to death and there would be increased crime is a huge jump . Yes, there are people who have to go with less than 3 meals a deal, and sometimes only one. There are also a lot of single moms here, and what I see is the beauty of friends and family working together to make it work. Large families of grandparents, aunts, and uncles working together each to earn a little to be able to eat that day: people taking care of people, churches taking care of people. I think without government help you would see a lot more beauty than you might think.

      Side note:
      I was telling some Dominican friends about food stamps the other day (who make less than $300 a month and everything still costs the same), and there response was, “Why are Americans so lazy that they can’t work for themselves to feed their families?”

      • evandaestes says:

        Love your response. I agree completely. So much beauty to see & people are way to lazy to see it.

      • Wow, Emilie! I had never read a response like that and I truly appreciate your perspective from people who we have heard to be in such great need. It is sad that they have so little and don’t complain while our country is full of complainers who don’t want to work to earn more. Great words as usual, Matt!

      • Stitched says:

        Emilie, your country is different from our country. Our country places values on possessions over people. Hence the debate on whether something meant to improve lives of unfortunate people. If our country placed value on people over possessions, then maybe we would all work together to make things better, but alas we don’t live like a tribe or community of people but we are instead lovers of self and what is “ours”. There are some people here who will kick their own kids out and refuse to help them. Some people here who shove their old parents into nursing homes instead of inviting them into their own homes. It’s not a first world problem, it’s a selfish world problem. I am in awe of your family and friends for actually being supportive and realizing that people are more important than things.

    • luvbuzzloo says:

      I had wrote out this big long tantrum on what you just said but i would just like to point out that everything your saying just validates what matt’s is trying to say about the system. As one of those single mothers of two please speak for yourself . I was a young mother at age 19 and I have never been on welfare. I have two children 2 yrs apart their dad left me stay at home mom, i had dropped out college during my pregnancy (my choice totally) to move back closer to family just for him to roll out when i needed him the most. I know actually what your talking about I don’t get my child support ever, its a loosing battle the laws and states and systems are flawed but you know what. The solution isn’t welfare it’s a major improvement in enforcement of the laws of the responsibility on the noncustodial parents (could be the father, could be the mother). I say shut down everything. I at one or two points in my life since my children were born have worked 2 or 3 jobs at a time or one job with double shifts, i wouldn’t have needed to work so much if the government wasn’t taking so much out of my pay and giving it to other people. Even now with just one job I make roughly about 29k a year i have 2 kids under the age of 9 still a single mother still not getting support, never been on welfare. I would be doing great if our government would stop stealing from me every two weeks. It’s hard being a single mom, it sucks, i have had to rely on family for support sometimes but i never gave up, I’ve done door to door sales and worked my way up to the medical field. . I make that 29K i only see about 20-22 of it through out the year in my pay. Less now because our insurance just went up another 250 a month. The welfare system is way to flawed its a great magical idea if there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in which the government had location of that wasn’t my pay check or the paycheck of others.

      On another note Single mothers who are use to be stay at home mothers swish this around in your brain for a moment . At home day care. or before and after care at your home. Depending on your state you don’t have to be license , but it is actually fairly easy to get child care license. This way if can stay at home with you young ones and make money doing what stitched says you only capable of doing apparently which is being stay at home moms.

      Extra notes:

      For you on EBT did you know you can by seeds and fruit trees with your EBT cards and food stamp or snap benefits??? Probably not most people don’t know. Grown gardens not lawns :) Then you wont need to be stealing benefits. in the event of a complete government shutdown you can say good by to those benefits they are federally funded so what’s you back up plan? Do your self a favor support yourself now.

      Tips:
      Check your local Gaming Commission for hunting seasons and bag limits
      Americans can provide meats for free in most states for their family game includes, Deer, turkey, fish, squirrel , rabbit ,pheasant , elks, black bears. all edible.

    • Your not serious are you? They don’t deserve handouts. My wife and I worked our way through college for our kids. If others can’t do the same then they do not deserve handouts!

    • I would ask a few questions about this mother your described. 1) why would the courts award custody to a mother with no skills and no job over a father with skills and a job in a divorce situation, (the answer is simple the father be damned mother trumps all no matter who is in a better position to care to the children)divorce is never one sided, it is the state that then put those children in danger of starvation by awarding to a parent with no skills.no job and no income which only serves to continue an entitlement and dependency on the state. 2) is this mother so selfish that she would refuse to allow her children to live with there father who is working for a living so that she can go and get the skills to earn a living herself? is she so selfish she would rather her children live in poverty all to satisfy her ego and her selfish desire to keep her children?

    • Pat says:

      First, choose wisely who you marry. Second, always be sure that you can provide for yourself. If you have children, they are your and your spouses responsibility. If you get divorced, collect the child support/alimony you deserve from the other spouse. If that is not enough, then you are going to have to go out and get a job, or two, or more, to provide your children the type of childhood you want to give them… or learn to live on less. No one is entitled to be a stay at home mom. Every able bodied person is responsible for building and maintaining their own skills to insure they can care for themselves and those they are responsible for. If someone is truly supporting a family on minimum wage, they will have plenty of free educational grants available to gain needed skills. If one spouse was stay at home before, I am sure with the alimony/child support etc. and some sacrifices both spouses will not starve. They may need to give up all inclusive cell phone plans, going out, cable TV, and vacations, but these are not requirements – nor is it our responsibility as a society to maintain a certain standard of living for people whose circumstances have changed. Children in our areas would not die of starvation. All of our churches regularly provide food, clothing, groceries, and health screenings to anyone who wants to come. No questions asked. While I agree that a few people may have extenuating circumstances like severe debilitating illnesses, where they may need assistance, I do not think wanting to stay home with your kids, or not having skills, qualifies anyone for assistance. I would rather stay home with my kids, too, but as a parent, I know my responsibility is to give them the best opportunities I can afford and to teach them responsibility and self-sufficiency. Neither I nor they “owe” you anything!

  2. As my Dear Late Mother used to say, “You help People who CAN’T help themselves, not People who WON’T help themselves”. She wasn’t talking about the Government.

    As my Father told me when I was a whining Teenager, “Nobody owes you a living so get back to work”.

    My Parents lived through the Depression. They experienced it all. As a child, we lived in squalor. That didn’t stop us from doing what we needed to do to improve our lives. There was no reward for lounging around complaining about the unfairness of Life. There is always a Job, even living in Obamaville. It may not be the Job you like. It may not pay what you imagine you are worth, but it’s there for the taking.

    We end up with a Generation of Whiners who elect a Whiner to rule the Country. In my day, people were embarrassed and appreciative of any help they received. My Late Aunt, blinded by Glaucoma in her early twenties worked most of her life Sewing Clothing at what would be considered a sweat shop by today’s standards. She did what she had to do to survive. She got up early every day, got ready for work, made her Lunch then took the Bus to work.

    Again, she was totally Blind, yet she never complained as much as the idiot Liberals do day in and day out. Life isn’t fair, aw shucks. You could have been born in Bangladesh. You live in the greatest Nation the World has ever known and you spend every waking hour bitching and moaning because someone, somewhere has more than you do. You Elect Thieves to take the money of people you despise and gift it to you like you somehow earned the right to steal by proxy.

    I would never imagine how low we as a Society could sink. Live in Hopey Changey, die in despair Comrades. You reap what you sow. Nice to see what Fundamental Change looks like up close.

  3. Shandra says:

    My family is authorized for a small amount of EBT. We have income, just not enough. I’m embarrassed to be needy enough to qualify. I’m also disgusted by what happened this weekend. I had not heard of it until I read this blog post. I suppose it might have been tempting to get a few extra things but I certainly would have felt too guilty to actually do it. Another part I’m disgusted by is the fact that they just left all the carts out for the workers to put away. RUDE! What is wrong with people?!
    After reading this post I read a few news articles and one said that they are making Walmart pay for the overages. I think that is ridiculous. They can see who used how much and should make each individual pay it back. There was one month that the EBT system determined that I should not have been given any benefits and so I am paying it back by a reduction in my monthly amount without arguing.

    • Bo says:

      Good job!

    • Allie says:

      It was only Walmart that accepted EBT. They were told not to!!! Along with all other food locations. Walmart found a loop hole that if you checked out in $100 incriments that EBT would work. It was a business choice. They knew if everyone knew only Walmart was accepting, they would get the business. There is no way they would lose that business! It’s huge for their profits. Walmart should fit the bill for not listening when they accepted EBT anyways. For those who knew it was down, and worked the system, judgement falls on them but it won’t be from me. Those who were just buying groceries and didn’t know, shouldn’t be held responsible. I won’t go into my thoughts on the welfare system.

  4. Nicole Marsh-Mueller says:

    Hi Matt,

    Looks like youve had an overwhelming response on this one, so theres a good chance you wont make it to my comment!

    But… this one has been percolating in my mind all day since I read your post (I did read it!) and Id like to respond logically and, more to the point, Biblically if I may. Im no logician or Bible scholar, but here are some thoughts I hope you might consider.

    (By the way, first Id like to say Im a big fan of your blog and have reshared many of your posts. Im a stay at home mom- loved your post on SAHMs!- of two little ones so dont often comment on blogs, but wanted to take an opportunity for some respectful rebuttle).

    In an effort to keep this a decent length I think the quickest way to summarize my thoughts is to share why I believe that while your three logical statements are for the most part correct, that they do not necessarily apply to the incident at hand, and most certainly do not apply to the existence of entitlement programs, and the foodstamps program, in particular.

    Logical statement #1- While scripture does indicate that we as humans have the “right” to private ownership of goods, land, etc, (eg Exodus 20:15 and Exodus 22;1-31), there is also a clear spirit in God’s word that all of our possessions are ultimately a gift from the Lord to steward well (James 1:17, Luke 19:12-27), so while Im not suggesting that we should not have private property, as Christians I think we need to be careful about the spirit in which we talk about what is “ours” and watch that we dont put pride in our possessions ( 1John 2:16) or cling too closely to our earlthy goods and value them over our brother in need (Matthew 19:16-30).

    More to the point, with regard to the foodstamps issue, at the root of this of course we are talking about taxes. EBT users are not coming into our homes and stealing our goods, nor are they illegally accessing our net income that we keep in our bank accounts or our wallets, but rather they have access to funds that the government appoints for said purpose out of the taxes they have collected from its citizenry. Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 12:15-22, that we are not only to render our taxes unto the governing authorities in order to submit to them (which is a theme throughout the new testament as seen in Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Pet 2:13-17), but because, in Jesus own words, the money is “Ceasars”. The primary point of this story is to demonstrat that Jesus was not interested in the political and economic partisanship of the day, and to call Chrisians to be responsible citizens and pay their taxes, but He is also clearly making the point that, because money issued from the government has the name of the
    nation and its leaders on it, it demonstrates that it is in fact the governments, and if they are requesting it in taxes, even if said taxes seem unfair, that we are to pay them, as they have a right to use that money as they see fit. Something we dont stop to think about is that without a governing authority we would not have the money we use to buy and sell goods, but would be left with a bartering system. Of course this is not the main point of the story but in regard to your point that our possessions are our own it is important to stop and consider that
    technically, according to jesus, our money itself does belong, at least in part, to Ceasar, or our government in this day, and He says we need to render unto them what they request.

    Logical statement #2- This statement holds up just fine if you are using it in reference to those people who attempted to misuse the food stamps system and purchase more than they were legaly allotted during the EBT card malfunction. They were most certainly guilty of trying to take and acquire those things which were not theirs, and in a clearly duplicitous manner, so in that way I concur with you. But to attempt to stretch this logical statement in reference to the use of foodstamps in general, I redirect to my point above that EBT users are not
    stealing possessions or money out of the hands of private citizens, but are being given that money by a governing authority with the legal right to tax its citizens and use (you can say “redistribute” if it makes you feel better from an ideological perspective) it according to its discretion.

    If you need further Biblical evidence that governing authorities have the right to tax and use funds for governance as they see fit, I refer you once more to Romans 13:1-7, in which the Holy Spirit, via Paul’s pen, instructs us that,

    “6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

    Paul tells us explicitly here governments are God’s servants in providing order and protection and peace to its people, and that we are to pay them taxes in order that they may run their government. The US government is a representative republic by which the citizenry elects senators and representatives to do the will of the people, and it has been the will of the people that certain provisions be made for people of lower income to help with the purchase of foods, particularly those families in which children are in need. While the efficacy of these programs
    is debatable and I grant you that, as a Christian I believe it is without a doubt my duty to pay my taxes and to see the use of those taxes to bless those who have less than me as a way in which the government is, as verse 6 says, being God’s servant in helping those in need.

    Logical statement #3- While once again this statement appears to be logical on the surface, the idea that it can be applied to low-income food stamp program recipients is by far the most illogical part of your article, if I may say so, Matt And here is why. First, I believe I have made an argument above that taxation is not the same as theft by Biblical standards, and that it is in fact the means by which governments, ordained by God to have authority over people in this dispensation, fulfil their task of governing. Second, the notion that low-income EBT users “hired” the US government to “steal” and give them plunder is not only a stretch metaphorical but it is not statistically accurate. It is a well-known truth that lower-income people are much less likely to vote than those of higher income (see the wikipedia article on voter turnout and socioeconomic factors with stats for the US here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout#Socio-economic_factors) and I believe the most recent election was no different. Those in power who have made the laws regarding food stamp programs were put there almost entirely by people NOT receiving welfare of any kind, and so if you’re going to stick with this metaphor, then it is actually those being “stolen” from who hired the “thief” to redistribute their own goods.

    Ultimately, Matt, I agree with you that the actions of those who attempt to game the system are reprehensible and they should be punished accordingly. I cannot agree with you, however, that any use of social services or public works which are paid for by collected taxes is tantamount to theft (I know libertarians always chide at these examples but what of public schools, roads, police services, or the goods and foods you buy at a discounted price due to subsidies, the list goes on?). The line is too difficult to decipher today where we as citizen benefit from the governments use of taxes for anyone to become self-righteous about anothers need for one program or service over another. I am not on food stamps by Gods grace but we do get some government assistance for my daughter’s Autism therapy which is atrociously expensive and we could not afford otherwise. As a taxpayer (yes, a real life tax payer… we pay taxes at the end of the year, we dont get them back), I have no qualms about this whatever. And I also have no qualms about my taxes going to help those who are less fortunate. Personally Im much more concerned about the money the US government spends on its foreign wars and its corporate bailouts (which we all know its spends a good deal more on that all welfare programs combined) than i am on the folks who need some help with the grocery bill.

    I enjoy your blog and I am sorry that folks have approached you in a nasty way (thats the interwebs for you). I hope you’ll have a chance to check out my scripture references and see that there is a different Biblical perspective when it comes to taxation and government spending. And now I need to get to bed before my nursing baby wakes me up in an hour for a feeding! God bless, Matt… keep at it, we love your blog.

    • Bo says:

      You lost most when you started trying to quote the Bible ma’am.

      • Nicole Marsh-Mueller says:

        Haha Bo well… I was adressing Matt, who asked for a Biblical argument and I gave him one.

      • elph says:

        Matt references Biblical teachings, so of course she made Biblical references. The inviction to “render unto Caesar” is very relevant here. The fact that you were too bothered to read a well reasoned rebuttal simply because it contained scriptural references is not a counterargument on your part.

      • RCase says:

        She didn’t lose me. I thought she presented an intelligent, articulate response.

    • Amber says:

      This was a kind, well-written and thoughtful response. It doesn’t change my opinion of federal welfare but it does soften my heart. I appreciate you sharing your perspective.

      • Nicole Marsh-Mueller says:

        Thanks Amber! Its so important to be able to have agreeable disagreement! We all have our blindspots, Lord knows I have mine, and sometimes in the grey areas of life there is just plain room for legitimate difference of opinion! God bless and thanks for the kind words!

    • mrs.w says:

      Well put, Nicole! I think working through what Matt wrote and what you’ve written is an excellent way to start the conversation. While i sort of agree with much of what Matt said, it was so tense and angry – got me all riled up about the state of my country. Justice! Responsibility! Then I found your humble and calm tone offer perspective – i saw Jesus handing over the coin. I heard Him saying “Render unto Caesar”. And i am still again. Grace. Mercy.
      I think i need both.

      • Nicole Marsh-Mueller says:

        Wow Mrs W your comment ave me goosebumps! Jesus handing over the coin! Oh His humble example… we all need it! Thank you for your kind words- The Lord said the world would know us by our unity and I believe we have to have these discussion in the spirit of grace… thoughtful disagreement can be a productive exercise in growth and unity! :). God bless!

    • Kim says:

      thank you! You saved me from a lot of Bible research! Excellent scripture choices.

    • ymkbird says:

      Very well-reasoned, polite, and charitable critique!

    • Don says:

      I appreciate your well thought out comments. However I would say this: just because we must render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s, doesn’t mean we have to stand by idly and watch the complete abuse of the system. We also have a government for the people by the people and that means we can hold them accountable for not being proper stewards of our money. If we are going to refer to the bible, we also need to look at it in historical contexts. The people of Israel lived under Roman rule, they did not live in a Republic like we do. They really had no choice or say so in any matters involving taxation or representation., We do as we elected the politicians to represent us at the Federal level of government. We are not ruled by an Emperor, or an appointed provincial governor. By us being critical and expecting accountability of programs like EBT and Welfare we are protecting the gifts that God has given us. Yes God has provided my family and I with great gifts, and yes the government takes away part of that gift in taxes. Do I not get to question what they do with it? Should I just shrug my shoulders when it goes to folks who obviously are not good stewards of the gifts given to them? No I do not. I as a citizen, voter, and Christian hold the government accountable for their use of the gift that has been given to them.I would argue that if the government does not carefully monitor these programs, and they obviously do not, then it is a theft of God’s gifts.

      • Nicole Marsh-Mueller says:

        Don I agree with every word here. I do agree that as Christians blessed to live under a democratic system, we not only have the right, but sometimes the obligation to engage where we can in the political process. I have no problem whatever with Christians saying hey… I want to see my tax dollars used responsibly and even in line with my values as a believer. Personally I am not opposed to food stamps programs, but I think the economically conservative perspective on welfare is a viable one, and should be part of the conversation. So on all points we agree.

        Where I think Matt took a wrong turn, and what I was addressing, is taking that next step to say that taxation is in itself theft, and that those who are *legally* benefiting from food stamps programs are themselves guilty of theft and extortion. Its one step too far. In a democratic system we have a right to a difference of opinion over policy and outside those things which we can almost all agree upon are inaliable rights a government must give in order to call itself free and democratic (eg speech, thought, worship, etc), there is plenty of room for legitimate debate on these issues. I for one am not a fan of cash-based welfare programs as I see them highly abused. But to say that the very system of taxation and “redistribution” is in itself theft or outside the bounds of legitimate governance, is, as I read scripture, not a Biblical one. I hope you can see the difference there and thanks for the thoughtful,discussion. :)

    • tcowhard says:

      Great argument from scripture and i agree wholeheartedly

    • Scott Diesing says:

      Well said. A few comments.

      First, those who do not want God to inform their thinking are fools. Which is not to say that Bo is wrong. You may have lost “most”. But if we have learned anything from the last century it is that trying to make our arguments appear as if they are built on a foundation other than God’s word is just a long, painful, slippery slide into the same abyss that completely ignoring God’s word would plunge us into. So don’t stop.

      Second, I think Matt does have a point in saying that the redistribution of wealth by the government is theft. It really does not matter if 99% of the voting public agrees. If we pass a law to take money from Mr. X and give it to Mr. Y we are stealing his money. (And I agree with you that corporate welfare is the most nefarious form of this thieving. And currency inflation is a close second.)

      The Bible gives us principles that allow us to have taxation without making it theft. Here are three of those principles:

      1. Taxation should be uniform not progressive. If I make $10,000 per year I should pay X %. If I make $100,000 per year, I should pay the same X percent. (Moses)

      2. X should be no more than 10. The government (all levels) should take no more than 10% of the increase of its people. (Malachi 3:8-10 – should the government get more than God? What would that say about government?)

      3. Charity should be locally administered by people who know the recipients personally and should only be given to those who truly need it and who will spend it on basic necessities. (the book of Ruth)

      The real losers in the welfare scam are the welfare recipients (of all stripes). We lose our self respect, our self reliance, and our liberty. The family and church lose their authority over the areas that belong to them.

      • Nicole Marsh-Mueller says:

        Hi Scott. Appreciate you weighing in and engaging from scripture, but Im wondering if you clarify what you mean by “Moses” for point one? Im not arguing that you have the right to believe uniform taxation is the most just, but I cant think of a bible verse that would suggest a progressive tax system is defacto theft. I know under Rome, in which Jesus lived and served, the tax system was egregiously unfair, and yet he did not accuse the authorities of stealing but, as the verses I shared from Matthew and Romans indicate, He seemed to say they had every right to tax the public.

        With regard to the verse in Malachi, I see your point about the government taking mre than God, and I would go so far as to say that sounds like the most “just” equation for taxation, but again when I back to the Word i dont see permission to call taxation over 10% “theft”. I would again point to the Roman tax system, which was certainly higher than ten percent (I will try to find an exact number but I know it was cruel and unusual) and Jesus and the Holy Spirit called Christians to pat their taxes and again clearly stated the government was due the taxes as a servant of God (Pauls words in Romans, nit mine…).

        As for charity… I think your argument there, again, is not a bad one, but I was not addressing in my comment what was “ideal” or what as Christians we should strive for, but rather what was or was not theft. I have no problem with Christians voting for people who represent what they want to see done with their tax dollars. We have that right and privilege in the US. But Im saying if the government, elected by the people, choses to have social programs, that dos not make taxation theft. If you can show me some scripture verses that explicitly state otherwise I would be more than happy to capitulate… Im not looking to further a political ideology here, just trying to take The whole counsel of Gods word into consideration. Thanks for the thoughtful discussion!

    • sarah says:

      i have to say, this is an incredibly intelligent response!

    • Your response, Nicole, with your Biblical misrepresentation of scripture is probably the most dangerous to the cause of human welfare. You would insist that it is God’s will for people to be given handouts by governments and not to work for what they have. That is not Biblical at all! God does say “give to God what is God’s and give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” but the government is not the “servant of God” instructed to give to the widows, orphans, and poor. God commands his “people” to give to those. Matt never said that we shouldn’t pay our taxes to the government. Yes, that is Biblical, and I am pretty confident Matt does his duty as a citizen of this country as do I. What Matt is saying is that it should not be up to the government to “give to the poor” because in doing so the government is stealing from those who work to give to those who don’t and it makes the system very corrupt as it encourages people to abuse it. In other countries where this welfare system is non-existent, people seem a lot more willing to help the less fortunate because they aren’t being forced to give what they cannot afford to help others who for the most part just abuse the system. The welfare system has been on a downward spiral of misuse since its inception. Human welfare would be more greatly benefited if we still lived in a time where hard work was rewarded, and people could freely give to those who are less fortunate. That is Biblical, my dear!

      • Nicole Marsh-Mueller says:

        Sherry, can you provide me with some scripture verses in which God says that civil authorities taxing the public is theft? I spent a good deal of time the other night searching what Gods word says about taxes (as well as theft) and I was not able to find a verse that even suggested such a thing was the case. Also, could you provide an example of a country with a lower tax rate, or less social welfare programs, than the US and some statistics which demonstrate its people are more willing to give a larger percentage of their income to charitable works? I appreciate that you feel these things are true, but if you could provide some evidence it would go further in convincing me my understanding of scripture is “dangerous”. If you reread what I wrote, nowhere do I excuse Gods people from being the primary agent of Gods hand in this world, and I argue we continue to be just that, despite our flawed giving. I was addressing the issue of taxation being theft, and thus EBT recipients being thieves, and if you can provide some scripture verses that support that Id be willing to take that into consideration. Thanks.

    • Emily says:

      Thank you for writing this!! This is the best response I have read so far. Very well-thought out and biblical. I usually love Matt’s posts, but this one was definitely off of the deep end.

    • Stitched says:

      You have read your bible and did your spiritual homework. I enjoyed reading your post, you are very biblical articulate and elegant. I don’t know if the author will read your well written post, but I thank you for your contribution to this conversation because it might just get other “Christians” thinking about what it means to be a real servant of God.

  5. Dave says:

    There is an important dynamic you are missing here: “Giving”.

    1) “Logical Statement #1″ leaves out gifts as a way something can come into one’s ownership. It seems sadly convenient that you missed this important detail.

    2) “Where did Jesus give anyone permission to take anything from anyone else by force? Where?” How about “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” as Christ’s response to your charge that the government is stealing? It is legal (Caesar’s law) that we are taxed, and it is Caesar’s law that the government spends on these welfare programs.

    Your energy might be better spent on motivating me and our fellow Christians to have more of a heart for the poor (a most fundamental teaching of Jesus) and make bigger sacrifices to help them out of their poverty. Your rant unfortunately serves to make us Christians look materialistic and selfish (which sadly most of us are).

  6. Katie says:

    Just a thought and if might have already been said, but technically once the government taxes the citizens, that money no longer belongs to the citizens, but to the government and they have the right to say what they spend it on. We vote into office people who are supposed to speak for us to help determine where that money goes. I see the point you are trying to make, but I think if you say that about welfare then you have to say it about everything else the government pays for, college, grants, military, everything the government spends because technically you just pay a tax. You don’t know where that money is going once it has left your paycheck. Do I think we pay too many taxes or that the government makes mistakes. Absolutely, but I think to say welfare is stealing is a bit over the top.

    • Bo says:

      Not at all, especially when one knows so many that are taking it freely, and not even trying to help themselves.

    • Stephanie says:

      This was my thought as well. You can call the government a thief if you so choose. But if the government spending money on welfare is theft, how are public schools not theft? Is THAT not an entitlement program? Medicare? Oh, they’ve been paying into it all their lives, you might say. Well there are millions of people on food stamps who have never before received government assistance. One could make the same argument that those people have also been paying into the system.

  7. Millie says:

    This happened in MY local Walmart. And it is so indicative of what goes on in this little town. Someone was shopping and found out about the “happy circumstances” and they used their cellphone to activate the “network” and then the store was flooded with people ready to take advantage of the situation. This happens all the time here. These same people will come into a church with their expensive manicures, designer handbags, the latest iPhone, driving SUVs and ask for their electric bill or water bill to be paid. If the church agrees to help with the bill, then there will suddenly be a dozen or so others asking for the same thing. If a church re-stocks their food pantry, as soon as one person calls and finds out there is food, then suddenly there will be 25 people lining up at the doors wanting some of the action. I get behind them in the line at the grocery store and they’re buying groceries (yes, including a LOT of junk/candy/sodas) with their government benefits and then they pull out a wad of cash to spend even more on frivolous things like the fireworks a previous commenter mentioned. And there I am, mentally tallying everything in my cart, sweating my family’s grocery budget to make it last all month. I know that there are people who really need help feeding their families. But I also know that some of the ones who need the help most aren’t getting it. So it just makes me ILL to see people so obviously abusing the system.

  8. Leslie says:

    I disagree with you on like, tons of stuff, but I LOVE your bog and really, greatly appreciate your words and perspective. Thanks so much and I wish you great success!

  9. housewifing says:

    Too many comments to read through them all but I thought I’d put my two cents in. First, my family qualified for food stamps when my husband was in seminary. We did not take them. We felt we could scrape by on our own and though we didn’t eat well (or even healthy) for those four years, we managed. Since then we’ve also qualified for WIC, which we also refused (even though the social worker was practically trying to force it on us), because we could again get by, even with healthy food this time. We don’t have a lot of extra money and could never afford $149 of fireworks as mentioned in an early comment, but we pay are bills on time and are able to eat healthy. We just do it by cutting out most of the extras that most Americans seem to think are essential.

    I have seen a lot of abuse in the system all around me too. A family I knew growing up had the father out of work and in government assistance due to “back injury” but he still went rifle hunting/shooting and riding his motorcycle every week.

    However, in our society today, I don’t think returning to traditional charity would work. First of all, there are many who simply wouldn’t give because they never have had to since the government takes care of “those people.” Second, in our mobile society, commutes by and large are not as closely knit and as supportive of one another as they were in the days of yore.

    I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t think there is a perfect solution. In a perfect world, those who really need the help would get it and those who just want to be lazy and/or abuse the system wouldn’t be able to (actually, in a perfect world, there would be no poverty or problems at all). Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world.

    Jesus did say that if someone forces you to walk one mile with them, go two. And if someone takes your cloak, give him your tunic too. (Matt 5:40-41 & Luke 6:29)

  10. Tell it! Those thieving poor people – stocking up on FOOD! Didn’t they get the memo that eating is a privilege?! What, you couldn’t find a job because our politicians killed the economy? Oh, wait – what’s that? You DO have a job; you just can’t get enough hours to pay the bills? Oh wait – you got yourself another job and you still can’t pay the bills because you don’t make a living wage? It’s not my fault they didn’t make enough silver spoons to go around, so no you cannot borrow mine. I’ve got eating to do!

    • kelly says:

      They are on EBT assistance so they already eat. Don’t talk about them not eating. They saw an opening to take more than they were supposed to take. They abused the system and there is no arguing that. It’s been reported in the news and it’s criminal. You’re now making it sound like stealing is a privilege…and even if they don’t have a job or they don’t have money for the bills, that doesn’t mean to abuse the EBT system when there is a glitch.

    • Bo says:

      Quit crying like a little girl and get over it, or get with it.

  11. Joy says:

    From bon-bon popping, cadillac driving lazy bums to thieves. Seriously?! I have really had it with this bashing of food stamp recipients.

    We are still recovering from a housing crash and recession. Thousands lost their homes, many finding themselves in tent cities – some worse. Even more lost their jobs through no fault of their own and continue to be under/unemployed. You see those numbers flaunted on a constant basis when you want to use them to bash an administration – but fail to apply them in any other logical context.

    You rile against the Walmarts and McDonalds, giving lip service to the fact that the current minimum wage is in no way a living wage and blame THEM, yet you do nothing to actually promote an increase in the minimum wage. Time after time, I read this same group telling people if a place doesn’t pay enough they should go find another job (like THAT thought never occurred to them). As if they’re out there, just waiting for the taking. I know families that both parents are working, some who work two jobs, just to cover their rent and fight to put food on the table. If anything goes south with their kids – you’re the first to jump up and down demanding the parent be held responsible – and “Why, oh why were these parents not home raising their children?!”.

    You heatedly debated tort reform, pharmaceutical reforms, medical reforms to control the cost of medical coverage in the elections in 1992. You did nothing to pursue this. We’re an ADD nation and that “crisis” no longer held your rapt attention.

    You have no qualm with humiliating others publicly. The classic bullies that never grew up. That iphone you saw them on? Maybe they bought it before they were laid off, need it to attempt to find or better there positions, and are locked into a contract. Maybe a relative gave it to them to allow communication for safety. Those nice clothes they might be wearing, did you ask when or by who they were bought? The kid buying fireworks when mom bought food on food stamps – do you know where that money came from? A non-custodial parent perhaps? A grandparent trying to make their lives just a little bit better? YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA. You assume. You fume. You rant and rage. And you have no idea.

    Get off your moral high horses and instead of constantly complaining about all that’s wrong, and that’s evil in the current system – propose valid, detailed alternatives. Instead of denigrating your fellow man, find ways to help each other. We are a SOCIETY. You seriously need to learn what means.

    /done.

    • kelly says:

      Many people do propose valid, detailed alternatives. The welfare/EBT class votes in the people that, in turn, keep this terrible system for votes. In Minnesota there have been many attempts to corral the fraud and to make the system better. Guess what! One poltical party won’t let them do anything to their voting base! Shocker!

    • mrs.w says:

      True…. Heck, perhaps the cash and the fireworks were not even for the person buying them? JUST PERHAPS, the money was collected by the youth group of that person’s church and they were given the task of buying the fireworks for their church’s holiday picnic? … PERHAPS that young lady has “fancy nails or hair” because her best friend attends beauty school and practiced on her? PERHAPS she’s a nanny and she’s driving that expensive SUV because her boss doesn’t want her children in the nanny’s tiny broken down clunker … PERHAPS he was driving that fancy motorcycle because his pastor was moved to lend it to him … PERHAPS she’s wearing a nice dress that she got from a job-placement charity. Underneath that dress her underwear is falling apart. The fancy handbag and dress pumps have to be returned and she will walk away wearing her old $1 flip flops, carrying the purse she made out of her worn out pj pant-leg and some safety pins – but one of the dozen interviews she went on that day was a success. They’ll have a roof of their own soon and so she’s buying cupcakes to celebrate with her family…
      You know, there was a time, not long ago, when it was rude to watch how the person in front of you is paying for anything. It was rude to stand too close to them in the bank line, the teller line, the check-out line, the deli counter. It was indecent to look at their money or their card. And if you did notice and you did comment so harshly about it to the person next to you, more often than not, that person would raise an eyebrow at your displayed lack of class than at any perceived mis-spending.
      Yes, there are those who screw with the system and steal from the system. And yes, the system isn’t good. But the evil, lazy people some of you are hot headed about, MAY NOT BE the people you are judging so easily, self-righteously, and harshly… PERHAPS.

    • Alice says:

      Hear, Hear. Nicely said, Joy.

    • Kt says:

      Well said! Thank you. I find it incredible that EVERYONE knows a wefare recipient who drives a Cadillac and wears designer clothes… really? I have known several people on EBT and not a single one lived a posh life or drove a Cadillac. One drove a Highlander or an Audi (depending on the day) carried a smartphone and dressed in well-fitting stylish clothes whenever she was buying food. What the people judging her in the checkout line didn’t know was that she was a nanny (the cars and phone belonged to her employers) the clothes were 12 years-old (she was an excellent recycler) and she had suffered a massive head injury that left her with horrific headaches, transient paralysis and awful pain in random areas of her body. She worked 25 hours a week on average and the pain that working caused her left her shuttered in a pitch black room during most of the hours she wasn’t working. Yeah, that person in front of us “stealing” that lavish 30 dollars worth of food might look bright and shiny but we have no idea what their lives are actually like.

      Gotta love a blog that thrashes the poor for “stealing” using the bible as a platform but forgets about the warnings regarding judging.

  12. Melanie says:

    Ok, so I rarely comment on blogs but this post grabbed my attention…. just because you have an EBT card does not mean you are lazy but unfortunately their are individuals who do steal with their card, what those people did was theft & they should be charged the “system” knows who they are!!! I understand the concept of what all this was created for but it has become very corrupt & more often then not the true people that need the help & who would only use it when needed & not live on it forever are the ones getting denied!!!! There needs to be a more human aspect to it, like maybe requiring your caseworker to do home visits & actually getting to know a persons situation. Now WIC is not the same thing as EBT it serves an entirely different purpose & you can only be on it for a certain period of time & that’s that. I believe we as a society have lost our humanity & until the vast majority can find it we as a people are doomed for failure

  13. Matt Walsh – I want to be your best friend. You put into words what I cannot. Bravo for this blog post! Our country is so broken, I don’t see any hope for it. I don’t believe that God is blessing America any longer. We’re no better than Sodom and Gomorrah. My husband and I have had to discontinue any insurance because our $700 a month rate was breaking us and we are now going without it just so we can save money but we do not want Obamacare! We don’t want the government controlling our lives anymore than they do now! Government does not do a good job of anything – why would they do a good job of healthcare? It’s ridiculous. The welfare system is broken. If anyone is for it (who isn’t on it), they should get a rude-awakening by actually going to a welfare office one day and watching to see the people who are given the EBT allowances. The two healthiest people I know receive $500 in food stamps a month because they do not want to work. I’m sick of it!

  14. Shannon says:

    Remember that lady in front of you in line with an EBT card? She bought a bunch of bad mortgages and crashed the stock market causing the nation to go in a downward spiral. That chick is totally to blame for our nations problems!

    By the way, I am white too. I Generally like Matt’s blogs. But this one and the POTUS letter a total disappointment.

  15. ELS says:

    If you pay taxes and you vote then by all intents and purposes you have essentially told the government to “go ahead” with welfare and you are, in fact, encouraging this theft of YOUR money. You may be reluctant to pay those taxes the government imposes but still you pay them. Is it theft if you give it up lawfully (note, I did not say “legally” or “illegally – I am not an attorney and not knowledgeable in the law) and then it is in turn given to someone else? If you gave it up then you no longer have control over it. If you decide to rebel and not pay taxes and not vote for government officials and refuse to give up either your rights or your money, then I can see where you could morally and ethically be self-righteous about this particular subject.

    • kelly says:

      So, just by voting I am then saying go ahead and waste everyone’s money? 50,900,000 voted for Mitt Romney. They voted for something to try and change what is happening. Doesn’t mean it would have, but they tried. 55,000,000 voted for Obama again. That’s only a difference of 5 million, so it’s safe to say that half of us disagree with what is happening with our taxes. So now I am forced to believe in something I don’t believe in because I vote? The more I read your post, the less I understand.

  16. Kmd says:

    Do you vote in every election? Do the legislators you voted for pass welfare laws? Then you have agreed to pay welfare benefits by choosing those representatives and nothing was stolen from you. If you didn’t vote, you chose not to have a say and agreed to whatever outcome resulted, and again, nothing has been stolen. Only if you voted against the people in office, can you voice objections and campaign for change and say these laws are forced on you.

    • Bo says:

      Everything that I do not give my permission to give is stealing. Whether it be the taxes on my cell phone, SS tax (that I will never see), no one is given a choice in this crap, so it is stealing. I vote for someone to stop this crap, not let it continue, so get off your soap box and get a job.

    • Scott Diesing says:

      By that logic we cannot make any moral condemnation of anything the majority wants.

      Non-inflammatory: what if congress passed a law to take away all your money and give it all to me? Would that not be theft? Would that not be immoral even if it were legal?

      Inflammatory: what if 3 men and 2 women were on a desert island and democratically decided that rape were okay. Would that be moral? (Same question but change men to wolves, women to sheep, rape to eat sheep.)

      We need a higher standard to judge our rulers by. Much higher than mob rule. Its called the Bible.

  17. Nick says:

    If you read Logical Statement #2 you’ll understand how it is not stealing. There is no taking without permission. The government has made a deal with companies that accept EBT as legal tender to allow people to purchase these items. It would be stealing if they just walked in and took these items without any form of reimbursement to the company. So your argument is flawed from the beginning with your own admission.

    • kelly says:

      Stealing from taxpayers, not Walmart. There is taking by force. You pay up or you go to jail. Pretty simple.

  18. Samantha says:

    Where I live in PA, the cards simply were not accepted. There was nothing regarding “no limits”. People who relied on it were unable to use them while they were fixing the glitch.

  19. Nick says:

    I guess I should also say that I didn’t read your entire blog because I have other things more important to do in my life and expecting me to let you “steal” my time for your masturbatory fantasies seems like a tragic judgment call on my part.

    • kelly says:

      Yes other things to do, besides commenting here several times. Maybe go back and read it? Arguing blindly. Smart, really smart.

  20. Valerie says:

    I worry about people that jump on the bandwagon against something that is feeding people that would be starving otherwise and have no solution based in reality. Stop kicking them when they’re down. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, lived without a father, and nearly 5 million lived without a mother In 2012. Could that be part of the reason so many single parents have to ask for help? The welfare or food stamps that they need to survive might be attributed to a single income family when we all know it takes two incomes to make it anymore. Drugs and babies made just to get in the system are the stories we hear and they make us feel used, but the real news is these poor people are mostly women with kids, who’s fathers (and sometimes mothers) left them to fend for themselves. If you want to blame someone for our out of control welfare and food stamps system, put the blame in the right place.
    I was a child who’s father left to take care of another family. My mother basically had a breakdown. She had been a housewife since high school and was left with four small children and no support. It was during a time in our country when there were no food stamps, before the years of boxes of surplus food as they called it and way before free lunches at school. I can tell you about the charity of others. There was little to none even in our own extended family. My little sister and brother were invited to eat with a “nice” man. He offered food, we had none, heat, we had none, and candy. He molested my sister for two years while she was 8 and 9 years old. Years later when she told us about it she said she let it happen so they wouldn’t starve. 50 years later she is still crying. When you think welfare and food stamps, think children. You know the old one about the dad that doesn’t want to pay child support because it’s going to help the mom. Same deal. We are responsible for all of our starving children and if the only way we can guarantee they will be fed is food stamps, and you don’t like it, then come up with another way to guarantee it.

  21. sarah says:

    I was vborn in the UK which has been a welfare state fr as long as i can remember, and yes ther are people who abuse the system, but ther are also people who genuinly need the benefits to survive, how do u control it? To stop the scrounges taking advantage without taking food out of the mouthes of people eho would other wise starve?your taxes are your taxes, they dont go up or down deoendinh on how many people are on welfare.
    I am now living in South Africa and i wish the government would use my taxes to help the poor instead of buying themselves mansions and big expensive cars and on a fancy new etolling system ehich benefits no one, or giving each one of the presidents 6 wives a big salary each month. In my opinion welfare state is the betterof the two
    And i hace in fact received abuse from beggars at traffic lights cz i didnt give them anything!

  22. Bob says:

    I never cease to be amazed by the unmitigated arrogance of those who believe their financial independence is solely the result of their own works. As you put it by “earning it, buying it, growing it, cultivating it, producing it, making it, constructing it, or trading for it.” Conveniently forgetting the prerequisites of health, mental capacity, and fundamental subsistence. Not to mention education, mentoring, networking, working capital, etc.

    Assuming poverty is principally the result of sloth is not only insulting it is ignorant. Developing effective programs to give a hand up is a complex, but nevertheless necessary component of a civil society. You must realize the alternative is eliminating those incapable of work, by starvation and disease or worse, and indenturing those who are able-bodied. I for one do not find that option acceptable.

    The privileged manipulate, exploit, lobby, or leverage as a matter of course for their own gain and are lauded. I would argue that their greed and disregard for the greater good is no different than the welfare recipient at Walmart with an unfettered EBT card. Moreover there are plenty of examples of corporate welfare which somehow escape antipathy.

  23. Jim says:

    I believe the intent of this post is not to denigrate those on welfare. It is pointing out the theft the individuals engaged in when they realized the limits were no longer present on their EBT cards and they failed to exercise self restraint, and exceeded the government imposed limits on the EBT card. Many people properly and righteously require welfare. When welfare is blatantly abused and this abuse is made evident via the internet, then there is reasonable expectation that these acts will be commented upon. Life unobserved is not worth living.

  24. Wow, that’s a lot of peer pressure directed at one person. Some people choose to behave honorably, some don’t. The dishonorable people on welfare ought to be identified and sent to live as wards of some of the commenters here (instead of enjoying the fruits of -my- labor) who will no doubt peer-pressure them into becoming more politically correct dishonorable people.

    At what point does “helping” become “enabling” ?

  25. Kate says:

    I usually agree with you 100% matt but this time, I’m not completely in your camp. I’m okay with some food stamps. Some. For example, a husband and wife work for a long time, they pay taxes, after a huge health issue for the husband drained all of their savings, he finally gets better and finally has the opportunity for the husband to go to college. By this time they have 2 kids, the mom stays home, working her butt off, the husband goes to school full time, and works at the college. He makes very little, as there are almost no jobs in the college town that pay very much. For a year they struggled to feed their children. They decide to go on food stamps for the 2 years they have left. They buy nutritious ingredients and feed their children healthful meals. They graduate, they get a great job and go on to pay taxes for the rest of their lives. They pay back the “loan” that they considered food stamps to be. I’m sure you guessed this was my family. I don’t feel it was stealing one bit, because we used it as a very temporary stepping stone after our hard work was thwarted by unforeseen health issues and terrible health insurance. What about a stay at home mom who suddenly finds herself a widow with children to feed and no family to help? Food stamps, temporarily, until she gets her feet on the ground. There are some circumstances where it is a great, temporary, stepping stone. So long as the person works hard, gets a job and pays back into the system to make up for it. It should not be permanent, and deadbeats should be weeded out.

  26. Alice says:

    Bravo, Matt Walsh. You’ve really “outdone yourself”. As a “Christian” I don’t how you function, choking on your own hypocrisy and all. Sometimes you hit the nail on the head, and other times, you are a discredit to the Church and the God you claim to represent.

    Matt 5:40: And if anyone takes your tunic, let him take his cloak as well.

    Too raw for you? Must have missed that one, huh? Too busy polishing your gun? Since when should people on WELFARE be your target for condemnation?

    That’s what’s wrong with you Americans. You are a joke to the rest of the world. Healthcare for the poor? Over my dead body! Let those without money writhe and rot in their “self inflicted” misery!
    Welfare? Hell, no! Those bastards aren’t receiving a dime of MY MONEY. Now, gun entitlement, THAT would have been a cause Christ would be rooting for! I have to laugh at you, or I would cry.

    My heart is heavy. I hope this poison you’ve just written makes you feel better about yourself, you self-righteous prig, for YOU are so hardworking and good and pure, you haven’t SUCCUMBED to welfare. You haven’t needed help. Count your blessings while you have them, for one day you may wake up and actually need the assistance you spurn so much.

    I don’t know what “church” you represent, but it sure isn’t the Catholic Church, or Christ for that matter. Have a think about it.

    • Alice, you are my new hero.

    • Kate says:

      Thank you Alice for generalizing an entire country. “That’s what’s wrong with Americans”? Really? Because of one blog you lump a whole country together? I can play too, all British people have ugly teeth, all french people are rude, all Italians cheat on their wives, all Russians are are gangsters,….

  27. I didn’t really read this whole article or the comments, I apologize in advance. But, I will tell you, I am an EBT recipient. I got a letter saying they’d up my amount from 31 dollars to 32 dollars, then the next day got a letter saying that they were reducing it to 21 dollars. This is monthly, btw. I am not uneducated, I did not come from a poor ignorant family, I am not a thief, I am not a drug addict and I am only receiving SSI temporarily because I was unfortunately struck with a genetic condition of osteoarthritis in both hips at the age of 30. It runs in my family. I wasn’t supposed to endure this illness until I was elderly. I have to get two total hip replacements. Oh, and i’m also “mentally ill”. That being said, the other day, I had no food. I went out to go use my “magical” EBT card. Well, for some reason all over the city, the EBT machines were down. So, what did I do? Did I steal? Did I lie? Did I cheat? NO I chose to STARVE that day. Luckily, a neighbor had brought me some food. Man, just check your facts. Please. I like your blog, I really do. I appreciate what you have to say. But don’t judge others based upon long over due stigmas and stereotypes.

  28. Billy Mitchell says:

    Such a humble guy this blogger is. If The Matt Walsh Blog name doesn’t stick (although it’s pretty darn creative title), maybe “Tragically Rational Human Blog” could take its place. Trying to draw holistic conclusions about what the author considers to be clearly an overly massive population receiving assistance (and I certainly wouldn’t argue there should be entitlement reform because I think there should be) based on one heinous incident involving a few is about as logical as blasting every businessmen because of one Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. Oh wait, he already mentioned people would use that defense, so it not be valid, right (he’s like B-rabbit in his big rap battle)? I would also like to know more about why the blogger thinks entitlement programs are unconstitutional? There are a lot of people out there who need assistance, who have paid into the tax system, and don’t deserve the constant judging that apparently a lot of you want to do. The government should aim to minimize the program to help those who are truly needy and provide a mechanism/incentivization to get off aid programs. We are a long way off from those goals, but to generalize the entire program as stealing is pretty condescending.

  29. Karen says:

    Matt- I know that this topic gets people’s ire up on both sides of the issue, and I can understand why. My biggest problems with welfare are that it does take away our ability to give willingly and it has created a whole new form of slavery. We have generation after generation being raise in welfare, and they think that they are getting something good, when in fact, they are being robbed of their potential by being lulled into comfortable poverty. Benjamin Franklin said that when we make poverty comfortable, people will stay poor, and that is exactly what has happend. Not only that, but because this has been going on for so long, welfare recipients have lost sight of the fact that the money they receive does come from hard working freinds and neighbors. The government has no money except what it takes from the people. Years ago, people were ashamed when they were on welfare and they worked hard to be self-sufficient, only taking when absolutely necessary. Now adays, people are scheming of ways to get more welfare. This is a complete 180, and we now have a system rife with corruption and scams. Our system encourages it. The Church was charged with caring for the poor and needy, and the government has no business being in the business of Charity.

  30. Pingback: ZION'S TRUMPET » The Welfare State is Nothing but Government Thievery

  31. cholbert21 says:

    I completely agree.

  32. Rae Wilson says:

    What would be the answer to the people who do not have enough money for food. Would we just bury them by the curb? I would think that children would perish first. How would we handle the situation if people were starving to death?
    Would crime rise if people were desperate ?
    If receiving food stamps is stealing, then if they are removed, would people stoop to stealing food from our homes?

    Desperate people do desperate things….
    And because you brought Christ into it, he did feed the poor, with food and with love. I think we all need an attitude change about the poor. ( Christ was homeless, without any money) I’m not sure if food stamps are working but I’m not sure if the solution is taking them away and letting them fend for themselves.
    I feel very lucky that I was born to middle class parents. They provided for me and taught me how to go about feeding myself. What if I was born to poor parents? Would they be able to teach me how to get out of poverty? How could they if they were still in it? There will always be poor people in a capitalistic society. It’s the way the system is set up. Should I blame them or the system?
    I’ve paid taxes for over 50 years, If someone wants to steal this money I’d much rather have it be a child who was hungry, than a greedy political who wants another vacation.
    So, if someone is stealing my money I’d like it to go to the poor, not to the rich. It will go somewhere, roads, police, firefighters, mayors., teachers. These people do a good job in our society. I think they should be paid well with my money. I also think those that do not have food, should have food. It’s not stealing if I give them the nod.

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  34. Aubrey says:

    I receive food stamps. My husband and I work part time jobs because that is all we can find. We have a two year old and one on the way. My husband is also finishing up his degree. I think it is unfair to judge those that receive welfare (is that something Jesus wants from you?). My husband and I are hard working Americans and are struggling to pay the bills and keep food on the table. We would honestly not survive if not for our EBT. And I don’t see or hear people in my community coming and knocking on my door to offer my family aid. We don’t plan to be on food stamps forever. And for your information i am grateful for the aid we receive from the government. I think you need to be careful of what you say and don’t be too hasty or judge mental. Jesus Christ is the only one who can judge us. Thank you for your thought provoking post.

  35. Hey, that sounds like Income Tax.

  36. magnetixnu says:

    This is a tempest in a teacup. Percentage-wise the amount of “looting” that happened this weekend is statistically irrelevant (not to mention the “looters” gave their account numbers to the merchants and government). The percentage of those who outright abuse the system is also slim compared to who the system legitimately helps.

    The way Matt paints with a broad brush is childish and irresponsible…..and divisive. There are bad elements among the hardworking, contributing members of society, and he could just as easily paint all of us with the brush of Bernie Madoff or those who angle hard to get their unfair share of corporate welfare.

    Yes, we have a problem with people taking advantage of our welfare system. But, we should much rather have our criteria for enrollment into this safety net be too lax than be too stringent and have people who need it unnecessarily suffer.

    Shock jock blog.

  37. Ali says:

    Matt – how many friends of color do you have? I would gather your inner circle is mostly white Christians who think exactly like you. If you want to get on somebody – talk to all the “boys” – I won’t call them men – who walk out on their families, who turn their back on their kids. There’s a big chunk of your problem buddy.

  38. Holly says:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/t/story?id=5791846&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F
    Here’s why there’s a problem. Because of being over taxed, people often don’t/can’t contribute. I’m of the belief it’s all God given to me so we give back, at least 10%. Look at what our “leaders” donate, Biden in particular. That’s as pathetic as it is shocking to me.

  39. Lundstedt says:

    I’m a corporate tax attorney, and just about as much of a capitalist as one can get. However, even Ayn Rand ended up taking social security and medicare (just another program of many that we are forced to finance) and justified it, RIGHTLY, in that she had paid taxes throughout her life and was simply using what was hers. In 1966 Rand’s Objectivist Newsletter stated that not collecting from programs that an individual is forced to finance would be wrong: ”
    …the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.” For those on welfare that have been paying taxes, fallen on hard times and don’t abuse their portion–I have no problem with them! For a short time in my childhood, my mother was abandoned, left with three girls, no chance at child support, and lost her job. While she hunted for new work, we had food stamps and that block of mysterious government cheese . . . Let me tell you what we didn’t have. We didn’t have a tv, a toaster, a microwave, a refrigerator (until our church found out), beds, new clothes, new toys, junk food, or vacations. If we could live without it, then it was money saved. But worst of all–we didn’t have much time with our mom. After school, we spent evenings at the public library, while she looked for any kind of work. Her diligence paid off and she got us off of welfare ASAP. But for that time it was absolutely necessary. One of my most vivid memories was when things got back on track and we bought the toaster and sat down around it and ate an entire loaf of bread. We were mesmerized.

  40. Kirk says:

    You have to ask yourself what is more immoral to take from people who have money in the form of taxes and give it to those who do not have money. Or is it more immoral to allow people including children to face starvation and disease because we collectively do not wish to act. Charity is not enough and won’t ever be enough to care for everyone and the economic system also does not have the capacity to take care of everyone.

    As far as your notes on Jesus, you seem to miss a couple of things. First of all Jesus did demand we care for the poor willingly you are correct on that. However he also basically told us not to care about money and to render unto Cesar what is his. (IE Pay your taxes as the question was if it was Godly to pay taxes.) Jesus didn’t say anything about Cesar stealing that money from you, in fact his tone was essentially “Why do you care so much about money?? Does money come from God?”

    Far too many Christians get far too upset about taxes and money for a religion that often emphasizes to NOT worship the God of mammon. They call it stealing when Jesus DID NOT call taxes that. And the Roman Government was using the money to take care of the poor then.

    So realistically Jesus does say pay your taxes. . . does not call it stealing, all at a time when the Roman government is also “redistributing wealth”.

    • jlm1978 says:

      Perhaps charity doesn’t work in our country anymore because there is not much left of our paychecks ” ‘over-rendering’ unto Caesar.” The overall tone and message of Scripture, on this topic, is not about paying taxes, but about giving generously and caring for others, both sick and poor. A text taken out of context is a pretext to a proof text.

  41. Lundstedt says:

    Forgive the typo . . . “just another program” should read “just some other programs”

  42. Erika says:

    Matt, I believe you are sincere in your desire to understand why government welfare is not stealing. I would suggest starting by looking into social contract theory and systems thinking. The gist here is that as a member of society, you partake in the many benefits derived from being in a society where people are at least moderately educated and moderately healthy, where physical infrastructure (like roads and phones) is nearly universally and moderately well maintained. Although you as an individual receive little direct benefit from any particular individual not going hungry, you as an individual do benefit from living in a society where death from starvation is not a prevalent occurrence. Obviously, there is vigorous debate to be had about what investments are necessary to achieve a basic level of societal functionality and balance that with individual freedoms.

    Two books I would recommend are: _Thinking in Systems: A Primer_ by Donella Meadows and _Ethics for Dummies_ by Christopher Panza and Adam Potthast (I always feel a little hesitant to recommend the “For Dummies” books because no matter how good they are, it feels a bit condescending. But this really is a good book.)

  43. Traveler says:

    As always, right on target! Thanks!

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  45. PJ says:

    I’m an orphan. I grew up on Medicaid and social security and in the foster system. I went to college on both merit scholarships and need scholarships and the Pell Grant (that George W Bush increased while he was in office, bless him.)

    I now make six figures and pay more than $50,000 a year in taxes. Total federal taxes in the past 10 years that I’ve paid probably averages about $175,000. Add in sales taxes and property taxes and I think think I’ve definitely paid back the system from all that I’ve “drained” from it.

    At the same time, I’m not robbing others, not destroying property, not a drain on the prison system, not a problem for the police, not running criminal activity.

    It wasn’t all government – I had foster parents who taught me right from wrong. But government, combined with community, can change a life and can “pay off” in the long run.

    Sometimes, an investment in people is just that — an investment that will have future returns. I’d rather have my tax money go to an EBT recipient rather than have that EBT recipient come rob from my home. Welfare is simply the cost of maintaining a more peaceful society, preventing riots, etc.

    If we want a free market system that is unhindered by crime and graft, then we need to redistribute some wealth to the poorest. It’s in our own enlightened self interest. It’s the cost of doing business. It’s the cost of not having food riots.

    By saying that you should just stop feeding these people and hope they all go out and get jobs with their zero skills (what jobs, mind you?), you sound just as loony and idealistic as liberals.

    • xparadoxnu says:

      Wow! Great post. Good on you….and good on your foster parents!

      Adding onto your “If we want a free market system” comment, we need to accept that Capitalism is a competition. In competitions, some win and some lose.

      The vast majority who lose, lose either by not having the background to compete or having the physical or mental faculties to compete (it is any civilized society’s duty to care for them). Others lose by being victims of circumstance (having a temporary safety net for them is indeed a necessary cost for our Capitalist system). This is the vast majority of Welfare recipients.

      Then there is a small minority who lose by choosing not to compete…..to work. They are indeed a problem and a drain on society. Matt Walsh advocates that we throw the baby out with the bathwater. But like you say – if these lazy people come into our homes or businesses and steal (and worse, kill to steal), their cost to society/government is MUCH higher. Incarceration costs a lot….and who in their right mind really believes our prison system effectively rehabilitates people?

      • PJ says:

        Thanks!

        I’m so glad there are others in agreement with me. And I agree, not every investment in welfare will net a positive return. Sometimes you’re just trying to ward off a negative return — meaning, you invest $X million in the welfare system to prevent $2X million in court system and incarceration costs.

        It’s like how retail businesses have to spend money on loss prevention. You’re not getting a return, you’re simply spending money to avoid bigger losses.

        I like your point about civilized society’s duty. Yes, exactly. It’s a matter of civility. The alternative is lawlessness.

        Thanks for responding. :)

  46. Rah says:

    I, uh, normally dont comment ever on anything but I felt the desire to add in my own two cents.
    I personally dislike Welfare, my family has used it in the past and even then, I didnt like it. I dont like relying on others (especially the government) to help me with anything, really. I was raised to be independent and makes me uncomfortable to think that a huge chunk of my hard earned paycheck is going to people who really -dont- need it. I could use that extra money to pay rent and bills but instead, I get nearly 130-160 docked off my two-week paycheck for taxes and things. I dont struggle as much as I used to but when I was really struggling to make ends meet, I refused to sign up for Food-Stamps or whatever else there was for assistance.

    I’m only 20 but I know how difficult things can be, I work a minimum wage job thats honestly something I absolutely loathe but I do it because I HAVE to. I work for my living and if America wasnt so fucked up when it came to jobs and expenses, there would be less people on Welfare and more people actually making an effort to make it on their own.

    But I’m done, I’ll go back to hiding under my rock and head off to work.

  47. sarah says:

    My family receives food stamps, quite a bit actually. My husband has 2 jobs, one as a pastor in a church. I stay home with our young kids. We work HARD at what we do, both of us. But the amount of $ we make doesn’t come near what it requires to support our family. We have no debt, except for our home. We can’t afford it. We do have cell phones, but no home phone, as my hubby owns a business as his second job and needs the phone to communicate. We also have internet as both his jobs require it. We don’t have cable, and our cars are both 15 years old. We purchase all our kids clothes and shoes used except undies and socks. We are frugal, not wasteful, neither of us have health insurance or are covered by Obamacare OR Medicaid. I have health issues, not of my own making, and so we have prescriptions and medical bills as well. Here is the thing….we pay those taxes too….all that $ that is being taken from you to fund our food stamps, is also taking from us too! We are hardworking people who are not “thieves”. It is OUR money being taken and then allotted back to us to buy food with.

    It is really easy to blame those “thieving” reciepients, whose “church” family doesn’t provide for them because they have lived in a system THEIR whole lives where the government did that for them. But I think as much as you love logic, Matt, and i am a huge follower of your blog, your logic here is slightly flawed. It isnt just YOUR money we are using, for A LOT of us, who DO WORK, it is our OWN money we are using.

  48. amanda says:

    I disagree. Both my husband and I work, we just simply do not make enough to buy the groceries required for our family. Our rent, bills, gas for to and from work, take 90% of what we make. I work, so does my husband. We pay into this weekly. I am not ashamed to use this. It is not a hand out.

  49. sarah says:

    Oh and by the way…we also give to the needy, and our church. We work at soup kitchens, and donate if we have excess, we help other families in need with what we have. Our kids also give back to the community. We don’t LIKE the system. We always vote against it even tho we receive benefit from it. We would LOVE for there to be a better way. To say we are theives for using our own money tho is grossly unfair.

  50. Scott Diesing says:

    Wealth redistribution is theft. But the EBT card owners are not the thieves. It’s the government. So, in my opinion Matt, you have identified the crime, but not the criminal. These biblical principles would fix the problem.

    1. Taxation should be uniform not progressive. If I make $10,000 per year I should pay X %. If I make $100,000 per year, I should pay the same X percent. (Moses)

    2. X should be no more than 10. The government (all levels) should take no more than 10% of the increase of its people. (Malachi 3:8-10 – should the government get more than God? What would that say about government?)

    3. Charity should be locally administered by people who know the recipients personally and should only be given to those who truly need it and who will spend it on basic necessities. (the book of Ruth)

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