Friday, October 4, 2013

The Great American Cognitive Dissonance Burrito

(Update at 11:37pm: Used some bad information from Wikipedia. Have deleted the inaccurate data. I'm a bad boy.)

When I started the bizarre practice called blogging back in 2005 I was far more political having just shed the last vestiges of a short but intense conservative Republican mindset. The reasons I abandoned the circus called the right-wing had a lot to do with what the country was going through at the time but if it could be summed up few words I simply could no longer deal with the incongruities and lies built into modern conservatism.

That being said while I am still a liberal bordering on socialist, if you take into account the political beliefs of the average South Carolina resident, I have become equally disillusioned with the basic mechanics of American politics and the corruption inherit to the system. Whatever the case, I have to bring up a recent conversation with someone that was shocking in that it brings to question the nature of intelligent behavior and discourse. It involves an acquaintance I will call “George” and his blatant ignorance and industrial strength hypocrisy that staggers my imagination.

George considers himself a “good” Christian and his political tendencies make him an above average right-wing type although I do not believe he has ever voted. George has been unduly upset with the recent shutdown of the federal government and blames Obama for the disruption because he believes the President is out to give honest taxpayer money away to lazy bums who refuse to work. Truthfully, he used far more colorful words but I will leave that to the imagination of you readers.

Now this attitude is not unusual for George’s type. He, like many others, thinks very highly of himself and his abilities believing he is the model of the strong, independent American who works hard for a living and that everyone else should do the same or go hungry. On a somewhat side note,  I have been around George enough to know he has probably never read a book for enjoyment, is contemptuous of anyone with an education greater than high school, and is certain that the Rapture is imminent and that he will stand among the clouds high-fiving Jesus at the end of that day.

Despite the fact I would shoot such a man if my daughter was ever misguided enough to bring someone like George home in truth he is perfectly free live his life as he wants. My problem is that after hearing George go off about President Obama, the government shutdown, and all those lazy bums wanting free money is that his concept of reality is seriously screwed up. Not two hours after George’s rant I learned that he was gravely worried about how his unmarried and unemployed daughter was going to feed her newborn twins since she is on the federally funded Women, Infant, and Children Food and Nutrition Service or “WIC” for short.

For those who do not know “WIC” is a federal program that provides health care and nutrition assistance for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and children under five years old. If I stooped to using George’s words I could describe WIC as free welfare money for lazy bums who do not want to work.

No, George completely fails to see the contradiction in his viewpoint about these hypothetical lazy bums out to take his hard earned money and his unemployed daughter needing taxpayer money to feed her children. As anyone with a few IQ points to spare should realize this is not some isolated problem. Personally, I feel it is my duty as a citizen to help those who through various circumstances are down on their luck, even if that ultimately means some got there through their own stupidity. God knows I have done some ridiculously stupid things in my life with divine intervention probably the only reason I am not dead right now.

Hey, I am not a total bleeding heart; even I realize people like George’s daughter need some sort of forcible guidance so they can eventually contribute to society. But even that would require a large social safety net like decent and affordable child care for the twins and some type of education for her.

The main point for my rant is that neither George nor many others like him can see the contradiction in their basic beliefs about society and the role of government. Making things even worse it goes beyond the relatively simple idea that a government program is wasteful until the time comes that it benefits them. George actually believes welfare assistance for those less fortunate is evil even though he has a daughter feeding her children off the government tit. When you have an uneducated and unaware population that cannot separate the flaws in their logic this leaves them open to all sorts of demagogic politicians and media types that seek power by spreading fear and mistrust.


MikeP said...

"To be eligible for the program a family has to be living 185% BELOW the U.S. poverty guidelines."

Agree with your point, but for the sake of clarity, this statement is inaccurate as stated.

Eligibility requires that household income be BELOW 185% of the poverty guideline. So for example, a family income for two would have to be below $28,693, which is 185% of $15,510 (poverty rate for 2 person household).

An anal retentive point, I guess, but I think it's important to state things clearly. Your statement suggests that WIC applies only to those below the poverty level. It doesn't. It helps a very broad range of WORKING CITIZENS whose jobs don't pay enough to insure adequate nutrition for their families during a critical period of child development.
Purely by coincidence, most of them work for right-wing business owners.

Beach Bum said...

Mike P: Oh crap, that is what I get for looking up info on Wikipedia. I will correct.

The Bug said...

It's nice to see that there is someone in SC with some sense! (I mean YOU, not George!)

Rose L said...

I am not a lazy bum but do support Obama's medical plan. I am 61 a year old widow whose husband died a few months ago leaving me starting over with nothing. He was ill for several years, thus depleting our entire retirement savings. He had no life insurance. I have not had any medical coverage for several years and thank the Lord that I have not had any serious problems, but I am not getting any younger and do look forward to having some.
My minute savings would be wiped out in 2 days if I were hospitalized. All this is NOT Obama's fault. He is standing up for the people like me, those who live month to month despite working hard. I may not ever be able to retire. There are many of us out there who cannot afford $400-$500 a month for coverage. George is very narrow-minded. Does he want to pay my medical for me?????

Beach Bum said...

Bug: Thanks! But my wife would most certainly debate that with you.

Rose: I agree! I left out a great deal about "George." Frankly I consider him a moron but I am forced to associate with him.

Pixel Peeper said...

Sadly, it seems that the Republican mantra on any kind of benefit is, I've got mine...screw you!

As I mentioned on Facebook, the people that I knew who benefitted from WIC were all working, and one was a military family.

And, yeah, what Bug said... ;-)

Pammy said...

Ok, BB. I admit....your "George" is ignorant. But I feel like I need to throw my 2 cents worth into this. Let me preface this by saying that I've worked for WIC for a little over 7 years now. It's a great program....if it's used the way it's SUPPOSED to be used.

You called it, "welfare assistance for those less fortunate". That's more....or less...correct.

Unfortunately, the majority of the "less fortunate" I see are able to somehow pay for IPhones, expensive hair weaves/nails/trendy clothing and all kinds of expensive cars....but they can't possibly afford to feed their babies.

Let me give you an example of a "regular" WIC client. "Mary" has never worked. She's single, 23 years old, didn't graduate from high school and has 4 kids by 3 different men, all under the age of 6. She gets a tiny amount of cash assistance a month....but she lives in subsidized housing that only costs her 5 or 10 bucks a month. She has a SNAP card (food stamps) at about $130 bucks a month PER PERSON...for a family of 5, that's $650 a month. She gets about 100-200 bucks a month in WIC coupons...maybe more, depending on what "packages" she's eligible for. She has a medical card that pays for darned near everything "medical" for her and her kids except her dental care. She gets energy assistance to pay the biggest portion of her energy bill. She gets a free "Obamaphone" (her words, not mine) with 250 free minutes a month. In our area, there are literally dozens of social service programs that offer hundreds of services from free school supplies to free baby name it, there's probably a program that provides it. If she DOES get a job or goes back to school, she'll get subsidized child care worth about 3 grand a month for all 4. I could go on and on...but you get the picture.

And ya wanna know the REALLY sad thing? There are "Marys" out there that are just simply too damn lazy to apply for all those things. They say they're "too busy" to make the appointments.

Now, this isn't a "once in a while" thing. I see multiple "Marys" EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Tell me....explain to me so I can in the hell this happens.

Honest ta have NO idea. Believe it or not, I USED to be really liberal-leaning. But after seven years of seeing the waste...the abuse...the total raping of this f*&cked up system THAT WE'RE ALL PAYING sickens me.

Yea, there are legit people out there that can and do benefit from this program and those like it. But for every one legit client, we have 20 abusers. And the system itself makes it damn near impossible for one to tell the difference. It also makes it damn near impossible to get OFF the system. Hell...who wouldn't want every need taken care of?

Sorry to hijack the comments like this. But if you don't work in "the system", you just can't understand.

Beach Bum said...

Pixel: Hold onto your hat, I'm about go off below.

Pammy: Please DO NOT ever assume that someone can't understand. Let me give you a load or two of my dirty laundry. My mom during her alcohol haze induced days ripped off the federal government for at least a couple of thousand dollars in food stamps during the 1970's.

Yes, my mom and her second husband were full fledged alcoholics who dragged my siblings and across the country several times. Until this situation sorted itself out food stamps were the only thing keeping us fed.

If you had read my post fully you should have understood it was aimed at the hypocrisy of those who rant and rave about government hand outs but still use them. As I stated in this comment I know full well about abuse of welfare.

If you want to talk about abuse and defrauding the government I could delve into the rich bankers that ripped off hundreds of billions of the savings and investments of a huge chuck of middle class folks who all they wanted to do was retire or send their kids to college.

So if you want to know my opinion I give less than a damn about some poor person with an Obama phone. Start sending some of these white and Republican bankers to jail then I'll worry about welfare abuse.

lime said...

once upon a time i was on WIC. i was grateful for the help at a particularly tough time. i'd never have considered cheating the system. i went for my 6 wk post-natal checkup and listened to my doctor rant at length about all the women on WIC who stood outside the store selling their WIC food so they could get cigarette and beer money. then i told him I was on the educated me. asshole.

the caseworker at the program spoke to me during visits like i barely had enough brain cells to form a synapse. i finally got sick of it and said, "magna cum laude gradute here. how was your GPA? now can you please stop speaking to me like i am a small and not very bright child? i fell on hard times. i'm not mentally impaired."

oh, and as soon as our situation changed i took in paystubs reflecting that because if we no longer qualified i didn't want to take resources from someone who needed them. i was told the agency did not want that information yet. they'd let me know when. i protested by giving my reasoning. they were annoyed by my desire to get off the program.

Beach Bum said...

Lime: Nothing short of my whining about assault weapons has gotten me in more trouble than this post. Its just that "George" really ticked me off, like I mention on the previous response to Pammy I watched my alcoholic mom rip off the government for what must have been a couple of thousand dollars total in food stamps.

It was morally and criminally wrong but it was how my brothers, sister, I were fed for a few months.

The problem this country has never answered is how do we balance the desire to prevent suffering and provide a helping hand to those dealing with bad luck with those willfully trying to get a free ride?

I have no answer to that one but see nothing other than government assistance that has the resources and organization ability to meet the load, especially in bad economic times.

lime said...

well, george is clearly an idiot. and i wanted to provide the counter to pammy's presentation.

your question really is the crux of the matter and as you said, no one has properly answered it. will we ever be able to prevent cheats entirely? i don't think so. does that mean there should be nothing in place to help the honest people? no, that would be unconscionable.

Randal Graves said...

Way more damaging fraud is committed by Wall Streeters and the Pentagon than a bunch of folks who get WIC coupons whilst owning a cell phone or, shocker, perhaps even a car.