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. hippiepoints says:

    I would be WAY more outraged, if it wasn’t Walmart. But I do agree with you.

  2. I could leave a lengthy comment outlining my position on the matter (which you likely wouldn’t read anyway), or I could just sum things up in a single thought that accounts for your entire body of work on this blog: You’re a dick – one who’s adept at using controversy to fuel page views.

  3. Andrew says:

    Dear Matt Walsh,

    Fortunately for you, today you get what you want! You are, in fact, wrong in your logic. Your attempted rational deduction is unsound.

    I happily grant all of your statements:

    Assertion #1: The nature of “Ownership”

    Assertion #2: The nature of “Stealing”

    Assertion #3: The transitive property of liability based on involvement.

    Matt Walsh’s conclusion: Distribution of welfare monies by the state (which you exaggerated into “Welfare State”) is an illegal system of “theft and redistribution.”

    This is wrong on so many levels. Let me try to explain why.

    Rebuttal #1: If taxes for benefits are stealing, then government is fundamentally a useless idea.

    If you appreciate police protection, fire protection, laws, a court system, roads, unemployment insurance, and so on, then you have to admit that government in general does theoretically play a valuable role. If you hold to your position that welfare is stealing via taxes, then you also have to apply the same to EVERY other government expenditure. If you benefit from government programs that fund schools, for example, that would make you a criminal. Clearly, this is ridiculous. The only other option is no taxes at all, no civilization, and pure anarchy. I don’t want that. As much as I dislike taxes, I dislike anarchy even more.

    Rebuttal #2: Taxes are not theft because the nation collectively owns the nation’s government.

    Your logic is wrong because you neglected the concept of corporate ownership of the government. And by that I don’t mean that multinational corporations have bought our government, that’s a different subject. Rather, our government is owned by the collection of the citizens of the United States of America. We, as a community, decide what we want our government to do. If you want government to do something it isn’t currently doing, you can vote for it to change to begin doing that thing. If you want government to stop doing something it’s currently doing, you can vote for it to change to stop doing that thing. If enough people decide the same way, the law is changed and the government (ideally) begins doing things differently. This is democracy 101.

    Rebuttal #3: Taxes are not theft because they are levied on citizens who’s opinions are represented in the legislative branch of government.

    More democracy 101: if it was the case that we were being taxed WITHOUT being represented in government, then an injustice may be taking place. However, since we ARE being represented in government (ie: you are allowed to vote), then our taxation of ourselves can be seen as directly representing our communal intention.

    Rebuttal #4: Promoting the public welfare is a fundamentally valuable job of government, and an explicitly constitutional responsibility of the United States Government.

    Understanding the job of government being to promote the public welfare (where “welfare” programs for the poor are not the same use of the word), the prevailing opinion of this country is that welfare programs for the poor are a legitimate and useful part of our government. Welfare programs for the poor are considered by many voters to be as important as programs to build roads and run schools. While the individual value of any particular program is certainly up for debate at any time, the government is constitutionally ALLOWED to provide welfare programs for the poor.

    Andrew’s Conclusion: If you don’t like paying taxes for something, go exercise your constitutional right as a citizen and vote against it. If you lose, well, that’s democracy. If you honestly think welfare programs for the poor are unconstitutional, you are welcome to challenge them in court just like anybody else. If you think all government is a fundamentally useless proposition, then feel free to move somewhere that is in the midst of anarchy. I would recommend nations currently undergoing civil war, I believe there are some in Africa and the Middle East that are quite out of control at this time.

    Also, I applaud your (first?) foray into logic! I’d recommend you be a little more careful in the future though, as simply ignoring the entire structure and intention of our government in your musings is likely to cause you to miss a few basic bits of fundamental understanding. Keep working on your logic though! Once mastered, it really is quite useful.

    Cheers,

    Andrew

    • Anne says:

      I was getting ready to write out my own comment, but you pretty much covered it all here, so I’ll just say I agree wholeheartedly.

      Well said!

    • Alison says:

      Andrew,

      I’m not sure you understood what he was saying. Your first rebuttal misses the mark because you bring up local government bodies, such as the police and fire department, which are completely different ball parks. You also mention that if one enjoys any benefits that government offers, he is essentially a hypocrite for being critical of other benefits. This is flawed logic, certainly, because the police department and roads are not comparable with welfare. The job of the police is to uphold the law and protect the basic rights of the people — all the people — which is certainly something the government is supposed to do. The average American also likely uses roads on a daily basis. Both of these things — and all the others you’ve mentioned — are things that every society needs and most members of society want and are likely to use. Matt is criticizing the welfare state because it benefits a minority at the expense of the majority, which is the exact opposite of what the job of the government is. He’s not saying that every facet of government spending and taxing is wrong and immoral — only that the forcible removal of an individual’s property with the express intention of giving it to another individual, and then doing so, is theft. Taxing an American to use on defense that protects her, or on laws that make others accountable for infringing upon her rights, or for courts to punish an individual should he break those rights-protecting laws are all constitutional and necessary. He’s not arguing against that. And so you’re right, taxes in and of themselves are not theft. But again, he’s not saying that American government is this huge, horrible entity for taxing its constituents. He’s saying that some uses of taxes are wrong. Hypothetically, should you find out that your tax dollars were being spent to assassinate children in China, I’m sure you would be outraged. Because assassinating children in China, or anywhere, is wrong, and the money that you worked for was used for a crime. That wouldn’t mean that you think that taxes are objectively wrong, only that specific use for them. Also, the United States of America is not a democracy. It’s a republic. Ancient Athens was a democracy in which every citizen was expected to be an active member of government for a specific time period at least once in his life. In that case, individual citizens did vote on laws. In America, we do not. We vote for politicians, and politicians vote on laws. The problem with the American system is that once a politician is voted into office, it’s damn hard to get him or her out. Politicians will not touch the issue of entitlements because as soon as they do, they’ve basically committed political suicide, as their opponent will instantly resort to ad hominem attacks and scare tactics to convince others to not vote for said politician. So we can’t vote against entitlements directly, we can only hope that the people we elect aren’t going to sit around and do nothing now that they’re secured their job. I don’t like working miserable wages and getting taxed 25% to pay for these huge, inefficient entitlements to get next to nothing on my returns so that the money that I so desperately need is going to people who haven’t worked for it. I would love to help the poor. But I can’t even afford basic car repairs and I’m walking three miles to and from work in the freezing cold and the dark. It’s frustrating. And I can’t do anything about it. Because every time I exercise my right to vote, I still get screwed over. So I have to suffer while being punished for working hard and trying to make something of myself. But, hey, that’s democracy. Guess I’ll just move to the Middle East, like you so cleverly suggested.

    • Dominique says:

      agreed

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  5. Erin says:

    Right out the gate there are several problems here. First off it is problematic and telling that you started this with a focus on “ebt recipients” (By which I assume you mean SNAP, TANF, State Disability, SSI, SSDI, et cetera recipients. EBT is not a program, it simply means electronic benefits transfer- helps to specify what actual benefits you are referring to though.) but not “veterans”, “congressmen”, “people who work for local, state or federal governments”, “social workers” et cetera, et cetera. These are all groups of people who receive money that was collected through taxes. Which is just a take with the same amount of permission as the much smaller portion of taxes that goes toward “welfare” programs.
    The second problem though is your characterization of taxes as being taken without permission. Taxes are absolutely NOT collected without permission. You give permission to have taxes collected through a variety of means. First off- you choose to live in a society with other people. That is your choose. But that choose comes with costs. And part of being part of a society with other people is having to contribute to things that are there for society as a whole, not just you individually. Don’t like it? Move to international waters and live without any connection with other people. The second way you give permission is through a representative government. In theory our government is representative- you can vote for people who do not support taxes you don’t support, you can write, call, and lobby your congressmen to get rid of taxes you don’t support. But you are only one of many in our society so your thoughts are not the sole deciding factor. Again, that’s what you give up to live in a society instead of entirely independently. Keeping in mind that while you give things to society, you also receive. Just like these evil EBT recipients, you receive things paid for through taxes too. You are just as much a thief as them under your (very flawed) argument.

  6. Hannah says:

    I doubt you’ll ever see this, but I had to comment. I truly hope you never find yourself in a position to choose between feeding your family or “stealing” from your neighbor.

    The truth is this, Matt: our economy sucks. And our judgmental society sucks even more. Not everyone is fortunate enough to support their families with the income they earn. My husband and I work two jobs each, and pay our own way through college. We can’t afford to both attend college at the same time, so we take turns each semester, because we know a college degree is an important step in providing for our future family. We are not in debt. We pay our taxes and all bills on time.

    We spent months eating two small meals a day, losing weight we can’t afford to lose, ashamed to ask for help because society views it as stealing. Finally, we had no choice but to get over our pride and apply for food stamps. Without that (rather small) amount of government assistance, we would still be living in a near constant state of hunger.

    It sucks. Every time I buy groceries, I feel the judgmental stares from fellow customers and even the cashiers. I do not purchase junk food, and avoid high-priced name brand items. But I am still judged. And because I’ve managed to take care of my clothes (I am still wearing outfits from high school, and just turned 27), I’ve had people say to me, “it must be nice to spend your paycheck at the mall while my hard earned cash pays for your dinner.” Yeah, that would be nice actually.

    I can’t even remember the last time I purchased ANYTHING (aside from food, hygiene products, and meds) that wasn’t second hand. I have worked steady jobs since I was 16, and usually two jobs at a time. I have paid my way through three (interrupted) years of college without any governmental assistance. I volunteer my time and abilities to my family, community, and church, yet I am still judged the minute I pull my EBT card out.

    I feel sorry for you that your heart is so hardened that you can’t see the pain your way of thinking causes those in need. What’s worse is you use your public position to encourage others to think/behave the same as you. You are wrong, sir. While there may be those who abuse the system (like you’ll find ANYWHERE), it is wrong to assume anything without knowing the individual or their circumstances. It is wrong to assume those who abuse are the majority, because I can promise you they are not. Hopefully you will never be in a position to find out first hand…to find yourself among those you are so quick to judge. Because it is a discouraging and heartbreaking place to be, regardless of the brave face many put on to deal with the rude comments and hateful stares.

    I am hoping that by this time next year my husband and I will no longer need food stamps. Until then I will continue to hang my head in shame when I see people like you judging me through words and actions. Without even looking into our lives you assume the worst.

    • Tracy says:

      well said.

    • Molly says:

      Hannah, I thought I’d respond here with a few thoughts. 1) While some not receiving welfare might judge you, realize that you’re also judging those that don’t receive. You’re assuming they’ve never been in a tight place where they could receive welfare, and that’s wrong. I have personally lived under the poverty line, qualified for everything and the kitchen sink, and didn’t take anything, because my husband and I believe it would be wrong. 2) You’re right, our economy does suck. I would suggest that the heavy taxation on the middle class, much of which is used to “subsidize” the education, food, and housing of the “poor”, is one of the reasons why. The middle class would have more money available to improve their companies, employ more people, and pay them a higher income, if we weren’t taxed so heavily. The point here isn’t abuse of the system, but that the system is inherently wrong. Stealing is stealing even if you are starving. Understandable, yes, but still stealing. “People do not despise a thief
      If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house.” Proverbs 6:30-31 3) You sound like a responsible person or I wouldn’t bother posting here. This is really simple and I hope it makes sense to you. Work, as you already are, and buy food with your own money. College is NOT a necessity, so you do not NEED food assistance. You are putting a “want” ahead of a “need” and choosing to steal from others. If you didn’t know the truth, why were you so reluctant to apply for assistance?

      • Hannah says:

        Molly, I am definitely not judging anyone. There is a difference between qualifying for assistance and NEEDING assistance. I’ve qualified for assistance my entire adult life. It wasn’t until recently that I needed to ask for it. It is clear that Matt has never NEEDED assistance (though based on his own statements has surely qualified for it) and therefore cannot know what it is like. My husband and I were reluctant to ask for help not because we think it is wrong, but because we believed others needed it more. When my weight dropped below the 100lb mark, we decided it was time to ask for help.

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing help, and that is the point a lot of commenters have been making. The welfare system, while it does have its flaws, is part of our government. I’m sorry if you don’t agree with it, but it doesn’t change the fact that those receiving the benefits put in place by our government are NOT stealing.

        One more thing: I don’t plan to spend the rest of my life below the poverty line. Where I live, there isn’t a wide selection of job opportunities. You have two options: minimum wage with a high school diploma, or $10+/hour with a bachelor’s degree. Since we aren’t making it on minimum wage, college is a need. I want my children to have a better life than the one I’ve been living, so college is a need.

        • Molly says:

          Right again that there is nothing wrong with needing help. There is nothing wrong with requesting help. I have needed help, I have requested help, and I have received help. From willing people, as I have given willingly to others in need. Family, friends, and the church have helped me and I have helped them. We accepted help when my husband was laid-off from work years ago and we lived on unemployment and several part-time jobs. I know January with 5% in the propane tank and the last fill-up unpaid, an electric shut-off notice, disconnected phone, and selling our second vehicle to pay the mortgage, while caring for a toddler and baby. I lived that. I needed help, and accepted help. What I never did, though I was tempted to, was coerce a stranger to pay my bills. I considered signing up for welfare, life was TOUGH, I get it. Instead, we were honest with those around us (very humbling). A couple of friends dropped off groceries, our church paid our propane bill, and I received a letter from an out-of-state relative in the mail with a check for $200. Though I hadn’t spoken with this person, she said God laid it on her heart to help us. I tell you all of this so you can see and believe there is a better way. The way of faith, hope and charity. We learned humility and faith in God’s provision, but most of all we learned to help when others around us needed it. Before our “trial”, we had given to the church but never helped on a personal level. Now we LOOK for those in need, and pray that God reveals them to us so we can help. And we would help more if the government wasn’t taking so much to pay for non-essentials. My husband and I have zero college, why should we be forced to pay for your college education? I believe you are sincere, responsible, thrifty, and even reluctant to take welfare. That’s missing the point. The point is that you are taking, not asking.

        • Hannah says:

          Molly, I can see that this is getting us nowhere, so I am done with this little debate. Rest assured my husband and I prayed long and hard about what to do, and God is actually who directed our decision.
          If our college education could be funded with the amount we receive from SNAP each month (which only goes to food, mind you), then maybe your argument would make sense.
          Either way, the point still stands that our laws set in motion by voting, tax paying citizens dictate that this is not stealing. Have a good night.

        • Guest :) says:

          Hannah, don’t let someone else make you feel badly because you have made different choices, that is the epitome of judgement. You are doing the right thing; it’s a leg up for you while you hope for better times, and I am certain that you and your husband are determined to make a better life for your family. God bless you!

        • Hannah says:

          Thank you, Guest. Your words are very kind, and helped me to re-center. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

        • Molly says:

          OK I realize that Hannah’s not listening but who knows how many people are reading this with an open mind. So…voting citizens elected congressman that passed welfare benefits, making this whole debacle legal. Hannah’s arguement is that if a majority of citizens decide something is OK, it’s OK. No matter what it is? What is the standard here? For example: Abortion is legal. Therefore it’s not murder, so it’s not wrong. Well, at least not when someone is REALLY in a tight spot. Maybe it’s wrong to “abuse” the right to abort. Like when there’s no reason to. Voting citizens elected leaders, who appointed judges, and they decided abortion is not murder. So it’s not. Watch out folks, this is exactly what is wrong with this country. There was a time when if GOD said something was wrong, it was wrong. Period. I haven’t been following this blog very long, but I understand Matt to be a professing Christian. It amazes me that people think he shouldn’t post from a Christian perspective on his personal blog. Then they go on to argue a Christian point from a worldly perspective. Please don’t respond to this with how I’m comparing welfare to abortion. I’m not. The point is that stealing is wrong, I don’t care who says it’s right.

        • Eliza says:

          Wow, Molly. It is clear that you are the one not listening. All Hannah was saying from the very beginning is that it is wrong to judge. As a Christian myself I know there is nothing wrong with accepting welfare when needed. It was established by our government to help those in need. You have no right to come on here and try to make her see the light, so to speak, when it is obvious that this young woman is doing a stand up job. Welfare is not stealing, according to the laws of our nation. You do not have to change your personal beliefs on the issue, but to claim a person is stealing from you because they are on welfare is incorrect.
          No one said anything wrong about Matt blogging from a Christian perspective. But something to keep in mind while tying your name to Christ: your judgment of others is wrong. Even Christ refrained from judging others while teaching the truth. Judgment is very heavy on this blog, as you’ll soon find out. Or perhaps you won’t see it because Matt’s perspective agrees with your own. I enjoy reading Matt’s blog, but as a Christian am discouraged to read the heavily judgmental statements from Matt and fellow Christians.
          Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

        • Guest :) says:

          You’re confused, Molly. We all agree that stealing is wrong. My concern is that the likes of your comments and Matt’s post are painfully and obviously convinced by the greedy minority that what’s wrong with this country is “the poor”, meanwhile averting your attention.I completely say what’s wrong with our country, especially those proporting to be Christian, is a total lack of empathy. We have resources, both as a nation, and (I assume) you and I. I am a Christian, first and foremost, with all my heart. If some small amount of my earnings can help someone get ahead, I am glad to give it without question.

          And that is that.

        • Molly says:

          I am not confused, nor am I convinced by the “greedy minority” that the “poor” is in any way a problem. I have stated and will repeat here, that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING POOR. I agree with you that a complete lack of empathy is a major problem in our country. Do you think maybe these programs have hindered inter-personal relationships by making them less necessary? People don’t NEED friends and family as much as they used to, because they have the state. People don’t HELP friends and family as much as they used to, because “that is the government’s job”. Jesus stated to help the poor, as well as how to help the poor. We are not following his instruction, neither in the welfare realm, or much of the time, as individuals with our personal finances. Everyone keeps talking about not judging, and that’s fine. Part of my original point was that the side accepting welfare as “good” is judging as well. Because I disagree with welfare, and call it stealing, I have been labeled “greedy”, “confused”, “not understanding”, “judgmental”, “not-empathetic”, and I certainly can’t have ever NEEDED help, or I would agree with welfare. These insinuations couldn’t be further from the truth. Guest, you are glad to “give some small amount of your earnings without question.” That’s your stance. If someone tries to steal any of your things, they are yours to hand over as you see fit. Fine. What you are telling me, is that I have to do the same with what I own, because you are OK with it yourself. How is any of this Biblical? Support welfare with scripture, anyone. Jesus said, if you have two cloaks, and see someone in need, give away your extra. He said to leave the corners of the fields unharvested and leave what you drop so the poor can glean. He said not to commit usury. How many Christians even know what usury is? He said to be fair with wages, and don’t hold them overnight. I don’t recall Him ever saying, when you see someone in need, take someone else’s money, by force if you have to, to provide for them…even if they squander it. I would love any serious scriptural debating here, but I am through with the humanistic reasoning.

        • Guest :) says:

          I understand clearly what Jesus said, Molly, which is why I give my “cloak”, but what ultimately is your point? That it’s wrong to “force” you to do so? Seems as though you wouldn’t if you weren’t “forced”, so seeing as how you know well Jesus’s stance on charity, mind you his stance on giving and neither judging whether you feel they deserve it NOR asking why they’re poor, what point are you trying to make? Because YOU decided not to accept help when you legally qualified? Are you asking for applause, because, in my opinion, having received charity is neither here nor there in the grand scope of what it means to be human.

        • Molly says:

          You might be coming around to my point. Yes, it is wrong to force a person to give away their possessions. It’s theft. Why a person steals, or where the stolen money ends up is irrelevant. Jesus said to give freely. He never said to coerce people to help the poor. The only reason I shared my personal story was to explain how human I am, that I have struggled, I do understand. When I speak the truth, people can’t hear it because of their prejudice against an imagined cold-hearted stick figure. It was also an attempt to illustrate a different way (I believe the Biblical way) of making it through a tough time. My family did receive charity. We didn’t steal. There is a vast difference between those two things. Every person is inherently valuable no matter the financial-status road traveled. So I am not more “human” having received charity, but I am more humane. I learned humility, faith in God’s provision, frugality, gratitude, thankfulness, how to receive as well as how to give. And now that we’re able to give we do. I learned real charity, instead of the pseudo-charity offered by the world. There is a depth to real charity that can’t be adequately faked by welfare. The “please” “thank-you” and “you’re welcome” disappears when there’s simply a number deposited on a card every month. If I might include another illustration, it’s like calling a one-night-stand “making love”. Satan is deceptive right, he’s crafty at making something seem really good? So here’s the point: Rather than accepting hard times, learning and growing from the lessons included, our society is effectively eliminating the hard times for people, thereby actually stunting spiritual growth. Furthermore, we (as a society) are STEALING in the name of charity. Most taxpayers don’t follow Jesus. They don’t. They are not “freely giving” and Jesus never told us to MAKE them. The welfare state has enormous implications against the growth and practice of Christianity. It is detrimental to all of us, but you have to lift the veil and see it for what it is. That is why a blog post like this gives me hope. Hope that others are aware of the truth and are willing to take judgmental slams to state that truth. “When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; And put a knife to your throat If you are a man given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.” Proverbs 23:1-3 The “delicacies” of welfare programs are not truly helping people, they are fattening bodies while producing a spiritually inept generation. All while most Christians cheer the effort.

      • mrodnyc says:

        @ Molly, holy sh*t, you are certainly a judgmental bitch. How dare you accuse Hannah of being a thief. She said she has worked TWO jobs since she was 16 years old. Do you understand what that means? That means she has paid TAXES for all of those years. So not only is she NOT a thief, she is entitled to receive benefits that at one point she PAID for via the aforementioned taxes, for the limited amount of time she needs to get off her feet. By the way, if you were a TRUE Christian, you wouldn’t be judging this woman. Only God can judge her, and I can assure you that he is doing no such thing. You’re a disgusting specimen of a human let alone a Christian.

  7. Allison says:

    There was a reason the welfare state was created during this century. Hint: it wasn’t b/c private citizens were doing such a good job at it.

    It’s not stealing to take food out of my family’s mouth and give it to middle east nation builders?

    Because way more goes to military than welfare.

    How are we to fund anything useful to a functional society when no one agrees on what that is? Are we to take a poll? If you agree with military action, pay up, if you don’t, guess what? Huge tax break!

    If you like welfare, you have to fund it, if not, don’t worry about it!

    And if you are Rand Paul and want the govt involved in nothing, no taxes for you!

    This has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read on the subject.

  8. Bill says:

    Rational? At least partially, but logical you are far from. The logic here is flawed for several reasons. Before I address those flaws let me say that I do agree, however, that many things with the welfare system are not right, and maybe that is because the republicans continue to under fund such burdens to the tax system and thereby cause the systems to be weakend. There is usually not enough money to go around, much less to make sure that checks and balances on the system are put in place and maintained. If you are going to have a welfare system you need to support it fully. Only then will you solve the problems that come up as a result of people trying to cheat the system. If that was what you wanted to say…it would make sense. Where your logic falls down is in the fact that you try to mix half the story with the other half of the story and then do so with extra flare and drama. People are not stealing if the government you vote for…We vote for…says it is law, and that is what has happened. Now what happened at the Walmart…that is not ok. When you know you are only supposed to get a certain amount and you take advantage…that is not ok…but it is also not ok for us to have that system in place and then underfund it till it falls apart.

  9. Aud says:

    This discussion has gone way off the rails. Matt was writing about the period of time that the computer system was not showing the amounts available on individual EBT cards. Each month those individual cards are ‘loaded’ with a predetermined amount of money. Most holders of those cards know the approximate amount available to them at all times. Therefore those who deliberately loaded up on goods valued a far more than was available on their cards knew they were stealing. I can live with giving assistance to the truly needie but I also feel the minimum requirements to receive the assistance have been relaxed to the point that those receiving the benefits view them as a stream of revenue that enables them to do unnecessary things they otherwise could not. We need to return to the ‘out dated’, Use it up; wear it out; make it do, or do without.

    • jen says:

      haha i like that quote use it up, make it do. wish that way of thinking was a social norm instead of this peer on peer judging of everybody balling and attempting to be flawless all the time, eww that shirt is used or old,… yeah its warm and covers me too

  10. Seth says:

    What a strange, incoherent mess of a read this was.

    Of course the people who took advantage of the glitch were stealing. 20-plus paragraphs attempting to make that very obvious point seem incisive, to then set up the argument that all food stamp recipients are inherently thieves?

    There is no connection between the actual theft that occurred and the morality of taxing earners to pay for food for the poor, and Matt’s attempts to link them together fall woefully short of weak.

    Matt, newsflash: wealthy people steal too. So do people in the middle class. So what? I think using our abundance to do the best we can to ensure that our fellow American’s aren’t starving is a good use of resources. Maybe you should head down to the soup kitchen and try to collect your money back if you feel otherwise.

  11. After lurking through this blog and finding a great deal that I’d agree with, and some things that I wouldn’t, I’ll throw my two cents in.

    First of all, I wholeheartedly agree that these people were stealing during the EBT computer glitch. They were no different from looters in a crisis – taking advantage of the disruption of societal norms thinking that the rules no longer apply, at least for this brief period of time, and they can take what they want without fear of prosecution or reprisal (or so they think, until the receipts are totaled and the CCTV footage reviewed). Which really isn’t any different from the behavior of wild animals stealing food or eggs from others just because there isn’t a larger animal around to defend the stash. A sad commentary on certain segments of society, the “Lord of the Flies” mentality that I’ve seen Matt bring up in prior posts.

    Where his rant went off the rails was equating EBT usage by anyone to stealing from others (the taxpayers). It’s a shame that there are too many out there with an entitlement mentality that thinks society owes them. And it’s a shame that the government (and society in general) doesn’t do enough to discourage this kind of behavior and encourage responsibility and self-sufficiency. But there are a lot of people who are poor or going through rough times who don’t share that mentality. People laid off and in between jobs, struggling to make ends meet. As a society and government founded on Christian principles, it’s to our benefit to offer help to those in need so that they may rise above their situation and become self-sufficient, so they aren’t left out in the streets and having to resort to criminal means to support themselves (which too many do already). The debate is to where and how much, and at what point should they be cut off for gaming and taking advantage of the system. Government should be limited, of course, but a healthy government should provide at least some safety net for those less fortunate. To lump all EBT users into the category of thieves and leeches is remarkably short-sighted and crass, and it’s this kind of mentality that causes the rest of us conservatives to be labeled as callous and hateful. Sorry Matt, I love and agree with a lot of your commentary, but you get a thumbs down on this one.

    And one other thing while I’m here. You might think about cleaning out all the spam comments from previous posts and enabling your spamfilter (doesn’t Akismet block this stuff?) It makes it really difficult to read the comments in prior posts, or to participate in any meaningful discussion.

  12. Sarah says:

    gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.
    Pope Francis, EVangelii Gaudium, chapter 2 I 55-58

    Tell me, Matt aka “speaker of truths”… If what you say IS, in fact, truth, why does Pope Francis have it so wrong?!? (sarcasm)

  13. Sarah says:

    53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

    Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

    54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

    No to the new idolatry of money

    55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

    56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

    No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

    57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

    58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

  14. Sarah says:

    My iPad is not cooperating…
    But I added 53-55 as well…
    Happy reading! 🙂

  15. jen says:

    i havent read every comment but would matthew 22:21 help anyone? …So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (jesus got angry they were trying to trap him in some ethical debate, he got mad and said pay to them what is theirs [gov.] and to god what is gods. it was a tax levied only on non-roman citizens, he said DO IT). the gov does a lot of controversial things with your money and aiding people with food and health care are some of them. when an upper class working person gets old will you file for social security bc then everyone else who pays taxes is going to be paying for that too not just what you put into it over the years that aint how it work. if feeding people with tax money is “stealing” is it stealing when the gov sends disaster relief to areas that are dealing with disaster? and if other people are giving their taxes is it still stealing if they say take it??? or is it wrong because you wish not to give it and must do so still? in a biblical sense not a in secular sense.
    sometimes technically being right is not god’s great calling for christians but to submit to authorities over you and to show the world who Christ is. he says not to quarrel over such things

    dealing with unpleasant things
    Job 5:2 “Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.” god wants us to forgive and stay focused on him regardless of things we live in. life aint fair and he says have faith i am the rewarder of those who seek me. he says not to envy evil doers and basicly dont be bitter deal with things i have a plan for all this and continue to honor me. …not looking to fight with anyone over this just addin some scripture that might apply for some peoples views that might not be aware???

  16. jen says:

    oh and one more thing if your so rational and middle class lets be real it wasnt food out of your childs mouth it was another toy out of their hands and it fed someone in a level of living you yourself dont want to be in. but those weekend unlimited sprees that’s stealing, it was taking unauthorized crazy amounts of money from the gov that’s clear cut stealing .sad and greedy.

  17. Amdinistrator says:

    I’ve paid my taxes for years and the nutrition supplement funding comes from tax dollars from citizens for citizens who need it. The only one guilty of stealing is someone like you who would try to discourage what I own (my nutritional supplement funding).

    Make sure you remove that donation link from your blog too. Because under your logic, you sure as hell haven’t earned anything but an invoice you need to pay for the damage you’ve done.

    There’s an old proverb that says basically you don’t meddle into other people’s business because it’s like grabbing a wild dog by the ears, nothing good can come from it for you.

    So now, with that said, if you try to weasel into saying, “but it is my business, I pay taxes..”

    Okay great. Then that means you don’t have to receive any benefits if you should ever need them.

    That’s the only say you would have, how it applies to you. But where it being your business ends, is when it comes to what the tax dollars were approved for. They were approved to help people who need it.

    If you are anti-United States government and want to rebel against what the government says the program is for, then you are admitting to being a terrorist.

    You’re the only one stealing here Mr.Matt. Just make sure you put an end to the whining and hating or it could be yourself that you steal the most from.

  18. Administrator says:

    But since I ended my sentence with the preposition “from” and misspelled “Administrator”, let’s just condemn the least among us as thieves because they’re hungry. Well, even if one were to swallow that lie straight from satan himself, the old testament also says it’s okay for a man to steal bread if it is to feed his family.

    So you’re only fighting against the God you claim to serve if you denounce the ebt program and those who use it now that you know how what your God has to say about it is in complete opposition to what you wrote in your blog post.

    So you can fight against God when you attack those who use the nutrition supplement program or you can support them, but either way, your post already trespassed against them both. So repent.

  19. Crystal says:

    I would like to live in a world where I can trust me neighbor to help me when I am in a time of desperate financial need but sadly we do not live in that world do we sir?

    I have food allergies and have to pay for treatment out of my own pocket. Until they are treated I have to try to buy foods I’m not allergic to out of my pocket. And I’m a science major college student. That means my classes are long, difficult, and my teachers literally tell me to not get a job because my life should be devoted to school until I finish and can finally reap the rewards of my hard work. I would compromise by only taking a few classes while having a job (graduating slower and sustaining myself while I do it) but if I do I lose my scholarships for not being a full time student. If I could not get food stamps I would be doomed. I’m already doomed I suppose but I like to hope that I, at the very least, won’t starve to death while I struggle to attain these mad goals.

    Jesus said to give to the poor. The real tragedy here is we have to be forced to do so by our government.

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  21. SouthernAuntie says:

    I did not not have kids out of wedlock.I worked for at least 20 years and because I was single with no dependents,I paid a lot of taxes.A few years ago I began “passing out” on the job. My doctor took me out of work. I begged to be allowed to retun to work because I lived aloned and I was the only one paying the bills. I ended up loosing everything I had worked so hard to gain. The hardest part was I lost my home.I had no job no insurance and get this I did not qualify for Medicade because, in the words of the social worker
    ” you should have had kids”. This is wrong. For twenty years I worked and paid taxes.When I needed help,I did not qualify. I was and still am passing out somtimes three or four times a month. It took me three tries to get disability. I had no income whatsoever for almost three years except that $200.00 Snap benefit card. So yeah, I got food stamps and I refused to let anyone make me feel ashamed. I worked for every bit of food stamps I spent!

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