04 February 2013

Who's on Welfare?

If you go to the county database, you can look up my name and my husband's and see if we owe any taxes.  It's a matter of public record if you have a mortgage,  and how much you owe.  So should the public know who's on welfare and what they're buying at the grocery store?

Apparently several states including New York have released this information to the public.  I can't imagine that some of these welfare recipients are using their money wisely at strip clubs and liquor shops, but there you go.  Iowa is blocking the release of this information, claiming that the state only has an interest in determining who is eligible, not where they buy their goods and what those particular goods are.  And they're not going to pass that info on to you.

Should you get to find out if a neighbour is taking state money? 

3 comments:

  1. Absolutely not. It is none of my business who gets what or how they chose to use it.

    I wonder if they realize that this could very well keep those most in need (such as people with children) from applying for help out of sheer shame?

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    1. I don't think there should be any shame. Know what's shameful? Lack of living wage jobs out there for people willing to work. That is what is shameful.

      But yeah, if you had a SNAP card, imagine every one of your grocery purchases being public record, when bigwigs get millions just handed to them? I'd like some uniformity but doubt I'll see it.

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  2. Hmm... interesting. I'd vote for this being public record. I'm open to changing my mind, but here's the deal: I see tax money as "my" money. It's not government money because the government doesn't make money. It's take my money and uses it for stuff. So I have a vested interest--as a part of the government, providing the funds that run it and doing my part to set policy--in how these limited funds are spent.

    Granted, if we're just going to be posting facts and figures to try to shame people and employ a few more federal employees... let's not bother. But if we look at the data and use it to correct oversights and misappropriation, that sounds good to me (balancing, as always, how much we spend to save).

    As a potential example--I found this fascinating when I learned it--Gabby Douglas' parents went on welfare so they could keep sending her to gymnastics... which paid off in Gold. That's cool, unless you think of it as, "Wait a minute! Do I really want my tax dollars that are supposed to feed starving people going to pay for private coaching lessons?"

    Granted, would we actually find anything? Not sure. I've heard tell of people who use food stamps to buy food and their cash to buy narcotics and alcohol (again, do I really want our nation's precious resources supporting--even indirectly--this kind of behavior?). But if such things could be used to stop enabling bad life choices, I'm okay with it.

    But, this does beg the question: Where do we draw the line? Eventually this kind of thing drifts into places like, "You're too fat to be on welfare," and stuff like that. So... ugh.

    Here's another idea: Since no one can run this thing effectively so as to stop people from messing it up, let's just stop it altogether. All in favor?

    No?

    Hmm...

    Just some rambling thoughts.

    ~Luke

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)