This meme from a high school friend set me off this morning.
Do people really think those who have to rely on government assistance enjoy it?
Do they really believe the person getting $50 a month in food stamps has no worries?
Here was my reply:
You mean giving it to a 1-percenter in the form of a tax break, right? I work with people who are receiving government assistance, and not one of them (except the 82-year-old veteran) wants the help. My son would have loved to get help before it was too late to save his life. These selfish memes make me furious. It’s the wealthy who are picking our pockets, not the poor or the sick or disabled.
So far, no one else has commented.
My son had stage 3 cancer and was forced to leave his wife to be eligible for Medicaid. He still hadn’t been approved for disability. That would take 37 months and the first check would arrive nine days after his death.
He applied for food stamps, and even though he had no income, he was approved for just $10 a month. He walked away from it.
He wanted to work, but he was too sick, so he tried to rely on systems he had paid into for 15 years. He got next to nothing.
Among the people I encounter in my work is a young mother who works full time in a restaurant but whose income is still below the federal poverty level, so she can’t buy insurance through the Marketplace. She can’t get Medicaid, either, and she has cervical cancer. Without treatment, she’ll die.
She pays taxes, by the way. Every time she buys anything, she pays sales taxes. Her rent money pays her landlord’s property taxes.
Another person we serve is on disability because of bipolar disorder. Believe me, she would trade a healthy mind and body for her government assistance any day. She became addicted to drugs when she self-medicated to get rid of the emotional pain. Until the Affordable Care Act became law and mental health services were mandated to be covered at the same level as other health services, she wasn’t getting the treatment she needed. She had to go to jail to get that.
Not a lot of people on disability are lazy. They’re living on below poverty level incomes and they’re watched carefully. If they need more, that’s just too bad. Any increases in the money they receive — often after working and paying into the pot for decades — is going to the wealthy in the form of a tax break.
Let’s flip this meme on its head. Let’s demand that the people who live off the sweat of others give up some of their perks. No one needs the kind of money being hoarded by the Koch Brothers and the Walton family.
And certainly, the poor don’t deserve to be vilified.
Please, when you see something like this, don’t just roll your eyes and keep scrolling.
Speak up, or as they used to say in the evangelical church I grew up in, testify!