Being born in America, I was provided many opportunities that my parents were never given growing up in Communist occupied Poland. America is as beautiful of a country as it gets, for it provides equal opportunity for people of all backgrounds. My parents and millions of other immigrants came to America to prosper and live better lives than they could otherwise have afforded for themselves back home. They truly personified the American Dream for what it’s worth, taking their newly acquired freedoms to heart and giving back to society.
Unfortunately, America has drifted away from the notion of “hard work pays off,” and instead has opted to immerse in a never-ending basin of government provided entitlements. The most prominent concern is the rising amount of users registered in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP, formally known as the Food Stamp Program, aims to provide financial aid to low-income families through federal dollars. While the program has helped many people get back on their feet, a vast amount of users abuse the system, and make little to no effort to actively seek employment. According to Breitbart.com, food stamp use has risen from 31.9 million in January 2009 when Obama took office, to an astounding 47.1 million as of November, 2012. Shockingly, this number exceeds the population of 24 states combined!
The problem isn’t being mediated as much as it is being prolonged. Just recently, Corey Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, proclaimed a food stamp challenge “which requires him to live for one week on a food budget equal to that of a New Jersey resident on SNAP,” according to Mediamatters.org, a far left media outlet. Sadly, the food stamp budget has quadrupled in the past decade, as SNAP is even breaching the lives of people who say they do not require the aid. Recently, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, raised concerns over abuse of the system by members of the Corporation for National and Committee Services (CNCS). Dejectedly, many government workers have been using the SNAP program to their advantage and allocating it to people regardless of their need or economic well-being, costing the Government about $60,000 per family under the poverty line.
Nevertheless, Booker’s food stamp challenge doesn’t even breach the issues resonating around food stamp usage in the United States. Recipients may find themselves in SNAP through a variety of misfortunate events, ranging from unemployment to disability. However, once in the program, they should make an active effort to seek employment to support their family and once again join the working force. Scandalously, however, New York Post received a database of 200 million EBT recipients in New York, and found that many were abusing their monthly SNAP allocations. Their inquiries revealed people spending their money at clubs, strip clubs, and bars shamelessly. Many establishments such as Hank’s Salon and Drinks Galore, a liquor distributor in the Bronx permitted patrons to take out money from their EBT cards and spend it on anything but necessities like groceries and clothing. The Post goes on to show that a single-person household can receive up to $200 monthly in food stamps and $158 in monthly assistance, whereas $668 in food stamps and $443 cash could be acquired by a family of four. While most Americans are not against going to bars and strip clubs, abusing such an entitlement grant is simply appalling. There is no excuse to justify such moral empty spending and wasting tax dollars one dollar at a time on short-lived friends like Crystal or Champagne at your local jiggle joint. Regardless, SNAP funding prolongs and such behavior persists due to lax regulations and easy access to EBT funds through cash withdrawals.
In essence, entitlements are supposed to be a safety net, not a hammock. They are designed to be a temporary means of federal aid to help the underprivileged. They are not a part of life’s lackadaisical sweepstakes package to enhance unemployment and welfare collection. SNAP very well is a beneficial program to those affected by the recession and economic abnormalities. However, its purpose ought to be set straight—it is here to help you get back on your feet, not to supplement your monthly welfare payout. Until Obama changes his stance and repeals his adamant stance of pushing for an abundance of entitlements, America will very well become a welfare state. Each day it inches a step closer to become Europe 2.0. After the Second World War, Western Europe invested heavily in social programs. Thus, they are now in massive debt and their economies are on the decline. It is not too late for America to stop kicking the can down the road and backtrack to how it came to prosper in the past. America in its sheer existence has always been a great nation, revered by immigrants searching for a better life. If my parents could achieve their Dream, so can millions of others Americans, and those seeing a glimpse of Lady Liberty’s glisten for the first time. Impossible is nothing, and America personifies the beauty of life in its finest, sheer existence. It’s time for America to regain its stature in the world as the country of opportunity, where boundaries don’t exist when it comes to acquiring a better life.