Originally Posted by goldingoddess
IMO If you qualify for FS, you should be on it. I don't care what year your current car is or if you have internet or not, the income limits for FS is low enough that if that is what you are making, you should be on them. I'm happy to know my tax money is going to help out families that are struggling.
Originally Posted by mama1803
This sentiment is exactly why I'm against public assistance. Rather than being a safety net for those truely in desperate need it has done nothing more than foster a sense of entitlement. We should all have what we want, when we want it, simply because our neighbor has it. There is no right to have a nice vehicle, pets, internet or cable TV. If you can't afford to feed your kids and need taxpayer money to do so, then you can't afford a new late model vehicle, 4 animals, internet or cable.
I think our society has decided that "public assistance" is wrong and that is why it is labeled as it is. Why I brought up the interest deduction is because it highlights that it is a MORAL issue, on that I feel many people are coming down on the wrong side of.
Let's picture all of the taxes the US govt is "owed." Out of that they pay various things. One thing they pay is food stamps. Another is to return money to people based on their expenses.
So, for $5000 the government can help a low income family have food for the year.
For the same $5000, they can help a high income family have a house that costs $100K more than they could otherwise afford.
The first is considered a handout. The family is considered lesser in some way for taking it.
The second is considered perfectly fine. The family is considered smart and good planners for taking it.
In what way are they not BOTH public assistance? There is a mortgage interest deduction because our society has deteremined that home-ownership is something that should be encouraged, AKA SUBSIDIZED, by the government.
There are food stamps because our society has determined that all members of our society should have access to adequate food.
If we are not going to attack those who take the interest deduction (of which I have for the past 10 years, btw, thanks!) for not being able to "support themselves" why should we attack those who take it for food. After all, if you can't afford your house without the mortgage interest deduction maybe you should get rid of your pets, only have one car...
How has it become *more* honorable to take money you don't really need than to take money that makes a huge difference in your life?!?!?
Are you completely against public assistance for anyone? Or just those who you deem not worthy of it? I'm just asking, b/c it seems like a slippery slope. I mentioned cars, pets, internet, cable, b/c those are the things the OP shared in her first post -- and yes, she did ask our opinion, which means you are completely justified in having one. The thing is, she also owns a home, and I imagine plenty of people receiving food stamps also do. Should it be a requirement that only those who have foreclosed or rent a one bedroom apartment in a shady part of town, or even those who live in their IL's basement be allowed to apply for help?
ITA. If we want to get on this slope, then really, if you have more than a one room hut and a bag of rice there is SOMEONE out there who needs your money more than you do. I mean, if we want to look at it this way---- why even help the people who live in a basement, there are plenty of homeless? Why help "just" the homeless, there are plenty of disabled homeless. There is no reason in a country as rich as ours that even the relatively "poor" cannot have a reasonable life.
Originally Posted by sublimeliving
Government assistance is our public school system, libraries, student loans, grants, food stamps, Medicaid, roads...
We ALL have used government funds/assistance at one point or another. Yes, if you've ever paid taxes, you are entitled (these people are taxpayers too). I know plenty of students that got grants for college, and I can't imagine thinking that they should give up their car, pets... I homeschool, so my kids don't use taxes to pay for their education; I think its wonderful that my taxes pay for public schools. Most people feel entitled to a K-12 education, but remember, it's paid for w/ taxes (public assistance).
Yup! Personally, I would totally support the EXPANSION of programs like WIC & Food Stamps. Even if you're "cheating" the system to get them, at least it means that you're eating! That your kids are eating.
Originally Posted by mama1803
A pp implied that it was somehow selfish (at least that is how I read it) to take a mortgage interest deduction without asking if that money could be used by someone who obviously needed it moreso than the guy living in a million dollar house. Why then wouldn't it be appropriate to consider if the money a welfare receipient is using at a nail salon might not be better spent for food for a hungry child? Why wouldn't it be appropriate to ask if it is more important to feed your kids than it to feed your pets?
I hope my further explanation has explained it a bit better. See, I don't think it is selfish for the person to take the mortgage interest deduction and still have luxuries. Just like I don't think that it is selfish for the person to take food stamps and still have luxuries. They are both forms of public assistance, they are both obtained legally, they should be viewed THE SAME. While I hear plenty of people saying it is wrong for someone to take food stamps AND have any luxuries, I don't hear anyone saying that it is wrong to take tax deductions ON LUXURIES and pay for ADDITIONAL LUXURIES with those tax deductions. They are both using governmental tax money to pay for their individual luxuries. NO DIFFERENCE. (Well, to me there is a huge difference, because of the people I know paying >$30K mortgage interest yearly, they are spending probably more than a family on food stamps makes a year on luxuries with no moral qualms, but that doesn't mean I think they shouldn't take the deduction)
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom
The problem I have with the OP's situation is that it does represent to me what is problematic about public assistance. The OP doesn't need food stamps, whether her family qualifies or not. She could make different decisions to be self-sufficient, but public assistance is so easily & readily available that I do think it encourages people to rely on someone other themselves. My husband & I graduated from college about a year after the dot com bust. Laid off programmers were beginning to get job offers again at low rates, which meant that my husband, whose degree is in computer science, was at a serious disadvantage in getting a job. He worked 4 days a week at GAP and 3 days a week as a day laborer until he found something else. I was a graduate student and worked in my department. We cut everything from our lives, shut up our apartment so that we only needed to heat, cool, and light 1 room, sold our things to make money, etc. We were broke!
I think that is totally fine, if you are answering the question *for yourself.* It sounds like it is extremely important to you (or has been) to stay off of governmental programs like food stamps. Each person needs to make their own decision. For example, when our oldest was a baby we could have been on food stamps if I was willing to go back to work. We decided that we were fine being "poor" (so our one income was DP's grad school department job) if it meant me staying home. But, I'm not going to say that all people should want to live well below the poverty line to stay home with their child.
I truly believe in allowing individuals to set their own priorities. For some people, being well dressed is very, very important. They might be handwashing their clothes in their 350 sq foot studio sink at night but they feel great because they look good. For others, it is something else. I mean, we could go find the very poorest person who is somehow getting by and say, "if you are better off than THEM, you don't need any help." It just doesn't make sense to me to do so.