Rome, NY Sucks

But At Least We're Not Utica

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Wish Me Luck

I guess I'm at the end of my rope, officially. After the Fourth of July weekend, I plan to go to the county offices and apply for food stamps. I'll consider myself lucky if I can qualify this time. There's a special cutoff, you know. You have to earn far below the established poverty line to qualify.

Food stamps open up a world of government services. I tried to get Family Health Plus without food stamps. I met the low income requirements, but I was ignored at each turn. Frankly, I could use a job more, but those programs seem to be for those already on the dole. This could end up being a windfall of help.

Here's some interesting questions. Can you still be conservative and on government assistance? Does your opposition to handouts make you unworthy to receive them? Is it hypocrisy to be one of the people you criticize? I'd tend to say no.

There are plenty of liberals who are rich. They make their money as government employees, entertainment figures and presidents of not-for-profit organizations. They don't give the government the 70% of their income they propose making others like them pay. They do, on occasion, buy government bonds that are tax free, and keeping their tax rates even lower.

I like to compare this to Earned Income Credit. I take EIC, even though it's payment for not earning enough. For one thing, New York taxes have killed my chances of getting a steady job. For another, it tends to cancel out the huge bite taken out for Social Security. It's a justification, maybe, but one I can live with.

Am I playing the victim card? Maybe. Am I using the odious Cuomo tactic of asking and answering my own questions? Definitely. I truly believe that without the effects of government interference, I wouldn't need government intervention.


  • At July 06, 2005 9:01 PM, Blogger Craig said…

    I'd say don't do it. Next year you'll be glad you didn't.

    I won't lecture you on the morality of accepting government assistance not because I believe it's immoral; but because it's just too humiliating (at least the thought of it was to me.)

    When I was in your shoes, 2 1/2 short years ago, I came close to taking government assistance but didn't. I borrowed from friends and family (still haven't paid it all back) and it was very painful for me, but somehow less humiliating than the alternative.

    At least some day,I'd pay back my brother and my friends. It's a meaningless distinction to many, but it was important to me and I don't regret it although financially I'd be better off now.

    Look. Do what you need to do.

    But think about putting a damned Pay-Pal Donate button on the website and asking (bleg) for donations -- and then "write your ass off" to earn it.

    I'll contribute . . . if I like what you say. Hey, it's a job.

  • At July 06, 2005 9:21 PM, Blogger Alan said…

    Well, I disagree with Craig. (What else is new?)

    I'd say that, so long as you're taking assistance for that reason & that reason alone: assistance (to pay your groceries & rent, etc.) there's no harm & no shame in doing so.

    You know, this sort of thing is why we pay taxes and maintain a society such as we have.

    I realize that New York's fiscal clusterfuck is got you to this point, and from your point of view taking assistance as a conservative may be too ironic to handle.

    But when all else runs out, what are you going to do? Not eat? Sleep on the street?

    Do what you have to do, and hustle your ass to get a job. Any job - even as a stopgap. People don't value stopgaps enough. But they get you from point A to point B with some food in your belly.

    And food stamps help, too.

  • At July 06, 2005 9:23 PM, Blogger RomeHater said…

    I will keep my options open. Besides, applying isn't accepting.

  • At July 07, 2005 1:14 AM, Blogger Jen(nifer) said…

    Oh my God. This was me a few short months ago, and I couldn't bring myself to do it.

    I applied for food stamps, never went to the office. I applied for Family Health Plus, couldn't muster up the phone call to make it happen.

    Could. Not.

    And I quote Craig directly, "I came close to taking government assistance but didn't. I borrowed from friends and family (still haven't paid it all back) and it was very painful for me, but somehow less humiliating than the alternative."

    I actually had a few donations randomly on paypal. Out of nowhere, it was something I had up for a long time and occasionaly people would just chip in, I was OVERWHLMED by kindness of strangers.

    And I owe pretty much everyone in sight money because of it now...

    See yesterday's blog! :)

    I do know fo ra while, I sold off all my CD's and books on, I made about $1500...that might be worht a try?

    Good luck...

  • At July 07, 2005 1:17 AM, Blogger Jen(nifer) said…

    Oh, and it took just as long to accept the idea of taking UNEMPLOYMENT for me. THAT was a hard pill to swallow. I quit my job back in January of 2004. I JUST NOW found something worthwhile in May of 2005.

    The UI ran out in July...I started selling books, I borrowed money, I found a PT awful gig for 3 months in a law firm...

    Borrowed more money.

    And bam. All is better. Health insurance started July 1st.

    It will work out...

    Do whatever YOU HAVE TO DO...

  • At July 07, 2005 9:11 AM, Blogger RomeHater said…

    This country is amazing. Even when people are down, they still have a spirit and hope for the future. I'm glad to see it.

    I was talking to someone who wanted more people to fall into poverty so the country would relaize how bad things are. Forcing government to pay off people always fails. There are a lot of things wrong with government and employers, but wallowing in unfairness is self-defeating.

    I'm comfortable with UI. I had to pay for it in my check anyway. A couple years ago, I set up a site for cyberbegging, but nothing came of it. Maybe I will try a Paypal button.

  • At July 07, 2005 3:17 PM, Blogger Ellen Edgerton said…

    My family was on food stamps for a few weeks (I think two months) after my father lost his job. It was a combination of those plus loans from family that got us through. This was the early 80s - when it was Reagan's "Morning in America!!!"

    Yes, it's embarrassing, but it's not as if other people don't feel embarrassed doing it. Not everyone on food stamps thinks they're an entitlement. (You've also already paid into the system, so it's not like you're being given a "handout.")

    There's no shame. This is what government assistance is for - a safety net. The system is working.
    If there are people who rely too much on the safety net, that's no reason to condemn the safety net's existence.

    Good luck.


  • At July 07, 2005 5:22 PM, Blogger KT said…

    I'm not much of a rambler but I have to weigh in here. 10+ years ago my daughter was born, there was no contact with her father and my job of 13 years was relocated all within a few months of each other. The job I'd had, while always providing an income did not pay enough to move away and isolate myself from family and friends as well as support the two of us. I had to make major decisions and quickly. After my unemployment ran out after a year ( it was extended 6 months because I was a full time student by then) I needed to apply for public assistance. I needed to do it mainly for food stamps and for health insurance for my child and myself. I had already been without health insurance for myself for a year but she was covered. I did not see borrowing money from family as an option. They were already helping with living arrangements and I would not ask for any more. I had to drop the pride, the stubbornness and everything else and go downtown, be treated like a lowlife (at first) and look around a waiting room full of people who were screaming and arguing with DSS workers like it was their birthright to receive assistance. It was eye-opening, it was a bit humiliating, above all a learning experience that will forever be with me. Since that time the work I do has brought me into direct contact with people that are in the same situation I once was and I draw on those experiences every day. I will not say do or do not apply for assistance. I know at the time I felt that I had worked many years and paid alot of taxes as a single person and I REALLY needed the help. I WILL say things do work out for the best sometimes though you can't always see it except in hindsight. Do what you need to do. Have faith and you will be shown the way. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

  • At July 10, 2005 12:45 AM, Blogger John Cunningham said…

    good luck either way you decide on the food stamps. I haven't read back through your blog, so you must have some reasons for staying in a no-job craphole, but you should consider heading somewhere where the economy is hot, like Las Vegas, Phoenix, or other sun belt locations.


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