Here she goes again…


aka it’s time for another rant from Kel

001-copy1This is a picture taken of me at work the other night. I might look happy, but that’s really a bitter smile. I’m saying, “If it wasn’t for Allen’s Coffee Brandy, the state of Maine would go bankrupt. We’d have to sell ourselves back to Massachussetts.” I’m also saying, “Shit! Look at that double chin!” and  “Wow! My teeth sure look extra white in black & white photos!” But those are topics for a different blog entry.

The store I work at accepts EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, they are basically like debit cards, only instead of bank balances they carry food stamp and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, aka welfare) balances for state aid recipients. I have said many a time and oft that I have no problem with the concept of state/federal aid for those who qualify for and need it. I still feel that way. “There but for the grace of God and my husband’s full time job go I” about sums it up. Some go so far as to call me a liberal. But there are more than a few problems I have with the way the system works, and today I’m gonna talk about the one that pisses me off the most; probably because I see it way too often.

Did you know that (at least in Maine) you can buy alcohol and tobacco products with your EBT cards? Well, you can. Not on the food stamp account, of course, but with the TANF account. That’s right! Every weekend I wave goodbye to much of my precious tax money as many of my town’s most poverty striken residents use it – not to fill up their gas tanks or oil tanks or on toilet paper – but to get wasted on Allen’s Coffee Brandy and suck on their nicotine sticks. Many of these same residents use their food stamp accounts for things like chips and soda and candy bars and donuts. Oh, and milk. To mix with their Allen’s Coffee Brandy. With my tax money. While I’m busting my ass working at a convenience store, on a cement floor, for nine hours straight each night, without a break, helping to fill up the state’s coffers with my paycheck, just so the state can give it to these fucking people to spend on liquor and cigarettes. In twenty years, half of ‘em will end up with alcoholic liver disease and lung cancer and diabetes, and my tax money’ll go towards their medical bills. And why not? My tax money will have helped to put ‘em in the hospital in the first place.

Meanwhile, down the road from me lives a woman with three kids. Her husband left her a few years ago, leaving nary a trace behind. She went to work full time to support herself and her kids, but child care is expensive. So is food and clothing and heating oil and electricity, and she frequently doesn’t have enough money to go around. She applied for state assistance a few weeks ago and was turned down. She makes $11/month too much. ELEVEN DOLLARS. Yet a twenty-two-year-old girl with four kids (oldest age 8 – I shit you not) comes into the store at the first of the month, every month, and buys four gallons of Allen’s and five cartons of Marlboros with her EBT card.

That’s almost $340. Of my tax money. Every month. That’s a little over 130 gallons of heating oil. That’s two months of a light bill. That’s a lotta damned groceries and a sackful of winter coats and hats and mittens. Instead it’s being pissed out and puked up and inhaled and exhaled by a girl who’s never worked a day in her life, and probably never will. And why should she? She gets everything she wants every month. With my tax money.

About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of the novel Waiting For Spring and the co-host of Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran, an internet talk show that features interviews with authors and publishing professionals. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and currently writes, shoots, and edits episodes of the writer-centric YouTube show, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. View all posts by R.J. Keller

22 responses to “Here she goes again…

  • Kit Courteney

    I must admit, that fucks me off big time.

    Great pic, by the way!

  • spyscribbler

    Oh, man, that is just awful. That is awful!

  • MoJo

    I worked graves at a grocery store once. I have a huge long rant about this.

    Must. Not. Post. It.

  • bunnygirl

    That pisses me off. I wonder if we allow the purchase of cigs and alcohol with state bennies here in Texas? I sure as hell hope not. It’s bad enough we allow people to buy chips, cookies, candy, and crap like that. There should be some sort of minimum nutritional requirement on allowable foods and beverages, and no nicotine. Give out patches and meds free to whoever wants to quit, but subsidizing cigarettes is just so wrong.

  • rjkeller

    Me too, KC. And thanks. lol

  • rjkeller

    I know it, Spy. It’s even worse if you think about how many others are out there doing the same thing, and how many other working poor are struggling.

  • rjkeller

    Rant away, Mojo! I’d love to read it.

  • rjkeller

    Exactly BG! There’s a dentist here in Maine who wants to introduce legistation that’ll make it so you can’t buy soda with food stamps. Not surprisingly, it’s meeting with some resistance.

    http://bangornews.com/detail/93218.html

  • MoJo

    Rant away, Mojo! I’d love to read it.

    Well, I have it on tap for Sunday, I think. It was very long. It’ll probably ruffle a few feathers.

  • robinaltman

    Jeez. No soda, or potatoe f’ing chips. No chips. I’ll OK salsa. Absolutely no cigs. Ever.

    I totally agree with this. Coincidentally, today I was at a meeting about a kid in residential treatment – costing mucho bucks and completely paid for by the state – and the mom was bossing around the social worker, demanding that her son get new clothes immediately. This woman is on welfare, and uses her welfare money to buy boxes of cigarettes, and has never bought this boy a stitch of clothing. She was pissed at the social worker for not getting state money fast enough, and taking her kid shopping. I was really mature about it, though. If you ignored the fake shooting self in head motions. I suppose you’d also have to ignore the fake stabbing self in stomach motions.

    Kel. You have a perfect nose! That is amazing! You can die happy! Quick! Go pro create with a Jew, so we can get some nice nose genes in the pool, will you?

  • rjkeller

    MoJo, feathers were made to be ruffled.

  • rjkeller

    Robin, ack!!! That’s just the kind of thing that burns my ass.

    And I only recently got over my celebrity crush on Andy Samberg. I find his nose very attractive. Procreating with him is probably a longshot, though.

  • robinaltman

    I’ve been desperately thinking of a Jew I could volunteer to grab up those nose genes. (Drat you.) Then I realized that every guy in our families with big noses married a perfect nosed girl (drat you again). Adam has an awesome nose, and he married me (bad nose fixed into good nose in college secondary to self consciousness. wimpy. wish never did it. was fine in retrospect.). Sigh. You’re husband better not have a perfect nose.

  • Robert

    Woman down the road has dignity & self worth. And no spare cash…

    22 year old sponging mother of 4 has no dignity nor self worth & hates her life. State sponsorship of idleness simple breeds disfunctional people who breed future disfuntional people.

    Put a time limit on welfare!

    Btw, you look nice

  • rjkeller

    lol Robin!
    My hubby’s half Micmac. He has an awesome nose.

  • rjkeller

    @Robert…SO true. It’s exactly what I fear for this girl’s 4 kids, that they’ll just continue the cycle of poverty and despair.

    And thanks. In spite of what Simon & Garfunkel say, I look better in black and white.

  • Lori

    I’ve often wondered why does that happen. It does happen all over the world (I’ve seen it in India and Romania)–people who have nothing waste the little charity that comes their way for alcohol. I don’t think that any amount of shaking or governmental restrictions could help those lost souls. My position is that we do what we can to help them but they are the ones who ultimately take decisions about their own lives. I don’t know. It is upsetting, though.

  • rjkeller

    Very true, Lori. It’s far from being an American phenomenon.

    Good to see you here by the way. :)

  • Viral money-and-politics rant | Moriah Jovan

    […] case anybody missed it, I’m a Libertarian. Now, RJ Keller got me started and of course, it doesn’t take much to push me over the edge some days. In Maine, where she […]

  • hoosiertoo

    There’s a reason I’m a surly old fart libertarian, and stories like this are at least part of the reason why. The rest of it might just be because I’m naturally grouchy.

    If you think about it, the State is actually the young woman’s husband. The same can be said of the woman described by robinaltman. I think we should ask for a divorce.

  • MoJo

    Well, Kel, there ya go. I put on my Ranty McRant hat and went to town.

    http://moriahjovan.com/mojo/viral-money-and-politics-rant

  • rjkeller

    MoJo!
    Sorry your comment got caught up in moderation limbo. I just got home from work to ‘approve’ you.

    Awesome Ranty McRant!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers

%d bloggers like this: