America’s Entitlement Mentality

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

As a woman and advocate for limited government – it is pretty natural for me to try and break down complex public policy matters to how they impact the kitchen table.

So let me give you this one.

You know how your family food budget has gotten tighter and tighter – the harder you work it still feels like you’re stretching every dollar just to feed your family?

Well, there’s a reason for that. You’re not just feeding your family anymore. Nope. You’re feeding someone else’s family as well.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released statistics showing the number of Americans receiving some sort of subsidized food assistance from the federal government has risen to 101 million, or roughly a third of the U.S. population.

That number bears repeating – nearly 1 in every 3 Americans receives some sort of subsidized food assistance from the federal government. This means that the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of full-time private sector workers in our country.

I think is the moment where we can all say together: WHAT THE WHAT?!?!!
Look, I care about the poor and sick and needy but there are entirely too many people receiving public assistance, including food stamps…that simply DO NOT NEED IT.


Throw all the rotten tomaotes you want. I have a family to feed too and the fact is my husand and I work a lot – like so many other husband and wives and it gets harder and harder for us to feed our family and have the kind of life we want because there are too many people In the wagon and NOT enough people pulling it.

Oh and here’s the beauty of the food stamp program. It used to be, when FDR started the program – that people could use the stamps to get the basics – bread, rice, milk. Now, it’s a debt card – adminstered by big wall street firms making MAJOR DOLLARS off the program – and guess what you can buy with the food stamps:


OR….you can just sell them for cash. 55 cents on the dollar.

I am not slamming the poor or being unkind or somehow trying to hurt people who need help but food stamps are not meant for people who can afford to pay for food themselves but don’t want to.

I believe Arthur Brooks said it best when he said, "While food stamps are … an important part of the American safety net, the program is no longer fulfilling its intended purpose. Over the decades, the restrictions on food stamp purchases have been lightened dramatically …While we need to protect those falling on hard times, we also must take care to avoid teaching dependence and encouraging behavior that reduces one’s ability to delay gratification and earn success."

In addition to the appropriate worries along the lines of the old "teach a man to fish" analogy, there is also a broader concern we must take into account – What happens when the government grows so big we can no longer sustain it?!

Isn’t this the tricky question that must be a part of every spending conversation? What happens when more people are on Social Security than working to pay into the system? What happens if we expand an already broken and bloated Medicaid system? How long can and will taxpayers be able to pay all the bills at the local, state and federal levels?! How much debt do we want to leave our children and grandchildren?!

The point is that the growth in federally subsidized food assistance is yet another example of the very troubling reality we are headed.

Too many working families –working multiple jobs – are struggling to pay the bills – and feeling like they are working to support other people’s lives…
This is the legacy President Obama and the big spenders in DC have given us.

We are not only spending beyond our means, we are spending beyond the means of our children and grandchildren who are going to be saddled with this tremendous burden of debt that the President is running up. Just this week, the White House announced that the federal government will spend roughly $2,400 for every man, woman and child in the country MORE than it takes in this year and they expect to do the same again next year.

If you haven’t spoken up – you better – because the people advocating for more, more, more of this – more people on food stamps are loud and proud – you better be too – or be prepared to qualify for them soon yourself.

You can find out more at jenniferstefano DOT COM or follow her on twitter at @Stefanospeaks. Hear Jennifer’s commentaries on Lincoln Radio Journal at