Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Government Assistance

It's no secret I'm addicted to "Teen Mom" on MTV. I'm glad they did this follow-up spin-off of 16&Pregnant because it really shows that having a baby is not all flowers and candy, even if you give that baby up for adoption. On the show Amber ends up going on government assistance (food stamps and what not) and it makes me a little annoyed.

I get that there are people out there who need help, and Amber was certainly one of them. You can tell she genuinely is doing this as a last resort and is using it as a step up, not a step to sleep on for the rest of her life. But at the same time, it can be frustrating to be in my position and see someone in her position have more than me.

Growing up in the '90s a certain protocol was set forth for the children of my generation. You go to school, graduate, go to college, graduate and get a job. Somewhere in there you fall in love and get married or at least move in with someone, but not until after you've secured that degree and job. Then babies come somewhere after that.

If you didn't follow those steps, you fucked up along the way. It feels like people are rewarded for fucking up, and it sucks. There are times when I'm balancing my checkbook and I feel like it wouldn't be so bad if I would have popped out a kid somewhere along the way because I'd have child support and government assistance coming in, too. That lasts for two seconds, because then I realize how much I hate scooping the litterbox and I know diapers are much much much worse. And I always cringe when I hear babies cry at work or on the train. And I can't stand the little bit of fat I have now, stretch marks and baby fat would probably send me over the edge.

I know that people on assistance don't get much, and they can only work so many hours before they are not qualified anymore. But they are still getting money for essentially doing nothing.

And then there are the problems with the food stamp programs themselves, which most states dole out money via debit cards. This money can only be used on items in stores classified as grocery products. Ice cream and chips are classified as grocery items. During college I had friends who worked at grocery stores and would see people buy as much junk food as possible with their food stamp card and then pay cash for things like DVDs.

I'm not saying that just because you're poor you shouldn't get ice cream or chips every now and then, but rather than giving a monetary allowance set amounts of food items should be allowed. Like a family of four can pick out two bags of apples and two gallons of milk and so on and so forth per week. And cooking classes should be part of the program as well. Do you really think a 16-year-old mother is going to know how to cook anything other than mac and cheese and frozen pizza? Teaching people to cook quick nutritious meals with their food allotment would also help out healthcare cost and lower obesity rates, which are higher among people with lower income. And who can blame them when you can get cheeseburgers and fries for $2 from fast food places?

I've done the education part, and I'm sure that job part is somewhere around the corner, same with that love stuff. But right now, I'm struggling with the whole money thing. Yes, I abused credit cards a bit and took student loans, but I also worked through college and grad school and didn't live what anyone would call a lavish lifestyle with said loans and credit cards. The plan was to have a job and be able to pay off that debt in time, while saving money and contributing to society.

It sucks because I really just want to do this life thing on my own, and when I see girls way younger than me that fucked up getting a leg up on me I just want to curl up in a ball and hide in a closet somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Government assistance doesn't bother me as much as people whose parents foot the bill for everything. I'm not talking a little money to make ends meet. I'm talking mommy and daddy paid for college, a car, a down payment on a house, etc. Every time I meet someone in this situation, their personality depicts someone who is completely out of touch with reality.

    Yeah, making it on your own is hard. But at least you know you're not a d-bag living on another planet who probably can't cook their own meals, either.