HE SAID SHE SAID: Teach Them to Fish

More stories from Ken D'Angelo

It Beats Working
March 30, 2017
Mortality Sucks
February 4, 2016
HE SAID SHE SAID: Teach Them to Fish

A long time ago I heard the proverb, “If you give a man a fish you will feed him today. If you teach a man to fish he will feed himself for life.” Personally, my years of trying to entice  pescatorial prey to attach themselves to a hook at the end of a line attached to my fishing pole have been met with what can charitably be called “limited success.”  If I had to feed myself through my skills as an angler I would be skinny beyond emaciation. Those of you who know me are aware that missing a meal is not a regular occurrence for me. I am, what can politely be termed as “portly.”

That being said, the above proverb has an element of serious truth. It is that the world is better when people are self sufficient rather than dependant. There are givers and there are teachers. In my view liberals are givers, mostly of other people’s wealth. Conservatives are teachers of how to accrue an individual self sufficiency and if ambitious, self driven, hard working and yes, lucky enough, become wealthy.

The State of Maine has taken a modest step in the direction of teaching some of her citizens to “fish.” The state has decided to enforce a Federal rule regarding eligibility for food stamps. If you are single, non disabled and without dependants and you want to receive food stamps you will have to follow ONE of three options. You can work twenty hours a week or more (as long as you don’t exceed the Federal Income requirements to qualify for assistance). You can attend an approved job training course of study. Or lastly, you can volunteer twenty four hours a month(!) to an approved non profit enterprise. Any ONE of these steps will keep you qualified for food stamp benefits. These three choices are a Federal requirement that Maine has chosen, until now to waive, but is now enforcing.

Over nine thousand able adults have decided to refuse to comply with these very modest requirements. That has resulted in the number of healthy, dependant free, citizens of Maine receiving food stamps dropping from about twelve thousand to just under three thousand. My conservative heart was warmed by the wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments of liberal legislators, welfare workers and academics as to the beneficial effects of the enforcement of this Federal rule. Even better were the reader comments of frothing at the mouth liberal types. I haven’t smiled this much since the N.Y. Yankees were kicked out of the playoffs by the Houston Astros. What is even better is that those knuckleheads who opted out of the program can’t get back in for three years. All you had to do was volunteer for a measly six hours a week to keep the assistance. If anyone needed it that bad they would have tripped over their feet rushing to volunteer at something, somewhere in order to keep it.

My conclusion is that there were nine thousand deadbeats in Maine who were, but are no longer, scamming the system. Maine is not a comparatively populous state. It only had twelve thousand deadbeats. According to a Washington D.C. liberal think tank there are about 1 million food stamp recipients across the country who are healthy, single and without dependants. It would be a wonderful world if the 49 other states followed Maine’s example and gave fishing lessons to those who sorely needed them.   

If you are of the liberal persuasion, I want you to take a deep breath. If you tend to hyperventilate, have a paper bag handy to breathe into before you pass out. You’re going to love what is next on Maine’s agenda. The state will deny food stamps to households with no children who have bank balances and non cash assets, with a total value  over $5,000. If you want food stamps in Maine you better take out a want ad to sell your snowmobile, ATV, motorcycle, or bass boat. Drawing down and keeping down any bank deposits to below $5,000 is  probably a good idea.  

This is actually a small attack at a small problem but with a big message. According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services only 8,600 out of 225,000 Mainers will be affected by this new and brilliant rule. If you are heartbroken and teary eyed at the plight of what could be over 17,000 poor being denied their “welfare rights” (how I hate that term), don’t worry, they can always migrate south…to the “People’s Republic of Massachusetts.” Or Good Lord forbid, the “Kingdom of Cuomo.” That’s a thought that could make me run screaming into the night.