Note from Andrew: Today I’m pleased to present the third article in a periodic column by my friend Roger Reality. Roger has been a key mentor in my life particularly with regard to critical thinking and analysis, and as you will see…he speaks with passion. Enjoy.
There has been a great deal more attention paid to the so-called “Farm Bill” this year because of the historic drought currently plaguing two-thirds of the nation. The urge and actual need to “help the farmers” is what the moniker promises but what it has and will deliver is quite simply the single most destructive element to self reliance, self respect and success in the litany of Socialist programs whose design and implementation create dependency. Just as famed psychologist Abraham Maslow described all human needs in a hierarchy that necessitated each building upon the preceding “level”, so to has the United States created a Hierarchy of Dependency in which each insidious “level” further and further corrodes self reliance, independence, liberty, competence and success.
The “Farm Bill” is actually an omnibus federal spending bill passed every 5 years to address numerous aspects of the US Department of Agriculture’s mission, including agricultural research, farm credit, crop insurance, conservation, commodity support, etc. The current bill is actually called the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 and was budgeted at $288 BILLION. The bill currently being considered and already passed by the Senate is called euphemistically, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012. It has a staggering price tag of $969 BILLION or roughly one TRILLION dollars over its life!! For those unable to comprehend numbers of this scale, and that is a VAST majority of Americans, please refer to the graphics in this short article to see what a trillion dollars really looks like. Suffice to say that, when we are spending a million-million dollars (that we obviously DO NOT have!) this is HUGE priority to politicians! Sadly, that priority does NOT come from the “plight of the family farmer”. The actual expenditures scream out what the priority is. Nearly 80% of the bill or $768.2 BILLION, pays for only one program and that is the food stamp program, now known by the less “stigmatizing” and “catchy” title, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)! One can certainly take exception with “price supports” and other government “welfare” programs for farmers and agricultural industries (think ethanol!) but the size of these various programs that provide (the often quoted and virtually Teflon term) “food security” pale in comparison to the cornerstone program of dependency in this country!
Food stamp spending at the end of the previous “Farm Bill” has grown from $30 BILLION per year in 2007 to more than $72 BILLION (that’s 72,000 MILLION) per year in 2011. According to the Food Research and Action Center, 46,496,788 people received “assistance” in May 2012, up by more than 1 million from the previous May and almost 30 MILLION more than in July 2000. This unprecedented level of dependency constitutes 15.1% of the entire population of the country or roughly one in seven Americans! Some readers might argue that the recession has necessitated this level of “intervention” but assuming that excuse… how does that demand spending at or above those levels for the life of the NEXT “Farm Bill”??? The Obama administration has obviously failed at creating jobs (not too difficult when that is NOT your true objective!) and just as obviously intends to KEEP at least the same number on food stamps well into the future! There is simply no other explanation for the spending included in the “Farm Bill”.
The food stamp program is the largest pure government welfare program in the country that directly redistributes wealth to people (not included in this are so-called “insurance” programs that many don’t consider welfare such as unemployment, social security, Medicare and Medicaid). Also, unlike the medical programs which are typically not used continuously or that have (some) time limits like unemployment, food stamps have been and are an integral “way of life” for tens of millions of people in this country and one that is most certainly passed down from generation to generation as an “entitlement” as the Clinton administration cleverly renamed “welfare”. It is this fact that makes food stamps THE cornerstone for Maslow’s Hierarchy of Dependency (I was tempted to call it Roger’s Hierarchy but it didn’t have the gravitas!) Maslow’s very well-known and well respected premise is that people act based upon motivations that are innate and categorical with certain needs dominant at certain points and that must be fairly well fulfilled before other more complex motivations can be fulfilled. The fulfillment of each “level” then allows the next level to be appreciated and sought out. This is conventionally portrayed as a pyramid with the basic needs at the bottom. Maslow included air, sleep, water, FOOD and sex among the first level physiological needs. Obviously, FOOD stamps meet the one basic need that generally has a cost associated with it. Hence, by providing what is arguably the most essential need to so many people the government not only allows, but directly CREATES dependency where none would exist naturally. Just as children are utterly dependent on adults (we can’t say parents anymore) for their food needs at an early age, and bond strongly with that provider… as is the case with domesticated animals that learn to associate their owner with food and thus bond… so too does the government create a bond between those that depend on food stamps and the “provider”. This dependency is strong because it involves a very basic need and when provided for generations becomes absolutely associated with the “owner”. Any efforts to reduce, eliminate, wean, emancipate or otherwise “threaten” that “need” result in strong reactions, just as one would expect when a person’s air supply, water supply, sleep or other bodily functions are threatened. Thus, politicians that promise and deliver more of this basic need are paternalized and viewed as “owners” while those who question or threaten that source are identified as “interlopers” and attacked at a very visceral level and with good justification (psychologically speaking).
Clearly, our dysfunctional government provides far more than just this one basic need and is thus creating dependency across multiple psychological levels but the one that subsumes the rest and creates the root cause of dependency is the food stamp program. It is a sad certainty that the “Farm Bill” as codependent carrier of the food stamp program is THE cornerstone of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Dependency.
That’s your Reality Check…