Home Opinion Bill O'Connor Food Stamps are a Stimulus

Food Stamps are a Stimulus



By Bill O’Connor –

Greenways, For The Women And Children

As the Board of Commissioners cranked up their morning meeting for the 3rd Wednesday of February, they quickly got into a contentious consideration of approving a public money grant as part of the financing of a “greenway” including Westveldt Park property. The project is supported by Sierra Nevada using its own money. Young and Hawkins objected on both the principle of public money grants (I was verklempt) and land use considerations. Thompson was conflicted but eventually joined Edney and Messer to approve the measure 3-2, so on down the Best-Of-Intentions road, which is, of course, the greenest of ways.

Seven Falls, Eight sins, and At Least Nine Points of View

The property is a general mess and the local environmental lobby, the property owners, the courts, and the County do not agree on what to do with $6 million in infrastructure money to repair an estimated $8+ million in damages at the barely begun, failed development in Etowah. Russ Burrell, the County Attorney advised that the issues are bound to continue to be pushed this way and that in the court anyway, so it will be best to “bunch ‘em” as my uncle Lon Ray used to say about bothersome flies, by suing all the stakeholders to get an airing in public court. The Commission told Burrell to proceed with their advice

Food Stamps are a Stimulus

A long time Social Service worker made a presentation about Food Stamps. It was for information, not action. Now they actually call the program SNAP. They now give recipients a welfare card loaded with their “benefits” so they won’t be embarrassed to use our money in public. That kind of embarrassment used to be thought good for a building a person’s character and determination to be self reliant. She tried to make a heavy point that SNAPs cannot be used to buy beer, liquor, and tobacco. I think they really do fail (or don’t want) to grasp that food bought with SNAPs subsidizes the purchase of the forbidden with real money. She went over all the rules, again failing to get it that, for instance, a driver’s license isn’t proof of citizenship, especially in North Carolina with our history of giving them out like they were food stamps. Like all public programs, people are hired to and promoted by giving as much of the stuff out as they can, with absolutely no incentive to prevent anyone from slipping around a corner of eligibility.

Then she brought out her big guns; SNAPS amount to $19 million in the County Economy. That’s $190 for every man women and child in the county, well in the census anyway, but there probably aren’t any who failed to answer the census takers knock, but showed up for SNAPs, right? Since the DC Imperium borrows 40 cents on the dollar, we have to take at least $7.6 million in SNAP money as borrowings whose effect will be felt in the lifetimes of about everyone under 55. We won’t have to wait for the grandbabies to hate us. This Administration has accelerated the pain it inherited. But it really seems to make more sense to me that since total Federal grants and subsidies so closely matches total borrowings, we should look at the whole $19 million as borrowed from today’s 28 year-olds. Lord help them, and us when it begins to dawn on them. Hawkins asked if a driver’s license was accepted at face value. He was told it was the rule. After just a moment more of silent eye contact, Hawkins thanked the Chairman.


Mark Williams, former Commissioner and current Agi-Business developer made an info presentation, describing the growth in the farming segment of our economy. Local farmers are increasing acreage in traditional crops and adding new ones like soybeans once considered unsuited to our climate and topography. He reported rapid and extensive growth of edible fruit berries and the addition of pears to our fruit crops. He warned that many of these crops are labor intensive, meaning a likely increase in immigrant labor needed, putting a spotlight on our dilemma as a county of labor intensive agriculture during an immigration-sensitive time.

There are a couple of dots in this report we could connect by adding just the fact that the legislature is considering a special driver’s license for non-citizens to help us with our Ag-labor problem, to the frustration over the ease with which one can slip into the SNAP program with a license. We need a SNAP rule that the new license would not constitute eligibility. It just makes sense that if the new license is to facilitate work, it should not qualify for welfare. The rest was pretty much routine.

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