July 17, 2008

Waste not, Want not

Let’s talk about W.I.C. and Food Stamps, the two biggest government programs that were put in place to help struggling families. Yet, as I’ve been involved with both programs I see major errors in both. Starting with W.I.C., my fiancée and I recently had an appointment with them concerning our 1 year old daughter. She has always had problems gaining weight, so we have to keep her on formula for longer than usual (doctor ordered). This is not a usual occurrence with children I guess, because we have to get a prescription from our daughters pediatrician for the “Next Step” formula. We ran into one big snag with W.I.C. though, the only “Next Step” formula they offered was a soy formula. Most children, our daughter included of course, drink a milk based formula. Our daughter, once again doctor ordered, is not supposed to switch over to soy formula as she is not milk intolerant, and the soy formula doesn’t contain the vitamins and minerals she needs. Even our W.I.C. case worker was confused when she looked this particular problem up on her computer, but she couldn't do anything about it because it was W.I.C. policy. The other thing I find odd about the W.I.C. program is how much milk they provide you with. 4 and a half gallons just for my fiancée and another 4 for our daughter, and that’s every month! I’m sorry, but who drinks that much milk in a month? You should have the option of picking something else from a list of products they can provide, as it would prevent the waste of milk that goes bad because we can’t drink it fast enough.
Now, onto food stamps, the most disorganized program second only to the D.M.V. (Department of Motor Vehicles). It can take months to receive your food stamp benefits and, if they lose anything you turned in, you have to go back, wait in line for at least 45 minutes, and turn in your paperwork again. That second issue wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t happen two or three times each time you turned something in. Some of the paperwork they require is hard to come up with and the time spent at the food stamp office is time away from your job. But, that’s not all my friends, that’s not all. If these things weren’t hard enough to stomach, the Food Stamp office has a very strict rule against using your food stamps for toilet paper, trash bags, and other things of this nature. I can buy an entire case of Arizona brand sweet tea, but I can’t buy one roll of toilet paper. Now I understand why you can’t buy things like beer, wine, or other alcoholic products with food stamps, which would be a step in the wrong direction for anyone trying to get back on their feet.
The government is supposes to take care of its citizens, but through government programs I see only disorganization and lack of thinking things through. It seems to me sometimes that it’s easier for illegal immigrants to receive benefits from the government than it is the people who were born and raised here. How can we stand behind and believe in a government that takes care of another country’s citizens before its own? And, how can we put our lives into a system that can’t even keep enough staff on to keep their offices at least somewhat organized?
By the way, the newest thing on the goverments agenda, cutting there work week down to 4 days, an effort to "save money".