Monday, September 13, 2010

Free Lunch

So I am not even sure who gets booted off the ark this time, but rest assured I am going to find out! 

This week the school sent home the annual collection of forms that they require we fill out: contingency plans in case of emergency, medical updates, a school newsletter.  In this packet was a form that has caused me much distress, an application for financial assistance with the hot lunch program.  Originally, it was a source of angst because I am not sure whether I should submit it on behalf of my child.  From previous posts you probably know that my husband and I have both been unemployed for over a year.  But we have also budgeted and saved and made good enough investments throughout the 20 years we have been working so that, although we are feeling the strain of our unemployment, we are not in danger of losing our house, or underfeeding our children.  We have had to cut back and make some choices, but no terribly hard choices…yet. 
Cobra is up this month and we need to come up with over $1600 a month to cover our family’s insurance costs (thank you to the new health plan that insists we subsidize other people’s health insurance).  Unemployment ends in a few months as well and then we will have nothing coming in and quite a bit going out.  As for jobs, well they are out there, but not in our fields and not even making half of what we once did.  It is the old catch 22 right now, if we take one of the unskilled jobs out there, we lose all benefits and can’t make the new lower salary stretch far enough, but soon enough it won’t matter because all our benefits will be gone and we’ll need to take whatever we can get.
To that end, I have been wondering whether or not I should apply for the reduced lunch program.  We can afford to send our child to school with a packed lunch, but he really wants to get a hot lunch and it is an expense we don’t need to add in right now.  I had decided to teach him you can’t get everything you want and sometimes you have to stick with what you can afford and was about to throw away the form when I read that you do not need to be an American citizen to receive free or reduced lunch. WHAT?!!
Let me repeat that outrage,...W.H.A.T!  Here I am a citizen of the United States and a taxpayer in a state that is known for its ridiculous taxes.  I live in a town that has a high tax rate and I always pay what is required of me.  I don’t cheat on my taxes and although I grumble (a ton) I pay my taxes like a responsible citizen.  So here I am struggling with whether or not it would be right for me to take advantage of a program I may not need as much as someone else and you are telling me that MY tax dollars are going to feed someone who isn’t even a citizen?  Read doesn’t pay taxes.  Read is already STEALING the education itself, and now will be receiving a free lunch too. 
Really?  Why does this society reward people who break the rules or have no sense of personal responsibility?  For God’s sake if this country wasn’t so busy giving handouts to people who come looking for the proverbial free lunch at every turn, then maybe the rest of us wouldn’t be so overtaxed that we are unable to make our own ends meet.
For us my child’s lunch isn’t really free, our tax dollars are paying for it; unfortunately, so are yours.  My question: if they are going to offer free lunch on the backs of tax-payers, why don’t they just provide free lunch to ALL children?  This is something I have never understood.  Well I understand it; it is called socialism, but they refuse to advertise that because if they did there would be more of an outrage.  But that is what it is people, taking money from one group to subsidize another is indeed socialism.

And again, if they just stopped taxing so much to provide all these free bees then you wouldn’t be subsidizing my kids lunch because I’d have enough to pay for it and none of us would subsidize the lunches of criminals who don’t deserve something for nothing in the first place!
Really, here I am having contributed tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to my community and I am feeling badly about taking something that I PAID FOR but that someone else might need more. Then I learn that this same community is offering MY HARD EARNED MONEY to someone who has contributed NOTHING!  Before you argue against me think of this: maybe if the government hadn’t taken so much of my money over the years and had left it in my bank account instead of taking it to pay for expensive cars for the politicians, the same road to be redone continuously for the past 5 years, or to disperse in the socialist fashion to which they have become so accustomed, I might have enough money in my account to pay for my kids to buy lunch at school.
            So what did I decide?  I don’t think I’ll be taking advantage of the program because we don’t really need it the way I think some people do.  Isn’t it a shame though that my son can’t have something he wants and which I could afford if someone else wasn’t taking my money for his free lunch?


  1. I was outraged that there are illegal aliens in the school in the first place. It's a weird situation for sure.

    It also pisses me off every time I read about COBRA and it's exorbitant expensiveness.

    I'm sending you good job getting vibes.

  2. Did the paper from the school get into more specifics than just "you don't have to be an American citizen" to qualify? For example, there are categories of people who live here that have been granted permission to do so, whether through work visas or marriage, etc., who are indeed paying taxes, but for whatever reason are not making enough money to get to the maximum salary of the hot lunch program. Would you have an issue with them getting free or reduced lunch, or are you specifically angered at the prospect of "undocumented workers" being given lunch benefits? I think most Americans would agree with you that we are tired of our money being given as handouts to those that are here illegally, but I think you may not be considering that sometimes people may fall into the category of not a citizen and not making enough money without being here illegally.

  3. Good point Fiorella. Thanks for pointing it out it makes me feel better. I will choose to think of the people not listed as American Citizens getting my tax money as the tax paying visa holding type instead of the palm up undocumented type.

  4. I found your blog today and like it much. Thank you. I am learning tremendously, but, have questions.
    First, these 'Free Bees' you speak of. Are they in honey maker union? They sound too industrious. If no, then off to gulag with them, I say!
    Second, why not let your little comrade have the hot lunch? You already happily partake in great cause of proletariat "unemployment benefit" wealth redistribution programme. Why hot lunch hand-out less acceptable than unemployment hand-out? Clearly you already proud member of Bolshevik party, no? Unite!

    Yours in eternal Camaraderie! - FB Trotksy

  5. Dear F.B I love the tone of your post. Very funny. However, in case you are asking a serious question, here is the answer. I am not going to have him participate in the free lunch program because we can provide lunch for him ourselves. As for unemployment, first of all unemployment is funded by the worker and the employer not the tax payer and given both my husband and I paid unemployment taxes for over 20 years, we are merely using what we put in. Since I also was an employer, I paid double in those taxes what most citizens did so it is even more copasetic. Secondly, we are eagerly seeking work, but as you will read in a prior post we are apparently over qualified for jobs in our fields, and under qualified for those outside it, so what else can we do other than collect back the funds we paid into this “insurance” program. Unemployment is only redistribution when it is used for all those people who chose to collect instead of work the majority of their “working” careers. Finally, technically my husband has been employed since last December through Obama's wonderful stimulus program that created all those new jobs. Last year he was offered a position as the regional engineering manager to help “green” the public buildings in the northeast. Unfortunately this wonderful new created job is in name only and although Obama counts it among his created jobs there isn’t technically any work being done or any paychecks being issued. Great for Obama’s job count, not so great for those of us with the “jobs” he created.

  6. Not to mention that you have to pay federal income tax on your unemployment benefits (at least you do where I live). So even then, it's not like some of what you're getting isn't going right back into the system.