The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 24, 2014

The ability to survive

Stan Zellers’ My Turn (March 22) argues that when the government provides assistance to people (such as Supplementary Nutritional Assistance, or Women, Infants and Children) it effectively enslaves them. He admits that there are some people, such as the congenitally disabled, whom society must assist, but says that most of the people receiving government assistance have come to that pass through their own “bad choices.”

Well, we all make choices, some of them bad.  People who aren’t poor can often avoid the consequences of their bad choices more easily than those who are poor. And those who are poor can often make good choices and still come out behind.  

Most of those who qualify for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) are actually working as many hours as they can find, but their pay is so bad that they still qualify for SNAP.

People who can’t earn a living wage even when they work are hardly slaves, but they’re not free, either.  

Freedom follows the ability to survive. The government’s assistance programs are a minimal, inadequate, but essential means to freedom, not to enslavement.

John Peeler,


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