If you’re on the government teat, perhaps you shouldn’t expect it to lactate cigarettes.
That’s the commonsense position Jackie R. Whiton took as a clerk at a Big Apple convenience store in New Hampshire a couple of months back. When a young man tried to purchase a couple packs of smokes with his Electronic Balance Transfer (EBT) card, she refused, suggesting that she and other taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for his bad habit.
According to the New Hampshire Sentinel Source,
The next day Whiton said the customer’s foster mother came to the store to complain. Whiton received a call later that day from the company’s home office in Maine, telling her it had received a complaint about her and reprimanded her.
She then refused to accept EBT cards for alcohol, tobacco or gambling purchases and told the store that she’d give her notice if they didn’t like it. She no longer works for Big Apple.
So, to recap: A government supplicant, angry that a clerk wouldn’t sell him his government-funded smokes, got his foster mommy to come to complain to corporate headquarters and lean on the woman for refusing to indulge his nonsense.
Welcome to America, 2012.
As Ed Krayewski noted at Hit and Run, this incident prompted a whole debate. The social parasite who sparked the whole kerfuffle, Christopher Borges, took to the pages of the Concord Monitor with an op-ed titled “I’m on welfare. I smoke. I’m not a social parasite.” Without any apparent self-awareness, Borges—who notes that he receives almost $700 a month from the Social Security Administration for a “health condition”—plaintively cried
Can I spend $5.87 on a pack of cigarettes? Is that okay, I wonder, as tears well in my eyes reading commentators describing people like me as social parasites. Ironically, the same people obsessed with individualism and the free market seem to need to tell individuals how to spend their money.
His money. His money, like he earned it. Like it wasn’t handed to him in the hopes that he would better his situation or figure out his course in life. Or at least be used for essentials, like food. Maybe gas money to carry him about his quest to find a job, or to take him to the doctor for whichever health condition it is that is improved by consuming cigarettes paid for by the taxpayers of his fair community.
It’s a tenable notion that the government has the right to confiscate money and property earned by those who are actually employed and perform valuable social services in order to redistribute it to those who cannot or do not. I’m willing to accept some basic level of care for the indigent or the terrible, as Mr. Borges certainly is. That such care must be provided by hardworking individuals like Ms. Whiton is a necessary evil in civilized society.
I would, however, ask our elites to stop acting as though it is the patriotic duty of every man, woman, and child who has a paying job to support Mr. Borges in his simpering indolence. I am reminded of a recent column by Farhad Manjoo, who—perturbed that someone like Eduardo Saverin would choose to leave the country rather than pay a huge tax penalty on his earnings for founding Facebook—asked: “The question is, what’s fair for him to keep?”
As I noted at the time, shouldn’t the real question be “What is fair for the government to take?” Within the progressive mindset, there is a chilling notion that all money is the government’s and only by the grace of the IRS are you allowed to keep a portion of your income. You work and you invest and you strive—all for the government, which can best decide how that money is spent, on roads or wars or for those who cannot actually care for themselves.
Anything you get to keep—well, I hope you enjoy the benevolence of our overlords and take a moment out of your day to think about all those packs of smokes Mr. Borges is missing out on because of your greed.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Emma Elliott Freire