Tuesday, August 09, 2011


I'm continually astonished by student responses in class that affirm a deeply held entitlement mentality. They are uniformly indoctrinated to believe that society is obligated to fulfill their needs. They live immersed in a world in which healthcare as a right is just the peak of the chain. They know that they don't need to work because there is extended (and extended again) unemployment compensation. (Think about that oxymoron: "unemployment compensation"!) They can quote you chapter and verse of programs with legalistic names like "Title 9 Housing Assistance" or CHIP--state funded children's medical insurance, or WIP for grocery payments.

They are astounded when a line is drawn between those basic unalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence and the expectations of fulfillment of what should be individual responsibilities.

Take a look at this recent action taken way too late by the vestiges of what used to be the industrialized state of Michigan:

30,000 College Students Learn of TNSTAAFL

I particularly like this student's reaction:
Kayla Neff, a 19-year-old Spanish and computer science student at Central Michigan University who qualified for food stamps in September, said it's tough to find a job in Michigan, particularly for students with little experience.
Neff said she and her father share about $150 a month in grocery money from the program, which "made all the difference in the world," but her eligibility is now under review.
"Students should be focusing on their education, not whether or not they'll be able to eat dinner or whether they can manage to find a job and balance it on top of their studies," Neff said in a Friday email interview from Mount Pleasant.
In that brief summary we see a generational dependence. She and her father share their expectation of government buying the groceries. She is going to college...want to guess who is picking up the tuition, books, fees? She notes "it's tough to find a job...with little experience." Duh! You take your first job with no experience and that is where experience comes from. The first experience you get is learning the value of what your labor earns. Maybe learning to feed yourself should be a prerequisite for college.

The thinking isn't new. It is embedded in the culture. It isn't simply ignored. It is taught from generation to generation. It is not only tolerated, it is encouraged.
Many see using food stamps while attending school as a scam, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick described it in much that way in his new autobiography.
Kilpatrick, who was recently released from state prison after serving time for violating probation and awaits trial on federal corruption charges, revealed he used food stamps when he attended Florida A&M University in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the time, his mother was a state representative and his father was a top Wayne County official.
"The food stamp game is an old hook-up in neighborhoods from Detroit to Tallahassee," Kilpatrick said in the book. "If you could get them, especially as a struggling college student, then you did."
Kilpatrick is certainly one to know and understand what that is about.


Randall said...

I remember distinctly the time when I was in college, living in an apartment off campus with a friend. We were both out of work at that moment, rent was coming due. A friend of his told us about the whole going to school on food stamps scam. we decided to go for it. I drove us down to the food stamp office. We got out of the car and walked in. We looked around, and saw the other people there in the lobby. I turned to my friend, and looked him in the eye, and no words had to be said. We walked back out the door, got in the car and left. Went to work at McDonalds a week later. And it sucked. But I paid for my own food.

Ed Skinner said...

There's only one way out: Hunger is a wonderful motivator.