Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Being poor is easy, so long as you're middle class

What kind of a person do you have to be to spend your time doing things like this? From the right-wing Face The State,

Ari Armstrong is at it again... This time he's back on his "food stamp diet" and out to prove that daily allotments under the nation's existing food stamp program are more than sufficient for our nation's poor.

Seriously, what kind of person spends their time proving that $5 a day for food is more than enough for poor people? We're talking about people who net $10,000 a year in income and this Armstrong guy is making it his life's mission to prove that they can get by on less than the $5 a day the government provides them for food.

To see just how noxious this whole exercise is we need to inspect Ari's methods. Keep in mind that Ari is your run of the mill glibertarian, meaning he has no concept of how life actually works for people outside of his socio-economic class. Ari explains,
Today I shopped at three grocery stores, Sprouts, Target, and King Soopers. I chose Sprouts by reading store ads online; that store is having particularly good vegetable sales this week.
Did Ari take public transportation to these 3 stores? Because if you're making $10,000 a year odds are you're riding the bus or walking to any destination you might have. Anyone care to venture a guess as to how long it would take a person to go from the three stores that Ari visited if he were to travel by bus? I retraced Ari's trip using Google maps and their public transportation information. Leaving aside how one relying on food stamps would reach the bus stop in the first place and the amount of time that might take as well as the trip home lets look at the proposed trip.

The first store (Sprouts) is located at west 120th Ave in Broomfield, next he travels to a Target on Reed St, also in Broomfield. That's a 45 minute trip that requires a transfer and a 17 minute walk from the bus stop to the Target. Ari though was able to drive from one store to the next, shop and check out (according to the receipts he's posted) within 25 minutes. Being poor is easy in a car!

Ari then travels to a King Soopers located at 9983 Wadsworth. Guess what? There's no bus that services that route. That means Ari would have to walk the 1 mile or so with his bags from the previous two stores. Hope Ari isn't elderly or disabled!

To take the trip that Ari proposes would take a person well over an hour and require that person to not only have the time to partake in such a trip but also to be in good enough health to make the long walks from stores to bus stop and from store to store.

Did you notice too how Ari spotted these great deals before he went shopping? I'll post it again
I chose Sprouts by reading store ads online

Online. He looked up the sale prices online, just like any other poor person would do - right?

Ari Armstrong has absolutely no idea what a person on food stamps goes through. He's purports to live on a food stamp budget to somehow prove that its suitable for our nations poor but he does so while still enjoying all of the luxuries of a middle-class lifestyle. He used a computer that probably cost 1/10th of the yearly income of food stamp recipient. He used the internet which would come with a monthly fee that would probably equal a days meal for simple dial up. That internet would of course require a working phone line too. After doing his due diligence online Ari proceeds to drive in his car from store to store. Cars cost money to buy, they cost money to insure and they use gas which also costs money. Being poor is easy so long as you're middle-class. For actual poor people though reality is much different than what our smug friend here experienced.

Is Ari Armstrong intentionally mendacious or simply a total fool? After reading this I'd say that's a distinction without a difference.

1 comment:

J said...

You know how conservative I can be by the posts on your blog. This is absolutely insane, even for a fiscal conservative like myself. Hell, we haven't even updated the basket of goods on which we figure out food assistance in like 30+ years. The diet of the US has changed significantly, and the cost for food doesn't really keep pace with the CPI. I'm all for lessening government programs, but I won't do it at the expense of physically starving our nation.