Schoolhouse Rock-style PSA about getting food stamps

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Really really good! Know what else you should do? Vote, goddammit! It’s free!


Where’s the catchy song?? It is Schoolhouse Rock, not Schoolhouse Talk!

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“Don’t feel embarrassed about needing help. Be embarrassed that you live in the wealthiest country in the world with fifty million people who don’t have enough food. . . . Thanks a lot, America!”

And to think that so many Americans, including many of those fifty million, still think they live in The Greatest Country on Earth.

Mass psychosis is a hell of a drug.


Amen. I hope you don’t mind me using this as a leaping off point. I’m not trying to 'splain anything, not even directing it remotely at you, just…ranting at no one in particular. Things that have been simmering in my brain but can’t come out because nobody wants to listen to someone rant about politics, especially if it messes with their preconceived notions.

So when right-wing candidates talk about getting spending under control, they almost always talk about welfare. Now, I “get” that a lot of welfare programs are state and local level, but we have Federal-level candidates here in the U.S. who bring up the shadowy spectre of Shonda from the ‘hood, loading up her Escalade with quality steaks so she can feed the hood rats while the poor ol’ workin’ man is eating ramen.

OK, so maybe they don’t spell it out in quite that racist of a way; trust me when I say that at least in my corner of the mid-South, everyone understands it to be just that. And I guess there’s an appeal to it. If you have a poor ghetto neighborhood in your otherwise white-bread town and the black population has been so marginalized that welfare is all that’s available to them, but you’re unwilling to acknowledge that that’s the problem, it might seem like welfare abuse and laziness is the problem.

So why a pie chart that mixes mandatory and discretionary spending? Because current taxation levels don’t match spending. (We could argue for hours about trying to apply traditional rules to Keynesian economics, but let’s not, okay? For one, I’m not qualified to speak about it.)

The one important thing is that the programs they always bring up are in that 2% “Housing & Community” part of the chart. Now, the thing that frustrates me IMMENSELY is that conservatives have been warning, for years, that something needed to be done about Social Security and Medicare, either rein in expenses or raise taxes (or both.) When Democrats were finally on board, what did they say? Oh, those Democrats, they’re out to take away your Medicare! And any time anyone talks about cutting defense? Oh, those liberals are putting us in danger! They hate the troops!

I hate when people do this but I’m going to do it anyway. Let’s say your household is spending $60,000 a year, but your household income is only $50,000, and you really have to get it down to $50,000. And let’s say you find out that 25% of it is utilites, 25% is commuting, and another 25% is expenses like daycare, and the rest is everything from house repairs to entertainment. Now, certainly, you’d be foolish to go to the bar every Friday and drop a bunch of money, or go to pro sports events all the time, if your budget was that far out of control. But that’s just a small part of the 25% part of the pie, right? So you know that you have to look at those three major expenses that make up 75% of the pie.

Except that’s what’s happening at the Federal level, it seems like politicians left and right lose their minds if anyone suggests doing anything about that over 75% of the pie.

So let’s say they cut housing & community altogether. That’s a 2% reduction. To put that back in perspective of the household income, we already established that we need to cut at least $10,000 in spending, so we committed…to cutting at least $1,000…so we’re still $9,000 over budget.

Now, naturally, because Republicans more or less got their way on welfare back in the 90s, there was some political slight of hand to get people onto disability. That needs to be dealt with, imho, but I don’t think it’s as simple as “tell people to go to work.” 63% of the U.S. population works. 67% of the U.S. population is prime working age. Am I the only one seeing a problem with the “just tell people they have to work” strategy?

Sure seems like every right-wing effort has nothing to do with cutting spending, and everything to do with punishing people for being poor. Considering how many of those anti-welfare pro-austerity politicians will start talking about a “stronger military” along with talking about austerity, well…

It’s a big, complex problem with the core problem being, imho, that nobody’s really all that willing to compromise, and nobody’s willing to tackle the big problems.

So yeah, mass psychosis is a hell of a drug.


Yeah, the “don’t sell your guitar” bit was a total red herring. No offense to Adam Strauss or the Stepkids (credited as mixing and music respectively), but the mood and volume of the soundtrack sounded off to me.

No idea of the thing they’re referencing, though, so maybe it’s super period authentic or something.

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Free in many places, that is, once you have your state-approved photo ID. Where I live that requires you to take a birth certificate to the DMV and pay a fee. Don’t have your birth certificate? Not to worry! You can go to the office of public records from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday, conveniently located downtown and get one by paying a fee. Relying on public transportation? Not to worry! A bus conveniently goes sort of near the DMV every two hours. It’s easy to walk to (unless you’re handicapped).

Although if you’re relying on public transportation you might be slightly dismayed to learn that many voting sites which were formerly located in public buildings like libraries near bus stops are located in churches three or more miles from any bus stop in suburban areas with no sidewalks. Not to worry, though. Surely someone can drive you!

And isn’t all this worth it to keep everyone secure in the knowledge that no illegal immigrants will be voting?

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Okay then, don’t vote. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.


In spite of my overwhelming cynicism I’m really pro-voting. It frustrates me that something we laud as the foundation of freedom has been made unnecessarily cumbersome and difficult, but one very important way we have of getting rid of the assholes responsible for that is to vote 'em out.

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That is… wow. Props to HBO on that one.

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