Amish Refusal to Accept Food Stamps Makes Welfare Workers Look Bad

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This story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a couple of months old, but it's a fascinating example of how government tries to insist on "helping" people who are not so evidently in need of its "help." The Ohio Office of Family Stability is demanding that local welfare workers somehow get Amish people to sign up for food stamps. Why? Just because they are eligible on the basis of income. By refusing to sign up, the Amish are lowering the local food stamp participation rates which makes the agency look bad.

The Food Stamp Progam touts itself as "the first line of defense against hunger." The Amish may have low incomes but is there any evidence that the Plain People are suffering from hunger? Besides the self-reliant Amish generally reject all government handouts.

At least one local welfare worker, Dan Jackson from Holmes County, gets it. He told the Plain Dealer:  "We have a job to do. But it's not to harass people to accept a service they've chosen not to."

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  1. Just because the amish adults refuse these services, that doesn’t necessarily mean the children aren’t in need of them.

    I see no harm in county officials taking a closer look to ensure the children aren’t going hungry just because of their parents’ pride.

  2. Just because the amish adults refuse these services, that doesn’t necessarily mean the children aren’t in need of them.

    I see no harm in county officials taking a closer look to ensure the children aren’t going hungry just because of their parents’ pride.

    Good point. I think we need to start looking at Government intrusions from a point of “harm” or “no harm”. No harm is done if the police knock on the door and just want to take a look around. No harm is done if the Government records the name of every woman who has ever had an abortion in a database. No harm is done if you are stopped randomly on the street and searched for illegal drugs. No harm, no foul!

  3. Dan T., Your post makes me wonder if you’ve ever been on an Amish farm, or if you have seriously interacted in any way with the Amish. It’s not parents’ pride, it’s about a community that takes care of itself, meaning that Ohio officials need to take a quick refresher course in both Amish customs and the fact that attempting to foist a government program on those who more than adequately take care of themselves is not only silly, but a waste of resources.

  4. Hey Dan. I see you are back in full force, even pulling out the “its for the children” card a few times today already. Hilarious. I hope you had a good holiday.

  5. I see no harm in county officials taking a closer look to ensure the children aren’t going hungry just because of their parents’ pride.

    So, the Amish are purposely starving their kids for pride? Come on, Dan, the Amish are old-time farmers par excellence; I doubt any kid in Amish country is going hungry. They might not be as fat as the “English” kids, but they’re hardly starving.

    This is all about mid-level bureaucrats maintaining or exanding their own little empire. In government, the more money you control (or spend) the more powerful you are.

  6. No one’s rights are being trampled simply by a county worker knocking at your door and asking to talk to you and your children. It’s hardly the Gestapo kicking down your door and hauling you and your family away in the middle of the night.

  7. They’re growing crops intended for distribution too! Send in the SWAT team! Check under the beards and bonnets! You never know what they could hide in there!

  8. No one’s rights are being trampled simply by a county worker knocking at your door and asking to talk to you and your children. It’s hardly the Gestapo kicking down your door and hauling you and your family away in the middle of the night.

    And if I don’t answer the door?

  9. Judging from the food sold at the local Amish market, I’ll guess that none of them are starving.

  10. Can’t they reach sort sort of compromise whereby they eat local welfare workers?

  11. Can’t they reach sort sort of compromise whereby they eat local welfare workers?

    Soylent green is caseworkers!

  12. No surprise here. If your job is caring for the underclass, then of course you want to make sure there’s always an underclass so you can keep getting paid. The last thing the food-stamp workers want to see is an end to hunger in America.

  13. Methinks Dan Jackson from Holmes County will be pulling whatever the welfare worker equivalent of KP is.

  14. “And if I don’t answer the door?”

    Nothing, if there are no children in your household.

    The state has a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children because they can’t do it themselves. And if push comes to shove and the welfare of your children is in question (not answering your door to talk to a county worker will do nothing to rectify this), then the state should have the right to come into your home as a last resort.

  15. “No one’s rights are being trampled simply by a county worker knocking at your door and asking to talk to you and your children”

    The tax payer splitting the bill for this foolishness is getting screwed.

    But thats just one way of looking at it I guess.

  16. The state has a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children because they can’t do it themselves. And if push comes to shove and the welfare of your children is in question (not answering your door to talk to a county worker will do nothing to rectify this), then the state should have the right to come into your home as a last resort.

    Wow.

    At least we know the troll is well fed.

  17. …then the state should have the right to come into your home as a last resort.

    So you believe the Government has the right to kick down your door and invade your home to see if Junior is eating his vegetables?

    How often should such visits be made? Once a year? Once a month? Once a week?

    While they’re in there I suppose they could go ahead and determine if the children are being washed behind their ears, whether or not smoking is taking place in the house and whether or not trans-fats are being served at dinner time. All for the children of course. What good is the children’s health if they don’t have the rights to enjoy life free from constant Government monitoring?

  18. “At least we know the troll is well fed.”

    But couldn’t we at least feed the troll to the Amish… it’d be for the children!

  19. The state has a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children because they can’t do it themselves.

    The state has a responsibility to ensure the rights of our children. Ensuring their safety and well-being is the responsibility of the parents.

  20. Every time you feed a troll you steal food from the mouth of a hungry Amish child.

    Shame on you, Pat. Shame on you, Captain Holly. Shame on you, Steveintheknow.

  21. I was considering paying an Amish maid to come and clean my parents’ house for the holiday season, as a gift to my mom. But I couldn’t bring myself to subject a poor, unsuspecting Amish person to that sort of thing. I know the trauma of the experience would have outweighed any economic “help” it might have provided to the maid.

  22. I gotta admit that I am in agreement with Dan T here. No religious group has the right to impose its beliefs on their children if it results in harm to the children, because children are not at the age where they can give informed consent. That being said, I doubt very much that Amish children are malnourished. Dan T did not say he agreed with the social workers’ actions, only that if malnourishment is occurring the state has a legitimate interest. The state would have to have some indication that children were being abused before they investigated, of course. If children are malnourished, the State has a right to act, regardless of why the malnourishment exists.

  23. I think we should take Dan T’s suggestion one step farther and encourage all Amercians to marry and have children with overly generous tax subsidies. Say 20% tax savings for each child.

    Then governmemnt “workers” can enter any house they’d like to, just to keep an eye on things.

  24. I gotta admit that I am in agreement with Dan T here

    while you are admitting stuff, why don’t you admit you ARE Dan T. Come on, man up.

  25. You have to wonder as well, if the state loses out on precious government funds and subsidies because the Amish refuse this ‘benefit’. Similar to how public education dollars are based on headcounts.

    Say what you will about the Amish and their lifestyle, but malnourishment and hunger are the least of their worries.

  26. The more I read of this Dan character’s comments, the more I think he’s just an elaborate parody. No one could possibly be so obtuse in real life.

  27. > No one’s rights are being trampled simply by a county worker knocking at your door and asking to talk to you and your children.

    I think I would be traumatized if a government worker came knocking on my door to judge the quality of my household.

    I might feel even more invaded if I had children.

    Back to the subject at hand. My best friend grew up with Amish as neighbors near Punxatawney, PA. According to her, the Amish have lots of money and resources. Not to worry.

    My impression: The government official who felt the Amish needed foodstamp-outreach wasn’t motivated by any actual facts, but has instead risen within the government-bureaucracy to his [her] level of incompetence.

  28. I’ll close this thread.

    “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

    -Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, Publ. Houghton Miflin, 1943, Page 403

  29. I call Godwin!!

  30. If we are sincerely concerned with child welfare and nutrition (as opposed to padding the numbers for budget purposes) we should also send out nanny swat teams to the homes of food stamp recipients, to check the contents of cupboards and refrigerators.
    Who knows what we might find: Wonder Bread; excessively sweet or salty snacks; bacon; icky HFCS-laden beverages; “whole” milk; there might even be *gasp* cigarettes in the house, purchased with cash otherwise destined for food. We the people could actually be providing the means by which parents are slowly poisoning their precious little children. The only truly effective solution would be for the government to assume full responsibility for the care, feeding and education of all children, everywhere, in order to ensure their indoctrination in appropriate and aceptable belief systems. And menus.

  31. Neil! P. Brooks! Stop stealing food from the mouths of starving Amish children, damn you!

    See, this is why libertarians have the reputation of being callous bastards–because you KNOW that feeding trolls steals food from the mouths of hungry little adorable big-eyed children and you DO IT ANYWAY.

  32. we should also send out nanny swat teams to the homes of food stamp recipients

    We already do that. They’re called “case workers”.

    Where I grew up in Upstate NY, we used to take field trips around the Finger Lakes and pass by some Amish here and there – the kids always wave at you. They looked happy to me.

  33. Did I miss it or has nobody else here heard the news items from around the time of this story howling about president Bush ‘cutting’ the food stamp program?

    From what I recall, the proposed ‘cut’ was in the neighborhood of the amount of funds that went unused the previous year.

  34. It’s always a bit odd to read a bunch of my posts on a thread that I’m checking out for the first time!

  35. The Food Stamp Progam touts itself as “the first line of defense against hunger.”

    Oopsy. Someone didn’t get the memo.

    Aren’t we having an obesity problem? The government should be switching to Jenny Craig coupons, not Food Stamps.

    No one’s rights are being trampled simply by a county worker knocking at your door and asking to talk to you and your children. It’s hardly the Gestapo kicking down your door and hauling you and your family away in the middle of the night.

    Dan T:

    Jesus H. Christ. There is no (repeat, NO) agent of the government that will knock on my door and ask to “talk to my children.” Not without very highly paid lawyers (representing me, natch) and a very thoroughly researched warrant and/or court order. Agents of the State will NOT have conversations with my children without my permission. No, scratch that. Agents of the state will not have conversations with my children. Period. Keerist, everytime one thinks liberals sometimes get the short end of the stick and are unfairly branded, we get a Dan T. to come along and make me remember why I still own firearms.

    I wonder what touchy-feely youth organization you or your kids would belong to had they been around in say, 1937 Berlin?

  36. we get a Dan T.

    Or Juanita pretending to be Dan T.

    Who knows anymore? I hesitate to respond to Dan T. or anyone whose name begins with “J” anymore…

  37. I think I mentioned before (someplace) a good article in the Utne Reader about a fellow, I think in Ohio, who lives in an Amish community but is not Amish.

    Told of his adventure to travel to DMV (or equiv.) HQ and turn in his driver’s license for good.

    IIRC, he had not ‘registered’ his last born child with the government either, at least as far as Social Security goes. Not sure if the child got a birth certificate or not.

    So, how are the National Socialists going to force food stamps on this guy?

  38. I hesitate to respond to Dan T. or anyone whose name begins with “J” anymore…

    Harrumph.

  39. All I want for Christmas: for whoever it is to stop spoofing Dan T. I don’t know why people feel obliged to respond, but they do and it makes those threads suck. Also, it’s just a dickhead thing to do.

    Thanks.

  40. Dan T. | December 27, 2006, 5:09pm
    It’s always a bit odd to read a bunch of my posts on a thread that I’m checking out for the first time!

    I notice you haven’t complained about anything your doppelgangers posted. I think we do a better Dan T. than you do.

    Disclaimer: I have never impersonated Dan T.

  41. The state has a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children because they can’t do it themselves. And if push comes to shove and the welfare of your children is in question (not answering your door to talk to a county worker will do nothing to rectify this), then the state should have the right to come into your home as a last resort.

    Excuse me, but where did you get this idea? The sole purpose of government should be to provide basic infrastructure services and stay the hell out of people’s personal lives. Governments today have taken far too many liberties with our liberties.

  42. “We have a job to do,” Jackson said. “But it’s not to harass people to accept a service they’ve chosen not to.”

    As a former TANF caseworker, I realized that the job was to satisfy those who benefit the most from the various welfare programs. With the food stamp program those who receive the greatest benefit are (in order):

    1. Grocery stores
    2. The state governor
    3. Dept of Human Service employees
    4. Food stamp recipients

    The state required Geauga and Holmes to draft plans to lift participation rates

    With welfare block grants it’s “use it or lose it” for the states. The paradox of our welfare system is that its supposed goal is to get families off the system while its political nature forces it to simultaneously get more families on.

  43. Dan T. | December 27, 2006, 2:48pm | #
    No one’s rights are being trampled simply by a county worker knocking at your door and asking to talk to you and your children.

    No the trampling of rights doesn’t start until some kid falsely reports. Can’t really blame the kid for that. She don’t have capacity and it would be unfair to treat her as if she did. Can’t blame the county worker. They don’t have built-in lie detectors any more than the rest of us do.

    However, if a community takes pains over many decades to keep child starvation at zero, then they deserve to be spared from the possibility of the errors identified in the previous paragraph. Unless the county workers are really selecting carefully in which homes to make their intrusions (slight) and attendant invitation to error (potentially pretty destructive), they are doing more harm than good. If that is not exactly a trampling of the rights, it is at least setting up a situation where rights will be trampled without due consideration of the direness of the need for doing things that way. Bad policy.

  44. typical stupid americans

  45. Not to mention what would happen if some county worker got it into his head that the Amish, oh, I don’t know . . . repressed their gay teenagers with false religion, let’s say.

    Putting yourself in the place of the Amish parents in this hypothetical, what does that innocent knock on the door really mean? Probably nothing bad if you aren’t repressing gay teenagers with religion, I guess. How much right do parents have to pass religion on to their children without giving the state a meaningful voice in the dialogue?

  46. Don’t you people have anything better to do?

  47. I live in Ohio’s Amish country (just southeast of Cleveland, to be exact) and the Amish have no money problems at all. They do quite well, as a matter of fact. They own lots of land, grow and make much of their own stuff and are known for being shrewd, intelligent money managers. They also help each other out when the need arises.

    Visit the Wal-Mart in Middlefield, Ohio, and you will be in the minority amongst all of the Amish shoppers. There are as many horse and buggies in the streets as cars. There are buggy parking zones, the clip-clop of horse hooves everywhere and even buggy drive-through at the local McDonalds (that is a sight to see). I’d say the Amish do better than most people around here and certainly don’t need much, if any, welfare.

  48. “How much right do parents have to pass religion on to their children without giving the state a meaningful voice in the dialogue?”

    How about “every right in the world.”

    If we want to start policing parents who indoctrinate their kids with harmful values then we need to start pulling over morning carpools that play NPR.

  49. Harrumph.

    Heh. OK, I’ll limit it to “Juanita” and “Jane” or whatever it was she was also using.

    But the point remains that it’s counterproductive to respond to anyone without knowing whether they’re just feeding us lefty agitprop to mess with out heads.

    How much right do parents have to pass religion on to their children without giving the state a meaningful voice in the dialogue?

    I agree, “every right in the world” – which is why I thank my lucky stars I’m not a gay Amish, or Muslim, or insert other ultraconservative doctrine here.

  50. This may come as a shock to some people, but once upon a time, before the cration of the Supermarket (That magical place where food seems to appear on the shelves in shiny, flashy packages) people used to grow food on farms. They used to grow wheat, which can be used to make flour which in turn can be used to make breads and cakes – Yes I know it’s shocking, a raw product can be turned into the same thing that can be bought at one of those magical supermarkets. Also, and I know this will amaze you, back then, vegetables grew in gardens, not just in fresh produce departments and meat, back them meat came from animals that grazed on these farm, now though it only seems to come plastic wrapped on polystyrine trays from meat departments.

    Another intersting part of this by-gone time, people found it hard to grow all these different things on the one farm so families clustered together, each growing different things and they traded them, enough wheat for 10 loaves of bread for a weeks worth of fresh vegetables for instance.

    The most important part of this system working, and the main reason it has now died out for the most part is that people who ran these farms would have to stay home to work on them rather than going out to “work” at a “job.” As a result, most members in these communities didn’t have much money, but they had everything they needed and what they didn’t have they could readily trade with their neighbours.

    The Amish are a traditional people, they hang on to the old ways. The ways that have seen the human race survive for thousands of years, so why would they suddenly be hungry now?

  51. Dan T. is actually a Dick Cheney operative that is interested in clearing out some Amish land in the Buckeye state for a post-administration Dr.Evil ranch of terror follies (Mr.Cheney is Dr.Evil, of course!) . . . he is simply hoping for a bit role when it comes to building the “Amish Kid Pyramid”.

  52. while you are admitting stuff, why don’t you admit you ARE Dan T. Come on, man up.

    No, I’m Ethan. Thanks for addressing the argument though, even if only with an ad hominem. You should know that not even Dan T is Dan T anymore.

  53. “I gotta admit that I am in agreement with Dan T here. No religious group has the right to impose its beliefs on their children if it results in harm to the children, because children are not at the age where they can give informed consent.”

    Why would the religion of state worship be any
    better? IOW, when you subsitute the hammer
    of the state, how are the children treated
    any differently? How are you statists any different
    than the religious types, imposing your
    “religion” instead of theirs?

    Learn how to think clearly instead of blindly
    worshipping the state.

  54. Having worked among the Amish for several years, I have observed them purchase out of date food meant for animal consumption to feed their families. This is not done for the lack of funds, as some I have observed doing this are in fact millionaires. The Amish are a true communistic community where all of the assests of the entire Amish population are available on a moments notice if the church thinks it is needed. They are walking contradictions partly truth but mostly fiction. The Amish say the only difference between them and the rest of the country is that they hide things better. Don’t even think they are going without, they use their appearance of poverty to gain the sympathy of people around them to con people into giving them all things at reduced cost when most of the time they can buy or sell the person that is helping them. In other words you are fair game to be conned if your not Amish or Mennonite. If you deal with them don’t be suckered. As for the children and women they are treated as if they were living in a Muslim country. Wake up to their deception America. Instead of worrying about food stamps worry about the horrible conditions that the women and children are forced to endure, as they have no place to voice their plight. As they are raped, molested, and treated as property and may never tell for fear of being punished and excluded from all things in life that matters to them. Read Amish Deception on the net then you will have some small idea of which I speak.

  55. Javol! Dan T.

  56. Why would the religion of state worship be any
    better? IOW, when you subsitute the hammer
    of the state, how are the children treated
    any differently? How are you statists any different
    than the religious types, imposing your
    “religion” instead of theirs?

    Learn how to think clearly instead of blindly
    worshipping the state.

    How does my belief that the state has a duty to protect rights make me a statist, or a worshiper of the state, or a proponent of a “religion of state worship”? The state’s role in the protection of rights is a basic libertarian belief, and libertarianism is the opposite of statism.

    For a person who supposedly champions clear thinking, your arguments are pretty shitty. By your logic, laws against murder are “statism,” since it is the state “imposing” its “religious belief” that people have the right to not be killed.

    You’re an asshole.

  57. The state’s role in the protection of rights is a basic libertarian belief, and libertarianism is the opposite of statism.

    Well, it all depends on what you mean by “rights.”

    There are very few rights that need protection by the state. Most rights need protection from the state.

  58. “… but once upon a time, before the cration of the Supermarket…people used to grow food on farms. ”

    Except for Peaches. They come from a can. And they were put there by a man. in a factory. Downtown

  59. There are very few rights that need protection by the state.

    True, and a child’s right to not be abused by its parents is one of them. Not that the Amish abuse their kids. They might, they might not.

  60. How does my belief that the state has a duty to protect rights make me a statist, or a worshiper of the state, or a proponent of a “religion of state worship”? The state’s role in the protection of rights is a basic libertarian belief, and libertarianism is the opposite of statism.

    ANSWER: Your assumption that a politically modivated caseworker would somehow be a better protector of a child’s rights than the kids parents.

    If a kid’s own flesh and blood parents can’t be trusted to determine what is best for the kid, then why should we assume that a low paid state worker with a two year degree from the local community college is able to determine what is best for thousands of children?

    And, perhaps, because taking away one’s children is the worst torture you could inflict on a parent (worse than death). Anyone comfortable with the fact that a government agent can inflict a fate worse than death on parents, on nothing more than a whim, has to be a statist. It is orders of magnitude more likely that a government agent will use the power as a form of political intimidation than a parent would do any significant harm to their child.

  61. The Amish are undeniably the most consistently libertarian bunch I know of….even moreso than self-proclaimed libertarians. We need to follow their example and stop asking government for all sorts of ‘goodies’. You see what all this comes down to: the government wants to intrude further into people’s lives, even if those people don’t want or need their help. And it’s all about protecting government jobs under the guise of phony compassion, too. If the Amish cave in to this latest fiasco of big government, we are in serious trouble. I urge everyone to start chopping the giant of big government down to size.
    1) Discourage your kids from civil service. Promote self-employment, entrepreneurship or some other means of financial independence instead.
    2) Stop voting Republican or Democrat. Jump on the libertarian bandwagon. The two major parties are just different wings of the same airplane.
    3) Promote home schooling, vote down school budgets.
    4) Do anything in your power to work towards getting government back to its Constitutional roots.

  62. I’d say the Amish do better than most people around here and certainly don’t need much, if any, welfare.

    The U.S. welfare system is not designed to provide what people “need.” It’s designed to provide what people are “qualified for.”

    How much right do parents have to pass religion on to their children without giving the state a meaningful voice in the dialogue?

    First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

    Keep your “but” off of my Bill of Rights.

  63. ANSWER: Your assumption that a politically modivated caseworker would somehow be a better protector of a child’s rights than the kids parents.

    I never assumed that. Learn to read. All I said was that the state has a duty to protect human rights (this is a libertarian belief by the way), and that a child has the right to not be abused. I never mentioned caseworkers, or their political motivations. All I said is that the state has a legitimate interest in child abuse. You will have to explain to me how such a belief implies “worship of the state” on my part. Good luck.

    If a kid’s own flesh and blood parents can’t be trusted to determine what is best for the kid, then why should we assume that a low paid state worker with a two year degree from the local community college is able to determine what is best for thousands of children?

    The abilities of parents and caseworkers vary from case to case. We all agree on that. There will be cases in which a child would be better if left alone with his parents and cases in which the parents should not be allowed to keep their kids. Are you saying that people should be allowed to keep their kids no matter what they do to them? Or something else entirely?

    Anyone comfortable with the fact that a government agent can inflict a fate worse than death on parents, on nothing more than a whim, has to be a statist.

    You really need to work on your reading comprehension. I never said the state could take away children “on a whim”. Obviously the state needs a solid case that abuse is occurring. All i said is that the state has a legitimate interest in preventing abuse.

    Now go misunderstand someone else.

  64. Dan T,

    If a county worker knocks on my door to try to give me something I don’t want, that’s fine and dandy, PROVIDED that he fucks off when I tell him to fuck off. If he persists, then he’s out of line and can expect a restraining order to compel him to fuck off.

    -jcr

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  66. Really come on !! So they dont believe in recieving help. So what it’s thier belief and right. These children are not starving i haul amish and they live the same if not better than we do and they know how to live off the land.These kids are well taken care of.

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