Thursday, May 19, 2011

File This Under "Fell Thru The Cracks"

I'm sure, if I could be bothered to look, I could find any number of right wing blogasses ranting about the story of Leroy Fick.
If you didn't know, Fick is the Auburn, MI man who has been collecting food stamps despite winning a pretty significant lottery drawing last year. The jackpot is routinely quoted in news stories at $2 million, but since he had the option to take it in an annuity or a lump sum, my suspicion is he received about $500,000 in the lump sum.
Now, it turns out that there's a law in Michigan that says you can't receive food stamps if your income exceeds a certain amount each year, but says nothing about if you have life savings...or if you hit the lottery.
My guess is this law was originally passed this way because, indeed, people had life savings but were tossed out of a job or had medical problems and who wanted to make some poor shnook suffer like that AND drain his bank account while he got himself back on his feet?
Indeed, one could make the case that it was in the state's best interests to encourage people to get on food stamps temporarily, rather than drain their life's work. It would save the state down the line.
The nexus of a lottery win and food stamps, under any scenario, was a pretty unlikely one. Who would have thought to make an exception for that? It's something along the lines of living on top of a high mountain and insuring your home against a flood. Why would you?
And yet, here comes the nanny patrol, smacking hands, saying "don't ever do that again!" and trying to make it retroactive.
Apparently, "luck" that translates into wealth only applies if you hit the genetic lottery.
Now, I don't defend Fick, and personally, I think he should voluntarily suspend the food stamps, but here's a situation where "Liburrrtarians" will screw it up. Here's a clear case of the government saying "We made a mistake. You'll pay for it."