published Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

The war on mountain pride

Deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, government officials are on the hunt. Unlike most government agents who've taken to these hills, however, they aren't searching for moonshine stills. They are tracking down folks who refuse to accept food stamps.

President Obama has made the expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- that's the fancy schmancy name for the food stamp bureaucracy -- a key component of his presidency.

For a change, Obama has largely succeeded in something he set out to do. In 2008, when Obama was elected, 28 million Americans received food stamps. Today, 46.4 million people are on food stamps -- almost one in six Americans. That expansion comes with a hefty price tag to taxpayers. Food stamps are expected to cost upwards of $80 billion this year.

Surprisingly, this isn't good enough for the Obama administration. In an effort to make even more Americans reliant on government handouts, local social workers are being offered rewards to encourage them to sign up additional new food stamp recipients. The Department of Agriculture, which manages the food stamp program, is also spending up to $3 million in radio ads aimed at enrolling more Hispanics and working poor on food stamps, according to a recent CNN Money report.

While researching the efforts by the administration to expand food stamp participation, Caroline May of the Daily Caller unearthed one particular point of frustration for food stamp officials: "mountain pride."

Mountain pride prevents many Appalachian residents from accepting food stamps even though they're eligible, according to the Ashe County North Carolina Department of Social Services. As a result, social workers in the rural Appalachian county, which borders Tennessee and Virginia, are developing strategies and offering rewards for defeating mountain pride. Apparently, as they see it, they need to get more silly hillbillies to take their government handouts like other Americans

Appalachian culture, above all else, is defined by self-reliance. Where cities had specialists -- carpenters, blacksmiths, tanners and bakers, for example -- isolation created by the difficult terrain meant Appalachian settlers and generations of their descendants were forced to be jacks of all trades. Every person was his own butcher, baker and candlestick maker.

If hard times hit or tragedy struck, these tough souls didn't rely on the government for assistance. They simply persevered, maybe with a helping hand from their church or their closest neighbors, who were often miles away.

While there might be fewer outhouses and more satellite dishes in hollows of rural Appalachia today than in times past, that independent spirit and self-reliance persists. As a result, some people would sooner go to bed hungry than accept a government handout. That is the essence of mountain pride.

The Obama administration's frustration with mountain pride only further indicates that the true goal in expanding the food stamp program isn't just about helping Americans. It's also an effort to give away as many government handouts as possible in the hopes that recipients of the handouts will vote for Obama.

Hopefully, the administration and its local foot soldiers will end its war against mountain pride before it is all gone. After all, if mountain pride consists of working harder instead of looking for a handout, reaching for a neighbor or a charity instead of government in a time of true need and not taking things than aren't earned, America could use a lot more mountain pride.

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Yeah, these tough sods kept themselves poor, and made their children suffer, because they wouldn't take aid from the government. Their pride has sure served them well.

Really, you think you're not pandering to their false pride yourself? Except you're trying to make them take comfort in their willful suffering and misery even as you would blatantly ignore their needs. You're just feeding them what you think they want to hear, in order to get their support. Your praise is as false as anything else.

Especially since you really don't want them to prosper. That's the kind of thing that lead to moonshining, and then marijuana cultivation and now meth manufacture. Thanks, the people sure appreciate you, since I'm sure you don't even care that you support criminalizing the first two so you can get more and more private prison contracts.

But hey, just let you bulldoze a few mountains away to get at the coal, and let the money go into the hands of a few wealthy oligarchs while the people who do the work, and suffer the injuries of their labors are left to suffer from Black Lung disease.

Pride, it keeps people blind.

July 11, 2012 at 1:32 a.m.
chatt_man said...

Good thing we have the Democrats trying to dissolve the pride of Americans. Without them, these people in the mountain areas couldn't have made it all these years.

These mountain people are so ignorant they've thought they could help themselves and each other all these years, and they don't realize how liberating being dependent on the government can be.

Haven't they ever heard the saying? I'm from the government, you're too stupid to have taken care of yourselves all these years. I'm Obama, and my friends and I know better than you, and I'm here to help.

I've got it, let's call them tough sods and other names, that will show them we care, we know better, and we're here to help.

Well, enough of my rant. I'm going back to looking to see where bulbs saw anything about bulldozing mountains in this article.

July 11, 2012 at 9:40 a.m.

Gee Chatt_Man, you're not aware of the practice of MountainTop Removal and how it causes a share of problems, including negative impacts on these folk you claim to be putting on a pedestal?

But hey, you know what you're showing? The condescension of poverty, the arrogant pride of looking down on others because they take help, but you refuse it.

That is a false virtue, and you're just appealing to vanity to make it work. You're no different than the tailors in "The Emperor's New Clothes" when it comes to exploiting people's weaknesses.

July 11, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

happywithnewbulbs said... "Yeah, these tough sods kept themselves poor, and made their children suffer, because they wouldn't take aid from the government. Their pride has sure served them well."

Poor? Suffer? It would not surprise me if most of them have a better and more fulfilling life than you do happybulbs. How can they possibly be satisfied if they are not plugged into their computer all day advocating for government handouts funded by other people’s money?

I would rather be self-sufficient and “poor” than a miserable parasite unable or unwilling to take care of myself.

July 11, 2012 at 1:24 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Happy, of course I'm aware of mountain top removal and the problems it has. I just didn't see any mention of it or Black Lung disease in this article, and wondered why you would insert it in your "Pride keeps the people blind" and your "trying to make them take comfort in their willful suffering and misery" response to the article.

July 11, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.
Easy123 said...


You can be self-sufficient and still accept government aid.

Yeah, all those disabled parasites that are unable to take care of themselves. How dare they take aid from the government!

I get the strange feeling that you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to any of the people you mention.

July 11, 2012 at 1:50 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Easy123 said... "You can be self-sufficient and still accept government aid."

Only in the mind of a liberal trying to rationalize the institutionalized theft that they advocate for… Once again easy proves he/she is an idiot.

July 11, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Have you ever received Social Security benefits? Or known anybody that went to a VA hospital? How about a working single mother that qualified for food stamps? How about a disabled person on welfare and/or food stamps? A senior citizen receiving food stamps? How about a senior citizen on Medicare? Someone on Medicaid?

I know someone in each of those categories. Multiple people in some cases. All of those people are self-sufficient. All of them are either working, disabled, or retired. None of this is rationalization. It's real life.

Once again, you show how truly out of touch with reality you and many conservatives are. And please, reserve the "idiot" references for yourself and others like you. It seems to fit perfectly.

July 11, 2012 at 2:25 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

It's a brilliant strategy from the conservative camp, actually. They are masters at spinning their disgust for the needy into an ass-backward way of seeming to praise their self-sufficiency. They detest the notion of aiding the poor so, all the while they choose to let them starve, they appeal to their "mountain pride" in an attempt to keep them hungry and impoverished... but proud of their "self reliance." Thus saith the Grand Old Tea Party: Ain't it great to be free? Who cares if you're sick and starving? - You're free!

July 11, 2012 at 2:29 p.m.

BRP: And that's exactly what you're doing by exploiting a false virtue, trying to convince people that the best thing they can do is suffer rather than be weak and receive from others.

Flattery to convince somebody to hurt themselves...yeah, maybe you're the one who needs a better thing to do with your life.

Maybe you could get a job as a shill-caller for the Rush Limbaugh show. Then you'd have so much pride in your job, wouldn't you?

chatt_man, you don't understand why I'd be bringing up issue for the people who are the subject of this puff piece meant to be flattery when it's really exploitation? As it is something that does exploit them, I'm not surprised this editorial leaves it out.

Can't actually show the things they do to make things actually worse. That would get in the way of the message that they're trying to sell. They love their omissions and false truths.

Rickaroo: Exactly, they're exploiting a desire to have something to be proud of, and convincing others that they're really virtuous because they suffer.

Easy123: BRP doesn't accept the reality that the government is doing things for people that they benefit from, and really do want. It's just a mindless denunciation of it as theft and oppression.

I think he wants to be a libertarian anarchist or something.

July 11, 2012 at 2:37 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Republicans don't want to see people starve and suffer. That's a talking point.

What I am opposed to is the Federal Government advertising, and rewarding their workers for increasing the food stamps program. No one has said the people in the mountains are suffering and starving. If they were, they can ask for help. But, don't take taxpayers monies, when we can't pay our bills now, and we're borrowing 40 cents interest on each dollar, and deliberately increase and advertise with that money, to increase people's taxes, when the people (the ones on the mountain they're referring to) are not asking for it. If some are asking for it, help the ones that are asking.

If the people really wanted it, bulbs, they can ask for it. Another example of the liberals thinking they know best for everyone.

July 11, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.
Easy123 said...


It sure seems like Republicans really could care less about the poor.

There are people in the mountains that are very poor and go hungry.

Did you even read the article? This whole article is about "mountain pride" and how those people are too proud to ask for help.

Who is increasing people's taxes to pay for food stamps?

You're wrong. Some people that really need it are too proud to ask for it. Another example of the conservatives thinking they know best for everyone.

July 11, 2012 at 3:06 p.m.
anniebelle said...

To hear conservatives and Tea Partiers tell it, President Obama is a serial tax-raiser who has increased taxes on “millions of Americans.” But according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office, tax rates under Obama hit a 30-year low in 2009, in part because of the tax cuts he implemented in response to the country’s economic downturn: Americans paid the lowest tax rates in 30 years to the federal government in 2009, in part because of tax cuts President Obama sought to combat the Great Recession, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday. [...] During Obama’s first year in office, the average tax rate paid by all households fell to 17.4 percent, down from 19.9 percent in 2007, according to the CBO. The 2009 rate was significantly lower than the previous low of 19.4 percent in 2003 and well below the 30-year average of 21 percent. Now, Obama is proposing to raise tax rates on income in excess of $250,000 (which would still keep tax rates for the rich below where they were under the Clinton administration). And of course, Republicans are breaking out every falsehood in the book in order to oppose the move.

July 11, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.

chatt_man: Seriously, you're upset that the government is providing incentives for their workers to do their jobs? Why? Oh I know, it's because you don't agree with the program at all.

So you look for any excuse to tear it down. Like here, where you're flattering the vanity of people. That's playing on people's pride in order to make them thing they'r doing the virtuous thing, when you're really just pandering to them.

You're also wrong about our ability to pay our bills. That isn't the problem. The problem is the wasteful excess spending on corporate welfare and the failure to collect due payments for services rendered.

And you're very wrong about people. The people who need help the most are often the ones LEAST likely to admit they need it, or to want to ask for it. It's just like somebody who is really sick, but doesn't want to go to the doctor, or take medicine. Believe it or not, people aren't all self-actualized paragons.

Your purported fondness for such idealism is mistaken, but nothing new. A lot of deceitful pundits make the same argument in order to get what they want, while claiming to be saving you from another.

Seriously, why don't you look up the Christy books, it covers this same theme, and it's decades old.

July 11, 2012 at 3:21 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Bulbs, we are 2 people looking to have 2 different America's. I want one like we've had in the past, where people are proud to be able to contribute to society, and help take care of those that can't take care of themselves when they need it.

You, in my opinion, don't give some people enough credit for being able to know how to take care of themselves, and you support the government making dependents of people who could otherwise contribute to society and feel good about themselves, and feel self worth.

It reminds me of "give a person a fish, and they'll eat for a day. Teach them how to fish, and they'll eat for life".

And another truth I can't help but add...from Margaret Thatcher, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]."

July 11, 2012 at 4:08 p.m.

Looking at two different Americas? Nope, what is really going on is that you're just pretending to be about one thing when like the con-artist tailors in "The Emperor's New Clothes" what you're really doing is exploiting people for your own gain by appealing to their vanity.

Your agenda is not teaching people how to fish, or even providing the tools, but rather just blindly declaring that people need to fish for themselves. Somehow. Of course you fail to mention that the pond is fished out, or even fenced off, or even worse that it's been polluted by mine tailings. Nah, all you care about is proclaiming the virtues of fishing for yourself. Even the idea that you could build a pier or provide a pole is to much.

That's why you're quoting Margaret Thatchet's empty rhetoric. Pithy sound bites may sound like they mean something, but they're hollow inside.

Here, want one for capitalism? Try: The problem with Capitalism is that eventually somebody tries to own other people.

July 11, 2012 at 4:30 p.m.
chatt_man said...

No hope for you bulbs, at least I wrote "You, in my opinion,". You're just an arrogant POS that thinks they have it all figured out, with no room for discussion. I told you honestly how I feel, you're just too (to is one word, too is another) arrogant to have a discussion with. Goodbye.

July 11, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.
Easy123 said...


I think you hurt chatt_man's feelings. LOL!

Conservatives/Republicans always want to play the victim during an argument. It never fails.

July 11, 2012 at 5:21 p.m.

It is amusing. The persecution complex is not persuasive, it's a card that's been played too often. You're not a victim, chatt_man, you are not a martyr for your cause. You want to be, or at least, you want us to believe you are, but the more you try that, the more false it becomes.

You present me as too arrogant, but wait, what are you doing? Oh wait, you're making judgments and condemnations of me. Oh but wait, you said it's just your opinion.

Well guess what? You aren't entitled to have an opinion without criticism or commentary, and I'm just as entitled to have my own opinions as you are.

July 11, 2012 at 5:53 p.m.
mitziyates1 said...

– Nearly half of all food-stamp recipients, 47%, were children under the age of 18. Another 8% of recipients were age 60 or older.

July 11, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.
Diskatopia said...

"in part because of the tax cuts he implemented in response to the country’s economic downturn"

Exactly, and within 6-8 months of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passing, just a few weeks after Obama took over, unemployment peaked and started dropping (and, for those who will blather about unemployment percentages being "gamed", the Total Number Employed, a concrete number, started rising again after hitting bottom) and the recovery started. A large part of the reason the recovery has slowed is rightwing obstructionism in Congress since rightwingers took control of the House in late 2010-- for one example, see: the reasons S&P gave for the USA credit downgrade.

A very important thing for all, and especially independents, to remember when going to the polls in November-- not a single Republican in the House and only three Republican Senators voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the bill which did the most to start the recovery.

July 11, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.
Diskatopia said...

Seriously, rightwing editorialist of the TFP? You seriously are arguing that people who ACTUALLY are in extreme poverty and hungry (and their kids), who are the citizens who the food stamp program SHOULD be serving and whose historic regional abject poverty is one of the main reasons we have a food stamp proram in the first place, people who even that ultralib Eisenhower tried to help, people who are so desperately poor that the first step in overcoming their "mountain pride" is convincing them to take the food stamps and BUY SEEDS... you are actually arguing that it is alright for them to have so much "mountain pride" that their kids become malnourished? How about if the kids develop rickets? How about if they starve to death, is that okay too, since this alleged "mountain pride" is so important?

Wow. Just... wow.

PS-- the number of people on foodstamps nearly doubled during Bush2's terms-- and a lot of it in his FIRST TERM, before the economic crisis. He must have really been pushing hard to get those people on food stamps, huh, to get "Americans reliant on government handouts"... right?

July 11, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.

Better that they suffer than admit their poverty.

You know it's worse to have to be ashamed of yourself than anything else.

July 11, 2012 at 9:45 p.m.
theMirror said...

Ah, "Money Can't Buy Happiness" they say; unless it is government money.

Heaven forbid these people be happy and content with their skills, few worldly goods and relying on their friends and family.

Surely they'll be better off with free Obamaphones and other things paid for by reaching into other peoples pockets. LOL

July 12, 2012 at 5:32 p.m.
acerigger said...

theMirror said... "Surely they'll be better off with free Obamaphones and other things paid for by reaching into other peoples pockets. LOL"

Do you know the meaning of "E Pluribus Unum",,"Out of Many,ONE"??

You selfish right wingers are amazingly stupid.

Keep on listening to the Rush,Hannity,Savage, et al TRAITORS to the SPIRIT of America!

July 12, 2012 at 6:39 p.m.
theMirror said...

Sorry bub, you can't pigeon hole me into some group you hate just so you can dismiss me in total.

You accuse me of being selfish? What, selfish with my money? But who are you to be selfish with other peoples money?

You have no idea whether I'm poor, middle class or rich and you don't know if I donate 5%, 10% or 20% to charity.

I'm beginning to think the question on who is stupid... well shall I say "Look in the mirror" to you?

If you like quotes in Latin, try this one from the times when Latin was actually in use: "A hasty judgment is a first step to recantation." Publilius Syrus


P.S. Several studies have shown that conservatives give more to charity than liberals do. Even poor conservatives in states like Mississippi, they give more than their liberal counterparts.

So your comment about "selfish right wingers" appears to be wildly inaccurate! It's even noted that "selfish right wingers" donate more blood than those bleeding heart liberals.

Savage is a lout, I never listen to Rush or Hannity. It just amazes me how some people think they no so much, but in reality they seem to fall flat. I can think for myself, no talking heads required.

July 13, 2012 at 9:46 a.m.
MalleusChristus said...

Jesus Christ>>>John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, "I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life..."

II Thessalonians 3-6 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."

July 14, 2012 at 11:16 p.m.
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