Commentary: Don’t eat the government cheese


By Abdul Hakim-Shabazz


You might not think that private schools and welfare recipients have much in common, but over at the Indiana General Assembly, everything is connected if you wait long enough and are willing to connect the dots.

Commentary button in JPG - no shadowIn this instance, it’s private schools and the voucher program on one hand and the drug testing of welfare recipients and limitations on what can be purchased with food stamps, now known as the Supplemental

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org.

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org.

Nutrition Assistance Program.

State Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, pushed for an amendment to a bill this week that would let private schools that take voucher students opt out of ISTEP+ testing, as long as they had some standard test to measure student performance. His colleagues in the Senate took a pass on that idea.

At the same time House members by a vote of 71-22 approved State Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookeville, measure that would require drug testing for some welfare recipients following a mandatory survey screening for substance abuse and it would also limit what welfare recipients could by with the electronic food stamp cards .They could only purchase food deemed “nutritional “ by the State, so apples are in, apple-flavored candy is out and Apple Jacks; I’m not so sure.

I thought it was interesting that when I brought up these topics on my evening radio program in Indianapolis as well social media, while most of the audience was smart enough to figure out what was going on, there was a distinct minority that just didn’t seem to get it. They said that the government was in too much control of people’s lives and we shouldn’t be telling people what they could eat and where they should go to school.

Fundamentally, I agree. With my conservative-libertarian political philosophy I am the last person who wants the government intruding in someone’s personal life. However, when the government – I’m sorry, the taxpayer – is footing the bill then you don’t get a whole lot of say.   And this is nothing new.

Students who get financial aid are limited on what they can spend the money on. Someone getting a government grant can only spend the grant on the research. The list goes on and on.

Now if welfare recipients want to buy junk food, they are more than welcome to, with their own money.  And if private schools want to drop ISTEP+ to measure their student performance levels, they are free to do so, as long as they don’t take the government money. See the pattern?

A lot of this reminds me something my parents used to do. They would tell me and my brothers when we were teenagers that they were not so much in the business of telling us what to do but they were in the in business of controlling how they would spend their money and what they were willing to subsidize, so if one of us wanted to do something and the parents weren’t going to foot the bill, then we had to figure out how to pay for it ourselves.

As my dad would say, if you’re eating the government cheese, don’t expect it to be brie.

Abdul is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous Indiana media outlets. He can be reached at


  1. Surprisingly, this old liberal believes that the purchase of sugar, fat, and salt-laden foods should be excluded from SNAP funds. I would even go further, with “bonuses” offered to those who consistently choose healthier foods. But, just watch folks from Agri-business scream their heads off about the idea of excluding sugary, unhealthy goodies from the SNAP choices.

      • agree……are join the service to serve our country and to also earn their way………

        • It’s really sad when someone who speaks English as a first language doesn’t know the difference in the word “or” and the word “are.” That is even sadder than the fact that the same person is too ignorant to know that hungry children, the elderly, disabled, or many other groups of people are disqualified from entering the Armed Forces. Did you serve? If so, it must have been when they would just take anybody to use as cannon fodder.

          • Wienz said typo’s are allowed. Have you never grabbed the wrong word? But to clear up your misunderstanding, Tommy said “or” as in “an option.” I did not see him calling for mandatory military service by children, are am I mistaken?

          • Perhaps. But that typo isn’t a mistype of a word. It’s the wrong word. That isn’t a type…me thinks. I think (based on the brilliance of tommyromo’s post) he thinks he chose the correct word. He’s always said “black are white” and “chicken are beef.”

          • are….or typo what a smart person….lollllll..i will say this to you though any body making fun of anyone of our American hereos by ridiculing them by calling them cannon fodder just shows you are an ignorant piece of dog waste…….carry on you are sad………

          • @ tommytrollo:

            I did not mock any of our heroes, I merely pointed out the fact that there was a time in history when almost anybody could join. That is not the case now.
            I did fail to add that many of the families of our current service members are on SNAP, as are a good many of our returning veterans. I notice you didn’t answer about whether you served or not.

          • You or a bad bad boy Tommy.

            I mentioned MREs in jest, but it might be a good solution. The government can choose what it thinks is nutritional and create jobs. I feel a lot more pain buying a steaks than the person buying EBT steaks.

        • It must be nice to know you need a war and won’t really have to do anything except wait for the inevitable and adjust you workforce up and down accordingly.

          Chancellor isn’t strong enough to get the fine cuisine he whips up in his country kitchen forced on the needy. He needs a new war, pure and simple.

          • Where did you study magic? That’s quite a skill you have for pulling things out of thin are.

            I am sure we could get a requisition to put your microwave into service for the needy.

  2. right on right on IE…………also who the hell is this elkebay to tell young people that joined the military that anybody could join and they are nothing but cannon fodder…….that is a disgrace only the ignorant liberal would spew such a comment………also why not a healthy AMERICAN that is living off the taxpayers join the service serve our country and learn a trade support a family……IE if MREs are good enough for our heroes they are good enough for the people on the government dole………right on right on……..

    • Military service is heroic and sacred. And t-romo here has been eating and breathing too much coal dust….

    • You apparently are lacking in reading skills, just as you are in writing skills. I clearly said that there was a time when almost anybody could get in the service. I also clearly said that is no longer the case. I suspect you are a product of the era when almost anybody could join up. I also suspect you couldn’t – or wouldn’t – make the grade. DID YOU SERVE????

      • Perhaps t-romo would like you to be more specific. Those long sentences are tricky. Losing train of thought and all that.

      • “DID YOU SERVE????” Is there a point to this question LKB? OK you’ve graded his homework and demeaned him for choosing the wrong word, like that never happens, and you’re upset because he jumped you about “cannon fodder,” which I did not see as disrespectful but it does come off a bit intellectually arrogant, but what difference does his service or not make?

        FYI, I did not serve. Vietnam was in its prime, I drew a high draft number, and becoming cannon fodder was not one of the goals I wrote in my high school year book.

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