There has been a lot of debate flying around regarding pets and public assistance. Should people with pets, particularly multiple, large pets be eligible for public assistance? I.E. Welfare, food stamps, WIC, Section 8 housing, Medicaid, etc...
I guess it depends on A) Where you stand politically, and B) Is owning a dog a core necessity? Pursuant to (B) should dog owners be eligible for public assistance?
Some folks indicate that the poverty stricken should not have to give up everything. I agree with this sentiment in a very limited sense. However, dog ownership is nothing more than a lifestyle choice and a luxury for most people. The majority of the population does not own a dog and get by just fine.
Let me expand into allegory. Would/should I be eligible for public assistance if I:
- Own an expensive, fuel inefficient car?
- Own a large home in an expensive neighborhood?
- Continue to pursue expensive hobbies such as scuba diving, flying airplanes, or golfing?
- Make sufficient income to meet my core needs?
I'm sure the vast majority would say NO to public assistance for any of the above. Should I be collecting welfare/food stamps/section 8/etc... so I can keep my Mercedes/beach house/and country club membership? You need to keep in mind that everyone paying taxes is not some Scrooge McDuck with a silo full of money.
Again, I personally don't think that anyone should be allowed to starve, die from exposure, or lack basic/emergent health care. However, if you continue to pursue expensive lifestyle choices, you should not be asking for a handout. Why should I be forced to give money to someone who has something I don't have? I should not be on the hook for someone else's frivolities.
Demolish counter-argument #1: Crony capitalists and other types of government fraud/waste are a red herring and irrelevant to the conversation. For example, the fact that Haliburton raped the taxpayer during the Iraq war was a travesty that should not have happened and should not happen again BUT completely irrelevant to this discussion. The point is, whether or not I, or anyone else, should be forced to subsidize (directly or indirectly) pet ownership in others.
Demolish counter-argument #2: What about kids? Should I be forced to support someone else's children, especially if I don't have any? A couple of things... 1) Dogs are not kids, and 2) again, not really relevant to the discussion.
Demolish counter argument #3: To dog lovers (and perhaps others) on the left half of the political spectrum, ponder this: When pet owners receive transfer payments, you need to consider where those tax dollars ultimately wind up - let me give you a hint - that tax money winds up in the pockets of breeders, pet food manufacturers, big retailers, veterinarians, and various other top 1%-ers. (ok, maybe only top 20% in some cases).
Owning a dog (or 10) means one has voluntarily assumed the following liabilities:
- Additional housing space
- Veterinary bills
- Licensing fees.
Now, if one were to surrender those liabilities (or had not taken them on in the first place) they might not NEED public assistance. I.E. if they weren't on the hook to feed 10 dogs, they may then have ample funds to cover their own nutritional needs. That, or their need for public assistance would be lessened.
Demolish counter-argument #4: To some of those still not getting it (and I have seen this argument bounced around a lot), any household budget is basically a pot. The funds are fungible. By subsidizing one thing, you are indirectly subsidizing everything. So, if you say "but, I pay for my dog's needs with my OWN MONEY, public assistance pays for MY needs!". OK, now substitute "Dog" with "Swimming Pool" or "RV" and you now finally get the point. When you pay for someone's food, housing, medical care, etc.... you may be freeing up funds for that individual's frivolous extras.
Personally, I think that disqualifying pet owners from public assistance is a capital idea for a multitude of reasons. Pets consume a lot of resources and create a lot of pollution. The government should not be enabling pet ownership of any kind. Pet ownership is NOT a public good, such as infrastructure or law enforcement. Owning a pet is a PRIVILEGE not a core civil right or a basic necessity. Government enablement of pet ownership via transfer payments lowers the quality of life and standard of living of all.
Am I a mean bastard? Of course I am. Nice guys finish last, and nice people do not solve problems. In any case, everyone needs to realize that things suck all over and hearing a sob story from someone with a lot of "wealth" stored in pets does not gain a lot of traction with me, nor should it anyone else.