December 18, 2013 | 10:38 AM What do you think of the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program? It's a polarizing issue in this country.
A college student shared with me his struggle: "I could easily benefit from the SNAP program. I don't have a meal plan, I live off-campus and I can only work on weekends on a tip-based wage, meaning that I sometimes make no money at all.
"A lot of the time, I can buy meals with cash I make from valet, but sometimes I'm not so lucky. Sometimes, a friend will grant me one of their meals. Sometimes, I'll eat a single bowl of Ramen noodles and, sometimes I will elect to not eat at all. By the middle of the month, I hardly have any money to spend on anything, barely paying the bills I owe. I cannot remember the last time I had more than two six-packs of Top Ramen in my cupboard, and that is not at all nutritious.
"I've been thinking of signing up for SNAP, but I have chosen not to. I do not wish to contribute to alleged 'student abuse.' There are too many students and hungry children who need and deserve it more than I."
Three things I find admirable about this student. One, his conscience moves him to struggle over doing what is moral. Two, he feels deeply for poor people, especially hungry children. Three, he's driven by a value higher than whether he can legally "milk" the system. Sometimes things that are legal (think slavery) are wrong.
I know, there's nothing wrong with looking for loopholes in the law. But that's precisely how moral weaklings who were Wall Street millionaires plunged us into a Great Recession and didn't go to jail but made themselves millions more. Dr. Wayne Willis