Food Stamp Fraud Needs to Stop So We Can Really Help the Poor

Ah, the great debate over the necessity of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, aka EBT, aka food stamps. Popular Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has taken a challenge to live on a “food stamp budget” of $29.78 per week in response to someone tweeting him that “nutrition is not a responsibility of the government.”

Let’s set aside the fact that “thou shall pay thy neighbor’s grocery bills” is right next to “only thy authorities shall own firearms” in the constitution, and talk about the food stamp program as it exists today.

Liberals love to cry foul at those evil Republicans calling for welfare reform ... because how can we hate the poor so much? Obviously, we must want children to starve to death. Otherwise, how could we even THINK about touching SNAP?

Here’s how: More than once I’ve witnessed people at the checkout in a grocery store, carefully separating their groceries into two sections on the conveyor belt. In the first pile will be milk, eggs, cereal, and other traditionally healthy food. After that will be soda, chips, alcoholic beverages, and other junk food. They will divide it into two transactions; the first paid for with food stamps, the second with cash.

I’m sorry, but if you have money for beer, you have money for bread.

Another time I was in Maryland when I came across an awesome seaside market selling shellfish and nothing but shellfish. Lobsters, crabs, oysters, etc., all available for a price ... or food stamps. Just no. Lean turkey? OK. Lobster? No.

A common scam is to “lose” your EBT card and get a replacement. Only the card isn't lost, it’s sold on eBay or Craigslist. There is no limit for the amount of times you can do this. The agricultural department wanted to give states the right to investigate individuals who did this more than three times a year, but the proposal was voted down last summer along party lines in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

It’s estimated that food stamp fraud costs Americans $750 million each year. That’s a lot of money going to scam artists instead of families who really need the help.

The kind, charitable thing to do for poor people is to reform the system to eradicate fraud and abuse, not to let criminals continue to get away with theft.

Do you think the food stamp program needs to be overhauled?

 

Photo via Jenny Erikson

charity, crime, economy, media, politics, taxes

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nonmember avatar ajc

We receive benefits. My husband works full time for the state so he pays taxes too. I a little girl during the week to help out. If I could find a job that paid more than minimum wage (I'd need to pay daycare for 2 children) I'd work in a heart beat. We receive $250 for our family of 5 and I shop sales and the dollar store. There does need to be reform but don't be mistaken, there are some who need it.

silve... silverdawn99

Everyone says we get to choose what they eat because we are paying it. AGain alot of people on food stamps WORK!!! and they do pay into the taxes that pay for the food stamps. again there are people out there who abuse the system but alot are the working poor

Michelle Tribble

Every time I see a great article here I look to see who wrote and think of course it was Jenny.

nonmember avatar Nicolle

Yes people screw the system, when I cleaned houses, we were dirt poor and not even able to get food stamps, yet my coworkers somehow recieved $500 a month and both husband and wife were working. They had cellphones from the government and cash assistance. Im sure they were lying somehow, especially since they owned their homes!!!

That said, not everyone on welfare with nice things is screwing it over, I have a decent car because my dad gave it to me. I have nice clothes because I have awesome friends that have given me NICE things, so you cant always judge on that.Im not even on welfare and we are only making $190 a week before rent and bills, but, it just annoys me that people judge people on assistance about their looks when somtimes you are given nice things by caring people.

Procr... Procrastamom

All you did was blame in this article. You didn't offer any possible solutions. Typical Republican.

Jespren Jespren

When my husband (sole income) was unemployed for a while we were on food stamps, and our food budget halved when he got a job and we went off it. You get way too much money! And I was flabergast when we first joined up and I found out you could use it to buy anything counted as 'food'. Pop? Hostess cupcakes? Candy? Check, check, check. As someone who has been and admits may be again someday with how tenious the job market is, I think SNAP should *only* be availible to buy unprepared 'raw' foods. Fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, basic dairy like milk and cheese, grains like rice and oatmeal, uncooked pasta, etc. No heat-n-eat, no processed boxed dinner, etc. People should be buying *food* with food stamps. I don't care so much if you want to budget for organic produce or free-range meats, it's still, generally, cheaper per-pound (and certainly healthier) than heat-n-eat chicken strips or kitkats. Want a cupcake? Bake it from scratch! Want mac and cheese? Make it. Icecream? It's not hard at all. Not only would that save a great deal of money, it would force people to learn real life-skills and eat healthier, because even if you make junk from scratch it's still healthier than mass produced stuff.

Flori... Floridamom96

Food stamps should be treated exactly like WIC, what can be purchased with them can and should be limited. There's your solution Ms. Hateful (aka procrastamom).

Nunya... NunyaBizness

You don't get to decide what other people eat.  In an ideal world everyone would choose to eat healthy.  But it isn't.  

Flori... Floridamom96

If we're paying for it we absolutely do. If you don't want people 'nosing' into what you eat, pay for it yourself.

Flori... Floridamom96

You know what? Let me correct that. You may eat whatever you'd like, I couldn't far less. All I care about is what you spend the money that has been forcibly taken from my family on.

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