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

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