Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So much for welfare . . .

Via The Unwanted Blog we learn of an interesting infuriating scam involving food stamps.

Would you be willing to exchange $86.79 for $24?

A pair of men at the Shaw’s supermarket on Main Street did just that on a recent Tuesday morning as they engaged in a food stamp scam funded by U.S. taxpayers.

After purchasing a reported 20 24-packs of bottled water, on sale that week for $2.99 a case before taxes and redemption fees were added, the men went behind the store to the loading dock and poured the contents of each bottle on the ground. Shortly thereafter, a reporter also witnessed the pair wheel their shopping cart into the vestibule of the store, feed the 480 bottles into a redemption machine and claim their cash value at the customer service counter.

In a ploy a number of the store’s employees describe as common, these men had found a way to turn their funds from the federally administered Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, into cold, hard cash, which can then be used to purchase items that do not meet the program’s guidelines. By doing so, they have poured tax dollars down the drain. And while Congress has outlawed the practice, change has been slow to come as the penalties for those found in violation have yet to be determined.

There's more at the link.

This really makes my blood boil. I know that many deserving people are dependent on food stamps to help make ends meet, and rely on them to feed their children. Scumbags like this who take advantage of the program to score quick cash (doubtless to buy a few rocks of crack, or beer, or something like that) make life difficult for everyone. Quite apart from those who'll use such incidents to argue for the total abolition of the program, the added administrative burden of putting in place checks to ensure that such abuses are caught (and, hopefully, punished) adds expense and layers of bureaucracy to an already overburdened welfare system.

I'd like to see some system in place whereby those convicted of such abuses are permanently barred from receiving any welfare benefits at all . . . but that might mean that their families would suffer. Anyone got any ideas to solve the problem without jeopardizing those who truly need assistance? Please share them with us in Comments.



Jennifer said...

I wish I knew. There is so much corruption there. In fact, there is a guy in my neighborhood that will sell food stamps for cash. $20 gets you $30 worth of stamps. He can do this because his family receives more food stamps than they can use.
Also, I recently learned that you can use food stamps to purchase fountain drinks. I'm sorry, but fountain drinks are not necessary for life.
I'm all for helping those in need. But food stamps should be for the bare essentials. Really, I'm not sure there is good reason for them to even cover the bottled water used in this scam.

Shrimp said...

I've long believed (and remain convinced) that it isn't the province of .gov to do anything to help poor people, other than protect the borders, provide for the common defense, etc. In other words, follow the Constitution.

The various charity-minded organizations and religious groups can and will do a better job of helping the poor, with less chance of corruption, and no need for .gov oversight, insight, or interference. This will further stretch those spending dollars.

I'm also in favor of scrapping the Dept of Education at the federal level, and going for a flat sales tax to replace our convoluted and confounding income tax system. You earn 60K, you keep 60K. It's only when you spend that you get taxed, as it should be. The real benefit of such a tax system is it prevents the .gov from getting their hands on your money right from the start, as they currently do. They get 1/3 of your paycheck (or more) before you even see it, and then they spend it wastefully as described here.

Their solution, of course, will be to spend even more of your money, floundering for a solution.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I am way past caring if the fourth and firth generation welfare leaches suffer because one of their members is scamming the program.
Just like I'm all for the idea that you get one shot at the unwed-welfare-mother ADC thing. First kid you want my money to pay for means a Norplant until the kid is 18 or you are married for at least a year.

HeroHog said...

I am on SNAP because I became disabled and went from making > 70k/year to trying to live off of my $123/month VA Disability. I had to fight like the dickens to get SNAP and as soon as my wife got a minimum wage job that brings in less that $1,000/month, we lost all but 1/5 th of that! Those who are desperate for assistance get the shaft while this scum is out there pissing it away to buy beer and/or drugs! Makes my blood boil!!

Anonymous said...

Set up booze & drugs stamps so people won't abuse SNAP or waste stuff. Would reduce crime too, since they wouldn't need to rob people to get money for drugs.

Spikessib said...

Ok, try this one. School cafeterias are not generally being used to capacity and are already providing breakfast and lunch for children so how about issuing a picture ID to those needing assistance and scheduling meal times for them around the kids. Show up at meal time with ID and get fed. Don't like the food, figure it out for yourself. Can't get there at that hour? Ditto. It would create a few more jobs as the cafeterias would need more help and eliminate the need to give the hungry anything that could be used to get cash. They could either be open 7 full days or provide box meals (sandwiches and a V8 sort of thing) for lunch and dinner to those who show up for breakfast on Sat. and Sun. Probably be a lot cheaper, provide healthy meals, and practically eliminate the opportunity for practices as described in your post all while using infrastructure already in place.

Spikessib said...

Oops, forgot to add that along with the above would be a need to increase Meals on Wheels services for the elderly and the homebound, but even with that there should be a tremendous savings and, again, the chances for abuse are severely curtailed.
This is just off the top of my head and I certainly don't have all the details worked out, but it could be a start.

Bryan Reavis said...

How about this:


Those who can work and don't deserve to starve.

KA9VSZ said...

Where I live, water is essentially free from the tap (1/5 cent per gallon). Why the f*** does SNAP pay for BOTTLED WATER? F***in' ridiculous!

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