Patterico's Pontifications

7/21/2013

Welfare Recipients Use EBT Cards to Ship Food Overseas

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:46 pm

Welfare. It’s not just for citizens — or even illegals living in this country — any more:

Food stamps are paying for trans-Atlantic takeout — with New Yorkers using taxpayer-funded benefits to ship food to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Welfare recipients are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and packing them in giant barrels for the trip overseas, The Post found.

The practice is so common that hundreds of 45- to 55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels line the walls of supermarkets in almost every Caribbean corner of the city.

. . . .

“Everybody does it,” said a worker at an Associated Supermarket in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. “They pay for it any way they can. A lot of people pay with EBT.”

Customers pay cash for the barrels, usually about $40, and typically ship them filled with $500 to $2,000 worth of rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages.

Workers at the Pioneer Supermarket on Parkside Avenue and the Key Food on Flatbush Avenue confirmed the practice.

They said food-stamp recipients typically take home their barrels and fill them gradually over time with food bought with EBT cards.

When the tubs are full, the welfare users call a shipping company to pick them up and send them to the Caribbean for about $70. The shipments take about three weeks.

Your tax dollars at work.

299 Comments

  1. It’s hard to not have mixed feelings about this. They are clearly showing a humane and self-sacrificing love of their families.

    On the other hand, it isn’t what this particular money is intended for.

    My own thoughts are if they are lawfully receiving the welfare and they choose to spend some of it to give to foreign family members rather than, say, give it to a friend over for dinner locally, or buy some item for their own pleasure, or see a rare movie — which would be legal — then there’s no ethical problem here.

    So the part to focus on is not their nobly feeding their extended family, it’s whether they are lawfully entitled to receive welfare and, if so, whether there should be welfare in the first place.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 12:58 pm

  2. god this country is so freaking ghetto

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/21/2013 @ 1:07 pm

  3. The question is, why does this make more sense than sending money via Western Union? That might be the big story here. Does food cost more there? Is money more likely be stolen? Is there a problem with the worng person claiming the money?

    As for welfare – while not all these cases are people using EBT cards – it’s quite possible, of course, people have more money, or get more money, than they say. Actually, that’s probably routine.

    Money is fungible. Of course it is going to be used for members of an extended family, if the price of shipping is low enough.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42) — 7/21/2013 @ 1:10 pm

  4. My own thoughts are if they are lawfully receiving the welfare and they choose to spend some of it to give to foreign family members rather than, say, give it to a friend over for dinner locally, or buy some item for their own pleasure, or see a rare movie — which would be legal — then there’s no ethical problem here.

    There is a problem here: if they can afford to do this, they don’t need the welfare.

    So the part to focus on is not their nobly feeding their extended family, it’s whether they are lawfully entitled to receive welfare and, if so, whether there should be welfare in the first place.

    You want “noble”? WORK for money and use it to benefit others.

    Don’t tell me that using government handouts to benefit others is “noble.”

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 1:10 pm

  5. I guess I agree that this is way down on my list of things to be aggravated about.
    While I don’t think it is an activity that most people pay their taxes for, I think it does say something that those who want to bellyache about how bad it is in the US should take note, that apparently some of the people we consider being poor think they have a surplus compared to their relatives elsewhere.
    I guess knowing that some people sell their food stamps or the food they get with food stamps to buy alcohol and drugs, etc., sending some rice to grandma in Jamaica or Haiti doesn’t sound that bad.
    I am guessing that people who do this are pretty thrifty and working hard to scrape things together, rather than people who sit around, have lots of extra stuff, and then make a point to use their welfare to help out the folks overseas. I could be wrong.
    I can see why one would think this is a bit of an outrage,
    but if this was a picture of the worst aspects of American Society, it would be a nicer place.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 1:29 pm

  6. Ingenious! However, if you can afford to buy food using government benefits and not eat it, then you probably shouldn’t have an EBT card.

    Comment by Phil Laîcheaux (b6cf51) — 7/21/2013 @ 1:30 pm

  7. True, Phil, but I’m guessing that the people who do this would indeed eat better if they kept all of the money for themselves, but I could be wrong.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 1:34 pm

  8. Well, this kills the idea that food stamps pay too little to feed the recipients. These folks have enough left over to send it overseas!

    Comment by Brian Epps (2f898a) — 7/21/2013 @ 1:42 pm

  9. MD,

    It seems to me welfare is about need and if they have enough to give away, they don’t need this much help.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:01 pm

  10. MD,

    It seems to me welfare is about need and if they have enough to give away, they don’t need this much help.

    Bingo.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:05 pm

  11. DRJ is right. This country is sorely out of money. We are already where Detroit is, but have pushed off the consequences. Those consequences will be paid for by our children instead of us, which is despicable. We are both borrowing from China, empowering a human rights nightmare, and stealing from our kids, a moral nightmare, for every penny of deficit spending we spend as a country.

    Any welfare we provide must be true need for it to be justified. If someone is packing a barrel and mailing it to another country, they were hardly starving. In fact, I do not see a lot of starvation among the lower class in this country. I see an enormous abundance of calories. They may not be getting the finest nutrients, but they are not hungry either.

    If it were up to me, those on food stamps would have their EBT cards disabled. They would have to stand in line for a bag of rice and some government cheese. If they want better, that is good, and I encourage them to work hard and do better. I would do something very similar with all federal programs, and I think this approach to entitlements would enormously reduce this very rich country’s deficit problem and enable massive corporate tax cuts.

    Then the willing would not need assistance, because we would have extremely low unemployment.

    Immigration wouldn’t be an issue to me either. If law abiding immigrants aren’t on the dole, and are working for their bread, then I think we can welcome them.

    It’s amazing all the problems that are solved by severely restricting welfare and entitlements.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:10 pm

  12. There is a problem here: if they can afford to do this, they don’t need the welfare.

    Would you say that a welfare recipient who spent on a dollar on renting a video at some point during the month is immoral for not giving the dollar back?

    If not, would you say they are immoral if they felt a twinge of conscience for someone even poorer than them and gave them a dollar’s worth of food?

    WORK for money and use it to benefit others.

    I did add the parts about whether welfare should exist at all or whether they are eligible for it.

    However, since it does exist as a fact of life, and since it’s also a fact that not every single dollar is spent by recipients on food and shelter, I don’t think there is anything more immoral about spending some of their welfare on food for extended family members than any of other myriad, often worse, ways they could spend it.

    Looking at whether welfare rates are too high, eligibility is too easy, or even if it should exist at all, and immigration policy, are all valid. But people have spent their welfare checks in worse ways.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:45 pm

  13. I guess knowing that some people sell their food stamps or the food they get with food stamps to buy alcohol and drugs, etc., sending some rice to grandma in Jamaica or Haiti doesn’t sound that bad.
    I am guessing that people who do this are pretty thrifty and working hard to scrape things together, rather than people who sit around, have lots of extra stuff, and then make a point to use their welfare to help out the folks overseas. I could be wrong.
    I can see why one would think this is a bit of an outrage,
    but if this was a picture of the worst aspects of American Society, it would be a nicer place.

    Pretty much.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:47 pm

  14. Tell it to the agribusiness lobby.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:48 pm

  15. Have you seen the physical shape of many of the poor ? They’re obese.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:51 pm

  16. Have you seen the physical shape of many of the poor ? They’re obese.

    I’m not really sure if that’s true of the Caribbean immigrant poor. But it may well be.

    Be that as it may, it’s largely a function of eating cheap, high-carbohydrate foods in excess. We evolved as hunter-gatherers.

    They’re not only “obese” but diabetic and pre-diabetic. This is most definitely not because of the excess quality of their nutrition.

    Indeed, for many people a lifelong of excess carbohydrate consumption (I’m simplifying: pro-inflammatory excess omega-6 consumption, perhaps fructose consumption specifically, etc., add to the problem) leads to excess hunger for carbohydrates, which makes the problem worse.

    Obesity is largely a problem of poverty, due to poor-quality foods.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:04 pm

  17. Cheap sugarSubsidized corn syrup. My $0.50, 20 oz orange drink has 140 calories.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:07 pm

  18. Former Conservative,

    Obesity is caused by poor eating choices, poor eating habits, and a lack of eating discipline.
    Similarly, there are plenty of wealthy people who are obese. They lack eating discipline, and engage in poor eating habits, as well as poor eating choices.
    Poor people often make poor choices in various aspects of their lives. Food is no exception.

    A poor person actually can eat healthy on limited financial resources—but it requires discipline and choice.

    We can lead a horse to water, but we can’t stop it from insisting on drinking Cactus Cooler or Mountain Dew.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:22 pm

  19. Obesity is caused by poor eating choices, poor eating habits, and a lack of eating discipline.
    Similarly, there are plenty of wealthy people who are obese. They lack eating discipline, and engage in poor eating habits, as well as poor eating choices.

    “a lack of eating discipline” didn’t suddenly skyrocket as the obesity rate did, more or less from the 70s. It’s a change in the food supply, as well as government propaganda, pushing certain unhealthful foods on the population. So even “eating discipline” is no guarantee you won’t give yourself unnecessary obesity and diabetes.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:25 pm

  20. Former Conservative,

    Dude, by your own admission, the “change in the food supply” means there are many more choices, and those choices often are carb-heavy foods competing for the attention of consumers.

    By definition, that means that consumers must make smarter eating choices. I know you have all these paranoid theories that are straight out of “The X Files,” but seriously, a person is responsible for making their own eating choices.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:33 pm

  21. Anybody care to make a guess which is a more efficient way to get food to third world countries? This, or the average Foreign Aide program.

    Comment by C. S. P. Schofield (adb9dd) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:34 pm

  22. You’re an idiot, Elephant Stone. People with less money have less choices in what to buy. This isn’t rocket science.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:35 pm

  23. Former Conservative,

    Ha, ha, so now you’re going to call me names, when you become frustrated with your inability to make your own case, huh ?
    Are you going to start rambling about the circumcision conspiracies, as you did a few weeks ago ?

    People with less money can still eat healthily. It’s still their choice. They can buy fruits and vegetables just like anyone else can. They can drink water, rather than Mountain Dew—I do.

    The truth is somewhere out there ! (Cue “X Files” theme song.)

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:46 pm

  24. MD,
    It seems to me welfare is about need and if they have enough to give away, they don’t need this much help.
    Bingo.
    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:05 pm

    It is my understanding that people in lower incomes, who can “afford it less”, give away higher percentages of their income than more wealthy people.
    I’m not arguing that it is a practice to be encouraged, just that I bet people who are going to the effort to save and ship rice to their family in Jamaica are probably sharing out of their little more than out of their abundance, and I am more upset about people who need their large screen TV and cable TV along with their food stamps.

    On a scale of what is wrong with the world, I personally just don’t find this very high.

    Looking at whether welfare rates are too high, eligibility is too easy, or even if it should exist at all, and immigration policy, are all valid. But people have spent their welfare checks in worse ways.
    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 2:45 pm

    That’s all I’m saying.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:48 pm

  25. It is my understanding that people in lower incomes, who can “afford it less”, give away higher percentages of their income than more wealthy people.

    Certainly these people do.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:59 pm

  26. It is my understanding that people in lower incomes, who can “afford it less”, give away higher percentages of their income than more wealthy people.

    People on welfare are charity and should not be transferring the charity of my family to those they wish to help.

    Regardless, I would be shocked if much of this food wasn’t resold for profit.

    So even “eating discipline” is no guarantee you won’t give yourself unnecessary obesity and diabetes.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:25 pm

    I don’t care what someone else chooses to do with their freedom. If they wish to eat something that is unhealthy, living a life Christoph doesn’t approve of, I do not care. That is fine with me. Many adults realize that eating or living the way they do means they will not reach the highest age, and they accept that. That is freedom.

    I would hate to live in Christoph’s highly controlled nanny world and think people who want to live that way should move to Canada.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:03 pm

  27. Certainly these people do.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013

    nope. They didn’t give any of their income away, as they didn’t earn that income. They stole it from those who did earn it, via deception. It’s called fraud.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:05 pm

  28. This is just one snap-shot of the EBT/Welfare dimension, but it’s a stark one.
    At Patterico said, if you’re receiving assistance, and you give some of those funds to relatives/friends in other countries, perhaps the level of assistance that you’re receiving is excessive.

    In the SW, it is noted how many medical institutions have, over the past two decades, been under severe financial strain due to having to extend health-care to “indigent” immigrants (both legal and illegal), often receiving less than 10-cents on the Dollar of re-imbursement. This strain has caused clinics and hospitals from Brownsville to San Diego (and points North) to close their doors.

    Yet, while all this is going on, the amount of money wired back to Mexico and other Latin Countries, is immense (it is Mexico’s 2nd largest source of foreign, read Dollar$, exchange after the sale of petroleum).

    It would be interesting to cross-check who’s sending money South, and also receiving EBT, Rent Assistance, and other forms of public-assistance, but has outstanding debt to hospitals and clinics for received, but un-paid for, health care – that in most cases is just written off.

    As Milton Friedman said:
    You can have open borders, or a welfare state; you can’t have both!

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:08 pm

  29. What, almost 30 comments and no one has said it yet?

    RACIST!

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:09 pm

  30. Yes, because all of those people from Caribbean islands are BLACK.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:10 pm

  31. 1. It’s hard to not have mixed feelings about this. They are clearly showing a humane and self-sacrificing love of their families.

    There is nothing self-sacrificing about feeding their foreign relatives on the US taxpayer dime.

    On the other hand, it isn’t what this particular money is intended for.

    My own thoughts are if they are lawfully receiving the welfare and they choose to spend some of it to give to foreign family members rather than, say, give it to a friend over for dinner locally, or buy some item for their own pleasure, or see a rare movie — which would be legal — then there’s no ethical problem here.

    Yes there’s an ethical problem. You state it in your comment: “…it isn’t what this particular money is intended for.”

    So the part to focus on is not their nobly feeding their extended family, it’s whether they are lawfully entitled to receive welfare and, if so, whether there should be welfare in the first place.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 12:58 pm

    Again, there’s nothing noble about taking advantage of someone else’s stupidity.

    If you think there is, let them raid your refrigerator, Former Conservative. Then you can marvel at how “noble” they are when they ship off all the groceries you’re silly enough to buy for them.

    Comment by Steve57 (2dd692) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:10 pm

  32. More seriously (since that was seriously unserious), I agree with our host and others that this suggests that those making the purchases using welfare money are finding themselves able to pay for at least their own sustenance despite the diversion of those funds to their offshore friends and relatives. That is troubling.

    But it isn’t surprising, either. “Poverty” is a relative concept, and as has oft been noted here and elsewhere, those considered, and defined by law and regulation as, “poor” in America are not nearly so impoverished as the poor elsewhere. And I don’t wish that to be otherwise, either. I just want to get control over who comes here.

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:14 pm

  33. Regardless, I would be shocked if much of this food wasn’t resold for profit.

    As is nearly all food aid first worlders send to the third world. Food is much to valuable to be given away to the intended recipients.

    All over Africa there are bags of flour “from the people of Norway” or some such place being sold in markets to people who can afford to buy it.

    Just as these barrels of food are no doubt ending up in someone’s corner store making a tidy profit.

    Comment by Steve57 (2dd692) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:14 pm

  34. Lost in all of this is that the guy threw around his “position” on one of the cities commissions. Which, if you think about it is a bit insane. Or a preview of the future.

    Comment by tsrblke (39e698) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:14 pm

  35. As is nearly all food aid first worlders send to the third world. Food is much to valuable to be given away to the intended recipients.

    Yeah. There’s always an angle.

    It sure seems like those who pay taxes in this country are being fleeced in endless ways.

    Endlessly there’s someone to tell me it’s mean to put an end to it, which is absurd. It’s not even my money I’m protecting, but the next generation that will have to live in the Detroit we are leaving them.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:18 pm

  36. The payment schedules and eligibility requirements also permit the “poor” in America to afford such things as cellphones and cable or satellite TV. Sometimes those purchases are made at the expense of more prudent choices, and sometimes they are made to the dismay of those citizens, legislators, etc., whose expectations are being confounded by the actual choices being made by the welfare recipients.

    Perhaps the folks sending these supplies abroad are affording to do that by foregoing other purchases like cellphone plans. If so, those are certainly relevant data points if we’re trying to assess whether we’re too generous with welfare benefits or too careless in restricting them based on genuine need. But I see many other such data points — other examples which suggest diversions of welfare monies from their “intended” purposes — that bother me more than shipping food elsewhere.

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:23 pm

  37. Would you say that a welfare recipient who spent on a dollar on renting a video at some point during the month is immoral for not giving the dollar back?

    If you can rent a video while collecting taxpayer money, you’re getting too much taxpayer money.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:42 pm

  38. Why should I be forced to pay money, on threat of being arrested if I refuse, so someone else can watch a video?

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:45 pm

  39. But I see many other such data points — other examples which suggest diversions of welfare monies from their “intended” purposes — that bother me more than shipping food elsewhere.

    Beldar, I agree there are worse examples, but I don’t see how that mitigates the problem. This isn’t your money or my money they are defrauding the system of. It’s our kids’ money. Our kids owe China more and more money for every welfare payment there is, whether that welfare is truly necessary or not.

    It’s at a point where I question the wisdom of the federal government paying for legitimately needed food. The conventional debt and unfunded liability debt are bad enough that even this use comes at a high cost to future American citizens who will reach a point where it was clear they couldn’t afford our charity today, even if that charity goes to someone who actually needed it.

    I say leave charity to the most local government level practical be that a state or a county or municipality. Let people vote, both with ballots and feet, for societies that they agree with. And keep the feds out of it, as they clearly embrace fraud for votes.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:45 pm

  40. Data points? Are you guys going off your rockers? The U.S. government takes money from OUR income, by force, to provide “needed” food for “the less fortunate”. These folks in return send our money to “their extended family” in either cash or product. That’s not “noble”, that’s theft once removed, from us and our families extended or otherwise. ANY welfare benefits which don’t include a work requirement are too generous.

    “Foregoing other purchases like cellphone plans”? If you’re not working and need me to provide your food what the hell do you need a cell phone plan for? You need a damn job, not a text platform.

    Millions of people on welfare and food stamps is not noble, they’re not victims, they’re participants in a wealth redistribution scam and if we conservatives don’t call it what it is this republic is a goner.

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:48 pm

  41. Yeah, okay. I’ve worked in a grocery store, third shift, checking out people who are on EBT. You know what stuck out to me? WHAT these people are buying: rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages. BASICS. They’re COOKING. From SCRATCH.

    This is pinching pennies till they scream, which is not something I’ve ever actually seen an EBT customer make an attempt at.

    So, lessee…

    Customer 1: rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages, paying by EBT, to send home to mama

    OR

    Customer 2: standard weed munchy food at 1:00 a.m. and/or two carts full of brand-name junk food, paying by EBT with an expensive-alcohol-and-carton-of-cigarette cash chaser

    I’ll take number 1, thanks.

    This is not a case of SHOULDs or MORALITY or NOBILITY. It’s a case of what is, and the question is: Why can’t we get this shit stopped?

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:52 pm

  42. I mean to say, the people in the article are buying basics to send home, not the people I checked out.

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:53 pm

  43. BTW, if we’re gonna provide these people with a cell phone then they should be required to call 200 tax payers a month and say “Thank you”.

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:53 pm

  44. I’ll take number 1, thanks.

    I’ll take neither.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:54 pm

  45. But Patterico, I’d like neither, too, but how do we change it?

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:55 pm

  46. Oh, and then there’s the attitude of the EBT customer who thinks they’re too good for the rest of the world.

    Geez Louise, the memories! I need to stop reading this thread. My BP just shot through the roof.

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:58 pm

  47. “41.I mean to say, the people in the article are buying basics to send home,”

    It is not our job to provide them with money to be used on “basics to be sent home”. And I thought THIS was their home. If not, why would we provide visitors with anything other than a tour guide?

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:58 pm

  48. Hoagie, my point is this: It’s happening. We can’t stop it. In the hierarchy of motives SINCE WE CAN’T STOP IT, I’d just as soon see it go to people who are really starving.

    So then the question becomes: What do we do about it?

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:00 pm

  49. 45.But Patterico, I’d like neither, too, but how do we change it?

    defund the program, 6 months later have everyone qualify, have a card that limits what and where it can be used

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:02 pm

  50. A million here, a million there, and pretty soon we’re talking real money.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:03 pm

  51. defund the program, 6 months later have everyone qualify, have a card that limits what and where it can be used

    Okay. Which congresscritters can we stomp on to make that happen?

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:03 pm

  52. But Patterico, I’d like neither, too, but how do we change it?

    No more welfare.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:03 pm

  53. BTW, I am not saying that this might be futile. I am trying to point out that we actually need to start hounding our “leaders” to do these things.

    We conservatives/libertarians gripe a lot about things that need to be griped about. We’re pissed off, but we are going to take some more of it. We don’t seem to be able to get any traction for real change.

    Why?

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:06 pm

  54. No more welfare.

    Okay. HOW?

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:07 pm

  55. Why should I be forced to pay money, on threat of being arrested if I refuse, so someone else can watch a video?

    Why should someone be forced to pay money, on threat of being arrested if they refuse, to pay prosecutors to imprison people for carrying or selling a plant or plant byproduct?

    I’m not arguing in favor of statism. I’m just saying that within the statist paradigm, what they’re doing isn’t so bad.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:08 pm

  56. Moriah Jovan, why do you state “we can’t stop it’? Hell, we started it so we damn sure better to be able to stop it or we’re damn fools. I’d suggest we set up “surplus food redemption locations” and they are the only places that can take EBT cards. They can even be mobile. Kinda like the lottery “Play here, we pay here”. Gotta use the food we provide, eat the diet we say and if you don’t like it…..get a job. It’s our damn money, we make the rules.

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:09 pm

  57. you know its amazing they can expand program at will but cant contract them, I say end all entitlements….

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:10 pm

  58. If you’re saying you’re an anti-statist libertarian, Patterico, awesome. I won’t argue with you there.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:10 pm

  59. I know there are exceptions but, in general, people who are hungry and need food will spend their welfare benefits on food. They may share with others sometimes but most of them time they will use the benefits to feed themselves and their family.

    We stop this by only giving welfare to people who lack basic necessities like food and shelter. If someone has enough money for cable, a non-Obama cellphone, and to give away barrels of food every month or so, then they have enough money to pay for food. (And if they lie about their need or their assets, it’s fraud and they can be fined or go to jail.)

    Many Hispanics in my area send as much as they can to family in Mexico, even if they are receiving welfare benefits, in order to please or help their Mexican families. I’ve also seen a few that filed bankruptcy in order to buy things to give to family and/or because they cosigned an extended family member’s obligations.

    I admire the allegiance to family this shows but they’re doing it at the expense of every American taxpayer. I don’t think that’s a fair way to spend money that we worked hard to earn.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:15 pm

  60. I agree with everything MD in Philly said. Beggars sharing their food with other paupers is hardly immoral. And it is the kind of “foreign aid” I too can live with. Better than F15s to Egypt.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:16 pm

  61. BTW, if we’re gonna provide these people with a cell phone then they should be required to call 200 tax payers a month and say “Thank you”.

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 4:53 pm

    Sounds great to me.

    Furthermore, the franchise of voting should be limited to those who pay their fair share of taxes. The danger of a public that votes itself more and more of the treasury is a systemic problem that should be resolved with a constitutional amendment. Welfare, unemployment, food stamps, subsidized loans of any kind, or simply paying no taxes should result in a suspension of voter registration for two years.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:19 pm

  62. Well, I don’t believe the story, the freight, customs is going to be prohibitive and to get to 2000 dollars you would need to fill it with cheese or chocolate.

    but is 1/2 the 115 billion and climbing program fraud? I say that’s an underestimate

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:19 pm

  63. I am a bit surprised at the amount of angst about this by some.

    If the benefits that are obtained through various governmental programs are done through the honest answer of questions, etc., then I do not think obtaining such benefits are “fraud”, not only in the legal sense but also in a metaphorical sense.

    One may think that the government is being too generous, etc., but I do not think it is wrong to take what has been received through truthful disclosure and share it with family members who have even less.
    I do not see this as a major problem.
    The major problem is subsidizing an existence in America where one thinks they have a right to get whatever they need to live without doing anything responsible for it. Subsidizing neighborhoods in the US where there are families where the second, and third generations are having children and have no sense of responsibility to provide for them is the problem.

    If adult daughter from Jamaica finds life in the US so much better than back at home that she thinks she can send of what she has back to mom, that is hardly what will break the back of the US of A. If she is that thrifty and responsible my guess is that in the long run she will be a net contributor.

    Now, if she obtained the aid through deceit then that is the problem, if she is funneling it to some black market that is a problem,
    but while one may say the system needs to be changed, I find no quarrel with the individual.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:19 pm

  64. most of them time they will use the benefits to feed themselves and their family.

    Er, what do you think they are doing?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:19 pm

  65. Better than F15s to Egypt.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/21/2013

    No doubt, but the horrible is the friend of the imperfect just as much as the perfect is the enemy of the good.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:20 pm

  66. Moriah Jovan, why do you state “we can’t stop it’?

    Consider the people on “our side” who have to do all the legislative gymnastics to stop it. Consider their ideology (slightly less statist than the other guys). Consider their tween-girl desperation to be liked and sit at the cool girls’ table (which they never will). Consider the firmness of their spines (al dente). And then, in case all that lines up, consider the Dictator in Chief who’d just write up an executive order to say “y’all are so cute, but fuck you.”

    What can we do with these people?

    Please don’t say vote. That’s been tried. A thousand times.

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:20 pm

  67. nk and MD,

    I shouldn’t do this but I speculate you feel the way you do because you see so many people in need, and they have little hope of escaping. Perhaps you think that trying to help someone else with what little they have shows character on their part. But they are helping others with our money. Just because they are more admirable than people who waste their benefits isn’t character. Sacrificing your own earnings is character.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:21 pm

  68. American family, Former Conservative. Although we don’t know what the recipient abroad who receives the barrel of food does with it, nor do we really know why the food was sent there or if it is sent to family. For example, Haiti is having food shortages so the extra food is probably needed. But can you say for sure that the family who receives the food doesn’t sell what they don’t need and/or sells it on the black market?

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:25 pm

  69. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

    There is always an excuse. In this case, people seem to accept that these folks are sending hundreds of pounds of food to starving families. It seems a lot more likely they are selling it. Regardless, it is not the right way. Sending food aid doesn’t really work. Fraud and graft take their toll, but more importantly, the systems needed to support local agriculture are damaged by this relief valve of ‘generosity’. That’s why Africa is always in need. An African farmer cannot sustain his business in competition with all the free food.

    Long term, it doesn’t make sense for American taxpayers to be fleeced to support the welfare of everyone in the world. It’s also not your money anyway. It’s the money of the next generation who will have to live with some dire consequences for our feely good hopenchange.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:27 pm

  70. Why should someone be forced to pay money, on threat of being arrested if they refuse, to pay prosecutors to imprison people for carrying or selling a plant or plant byproduct?

    I’m not arguing in favor of statism. I’m just saying that within the statist paradigm, what they’re doing isn’t so bad.

    Not the topic of this thread, sorry.

    If you’re saying you’re an anti-statist libertarian, Patterico, awesome. I won’t argue with you there.

    I don’t believe I have to assign any label to my philosophy to argue that the state should not take my money so that someone can watch a fucking video. That was your argument: that it’s not immoral for someone to take money from the state that they didn’t earn and then use it to watch a video. I say it is, and I’m not going to be distracted from that argument.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:28 pm

  71. I mean, how far is one to take this?

    Is a welfare recipient immoral if they offer a cup of tea to a guest?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:28 pm

  72. I think DRJ has hit on something when she asks how we know this is all “noble” charity for families.

    We don’t.

    But even if it is, it is achieved by taking my money at gunpoint.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:30 pm

  73. MD,

    I’m not saying anyone is doing something illegal but they could be. There are rules that govern welfare benefits and one of them is that “You are required to report any changes in your circumstances which may effect your eligibility.”

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:30 pm

  74. American family, Former Conservative.

    Right, because if your family was across a border, you wouldn’t do what you could to feed them.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:31 pm

  75. teh federal teat
    expansion’s their only goal
    and Nipples”R”Us®!‎

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:32 pm

  76. there is a “medical marijuana” shop down the road a piece, with a sign in the window that reads “ATM Inside”

    the fine print underneath reads “EBT OK”…

    i’ll take a picture tomorrow for our host.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:33 pm

  77. Right, because if your family was across a border, you wouldn’t do what you could to feed them.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c)

    People used to understand the difference between right and wrong and knew what self-reliance was.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:34 pm

  78. Right, because if your family was across a border, you wouldn’t do what you could to feed them out of your own pocket, not someone elses.

    FTFY!

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:34 pm

  79. Right, because if your family was across a border, you wouldn’t do what you could to feed them.

    No need to make this personal. I’ll ban you in a second if you do, mainly because I think I know who you are.

    Somehow I suspect that if DRJ had family across a border, she would WORK to help them, and would not consider it noble to suck money from the government to help them.

    Whether they were in Mexico, or, say, Canada, where I suspect you are.

    And that will be quite enough about that. I won’t say it twice.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:35 pm

  80. I’m with MD. The following words are mine alone and are not in response to any point that has already been expressed:

    Once taxpayer money is disbursed to private individuals, it becomes private money. It is no longer anybody’s business how it is spent anymore than how I spend my money.

    The way to “fix” this problem is to limit or end all entitlements. Let us begin there and discuss that.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:35 pm

  81. former Conservative:

    I mean, how far is one to take this?

    Is a welfare recipient immoral if they offer a cup of tea to a guest?

    Federal employees are forbidden from accepting gifts except for items like a donut and cup of coffee that are so modest they are not considered a gift. If this rule works in federal government, I don’t see any reason these rules can’t work for welfare benefits.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:35 pm

  82. The way to “fix” this problem is to limit or end all entitlements. Let us begin there and discuss that.

    Thank you, Felipe!

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:36 pm

  83. strange: my sekrit identification code thingy changed…

    should i blame the new modem/router?

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:37 pm

  84. Once taxpayer money is disbursed to private individuals, it becomes private money. It is no longer anybody’s business how it is spent anymore than how I spend my money.

    Wow. So you think it’s none of the taxpayer’s business if a welfare recipient uses the money they receive to buy a flat screen TV? Or, say, legal marijuana in Colorado?

    You’re welcome to that point of view, but you won’t find many taxpayers who agree.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:37 pm

  85. The way to “fix” this problem is to limit or end all entitlements. Let us begin there and discuss that.

    I’m all for that, but totally puzzled by the statements leading up to this one.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:38 pm

  86. Right, because if your family was across a border, you wouldn’t do what you could to feed them out of your own pocket, not someone elses.

    During food shortages, you’d probably do either to the best of your abilities. I’m sure that most people who are so thrifty and caring about their family that they’re shipping hundreds of dollars of food back home from their welfare benefits would probably like to earn more money, desperately.

    Among the reasons, and probably the leading one, I became a “Former” Conservative is this lack of empathy I became aware of over the years. It dawned on me and it became too hard to ignore.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:39 pm

  87. Helping the needy is among the more important things that churches and private charities can do. If certain religions are more concerned with building golden edifices and cathedrals than feeding the poor and needy that – in my book – is an argument against their tax-exempt status.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:40 pm

  88. Yes, sir, I do believe it is no business of mine if a welfare recipient does this. However you and I would definitely be in the same group of people calling for the heads of those responsible for making this sort of outrage possible on our dime.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:42 pm

  89. Among the reasons, and probably the leading one, I became a “Former” Conservative is this lack of empathy I became aware of over the years. It dawned on me and it became too hard to ignore.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c)

    Sort of the reverse of folks who are extremely liberal in their youth and then mature into conservatives when they see the unintended consequences of liberalism’s largesse with other people’s money and recognize that the Money Tree is a myth and the Golden Goose has a terminal illness.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:43 pm

  90. Yes, sir, I do believe it is no business of mine if a welfare recipient does this. However you and I would definitely be in the same group of people calling for the heads of those responsible for making this sort of outrage possible on our dime.

    You think it’s an outrage but that it’s none of your business? I’m trying to understand your point of view and having a very difficult time.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:44 pm

  91. If my family was starving, I would get a job and work and feed them. Oh, I guess I already did that, preventing the starving part.

    This is actually not complicated. I would not ask for charity unless I was actually disabled somehow, and in 2013, you have to be very, very disabled to be unable to work in some job. There is no job so low that I would let my family starve but for welfare. I would be so ashamed to take money from others, especially from a generation to come, that this would truly be a last resort.

    And I think it’s a cultural failure that shame has gone away. Maybe someone mailed shame to another country?

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:44 pm

  92. I became more conservative over time as I learned that what seems like lack of empathy on the part of conservatives is actually a recognition that government action has unintended consequences and effects on incentives that tend to undermine the economy and the morality of a society.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:45 pm

  93. What Christoph calls a lack of empathy I call simply empathy. Only Christoph ignores the victims of welfare fraud (the people who will have to live in the society we are destroying, a la Detroit) and focuses on the beneficiaries of lawless largesse.

    In short, he’s a sucker.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:46 pm

  94. And I think it’s a cultural failure that shame has gone away. Maybe someone mailed shame to another country?

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7)

    a great many people in this country do not shame or “embarrass easy”.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:46 pm

  95. Former Conservative,

    It’s interesting but not the point of this post to think about how far we might go to help our families when they are in need. An extreme example might be Denzel Washington’s film John Q. I can see why people might see this in different ways — as illegal, immoral or admirable — but the fact remains that using someone else’s hard-earned money to be generous is not real charity. And it’s arguably immoral to take credit for charity that doesn’t come from your own pocket.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:46 pm

  96. Maybe someone mailed shame to another country?

    Which one, do you suppose?

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:46 pm

  97. Thank you, DRJ. What you said is true I guess and my family raised me to think that way too.

    Also, on the “is this the public policy we want” question, I think society can adopt a collective morality and ethos, administered by the state, and it can include compulsory charity, and I would hesitate to call it statist.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:46 pm

  98. Well, DRJ, sharing what you have that you obtained without theft or deception, especially if you could use it yourself, I guess I think is noble enough.

    This “problem” could be eliminated and it would not make any significant difference in the economy of the US, our tax burden, or our national debt;
    if you want to use it as an indicator of our system being overly generous or poorly run or some such, you may
    I will use it to show that the US has it better than our critics realize and they should stop whinning

    I sometimes tell my daughter to save her fussing for something worth fussing about. I think Obama making an 800 billion slush fund and repeating it yearly is worth my fussing over, not whether some abuelita somewhere is getting infusions of rice and beans from the US
    especially since their corn tortillas cost more because of US “green energy” regs.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:47 pm

  99. One thing I think is that a Canadian’s opinion about what is proper to do with American taxpayer money doesn’t matter in the slightest. Do you agree, Former Conservative?

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:48 pm

  100. Until public money is (in this case) disbursed, it is entirely righteous of the taxpayers to demand better stewardship of funds placed in our representatives hands. It is our business. Let us exert pressure where it belongs; on our representatives.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:49 pm

  101. If my family was starving, I would get a job and work and feed them. Oh, I guess I already did that, preventing the starving part.

    You might do a few things.

    You might emigrate to a richer country where you have better financial opportunities (Haiti is not the best place for this). You might look for work and apply for welfare to survive. You might live very frugally to send some food back to your hungry relatives in the meantime.

    All of this is very understandable. I would say noble. That doesn’t mean government policies allowing this are ideal, but I cannot fault the individual who does as above.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:49 pm

  102. anyone who has the surplus of groceries and funds to be able to ship them overseas has more food & money than they need, at least the part the tax payers are providing.

    what people do with their own money is their business: what they do with tax dollars is rightfully the business of those paying said taxes, and no one else.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:50 pm

  103. Former Conservative,

    We can’t stop all suffering but we can try to help. It’s not “helping” to give more food to someone who ships it off to sell or to feed their foreign family. It only means there’s that much less available for people who we need to help at home.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:51 pm

  104. One thing I think is that a Canadian’s opinion about what is proper to do with American taxpayer money doesn’t matter in the slightest. Do you agree, Former Conservative?

    I think that these are universal principles. I’m OK with ending the welfare state, but with faulting poor people trying to feed their families.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:51 pm

  105. 79. Once taxpayer money is disbursed to private individuals, it becomes private money. It is no longer anybody’s business how it is spent anymore than how I spend my money.

    The way to “fix” this problem is to limit or end all entitlements. Let us begin there and discuss that.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:35 pm

    What the hell? That taxpayer money was private money. Before someone came up with a pretext to take it that money was the private property of the people who earned it. And that pretext was that people were going to starve.

    Had everyone know the end-game of this bait and switch fraud was one person’s private money was going to be turned into someone else’s private money, with no strings attached to how that money is then spent, it never would have happened.

    That’s the problem with this entitlement spending. It’s based upon deception.

    Hence the anger.

    Comment by Steve57 (2dd692) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:51 pm

  106. *but not with

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:51 pm

  107. We can’t stop all suffering but we can try to help. It’s not “helping” to give more food to someone who ships it off to sell or to feed their foreign family.

    Well sure it is. It’s a lot more useful than nk’s F-15s to Egypt (of all places).

    I mean, if feeding people is not helpful, what would be?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:52 pm

  108. it can’t be said often enough: Taxation Is Theft.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:53 pm

  109. Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:45 pm

    I find the impact of the unintended consequences of rice and beans sent over seas to poor family members inconsequential to other things.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:54 pm

  110. I mean, if feeding people is not helpful, what would be?

    feed them out of your pocket then, not mine. taking money from me by force to do something you want to do is theft, plain & simple, and there’s nothing moral about that.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:54 pm

  111. MD in Philly,

    This “problem” could be eliminated and it would not make any significant difference in the economy of the US, our tax burden, or our national debt;

    How do you know this? Welfare fraud costs millions, and clearly one way to stop it is stop paying benefits. But we know that won’t happen, so we need to find ways to discourage fraud. Prosecuting specific instances of fraud or stopping benefits in cases like this (when they are abused) is a way to make other welfare beneficiaries think twice before they do something similar.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:54 pm

  112. Helping the needy is among the more important things that churches and private charities can do. If certain religions are more concerned with building golden edifices and cathedrals than feeding the poor and needy that – in my book – is an argument against their tax-exempt status.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:40 pm

    YES x 1000

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:55 pm

  113. 106. I mean, if feeding people is not helpful, what would be?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:52 pm

    Incentivizing them to feed themselves.

    Which means if nothing else not supplying them with a surplus that can feed their extended families overseas.

    Comment by Steve57 (2dd692) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:55 pm

  114. it can’t be said often enough: Taxation Is Theft.

    Sure, I agree. But so is giving it to many people, not just these.

    But yeah, taxation is theft.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:55 pm

  115. I find the impact of the unintended consequences of rice and beans sent over seas to poor family members inconsequential to other things.

    let them provide the food and shipping costs out of their own pockets then, and not mine. people do not value “free stuff” because they didn’t do anything to earn it.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:56 pm

  116. Incentivizing them to feed themselves.

    Alright, now what’s your “teach them to fish” solution to Haiti’s food crisis? And how do you imagine these family members will implement that (other than what they’re already engaged in, emigrating to another country, presumably for economic opportunity, including work)?

    In the meantime, don’t you think you’d send your family back some rice if you could?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:57 pm

  117. let them provide the food and shipping costs out of their own pockets then, and not mine. people do not value “free stuff” because they didn’t do anything to earn it.

    I’m pretty sure starving people value rice and beans.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:58 pm

  118. people do not value “free stuff” because they didn’t do anything to earn it.

    Yup.

    Lost in this discussion is that these fraudsters could easily get a job and buy this food, put it in barrels, and ship it overseas. They could do that. They are in a wealthy country, which means they could get a job.

    But if their job is stealing and reselling the product they stole and shipped overseas, I guess they have a different view than I do on a lot of things.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:59 pm

  119. At some point, MD, when you are talking about the billions America spends on welfare, “inconsequential” can quickly become “consequential.”

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:00 pm

  120. I find the impact of the unintended consequences of rice and beans sent over seas to poor family members inconsequential to other things.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 5:54 pm

    I’m glad you as a doctor see it that way, and I’m not being factitious at all.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:00 pm

  121. Alright, now what’s your “teach them to fish” solution to Haiti’s food crisis?

    Christoph, farming has been with us for tens of thousands of years, if not far longer. The hunger in your stomach is all you need to build a farm. But no farm can compete with food stamp fraud. So your views are actually destroying farms and perpetuating starvation.

    Well done.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:01 pm

  122. I think some are focusing on the problem of the welfare state in general and pointing out how this is symptomatic of it,
    others of us are saying that while the welfare state is what it is with it’s massive problems, it seems inappropriate to focus wrath on individuals sending rice and beans to their worse-off family members.

    Since I get to count mortgage interest as an income tax deduction am I stealing from people who can’t take the deduction since I get to pay less taxes? I really think that is equivalent, honest abiding by the laws of the land.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:01 pm

  123. I really think that is equivalent, honest abiding by the laws of the land.

    Comment by MD in Philly

    so using EBT to feed people that do not live in the USA is legal? I did not understand it to be lawful.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:04 pm

  124. At some point, MD, when you are talking about the billions America spends on welfare, “inconsequential” can quickly become “consequential.”
    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:00 pm

    I disagree, DRJ, because I am not talking about the billions that America spends on welfare, I am talking about the relatively small amount that some in the US divert to their poor families in other countries.
    If we want to talk about the problems of the US welfare state, fine, but that is not what this thread started out as about.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:04 pm

  125. I feel similarly about Mexico. It’s easy to feel sorry for illegal immigrants working so hard to support their families. But Mexico’s society is horribly corrupt and American largesse is a relief valve that has prevented the reforms that Mexico ought to have and otherwise probably would have.

    Those who have allowed this to happen think those who wouldn’t are mean or lack empathy, but they are actually wiser and take a longer view on helping these people.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:05 pm

  126. MD,

    So perhaps you see this as the same as criticizing a man for stealing bread to feed his family, as opposed to the man who steals bread to feed his drug habit? I agree the former is more understandable but that doesn’t make it right, especially when we’re talking about extended family living in a foreign country.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:05 pm

  127. So you believe these Hatian immigrants, Dustin, should have expropriated land and farmed, not emigrated to a richer country and looked for work/applied for welfare in the interim?

    Maybe. Maybe not. But they are both good-faith efforts to provide for their families. If they followed the law in what they did, I don’t see how you can blame them. You pretty much half to blame the law.

    But I wouldn’t think much of someone who let their family starve rather than apply for a benefit they were lawfully entitled to and then living as frugally as possible to feed their families. YMMV.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:06 pm

  128. *have

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:06 pm

  129. Colonel, show me where it says that one cannot send your rice and beans that you purchase with an EBT card overseas and I will happily admit that the entire premise of this thread as been substantially altered.

    As I said above with my income tax deduction, are you going to tell me how I can and can’t spend the money I saved on my income tax bill?

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:07 pm

  130. heh it all adds up
    a million here billion there
    piggy bank empty

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:08 pm

  131. MD:

    I am talking about the relatively small amount that some in the US divert to their poor families in other countries.

    How do you know it is “relatively small amount”?

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:08 pm

  132. Who is stealing DRJ? Is it against the law to do what they are doing?

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:08 pm

  133. “A spokeswoman for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service said welfare benefits are reserved for households that buy and prepare food together. She said states should intervene if people are caught shipping non-perishables abroad.”

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:09 pm

  134. MD:

    As I said above with my income tax deduction, are you going to tell me how I can and can’t spend the money I saved on my income tax bill?

    You need to rethink this comment.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:09 pm

  135. Mister Frey, I think it an outrage that money is so plentifully provided for entitlements when it is in such short supply. I think it an outrage that our governments (fed, state, local)live beyond their means while the taxpayer picks up the tab.

    I find it outrageous when people get upset when school vouchers are spent by private individuals to send students to a private, religious school, saying that taxpayers (i.e. the government) is establishing religion. Just as I think it outrageous to complain about how welfare recipients spend “our” money. While the anger is righteous, the target is wrong.

    It is my own opinion that it is a violation, in sprit, of the tenth commandment when we seek to control others use of property.

    It is a correct application of “Thou shalt not steal” to point all fingers to these entitlements.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:09 pm

  136. Since I get to count mortgage interest as an income tax deduction am I stealing from people who can’t take the deduction since I get to pay less taxes? I really think that is equivalent, honest abiding by the laws of the land.

    You can elect to not take the mortgage interest deduction. You can elect to pay more to the government than TurboTax says you owe.

    I don’t have the option of electing not to the money that I have earned taken from me and given to someone who hasn’t earned it (and who uses it to benefit someone else who did not earn it).

    Comment by Diffus (4a5ca6) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:10 pm

  137. I wouldn’t be so upset if the welfare recipients were shipping the asparagus of racism overseas.

    Comment by Steve57 (2dd692) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:10 pm

  138. From my experience in seeing the number of people in Philly getting subsidized housing, food, and medical insurance benefits who live here, the amount that gets sent out of the country via rice and bean diversion can’t be a big percentage.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:11 pm

  139. Colonel Haiku’s quote is from the linked article, MD. I don’t know if it’s illegal or simply a violation of the rules that govern these benefits. If you don’t need the food, you’re not entitled to the food.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:11 pm

  140. MD,

    In my part of the country, people get benefits and send large amounts of assistance to Mexico. If we take your community and mine and all the others, they amount to real money. And making sure people understand they can’t do this sends a message about welfare. In addition, some of these people might find ways to earn more money because they really, really want to help their families at home.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:13 pm

  141. I don’t think I do need to rethink the comment.

    We live in a nation of laws. Some laws regard how much money the government takes from us, some laws regard what benefits we are granted.
    The law says Miss Smith is eligible for X amount of dollars under the current law. She decides to use 1/2 X to send rice and beans to her mother in another country.
    She has not broken any laws, she has shared what was legally granted to her.
    I get to keep more of my income because I paid a certain amount of my income in interest on a house. If I decide to keep the money, I have broken no laws, though some might say it is unfair that I can take advantage of the law.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:18 pm

  142. MD, felipe, and Former Conservative,

    I’m not lacking in empathy for these people. I know what they are trying to do and I understand why. However, I view this like the broken windows theory of policing. Similarly, if you want people to be aware of and abide by the welfare rules, you have to require compliance with the small rules and the big ones.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:19 pm

  143. It’s your money, MD, not the government’s. Welfare beneficiaries are using the taxpayer’s money.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:20 pm

  144. It’s plausible that there is some law she has broken, MD, but one would have to demonstrate that. Perhaps there is such a law. In which case, enforcement action may be taken.

    But even still,
    if there was one circumstance in which you’d want to break a law, it is to feed your family. Doesn’t mean they should be allowed to break such an obscure, little-known law, but again these are hardly the worst things anybody has ever done.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:21 pm

  145. Well, if it is explicitly illegal, then it is explicitly illegal, and the laws should be enforced;
    in which case we have a society where one can divert money from your EBT account to pay for your cable TV, but not to send rice to your grandmother.

    I was saying that from the point of Miss Smith, she did not make the system; if she was legally receiving goods from the system and she wanted to share those legally obtained goods with a poor relative, where is the crime?

    Comment by Diffus (4a5ca6) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:10 pm
    You are making my point. Am I harming you by taking advantage of what I am legally allowed to receive?

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:25 pm

  146. Even if this is technically not illegal, it is wrong to take my money at gunpoint on the argument that Americans need to be fed, and then to watch that money be used to send food overseas.

    Again: if they have enough money to send it out of the country, they don’t need MY money.

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:26 pm

  147. It is interesting to think about how far one might go to help their family. Would I break the law? In some situations or if the law were slight enough, perhaps so, but I hope I wouldn’t do so intentionally.

    Part of the beauty of America was that we respected the law even when it effectively couldn’t be enforced. Most of us obeyed the law because it was the right thing to do. Used to, people who thought like that were called citizens. Now people who think like that are called suckers.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:27 pm

  148. Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic – third world disasters and Jamaica leading the group with average salary less than 8k a year. Billions of aid missing in action in Haiti and in typical third world life, the average joe goes without and a few corrupt pols live lavishly.

    While understanding it is fundsmentally dishonest to store EBT purchased foods and send them home , I just can’t get too exercised about it. If they were buying big screens or bling, it would be another story. By grace alone, I have never been third world hungry and without. For me, this falls under the spirit of the law rather the letter of the law.

    Comment by Dana (6178d5) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:28 pm

  149. As I said above with my income tax deduction, are you going to tell me how I can and can’t spend the money I saved on my income tax bill?

    You have fallen for the lefty premise that tax money wasn’t really ever yours to begin with, and that deductions are more akin to government “spending” than they are about letting people keep their own money.

    Have I taught you nothing here? :)

    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:29 pm

  150. I agree completely, DRJ. I speak only for myself when I say that I never thought, even for a moment, that you, or anyone else had a lack of compassion; I do not read hearts.

    There is such a thing as righteous anger. I place my righteous anger on our elected officials for being so foolish with our money.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:32 pm

  151. It’s your money, MD, not the government’s. Welfare beneficiaries are using the taxpayer’s money.
    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:20 pm

    Only from one perspective, DRJ. Some would say it is the government’s money because the law says I need to pay such a percentage of my income to the government, and the fact that another law grants me an exception compared to others is unfair.
    Once the person receiving welfare benefits receives welfare benefits, it is their money, not the taxpayers.
    If you want to argue, argue with the government that took your money, not Miss Smith who is only thinking about sending rice to her mother.

    But, if doing this is a violation of the rules, then it is a violation of the rules.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:33 pm

  152. read it and weep

    http://watchdog.org/96500/illinois-rewarded-for-misspending-only-52-million-on-food-stamps/

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:34 pm

  153. “It is interesting to think about how far one might go to help their family. Would I break the law? In some situations or if the law were slight enough, perhaps so, but I hope I wouldn’t do so intentionally.”

    I have no idea how I would respond if my family were in dire straits, however, I suspect we all would have a line of desperation that once met we would do whatever it took to feed our family. I have just never been faced with a situation that called for integrity and dignity to be sacrificed for the sake of my family. On this side of the line I would say that would never happen. However, I suspect being on the other side of the line Is an entirely different matter altogether.

    Comment by Dana (6178d5) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:35 pm

  154. I am curious how they can ship a heavy barrel of foodstuffs to a foreign country for only $70.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:37 pm

  155. Hoagie (#40 — 7/21/2013 @ 4:48 pm) asks, after quoting one of my comments above: “Data points? Are you guys going off your rockers?”

    No, I don’t think I am. But I am selective about what I choose to get outraged about, and what I choose merely to disapprove of. Your mileage may vary, but I’d appreciate it if folks will at least not turn my comments into some sort of endorsement of welfare fraud.

    Hoagie also wrote, “Millions of people on welfare and food stamps is not noble, they’re not victims, they’re participants in a wealth redistribution scam.” There probably are millions of whom that’s true, but that’s not true of everyone receiving those benefits. Pretending that — overgeneralizing — is not productive, and is indeed counterproductive, if you want to improve the system.

    Our host writes (#52 — 7/21/2013 @ 5:03 pm) that the way to change things so that welfare recipients neither spend money on luxuries nor send non-luxuries abroad to others is: “No more welfare.” I don’t think that is a realistic expectation, nor would I personally think it an appropriate result. There’s a great deal that I’d see changed, immediately and dramatically, in the system, starting with returning this responsibility to its traditional guardians (state and local governments for some things, churches and charities for others). And I agree that the system is being massively gamed, and actively and deliberately rigged, and that partisan politics of the most cynical and crass and sleazy sort are the explanation. But absolutists don’t make many converts; I’m certainly not converted to that point of view even though I’m quite vehement in my criticism of the current system’s many flaws.

    I reject the presumtion that on a dollar-for-dollar, direct basis, every dollar which a welfare recipient can devote to buying food to send abroad means the welfare beneficiary’s benefits are $1 too generous. There are family members here who will cut their own “rations,” if you want to use that term (and it is appropriate from these critics’ viewpoint, I guess) to less than safe levels in order to keep a foreign relative from starving altogether. We’re not talking about simple or smooth supply and demand curves, we’re not dealing with widgets, and not all, or even most, of the individual decisionmakers here are acting solely as rational economic actors under no compulsion and with perfect information.

    If instead your solution is to give in-kind rather than cash subsidies, I understand the appeal of that, and I might be persuadable that reforms in that direction would be appropriate. But be prepared for people to react by saying “More federal cheese warehouses? Really? That’s your solution?” So be prepared to defend it.

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:37 pm

  156. felipe, it’s not a zero sum game.

    It isn’t a lack of compassion to prefer someone not defraud taxpayers in a broke country so a welfare recipient can send food they didn’t pay for to another country.

    Opposing that shows compassion for the people who would have to pay for that. If someone enough people in 1990 had compassion for Detroits citizens today. If only enough people today had compassion for kids who will come of age in this country in ten or twenty years.

    Furthermore, if a country needs reform, it’s best that a people get on with it instead of stealing food from us. Similarly, the man who steals bread to feed his family would have been better off to get a job. The theft is understandable, but getting a job would be wiser.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:38 pm

  157. DRJ: Freight aggregators pack amazing amounts into containers that can then be shipped, on a volume and tonnage basis, amazingly cheaply.

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:39 pm

  158. Have I taught you nothing here? :)
    Comment by Patterico (9c670f) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:29 pm

    Au contrare’, I know exactly what I was doing in making that argument.

    I am just saying that from Miss Smith’s perspective, once she has legally obtained benefit’s in her hand, is it up to her to value the national debt of the US over sending her mother some rice and eating ground turkey herself instead of a beef roast?

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:42 pm

  159. I agree with our much-respected host that taxes collected are OURS, not governments money. We expect our elected officials to be good stewards of our money. Somewhere along the line these guys (the “elect”) began to think the money was theirs. I have learned something:-)

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:42 pm

  160. Once the person receiving welfare benefits receives welfare benefits, it is their money, not the taxpayers.

    wrong: it is still the tax payer’s money, because that’s where it came from. without taxes, the government wouldn’t have a dime to hand over to anyone, for anything.

    coerced charity isn’t charity, it’s theft, and immoral. you want to help people, do it out of your pocket, not mine.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:44 pm

  161. Sort of the reverse of folks who are extremely liberal in their youth and then mature into conservatives when they see the unintended consequences of liberalism’s largesse with other people’s money and recognize that the Money Tree is a myth and the Golden Goose has a terminal illness.

    It’s not really that. I accept the aggregate negative consequences of a welfare state. It diminishes charity, through excess taxation and the diffusion of responsibility; if is self-perpetuating and tends towards unstoppable growth, as bureaucracies always are — including the criminal justice system, I’ll add; and it damages the family, since replacing fathers with welfare allows families to break up which is devastating toward children’s development — not to mention the necessity of leaving young children neglected at daycares and primary schools because of needing 2 incomes to pay the high taxes.

    So I get that.

    But what I don’t get is going after these humans’ morals for their extremely understandable actions given the circumstances they’re in.

    If the laws are problematic, then change the laws. But really. You wouldn’t, before you are able to find a job having emigrated to a new country to look for one, apply for a benefit you were legally entitled to and send off a care package to your hungry family where there is a famine/lack? I find that hard to believe. I hope that isn’t true about you.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:44 pm

  162. “We expect our elected officials to be good stewards of our money. Somewhere along the line these guys (the “elect”) began to think the money was theirs. ”

    How silly of us to have such unrealistic expectations and misplaced trust. The reason they think the money is “theirs” is because an apathetic citizenry allowed it. At this point, its almost beyond repair as its become a generational way of life for pols…. Just like welfare families.

    Comment by Dana (6178d5) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:47 pm

  163. How silly of us to have such unrealistic expectations and misplaced trust. The reason they think the money is “theirs” is because an apathetic citizenry allowed it. At this point, its almost beyond repair as its become a generational way of life for pols…. Just like welfare families.

    The Free Shit Army. All 52% of it.

    Comment by Moriah Jovan (74a54f) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:47 pm

  164. the only reason there is famine or hunger anywhere in the world is because governments and various factions use food as a weapon. there is plenty of food to go around, it just isn’t distributed evenly, and throwing tax money at the problem only makes it worse, not better.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:48 pm

  165. Former Conservative,

    At least you got your name right—you are indeed a former conservative. In fact, you can bitch and moan all you want, but you’re actually a Current Liberal.

    Your justification of poor people making poor choices with money they’ve been given by taxpayers (who actually had their money confiscated by Uncle Sam) is an example of poor decision making unto itself.
    Perhaps you should just stick to ranting and raving about the Joooooos ! forcing circumcision upon infants.

    Good Allah.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (00fc2d) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:51 pm

  166. it is still the tax payer’s money, because that’s where it came from. without taxes, the government wouldn’t have a dime to hand over to anyone, for anything.

    OK, but by this logic, that includes every soldier, USPS worker, the President, health inspectors, mayors, sheriffs, and the person who processes your passport application.

    I think anarchy is in principle the ultimate moral political system. I don’t think it’s practical. Maybe you could solve criminal justice problems in a free market (police, courts, and the military being the main minarchist arguments for a government), but I have no idea how you would solve the problem of 3 statist army corps, a fleet off your coast, and 7 air wings — especially since mercenaries have often split when the going gets tough in combat, historically.

    I’m just pointing out that while what you said is perfectly true, to carry it to its logical end, this applies to anyone receiving a penny from the government for any purpose.

    So are you an anarcho-capitilist?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:52 pm

  167. *capitalist

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:55 pm

  168. If you take charity, you damn well better respect that it was charity. If you don’t, because the people seeking your vote have made charity an ‘entitlement’, then it’s on the people to get rid of these politicians. They don’t because of a mix of apathy, as Dana notes, vanity, as a few here have displayed, and greed, as the fraudsters are showing.

    It’s charity. If you don’t need it to survive, you’re a shameless loser for accepting it.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:56 pm

  169. Hypothetical: Disabled U.S. Army veteran, legless since an IUD in Iraq, is receiving financial and other valuable assistance from a variety of organizations, some private and some public; and of the public ones, some federal (e.g., medical care from the V.A.; food stamps through an ebt card) and some state (free lunches for his kids at public schools).

    He sends a barrel of rice to the family in the Iraqi village who helped pull him out of his burning Army truck. He figures he’ll go without supper three times a week for the next few weeks until he’s covered the cost of that gift.

    Shall we turn him away from rehab tomorrow at the V.A.? Do his kids go hungry at school tomorrow on grounds that they ought to have eaten that rice?

    Be prepared for the Dems to find that guy and bring him and his kids on-stage as often as possible. The sponsoring candidates will blow you big kisses as their fundraising soars.

    Friends and neighbors, we are in a target-rich environment for spotting government waste, fraud, and abuse, along with government policies that are destroying the fabric of our civil society. Can we not find better crusades than this particular one upon which to expend our energies? I can.

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:56 pm

  170. Former Conservative,

    When money is given to soldiers or mailmen or federal inspectors, they’re being compensated for working a job.
    By contrast, people who receive welfare or food stamps are not being compensated for working a job—rather, they’re being given handouts.

    You seriously cannot delineate the difference ?

    Comment by Elephant Stone (00fc2d) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:57 pm

  171. People traveling overseas for an extended period can save much money by packing things in a freight container and sending it by “a slow boat”.

    Let me try to reiterate.
    In my mind this discussion has not been about US welfare policy, it has been what is legal and fair within the current system for Miss Smith.
    If Miss Smith has immigrated to the US and wants a better life for herself and plans to work and move up in the world, in other words plans to invest herself in her new land
    how is it wrong if she, as an individual, wants to divert some of her benefits to a family member back home?
    Now, if it is explicitly illegal to do this, this has all been wasted time.

    One problem with impersonal governmental assistance is that it is impersonal, it doesn’t maintain personal responsibility.
    Say a family gets x dollars a month for food, it is a perfect family of 4, she lost her job, he was injured in an accident at home and can’t work and used up his sick days. Now, however it was decided that “X” was the amount of money they were to get for food they can use in different ways. We do not give out bags of rice and beans per person, we do not sat only 10% can be spent on meat, or that you can only buy 75% lean ground beef or the cheapest tuna fish. The govt cannot micromanage on that scale. Neighbors helping out can do that, but not the govt, and that is what we currently have.

    I just find this an odd place to focus so much energy in protest.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:58 pm

  172. If the laws are problematic, then change the laws. But really. You wouldn’t, before you are able to find a job having emigrated to a new country to look for one, apply for a benefit you were legally entitled to and send off a care package to your hungry family where there is a famine/lack? I find that hard to believe. I hope that isn’t true about you.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c)

    Completely hypothetical and beside the point. If said act is against the law then it should not occur. Justice tempered with mercy would be called for when folks are “caught” doing this to feed family left behind in another country, but if some are found to have done this for profit, they should have the book thrown at them.

    Canadians are free to send cases of back bacon and Molson wherever they choose. You should endeavour to promote that, eh.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:59 pm

  173. legally granted tax dollars withdrawn at liquor stores, strip clubs, bingo parlors

    Talk amongst yourselves–

    http://www.nbc-2.com/story/15478933/investigators-ebt-transactions

    Comment by elissa (5a1c32) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:01 pm

  174. a million here, several billion there and pretty soon, we’re talking real money.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:01 pm

  175. and let’s be honest about what the true purpose of food stamps, welfare, and all the other “assistance” programs are: they’re not there to help people in temporary need. the programs exist to provide permanent employment for a horde of unionized government slugs, who routinely support Demonrat politicians & programs, thus ensuring that their unproductive j*bs continue to exist and expand, while providing members of the “Free Sh*t Army” a steady supply of bribes to keep them voting for the same Demonrats.

    when there is a negative inducement to w*rk, rather than receive welfare, something is wrong.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:02 pm

  176. You are right, Dustin. I don’t know who brought up the “lack of compassion” angle, but it is not helpful to this conversation.

    With all due respect, red, I disagree. Once our taxes are given away to a private person, that money is theirs. The fact that they can spend their money in any (legal)way they want, is proof that they live in a free country, not a symptom of our gullibility. Reducing their freedom is reducing my freedom. What I want to do is “shake” some sense into the idiots who thought it was a good idea expand entitlements. Better still, replace them

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:02 pm

  177. Beldar, your hypothetical soldier could:

    - Start a charity and use his experiences to convince people to help his Iraqi city.

    - Return any unused food stamps to be used by other hungry Americans, especially now when so many people are hurting.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:04 pm

  178. Can we not find better crusades than this particular one upon which to expend our energies? I can.
    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:56 pm

    That’s what I’m trying to say.

    Yes, there are millions of people cheating a bad system, and the system is bad and corrupting millions of people even when they aren’t cheating.

    But the idea of taking away Miss Smith’s EBT card because she used her money to buy rice and beans for two instead of bread and meat for one seems to me to be down on the priority list.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:08 pm

  179. Welfare beneficiaries are not free to do whatever they want with their benefits. Most benefits come with restrictions, especially food stamps and WIC packages. In addition, virtually all welfare benefits are implemented and disbursed at the state level, so additional restrictions may apply depending on where they live.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:09 pm

  180. you’re actually a Current Liberal.

    Your justification of poor people making poor choices with money they’ve been given by taxpayers

    What possible better choice can a person make with money, however legally obtained, than to feed their family out of curiosity?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:12 pm

  181. Beldar, this is not the worst abuse out there, but it interests me for that reason. There seems to be a prevailing attitude that if the aims addressed by a government expenditure are worthy aims, then we should not oppose the government expenditure, or at the very least we should not be terribly concerned about that government expenditure. I recognize that poor people go hungry, but I don’t believe that government expenditures are the way to address that problem. Therefore, when people are spending my taxpayer dollars on things that are not truly necessary, I get irritated — even if one could mount an argument that the end towards which the money is being spent a good end. I believe there are plenty of people who can’t provide food for themselves or for their families, but I believe the way to address that issue is through private charity and not government. Therefore, I get especially irritated when I am told that I need to spend government money in order to take care of the poor people in this country, and it turns out they have plenty of money enough that they can use my taxpayer money to buy food for people in other parts of the world.

    In other words, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s another example of something we can’t afford. We just can’t afford to do this.

    Comment by Patterico (a0e22f) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:12 pm

  182. So I guess for the 2014 midterms, the GOP should re-make the Dems’ Mediscare commercial with the old lady and the wheelchair and the cliff, but this time it should really be Paul Ryan pushing it, and he should really throw a real old lady off a real cliff.

    Seems to me that’s what the political consequence of “End Entitlements, Don’t Fix Them” would be. Let’s run that ticket in 2016, perhaps. We can get Mitt Romney and John McCain to flip a coin, loser gets the POTUS spot on the ticket.

    I’m sorry, I’m being snarky, and I don’t mean to give anyone offense. I understand the annoyance; I confess to experiencing it myself and for the same sorts of causes. But friends, misuse of welfare benefits is hardly new news. This same argument probably gripped the Roman Senate in their arguments about proper intended per-capita usage of bread and circuses, and they all actually knew what “per capita” meant.

    I question no one’s motives or patriotism on this topic, but I think I shall leave it to those more convinced of its importance to continue to debate.

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:13 pm

  183. This is why I put “legal” in parenthesis. Even we hard working people may not do whatever we want with our money. Try hiring a hit man.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:15 pm

  184. I assume Former Conservative that that little caveat “however legally obtained” is your way of saying they are justified taking your hard earned money to “feed their family” as long as the law holds a gun to your head and declares it “legal”.

    You are free to believe that. But once the government aims the gun at my head and says “feed their family” I have a duty to my own family to tell them to piss off.

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:17 pm

  185. Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:04 pm

    Beldar’s soldier certainly could do those things and a hundred others.

    He could also sit and do nothing about anything.

    What the system has turned into does not affect the individual in “true” need. An individual is not responsible to make up for the injustices of a system. An individual is asked to be responsible in their sphere. Someone who writes laws has one set of responsibilities, someone who enforces laws has another set of responsibilities.

    DRJ, do you really begrudge the example of Beldar’s soldier? He lost his legs in service to his country, he has earned the support of his country. Who has the right to tell him how to be generous with what he is given as recompense?

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:18 pm

  186. Beldar,

    Interesting that you compare America to Rome since some believe the Roman Empire spent itself into economic chaos that was a “major factor” in its fall.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:21 pm

  187. I think it may be possible to sell a “let’s fix welfare” commercial by showing some documented extreme examples of abuse. Maybe fraudulent recipients pushing a tax payer over the cliff? Or more aptly robbing them at the ATM?

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:22 pm

  188. Welfare assistance is necessary to meet the short-term needs of people who have legally migrated to this country. I had understood that people were not allowed to legally immigrate to this country if they had no means to adequately support themselves and their dependents… is that not the case anymore?

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:23 pm

  189. I agree with Beldar.

    You are making Howard Dean look correct in saying that the GOP doesn’t care if children go to bed hungry.

    Maybe this is “the straw that broke the camel’s back” for some of you, but for some of us it is like saying we can’t afford to feed the pet bird anymore when the 2 Doberman’s eat a lot more.

    I am surprised this has taken so much of my/our time and energy. Good night, I’ll check back tomorrow.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:24 pm

  190. DRJ, do you really begrudge the example of Beldar’s soldier? He lost his legs in service to his country, he has earned the support of his country. Who has the right to tell him how to be generous with what he is given as recompense?

    Yes, actually.

    In Beldar’s hypothetical, the soldier goes without supper (hey, Beldar, we call it dinner out here in West Texas!) 3x a week to pay for it. Those food stamps were given to him because he needs the food. His medical condition is such that nutrition is probably more important than usual.

    There are other ways he can help and honor the people who helped him. And one of the ways he can help and honor the Americans that are helping him now is by sticking to the rules.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:25 pm

  191. Felipe… let’s have a seedy looking fella withdrawing EBT money from an ATM at a strip club and occasionally stuffing a $1 bill in teh G-string of a scrawny, haltingly dancing middle-aged taxpayer… male or female…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:29 pm

  192. First – this article is Glass, pure stephened

    second – shipping personal goods overseas over 50 in value requires paperwork

    third -it is illegal to sell, trade, or transfer food stamp funds or goods

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:31 pm

  193. fourth – it’s… PeeWee!!!!

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:33 pm

  194. Great discussion. Almost embarassed to add my two cents.

    America’s farmers favor food stamps and free foreign food aid as much as the recipients do. That’s how they, the farmers, feed their families. Every tax exempt dollar to a 503(c) must be replaced from another source, but we want the charitables to do what they do even when it includes paying $80m for a Miro. It is not only giving fish or teaching how to fish.

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:35 pm

  195. Hmm. Well, DRJ, I guess I find your view as one that is taking away the man’s freedom. Unless you declare an adult to be mentally incompetent, you can’t tell them what they can and can’t eat. (Perhaps you can as a condition of employment if you are a professional athlete or something, IDK).

    Maybe the food stamps were given him as part of his benefits for the disabled because the regs don’t like to just give out cash, as part of a monthly income package since he can’t currently work. If he had not gone to war and had not lost his legs he could work and spend his money as he pleased.
    But because he lost his legs and is dependent on the government the government gets to tell him now much he should eat each day?

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:36 pm

  196. I agree with Beldar.

    You are making Howard Dean look correct in saying that the GOP doesn’t care if children go to bed hungry.

    I’m surprised you’re falling for the liberal shibboleth that opposing government doing something means you don’t want *anyone* to do it.

    Comment by Patterico (c5f28c) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:37 pm

  197. *501(c)*

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:39 pm

  198. No, the government doesn’t tell our hypothetical soldier what, how much, or when to eat. But it does calculate how many food stamps he needs and gives them to him to buy food for his needs.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:40 pm

  199. I was responding to Beldar’s hypothetical, MD. With most of these cases, the assumption is the welfare beneficiaries are scrimping and doing without so they can help someone else. I’m saying this particular welfare beneficiary, our hypothetical wounded soldier, probably needs the nutrition.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:43 pm

  200. “Had everyone know the end-game of this bait and switch fraud was one person’s private money was going to be turned into someone else’s private money, with no strings attached to how that money is then spent, it never would have happened”

    I agree completely, Steve57. This is a part of my own anger. I would like to see the government get out of the entitlements business altogether.

    I would vote for a candidate who said something like:

    I will freeze and phase out all entitlement programs at the rate of 5% per year over twenty years while simultaneously phasing in a tax reduction of x at rate of 5% per year over twenty years so that you, as a generous people may directly help our less fortunate brothers and sisters around us – trusting in your good judgment as to who is most needy.

    Put trust into the citizenry – what’s not to like?
    What candidate will argue that the citizenry have poor judgment?;-)

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:46 pm

  201. 168. Hypothetical: Disabled U.S. Army veteran, legless since an IUD in Iraq, is receiving financial and other valuable assistance from a variety of organizations, some private and some public; and of the public ones, some federal (e.g., medical care from the V.A.; food stamps through an ebt card) and some state (free lunches for his kids at public schools).

    Comment by Beldar (7626b1) — 7/21/2013 @ 6:56 pm

    Perhaps if we weren’t importing welfare colonists from third world nations and giving them such excessively generous benefits that they can send barrels of taxpayer-purchased foodstuffs back overseas, we could afford to provide medical retirement to those who have earned them through service to this country sufficient to meet their needs without putting them on welfare.

    This is why this waste on things like foodstamps isn’t inconsequential. It demonstrates seriously screwed up national priorities.

    Comment by Steve57 (2dd692) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:48 pm

  202. I’m not falling for any lib anything

    I’ll repeat what I think explains some of the discord, you see this as indicative of what is wrong with the country
    I see it as focusing on a “beside the point”

    Do you really want to put your flag on the mountain of people diverting some of their benefits to send rice and beans to relatives overseas?
    Are there not enough more obvious and less sympathetic causes to champion?

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:50 pm

  203. LOL, colonel! I like it. where do I send my “seed” money to make that ad?

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:51 pm

  204. fraud is fraud, theft is theft, and abuse is abuse.

    either we are against such things everywhere, or we are not a nation of laws.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:52 pm

  205. What’s the beef? IRS lackeys are told to ignore probable fraud when illegal aliens claim child income credits to obtain refund checks for dependents such as nephews and nieces living in Mexico or Canada. You might try the same but you need that special number..something like ITN #? Get a mail drop and have the funds sent as a debit card.

    NSA can look at every email and phone call but IRS can send thousands of checks totally millions of dollars to one postal address. Or cons getting multiple bogus refunds sent to their prisons.

    When I was a kid, you went to a center a picked up surplus food. Most of it was awful and some things like flour had visible rodent feces. I recall green powdered eggs, powdered milk, mystery meat, peanut butter and butter. If you are hungry, it helped out. Back in the early 60s in Pennsylvania, two minor children and their grandmother also were given two checks monthly totaling $122. I think after LBJ, things improved and you have baby daddies bragging about their “careers” collecting six figure incomes from the welfare checks for their kids by various women.
    Is it fraud today? I’ve actually seen an older woman using an EBT card for luxury foods and then driving off in a very expensive set of wheels. Some people game the system of course. But I wonder how much money is wasted on layers of bureaucrats shuffling paperwork.

    Comment by calypso louie Farrakhan (53ccf5) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:52 pm

  206. (B) committed any act that constitutes a violation of this chapter, the regulations issued thereunder, or any State statute, for the using, presenting, transferring, acquiring, receiving, or possessing program benefits, shall, immediately upon the rendering of such determination, become ineligible for further participation in the program—

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:54 pm

  207. A question: Is there a moral difference between buying food with food stamps and then giving the food to your foreign family, and selling the food stamps so you can send money to your family?

    I don’t see any difference, but I think most people would agree you shouldn’t be able to sell food stamps because it frustrates the goal of the program and encourages fraud.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:54 pm

  208. One way or another, those calling for an end to this abuse will get their way. Because eventually you run out of other people’s money.

    It would be a lot better… a lot more compassionate even, if we ended things before they got to that point. But some will say doing so is heartless. They are buying their own vanity with the suffering of future Americans and calling us heartless in the process.

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:55 pm

  209. Felipe… let’s have a seedy looking fella withdrawing EBT money from an ATM at a strip club and occasionally stuffing a $1 bill in teh G-string of a scrawny, haltingly dancing middle-aged taxpayer… male or female…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (d6f460) — 7/21/2013 @

    Endowment for the arts!

    Comment by Dustin (b2a7b7) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:55 pm

  210. We could portray this as a noble family scrimping on food to send sorely needed foodstuffs to their beloved family members in the Caribbean. Or it could be people abusing the food stamp program to sell black market goods at inflated prices in a third world nation. I suspect there are some of each and, if it helps, I agree we should go after the latter much harder than the former.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:57 pm

  211. Whoever presents, or causes to be presented, benefits for payment or redemption of the value of $100 or more knowing the same to have been received, transferred, or used in any manner in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon the first conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both,

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:58 pm

  212. EPWJ, to establish a crime under that portion, you have to prove this part of that passage in bold:

    committed any act that constitutes a violation of this chapter, the regulations issued thereunder, or any State statute for the using, presenting, transferring, acquiring, receiving, or possessing program benefits

    That passage isn’t claiming that “using” benefits is criminal, now is it?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:01 pm

  213. “..but I think most people would agree you shouldn’t be able to sell food stamps because it frustrates the goal of the program and encourages fraud.”

    As I suggested DRJ, we don’t need food stamps because the beneficiaries don’t need food stamps….they need food! All we need to do is set up state wide food banks and instead of giving people cards, allow them to shop for food under the control of the state. They are state wards after all, so we need to control their actions. If they have the freedom to spend OUR money anywhere on any thing it’s just like the old food coupons or WWII ration stamps. Fraud, fraud, fraud. In PA if you want liquor you have to go to a state liquor store. So lets make state food stores open only to welfare people and carrying only approved food.

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:03 pm

  214. Whoever presents, or causes to be presented, benefits for payment or redemption of the value of $100 or more knowing the same to have been received, transferred, or used in any manner in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon the first conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both,

    Again, there may be a relevant law here, but you’re not citing enough of it to tell. In this case, the key part is how do the provisions require the benefit to be used?

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:03 pm

  215. It is surprising to me that people don’t see the fundamental gal problem with a system that allows our tax dollars to easily go support families in other countries.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:05 pm

  216. As I suggested DRJ, we don’t need food stamps because the beneficiaries don’t need food stamps….they need food! All we need to do is set up state wide food banks and instead of giving people cards, allow them to shop for food under the control of the state. They are state wards after all, so we need to control their actions. If they have the freedom to spend OUR money anywhere on any thing it’s just like the old food coupons or WWII ration stamps. Fraud, fraud, fraud. In PA if you want liquor you have to go to a state liquor store. So lets make state food stores open only to welfare people and carrying only approved food.

    Yeah, I don’t think this moving to increased statism and communist-style bread line-ups is the answer.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:05 pm

  217. Christoph’s WOTD was to call others statists, for disagreeing with a statist system that perpetuates govt dependency and turns a blind eye to fraud, waste, and abuse.

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:11 pm

  218. FC–I think Hoagie’s suggesting something along the lines of a BX. These seem to work pretty well, don’t they?

    Comment by elissa (5a1c32) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:11 pm

  219. In Haiti, the black market is so pervasive that it has doubled the price of rice. Thus, we can argue it’s even more important for American family members to help their family in Haiti. But I think we also have to admit there’s no guarantee that’s where the food ends up. Even if the family members are honest and sincere, food shipments are reportedly being stolen and sold on the black market, and I assume that includes shipments like the ones in the post.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:11 pm

  220. Do you mean to tell me that people actually take advantage of government programs for personal gain?

    I am aghast.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:12 pm

  221. FC

    its illegal. Not any question.

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:12 pm

  222. Jd, I think the fundamental problem is the government thinks our money is theirs to give away to the extent that they have obtained a credit card to charge everything against the earnings of all future generations.

    We all agree there is a problem, we all agree there is blame to lay. We just disagree on the finer point of where and who – and prolly why.

    This is a great post with a good discussion.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:13 pm

  223. FC–I think Hoagie’s suggesting something along the lines of a BX. These seem to work pretty well, don’t they?

    Whatever the military is, it isn’t cheap. I have serious doubts about the economics of a government-run nation-wide system of food stores.

    Of course, it still wouldn’t stop one from putting aside part of their rice and bean ration and shipping it.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:14 pm

  224. its illegal. Not any question.

    Then cite the part that shows that.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:16 pm

  225. Of course, it still wouldn’t stop one from putting aside part of their rice and bean ration and shipping it.

    Who currently gets a rice and bean ration?

    Comment by JD (b63a52) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:16 pm

  226. Who currently gets a rice and bean ration?

    It’s under Hoagie’s suggestion that the government run a system of food retail stores for welfare recipients.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:18 pm

  227. Here’s another weird thing that no one could believe:

    Last year in my region we had a terrible problem with West Nile Virus. Many people got sick and continue to have health problems.

    So, this year, the people in charge actually started to spray bad stuff to kill mosquitoes.

    And, this is where it gets weird: Hardly anyone has West Nile this year.

    I know this is hard to believe, but it happened.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:19 pm

  228. lol Ag80.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:20 pm

  229. Also, plastic barrels shouldnt be stacked especially in TEU’s, and are subject to deforming or splitting, overseas food stuff are usually shipped in steel, reinforced fiberglass, or cardboard barrels which can be stacked and secured,and are not able to be chewed through by rodents.

    those looked like light utility barrels not meant for shipping

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:25 pm

  230. FC

    where it says the benefits are solely for the benefit of the direct dependents on the application.

    Dumb….asss…..

    Comment by EPWJ (1cedce) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:28 pm

  231. JD @ 214: I see that problem.

    We are $17,000,000,0000,000 in debt. There are, conservatively, probably five billion people in the world whose situation would be radically improved by getting free food from America – either because they lack clean, healthy food to eat, or so that their grocery money would be freed up for other uses, like home heating.

    Those two pieces of information tell us – or at least me – that it is simply not possible to even attempt to have the U.S. government meet the nutritional needs of the entire world.

    Furthermore, SNAP isn’t about feeding relatives overseas; it’s about making sure people in America do not starve.

    As a pragmatic matter, I would guess that almost every person doing this is engaged in some serious fraud. The SNAP allotments are so low that anyone who has a lot of extra money to spend is probably lying about their income, expenses, or family size.

    There is almost no room for play in the calculations of how much someone has to spend on food. The basic calculation is: earned income minus twenty percent); that plus any other income that is received by not earned(e.g. Social Security, SSDI, retirement, etc.), minus $149. Take that number, subtract off court-mandated child support, actual child care expenses, and medical expenses over $35/month ONLY IF elderly or disabled. Take that number (preliminary adjusted net income), divide by two. If shelter expenses exceed half of that, subtract the excess shelter expenses, up to $469, from the preliminary net, and arrive at a net income.

    Finally, SNAP allotment is $200 per month for the first person, plus an additional $167 per month for each additional person, minus 30% of net income. (So they assume that 30% of your net income is spent on food, and SNAP makes up the shortfall.)

    There is nothing in those calculations for transportation (except to or from medical appointments, if elderly or disabled, but not to and from work or school), clothing (well, except for some money for incidentals), wireless internet access or cable, pet care, care of family members who are not part of the household, or student loans or any type of debt. If you have enough money lying around to spend hundreds of dollars on shipping costs, you’re probably fudging the numbers.

    Comment by bridget (37b281) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:32 pm

  232. Common’ Former Conservative I am in no way moving toward “moving to increased statism and communist-style bread line-ups”. I’m saying it’s our money and we have a right to control how it’s spent. All I’m pointing out is if we continue to give people “credit cards” to buy food anywhere they want they will buy all kinds of shit we didn’t bargain for and that is where fraud starts. If we control WHERE they can spend it then we can control WHAT they spend it on. Which would exclude strippers, vacations in Bermuda and in casinos. Get it?

    Comment by Hoagie (3259ab) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:36 pm

  233. As for legality: SNAP benefits are only to be purchased by authorised users (each of whom must have their own card), and MUST be used for the purchase and preparation of the meals for the household that is on the SNAP assistance unit.

    At least here in the Commonwealth, I will refer you to 106 CMR 360.100 et seq, regarding the proper use of SNAP benefits.

    I will also point out that those who do not reside in the state which issues benefits are not eligible for benefits and there are citizenship/residency requirement for benefits. It would stand to reason that if you are not not eligible for SNAP on your own, you are not an appropriate recipient of benefits. For a reference, see 106 CMR 362.100 and 362.200.

    But what do I know…..

    Comment by bridget (37b281) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:45 pm

  234. The intent of tax dollars is for liberals to assuage their guilt for injustice and the cause of the day.

    I somehow doubt that actual infrastructure improvements or improving lives enters the equation.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:46 pm

  235. bridget,

    It sounds like you know a lot about this topic.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:52 pm

  236. Tiny little destitute anchor baby citizens are entitled to government relief but are too young to make their own shopping selections is my understanding.

    Comment by elissa (5a1c32) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:54 pm

  237. DRJ: I was being facetious. At one point in my legal career, I was hired on a contract basis by the state to hear and decide SNAP appeals. Ah, the life of an ALJ – you know far too much about one totally arcane subject.

    Comment by bridget (37b281) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:57 pm

  238. From Maetenloch via Ace on the tumblr.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:59 pm

  239. bridget, food stamps are supposed to supplement a budget, not replace it. It actually is easy to get stamps; Ben Stein recently recounted how a friend of his qualified and got one month for a (pointed) lark. States get bonuses based on enrollment, so it’s win/win except for taxpayers.

    I’m tempted to apply; sounds like good insurance against the coming Detroitiac storm.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:11 pm

  240. “So, this year, the people in charge actually started to spray bad stuff to kill mosquitoes.”

    Spray?

    Could you give us your location, sir? It will go easier if you just tell us.

    Comment by EPA Apparatchik (be0117) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:12 pm

  241. Nothin’ from nothin’ but Derek Trucks is a damn fine guitarist.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (146aeb) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:20 pm

  242. It would stand to reason that if you are not not eligible for SNAP on your own, you are not an appropriate recipient of benefits.

    Well, it would stand to reason that the beneficiary could get in trouble, including losing eligibility.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:24 pm

  243. Off topic alert: this bears no relevance to the thread at all.

    But it’s still a fun read.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:33 pm

  244. bridget, food stamps are supposed to supplement a budget, not replace it.

    Having worked in the SNAP system, Patricia, I am well aware of that fact. That is why I said,

    (So they assume that 30% of your net income is spent on food, and SNAP makes up the shortfall.)

    What I am not aware of is why you directed your comment at me, or think it is in response to anything I wrote.

    Comment by bridget (37b281) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:41 pm

  245. Bridget’s comments kinda seal the deal on the morality of this one.

    As far as the idea that it’s heartless for conservatives to object (and thus a reason for someone to be so emotionally affected by this that they shun conservatism), I suspect all adult conservatives in this thread have donated charity to the poor and hungry. I even suspect most of them do so regularly and generously, but do not toot their own horn about it (The way liberals do about government assistance) because doing so is unseemly and unchristian.

    So they know that feeding the hungry is a good thing.

    I bet a lot of them, if not all of them, know that there is nothing so good that it can’t be overdone. Too much of a good nutrient is poisonous. Forced charity (via government coercion) via food stamps, now not stamps but automatically charged debit cards, where you need not be a citizen or follow the law to qualify, where you expiration laws and eligibility stips are not enforced, to the point where the recipients are packing enormous quantities of goods to ship to other lands… that’s too much.

    Those who don’t have a problem with it because ‘there are bigger problems to get worked up about’ are probably making a sensible prioritization… if only we could solve any of this. But I think some of those feeling that way are insecure about the progressive attack that conservatives are heartless just for wanting some order and sustainability before things really get out of hand economically.

    Comment by Dustin (303dca) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:46 pm

  246. Bridget’s comments kinda seal the deal on the morality of this one.

    No they don’t. Just the legality.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:49 pm

  247. Because you seem to be saying that if you have money left over while you are on benefits that you are fudging numbers somewhere. And I’m saying that people who are not poor are qualifying, or so they say.

    If I’m wrong about your point, I apologize.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:50 pm

  248. Christoph: the arbiter of morality, or troll?

    Comment by Dustin (303dca) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:53 pm

  249. And I’m saying that people who are not poor are qualifying, or so they say.

    If I’m wrong about your point, I apologize.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:50 pm

    I would go a step further and say that the truly poor are extremely rare in the USA. Most who call themselves poor here have plenty of food, but might have a 20 year old car and only a couple of old TVs and maybe a pay as you go phone instead of an iPhone 5.

    Food stamps are an obsolete concept altogether. We should instead take an idea from these thieves that Christoph admires and pack a box of rice and beans for the truly extreme cases of actual hunger in this country.

    Comment by Dustin (303dca) — 7/21/2013 @ 9:58 pm

  250. bridget,

    I think these regulations are state laws so they can vary, but in general would these be crimes or administrative violations? I can see an argument for treating it as a crime if someone were shipping food for resale vs treating it as an administrative violation if they were shipping food to needy family members.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 10:07 pm

  251. DRJ: my understanding is that it would be an administrative violation; the only penalties would be either repayment of funds or temporary suspension from the programme. (Permanent suspension takes work.)

    Comment by bridget (37b281) — 7/21/2013 @ 10:35 pm

  252. That seems fair. Thanks, bridget.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 7/21/2013 @ 10:36 pm

  253. Do you mean to tell me that people actually take advantage of government programs for personal gain?

    I am aghast.

    Comment by Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 7/21/2013 @ 8:12 pm

    this

    totally unexpected and unprecedented.

    who, besides Helen Keller, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could have foreseen this?

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 10:37 pm

  254. can one of you fans of food stamps point me to the relevant portion of the Constitution where it says the role of the federal government is to make sure people have food?

    i haven’t been able to find it yet…

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013 @ 10:39 pm

  255. #253

    First of all, I am no fan of food stamps. But, Red, I think “that” is in the soopersecret part of the constitution. You know, the “living, breathing” part and it just grew there, organically.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 10:59 pm

  256. Just look for the words “separation of church and state”, take a “left”, and you are there.

    Comment by felipe (6100bc) — 7/21/2013 @ 11:01 pm

  257. “can one of you fans of food stamps point me to the relevant portion of the Constitution where it says the role of the federal government is to make sure people have food?

    i haven’t been able to find it yet…

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013″

    The Good and Welfare Clause!

    Comment by Johnny Walker Conyers (303dca) — 7/21/2013 @ 11:06 pm

  258. Patricia: to slightly oversimplify my point, SNAP is meant to provide a supplement (hence the “S”) to a person’s income, to bring up his food-purchasing power to that of someone who lives at or slightly above the federal poverty level. If you’re living at/near the FPL, you just don’t have much leftover cash.

    A quick primer on the federal rules: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm

    Yes, there are families who do get it and probably do not need it, as they are getting so many other government goodies (Section 8 housing, HEAT and EAT, fuel assistance, cash payments, free health care, subsidised public transportation, etc.), but they are also behaving in ways that make normal people cringe. (It was always interesting to have a social worker rant to me after a hearing. “If you’re on disability, it means you can’t even take care of yourself. If you can’t take care of yourself, why did you have two more kids?”)

    But the flip side is: we’re paying for the KIDS to have good, healthy meals, to get fruits and vegetables, meat and cheese, at home. We’re probably paying for their health care, so we decided that it’s easier to give the parents money to buy healthy food than to pay for malnourishment. We want these kids to grow up strong, healthy, and as productive members of society, to focus in school, not constantly hungry because their parents sent away the food that American taxpayers wanted for them.

    If you want to talk morality, what of the morality involved in using your kids as a bludgeon (“You can’t let a twelve-year-old kid starve!”), but then using the benefits intended for that kid for your own desires (however noble those desires may be)?

    Comment by bridget (37b281) — 7/21/2013 @ 11:17 pm

  259. I would support a system where we stole from people who think this is OK and give the proceeds to the poor.

    At least, I would support it if the target was a self-righteous and annoying Canadian.

    Right, Former Christoph?

    Comment by Patterico (da54d9) — 7/21/2013 @ 11:31 pm

  260. I mean Former Conservative.

    Actually I don’t.

    Hey, anti-statists support no restrictions on abortion. Does that describe you, Former Conservative?

    Comment by Patterico (74b11e) — 7/21/2013 @ 11:35 pm

  261. that’s gonna leave a mark.

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:02 am

  262. They use it to bring food packages into prisons as well… we can only stop food stuffs clearly labeled as being from the USDA/Government programs for the underprivileged from entering the facility…it is insane…and disgusting!

    Comment by Pamela (17a6bb) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:11 am

  263. No wonder the democrats are saying they need to increase how much a family receives in food stamps ie. the Democrats Food stamp Challenge…. It would be impossible to feed a family extending to other countries on $4.50 a day.

    Comment by Pamela (17a6bb) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:15 am

  264. “can one of you fans of food stamps point me to the relevant portion of the Constitution where it says the role of the federal government is to make sure people have food?

    i haven’t been able to find it yet…

    Comment by redc1c4 (abd49e) — 7/21/2013″

    Glad you axed. Check out Wickard v. Filburn not just for the constitutional issue, but for the more important historical, political and economic context of food stamps.

    No snark intended. Pay farmers to burn wheat or ship wheat to Haiti?

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/22/2013 @ 4:03 am

  265. Again no snark intended, but since I’m talking about burning food …. The ethanol, that I do not want in my car, is heavily subsidized in various ways including forcing drivers to purchase it. The rationales are cleaner air and less “dependence on foreign oil”, and farmers agribusiness is delirious about it. Watcha think?

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/22/2013 @ 4:08 am

  266. What possible better choice can a person make with money, however legally obtained, than to feed their family out of curiosity?
    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 7/21/2013 @ 7:12 pm

    – Some people feed their family out of necessity, not “curiosity”.

    Comment by Icy, grammar cop with a point (2c258e) — 7/22/2013 @ 6:31 am

  267. ” But I think some of those feeling that way are insecure about the progressive attack that conservatives are heartless just for wanting some order and sustainability before things really get out of hand economically.”

    Dustin, I don’t care about progressive attacks and I freely admit in this issue I am not staunchly conservative in that as I stated above, I can’t get too exercised about this. I would rather Individual families send food directly to their own families on our dime and get into hungry children’s tummies than sending giant food aid and monetary aid To meet a desperate need but only to have it reach those in positions of power and corruption. Haiti anyone?

    Ideally these countries need to see I corrupt and abusive government overthrown and natural resources exploited for the every man’s gain. Ideally, no one would ever go hungry, too.

    Comment by Dana (6178d5) — 7/22/2013 @ 6:49 am

  268. Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 7/21/2013 @ 3:22 pm

    A poor person actually can eat healthy on limited financial resources—but it requires discipline and choice.

    It requires knowledge. Both of what to eat and where to get it, and also how to prepare different kinds of food.

    And lack of knowledge in general is one of thosde things that increases the probability of being poor.

    And it should not require discipline. If it requires discipline, you’ve pretty much lost the battle.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 6:54 am

  269. Even without the increasingly pervasive modern-day emotions of compassion for compassion’s sake, the image of a rail-thin child or adult suffering from a lack of food — and therefore tugging even more greatly at one’s heartstrings — doesn’t necessarily square with today’s reality.

    Getting teary eyed over the specter of low-income folks having limited access to food kind of reminds me of the good people of France, who consider merely the idea of raising the retirement age from 60 to something like 62 as being heartless and controversial. Hardly surprising that such legislation was recently nullified by that country’s current government.

    France or Greece (or Mexico, etc), or Detroit, is in America’s future.

    globalpost.com, July 8, 2013: Even as nearly half its people are poor and as officials launch a national anti-hunger campaign, Mexico by some accounts recently has replaced the United States as the chubbiest of the globe’s larger countries.

    Diabetes and cardiovascular ills spike, plus sizes cram clothing racks and Mexicans keep eating, eating, eating. While cutting across class lines, the crisis disproportionately hits the poor and the young, malnourishment and obesity stalking them in tandem.

    “The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese,” said physician Abelardo Avila with Mexico’s National Nutrition Institute. “In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It’s a very serious epidemic.”

    About 70 percent of Mexican adults are overweight, a third of them very much so. Childhood obesity tripled in a decade and about a third of teenagers are fat as well. Experts say four of every five of those heavy kids will remain so their entire lives.

    Weight-related diabetes claims the most Mexican lives each year, with nearly one of every six Mexican adults suffering from the disease. Heart and related ailments round out the list of the country’s top killers.

    The FAO last month reported Mexico has a 32.8 percent adult obesity rate — just above America’s 31.8 percent — blaming increasingly industrialized agricultural production for a worldwide epidemic of both obesity and malnutrition.

    Comment by Mark (83be92) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:08 am

  270. And it should not require discipline. If it requires discipline, you’ve pretty much lost the battle.
    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 6:54 am

    – Yet another comment that makes some of us wonder what color the sky is in your world.

    Comment by Icy (2c258e) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:19 am

  271. It requires knowledge. Both of what to eat and where to get it, and also how to prepare different kinds of food.

    It requires less of something a huge number of humans suffer from: a sweet tooth and a propensity to imbibe and indulge.

    The issue is not too different from that of the concept that if youth are taught more about human sexuality — particularly in the classroom — rates of unwanted pregnancy and STDs will go down. Oops, I guess more education still is required in this age of self-controlled chastity and Internet-ized prudishness.

    Comment by Mark (83be92) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:22 am

  272. – Yet another comment that makes some of us wonder what color the sky is in your world.

    Sammy looks up everyday and sees a beautiful rainbow created by the likes of Michael “Big-Nanny” Bloomberg, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and a whole host of other marvelous liberals who epitomize the concept of self-discipline and self-control.

    Comment by Mark (83be92) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:26 am

  273. “And it should not require discipline. If it requires discipline, you’ve pretty much lost the battle.”

    Comment by Icy (2c258e) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:19 am

    Yet another comment that makes some of us wonder what color the sky is in your world

    Eating right does not, and should not, require discipline. And the discipline may be wrong. Most diets do not, and cannot, work.

    If eatting right, does require discipline, something has gone wrong and the body is out of kilter. There are some cases with diseases where it may be actually necessary to avert disaster, but this is not a normal state of affairs.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:57 am

  274. “It requires knowledge. Both of what to eat and where to get it, and also how to prepare different kinds of food.”

    Comment by Mark (83be92) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:22 am

    It requires less of something a huge number of humans suffer from: a sweet tooth and a propensity to imbibe and indulge.

    Why do they have a sweet tooth?

    The issue is not too different from that of the concept that if youth are taught more about human sexuality — particularly in the classroom — rates of unwanted pregnancy and STDs will go down.

    That’s something totally different. What happens there is teaching about sexuality breaks down barriers and encourages sexuality – just like talking about drug abuse encourages drug abuse. (if it done with the idea that this is any way expected)

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:04 am

  275. A lot of people agree with Sammy, notably athletes and fitness instructors. If your body is healthy, it will tell you the right foods it wants to eat in the right amounts to support its activities. It’s the opposite of Bloombergism and I don’t know what Spitzer and Weiner have to do with it (unless you were thinking of Vienna Beef ones Mark).

    Comment by nk (875f57) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:08 am

  276. Comment by Mark (83be92) — 7/22/2013 @ 7:26 am

    created by the likes of Michael “Big-Nanny” Bloomberg, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and a whole host of other marvelous liberals who epitomize the concept of self-discipline and self-control.

    The nanny part of what Bloomberg did is not good -and Bloomberg is talking about the opposite of indulgence. The problem is he thinks he knows what people should not do, or he thinks it makes more of a difference than what it does.

    Now I’m saying that if people don’t eat right so that they get too fat, it is because they don’t know how to eat right.or they don’t know, or didn’t know that certain things are bad.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:08 am

  277. The Food Stamp challenge, whatever may be wrong with that concept, does not involve diverting any food stamps.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:10 am

  278. It might be that certain kinds of diets might reset the system. The Adkins diet (minus its fruit restrictions) is based on sound principles.

    So much of this diet advice is all wrong.

    Exercise is pointless because you will eat more to make up for the energy burned, but building muscle mass is not pointless, but a lot of exercise is not necesary to build muscle mass or avoid losing it – just occasional straining.

    The body mass index tables for obesity are set too high – that’s another problem.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:15 am

  279. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/19/health/overweight-maybe-you-really-can-blame-your-metabolism.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    “The history of obesity for many many years has been one of blaming people for lack of self control,” said Dr. Joseph Majzoub, chief of endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author of the new paper. “If some of it is due to a slow metabolism, that would completely change the perspectives of parents and patients. It really would change the way we think of the disease.” ….

    ….Dr. Bouchard enlisted 12 pairs of lean identical twins to live in an enclosed area for 120 days so their food and exercise could be monitored while they ate 1,000 calories a day more than needed to maintain their weight. The twins in each pair gained about the same amount of weight, but the amount gained varied threefold among the pairs. Those who gained the most put on as much as 29 pounds while those who gained the least put on 9 ½ pounds.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:22 am

  280. It is even related to how much the food the mother had when pregnant.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:23 am

  281. When people eat less the metabolism slows down.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:24 am

  282. The welfare food stanp application is in general very unsound. For one thing it assumes income is stable, and it is possible to account for everything (except losses and thefts)

    And now we’ll get more of that with the expansion of medicaid, and subsidies for insurance.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:27 am

  283. Twins of course share not only all genes, but an early food environment.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (16fe92) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:28 am

  284. Something seems to be set too high.

    Comment by Icy (2c258e) — 7/22/2013 @ 8:29 am

  285. “Food stamps are paying for trans-Atlantic takeout — with New Yorkers using taxpayer-funded benefits to ship food to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.”

    That’s not trans-Atlantic. Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic are all on the same side of the Atlantic Ocean as New York.

    Comment by Joshua (9ede0e) — 7/22/2013 @ 9:06 am

  286. Previously it was mentioned that we don’t do “shame” very well. I think this is a BIG driver of the bottom dropping out of traditional values. Yes, welfare recipients should feel ashamed for receiving government help. The experience should hurt so they have incentive to change. No more EBT cards that look like every other ATM card. Specific lines or stores limited to only bare necessities. The government should be encouraging these people to seek help elsewhere (local church/food pantry). At least those places have been voluntarily funded by charity.

    Comment by SB (8a4846) — 7/22/2013 @ 9:07 am

  287. It requires knowledge. Both of what to eat and where to get it, and also how to prepare different kinds of food.

    And people become disciplined and knowledgeable when they have reason to: like a limited amount of money for food. To borrow from Econ 101, when something is free, like food, it is not valued. If you can sell stamps for cash or buy Coke and frozen dinners without penalty, why wouldn’t you? Or send food to relatives. More is coming!

    I’m not going to argue with anyone about their belief system, but the “crisis” these days is obesity not starvation. This IMHO is caused by free food, free everything.

    Go watch Hoop Dreams, filmed in the ’70s-’80s, the pre-government-giveaway age. No one in the inner city is fat. The family structure had not been destroyed yet, people had jobs and they had family budgets. Different story today; just ask Michelle.

    Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 7/22/2013 @ 10:22 am

  288. R.I.P. Dennis Farina

    Comment by Icy (2c258e) — 7/22/2013 @ 10:34 am

  289. Why do they have a sweet tooth?

    Huh? That’s like asking why would most people prefer lounging on the beach drinking pina coladas instead of, say, going home and cleaning their dirty bathroom.

    “The history of obesity for many many years has been one of blaming people for lack of self control,”

    And that apparently holds true today since more people, even in low-income Mexico, are obese compared with the past. Metabolisms haven’t changed among the populace, but people’s access to conveniently placed mounds of junk food has.

    Comment by Mark (83be92) — 7/22/2013 @ 11:19 am

  290. If your body is healthy, it will tell you the right foods it wants to eat in the right amounts to support its activities. It’s the opposite of Bloombergism and I don’t know what Spitzer and Weiner have to do with it (unless you were thinking of Vienna Beef ones Mark).

    I know of too many people who have a rather healthy diet, but who still exhibit cravings for non-essential sugar-laden desserts or foods that are less than optimal. It’s not too different from sexual impulses in various humans, whose behavior is ultimately greatly affected by their own sense of limits to self-gratification.

    Nanny-state Bloombergism runs counter to that ethos because it’s interspersed with the notion that to hold people accountable for their behavior can easily end up as a case of heartlessness, intolerance and bigotry.

    As for Spitzer and Weiner, they’re poster boys for a culture that is increasingly shameless (“I’m proud to take advantage of EBT cards!! I have a right to taxpayer-supported whatever and whenever!”) and cavalier about a lack of self-control (“I happily expose my genitals to strangers, and I happily visit hookers because it’s a matter of if I’m okay, you’re okay!”).

    Comment by Mark (83be92) — 7/22/2013 @ 11:32 am

  291. Comment by SB (8a4846) — 7/22/2013 @ 9:07 am

    I recall from the Ancient History that I have lived, that in LBJ’s War on Poverty, Food Stamps were restricted to meat, produce, grains, etc – no processed/prepared foods.
    It was somewhat of an outrage along the waterfront that I hung out at that we would see visitors from the Bar Area arrive on their very nice sail-boat (yacht), row ashore, and go to the market to re-provision, and pay for filet’s and t-bones with food stamps.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 7/22/2013 @ 11:49 am

  292. Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 7/22/2013 @ 11:49 am

    I recall from the Ancient History that I have lived, that in LBJ’s War on Poverty, Food Stamps were restricted to meat, produce, grains, etc – no processed/prepared foods.

    I think they had several diffrent kinds of food assistance programs, wjich werf merged.

    In the original food stamp program, there was an amount of money set asided for food. Say $114 for a certain person or family.

    Then people would have to pay varying amounts to get the $114 in Food Stamps. A person with lower income would pay less and aperson with higher income would pay more. A person might even have to pay something like $100 to get $114.

    This was something designed to keep iut restricted to food and to see that people actually ate (or bought) the food.

    Then they changed it so they only awarded people the difference.

    I suppose the reason was, or a logical reaosn might be, that some people had trouble coming up with the money in advance.

    But the result was it pretty much amounted only to an income suppplement.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:04 pm

  293. Now there’s another thing. It is really not easy to come up with a good formula as to who to give money to or not. Even if everything reported is exactly accurate it still won’t reflect difficulty.

    One test you can use is: Does somebody feel a need to ask?

    But this is being eliminated.

    People are encouraged more and more and health isurance is really the thing that pushes people into the system.

    It really isn’t so that anybody who technically qualifies should get it, as some people seem to think. The formulas are not perfect. Or even that close.

    Better would be if someone feels they need it, or at least waiting until that point..

    Now some people may need and not ask, but that’;s the way it is anyway.

    And, yes, it would make sense, for most people, to maybe have to do something to get it – go to a certain location maybe at least.

    Means testing is really a very bad thing, especially if it is done repeatedly. It has very permicious effects. Social Security and Medicare, free K-12 education do not because there is no means testing.

    It was somewhat of an outrage along the waterfront that I hung out at that we would see visitors from the Bar Area arrive on their very nice sail-boat (yacht), row ashore, and go to the market to re-provision, and pay for filet’s and t-bones with food stamps.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:05 pm

  294. It was somewhat of an outrage along the waterfront that I hung out at that we would see visitors from the Bar Area arrive on their very nice sail-boat (yacht), row ashore, and go to the market to re-provision, and pay for filet’s and t-bones with food stamps.

    Did anyone ever find out what were the stories behind that?

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:06 pm

  295. SF, you would have to ask the editors at the local “waterfront rag” if they ever followed up on the letters of outrage they published fifty-years ago.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:21 pm

  296. Get Shorty… Gandolfini… Farina… Hackman next, Icy?

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (8a1837) — 7/22/2013 @ 12:28 pm

  297. I would rather Individual families send food directly to their own families on our dime and get into hungry children’s tummies than sending giant food aid and monetary aid To meet a desperate need but only to have it reach those in positions of power and corruption. Haiti anyone?

    Isn’t that a false choice? Stealing money from my kids to make you feel good is indeed not conservative, but more importantly it isn’t right because it isn’t our money… it’s money we borrowed from China with a promise our kids will pay it back. We cannot afford this kind of thing. Either of these options, among many other progressive ideas, are things we simply cannot afford.

    Comment by Dustin (ce0303) — 7/22/2013 @ 1:45 pm

  298. What a bizarre thread.

    Food stamps are intended to be used specifically by the person/family they are alotted to as a means of assistance for people who need help putting food on the table tonight, tomorrow, next week, and throughout the month.

    They are not intended to be a general welfare check for someone to stuff a dollar bill into the waist of a stripper, nor are they intended to be used to rent dvds, nor are they intended to be sent across the border or overseas to hungry relatives.

    The American taxpayer is not obligated to subsidize the dinner table for people living in foreign countries. If you wish to do that with your f***in’ money, then go ahead and contribute your own f***in’ money to any of the various charities that help feed people in foreign countries.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 7/22/2013 @ 6:22 pm

  299. My big question is: Why is this profitable, when it costs $110 in total to buy and ship a container, and that’s without putting anything in it.

    Are tariffs, that high? Do iddlemen really rais ethe price so much? Is some kind of special food or other goods put in there, that can be sold in Haiti or the Dominican Republic or whereever at a high price? What’s cheap over here and expensive over there?

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d22d64) — 7/29/2013 @ 10:38 am

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