The Food-Stamp Crime Wave

James Bovard, Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2011

Millionaires are now legally entitled to collect food stamps as long as they have little or no monthly income. Thirty-five states have abolished asset tests for most food-stamp recipients. These and similar “paperwork reduction” reforms advocated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are turning the food-stamp program into a magnet for abuses and absurdities.

The Obama administration is far more enthusiastic about boosting food-stamp enrollment than about preventing fraud. Thanks in part to vigorous federally funded campaigns by nonprofit groups, the government’s AmericaCorps service program, and other organizations urging people to accept government handouts, the number of food-stamp recipients has soared to 44 million from 26 million in 2007, and costs have more than doubled to $77 billion from $33 billion.

{snip}

Looser federal rules are spurring a bureaucratic crime wave. Last December, two veteran employees for New York City’s Human Resources Administration were busted for concocting 1,500 fake food-stamp cases that netted them $8 million. Nine Milwaukee, Wis., staffers plundered almost $300,000 from the program during the last five years, and a Louisiana state bureaucrat pleaded guilty last year for her role in a scam that snared more than $50,000 in fraudulent food-stamp benefits.

The Obama administration is responding by cracking down on state governments’ antifraud measures. The administration is seeking to compel California, New York and Texas to cease requiring food-stamp applicants to provide finger images.

• The food-stamp poster boy of 2011 is 59-year-old Leroy Fick. After Mr. Fick won a $2 million lottery jackpot, the Michigan Department of Human Services ruled he could continue receiving food stamps. The Detroit News explained: “If Fick had chosen to accept monthly payments of his jackpot, the winnings would be considered income, according to the DHS. But by choosing to accept a lump sum payment, the winnings were considered ‘assets’ and aren’t counted in determining food stamp eligibility.”

Decades after liberals derided Ronald Reagan’s reference to a Cadillac-driving “welfare queen,” Obama administration policies could easily permit Trust Fund Babies driving Rolls Royces to get free food courtesy of Uncle Sam.

{snip}

But the Obama administration doesn’t deserve all the blame. Food-stamp enrollment surged before Mr. Obama took office. The number of food-stamp recipients on George W. Bush’s watch rose by more than 50%, even before the recession hit in 2007. As Slate reporter Annie Lowrey wrote for the online magazine last December, President Bush and his food-stamp chief Eric Bost “went on a quiet crusade to expand eligibility, increase enrollment, and reduce stigma around nutrition aid.”

{snip} The more people who become government dependents, the more likely that democracy will become a conspiracy against self-reliance.

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  • Question Diversity

    Food stamps, especially the growth in the program since Obama came into office, is one of the reasons why prices at the grocery store are going up. Even if there were no supply problems, it is economically impossible to create a increased demand for the same supply of food without the prices going up, assuming rationing isn’t allowed. And that’s what the SNAP program does, allow for an increase in the demand for food. Now, other factors are making it worse, the diversion of corn for ethanol, which has a severe domino effect across agribusiness, and an overall increasing world population.

  • Anonymous

    The next 20 years are going to get very interesting. With more boomers retiring, there will be less cash in circulation, and more dependance on a crumbling social safety net.

    Historically, when things get really bad and the government can’t come through, people retreat to the land and form their own local economies, like those of the Mennonites.

    Not surprisingly, the contemporary ‘back-to-the-land-off-the-grid’ movement is about as white as a Mennonite village. Instinctively, some whites are already preparing for the worst, as if it’s a genetic calling.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting contrast! The WSJ becomes hot and bothered over undeserving people receiving food stamps. Simultaneously ,it welcomes the millions of third world immigrants who increase the number of people who need food stamps.

    I have also observed many of these “new Americans” using food stamps, perhaps they purchased the stamps ad a discount.

  • Salt

    I see two sides to this one. I’m in Missouri, where there IS an asset limit of $1000 for an individual for food stamps. Pretty much any effort to help yourself our of your predicament, even if that is only drawing SSI/SSDI, and using the proceeds to buy a car (*find me a decent car under $1000) will make you ineligible for food stamps.

    Right now the rules are so tight that they are excluding food stamps from thousands of people whom by any reasonable standard should be able to get them (and the federal rules for this already calculate that they do get them, even if they don’t).

    I don’t have a problem with someone owning a car, and trying to get food stamps. I do have some issues if they are driving a $70,000 import, have $100,000 in the bank, and trying to get food stamps.

    In Missouri, the rules basically force those whom truly need food assistance to go without, give up any working vehicle, or to commit fraud & title the vehicle in the name of someone else. They force people whom become disabled out of homes that are already paid for, and into subsidized government housing complexes. These are not rich people. These are folks whom become disabled or sick, but don’t make enough from the disability payments to truly survive with the added costs from being sick. These do not benefit the state, nor the end client, nor the tax payer. Right now the program in Missouri doesn’t really help much for those trying to get out of poverty either. If a mother with kids tries to go back to work, but needs a reliable ride to get there — saves their money, but buys a car remotely reliable to get there, and is honest about it – they become ineligible. We can do better than that. The choice comes down to accepting some level of fraud for a program that can truly help people, and sometimes even help lift them & their children out of poverty — or having a program with rules so tight that the only people it helps are the homeless, section 8 lifetime welfare dwellers, and a small portion of the blind (whose “cash assistance payment” is right at the border of being cut off from food stamps entirely).

    There probably does need to be some means testing, but it doesn’t need to be ridiculous like it is now.

  • Anonymous

    “Not surprisingly, the contemporary ‘back-to-the-land-off-the-grid’ movement is about as white as a Mennonite village. Instinctively, some whites are already preparing for the worst, as if it’s a genetic calling.”

    — You are so right, #2. I cannot stop thinking about this now. Buy some land in the hinterland. Learn to farm. Withdraw financially from the financial life of a country I no longer feel is my own. Gold, silver, barter. The whole nine yards.

    My only fear is that I might be stuck around some meth addicts, trashy people or gung-ho nuts. I have heard enough stories from my grandma about her wild forbears in the moonshine, feuding mountains of KY to give me pause to think.

    What are we trying to preserve? It can’t be just ‘whites’, because the guidos of Jersey Shore fame are technically white, but they follow a horrible cultural pattern. I also have white trash relatives who are little better than ghetto trash.

    We must be clear that, like the mennonites, we want to preserve a middle class, genteel white culture. People who are ‘good folk’ are my goal. Small town America (Mayberry-esque) is the America I remember, and the kind of civilization that is worth defending.

  • Anonymous

    Here in Arkansas, your food stamps are cut off if you have $2000 or more in the bank.

    Mexico used to have (maybe it still does) subsidized foods like beans, tortillas, milk, sugar, cooking oil, etc. I think they subsidized about a dozen basic items of basic quality. Poor people buy the subsidized items, while the better off prefer higher quality, costlier items. I think it would be a good program for the USA, because it would eliminate the food-stamps-for-lobster-and-steaks problem, and because the working class families that hover around the cutoff for food stamp benefits could buy cheap staple items and maintain their dignity instead of having to re-apply for food stamps every time they had a dip in their income.

    Because there wouldn’t be a cash benefit, I think that there would be less fraud, although there is undoubtedly a way to scam any program.

  • TomSwift

    The problem with means-testing is that is rewards people for engaging in bad activities.

    If Poster 4 story is correct, most people in Missouri on food stamps are probably drug addicts.

    Personally I think the government should abolish the program and just say “All bread shall be paid 50% by the government” or something.

  • Whiteplight

    2 — Anonymous wrote at 6:30 PM on June 24:

    “The next 20 years are going to get very interesting. With more boomers retiring, there will be less cash in circulation, and more dependance on a crumbling social safety net.

    Historically, when things get really bad and the government can’t come through, people retreat to the land and form their own local economies, like those of the Mennonites.

    Not surprisingly, the contemporary ‘back-to-the-land-off-the-grid’ movement is about as white as a Mennonite village. Instinctively, some whites are already preparing for the worst, as if it’s a genetic calling.”

    I am 59 and I have been getting ready for this for years. I have a garden in my yard, four chickens, and I am contemplating getting a miniature goat for milk.

    BTW; Most states use the credit card type modality, not physical stamps, so they can’t be traded so easily. All they have to do is close some loopholes and it is a good system for getting basic food to people who need it. The biggest loophole is the system giving illegals food and immigrant employees freedom from employment taxes, etc. Most of the U.S. system and states are rigged to support the invasion and undermine the average American, especially white American.

    There was a post on Amren just a few days ago with a link to a Mennonite newspaper where a black member was exhorting the church to get more blacks on board – to become Diversified.

  • Anonymous

    “The more people who become government dependents, the more likely that democracy will become a conspiracy against self-reliance.”

    When I see this type of comment by a writer, I laugh, bitterly, at American whites with this attitude. All of Northern Europe has a well developed social system in place inside their democracies and it hasn’t ruined those counties. It is the EU that has been doing that through their immigration/asylum requirements.

    These conservative pundits talk fearfully as if one American getting help, or even all, that some important moral factor will be lost, and America will fail. American is failing anyway, because the capitalists, who are the core purveyors of this lie are really just interested in cheap labor and low taxes, so that they don’t have to pay into any social programs. They don’t care that Dems are getting more votes because they feel that they can (and they do) buy them off anyway. They love to exploit that old Puritan neurosis of hard working stinginess, mistaken as a moral virtue. Meanwhile, we give away billions in aid to nations all over the world. We are paying 150 billion a year to support/build Iraq and Afghanistan. We are providing them with free food and health care and we call it nation building.

    Government programs are constantly railed against by conservatives over this fear of creating a dependent population. History actually shows otherwise. FDR;s CC and WPA programs actually prepared civilians for the armed forces while they build roads, dams and infrastructure that would allow for war production and recovery later. That is a documented historical fact. A nation full of individuals only bent on narcissistic satisfaction is not a nation, but a collection of selfish jerks who won’t be able to unite when the times call for it, as they do now.

    My actual view however, is that we are already too far gone as a nation. We could never sort out the racial, class issues around who pays and who receives. Like the racial tipping point, we have reached the tipping point as a system at all. What we are witnessing is a collapse. We don’t notice it so much daily because it is happening as a historical decline and that takes years, even decades to realize. But the time will come when people will be in the streets. Whether it is over the loss of social programs like Greece, or over being left for dead by an uncaring system doesn’t matter so much anymore. The fact is that it will happen and that is inevitable. Only a managed racially focused contraction could prevent it, and the West does not have that sort of discipline anymore.

  • Anonymous

    5 — Anonymous wrote at 8:46 AM on June 25:

    “Not surprisingly, the contemporary ‘back-to-the-land-off-the-grid’ movement is about as white as a Mennonite village. Instinctively, some whites are already preparing for the worst, as if it’s a genetic calling.”

    “—- You are so right, #2. I cannot stop thinking about this now. Buy some land in the hinterland. Learn to farm. Withdraw financially from the financial life of a country I no longer feel is my own. Gold, silver, barter. The whole nine yards.”

    > Gold and Silver are only valuable on an international market. They aren’t useful in any agrarian society. A loaf of bread is more valuable than any amount of gold if you are starving.

    “My only fear is that I might be stuck around some meth addicts, trashy people or gung-ho nuts. I have heard enough stories from my grandma about her wild forbears in the moonshine, feuding mountains of KY to give me pause to think.”

    > There’s that risk everywhere. Investigate your chosen spot first. See if there is a community core that resists it. Make sure you have the potential for a sane, organized community defense.

    “What are we trying to preserve? It can’t be just ‘whites’, because the guidos of Jersey Shore fame are technically white, but they follow a horrible cultural pattern. I also have white trash relatives who are little better than ghetto trash.”

    Those people will be selected out as others will, by their choices.

    “We must be clear that, like the mennonites, we want to preserve a middle class, genteel white culture. People who are ‘good folk’ are my goal. Small town America (Mayberry-esque) is the America I remember, and the kind of civilization that is worth defending. ”

    > You have to realize that Mayberry depended upon a larger social structure and government that will likely never be replicated. Prepare for a more basic survival model. I predict that it will be more on the feudal model, because that is what naturally forms after a huge crash of civilization. Locals will unite around the best leader and it will necessarily be a military one because others will attempt to break in and take due to the chaos. It won’t be a pretty world with a Five and Dime and bass fishing with your daddy and uncle.

    That’s also why no one should be anxious to plunge into it.

  • Anonymous

    Much of this has to do with the non profit pimps aka grant hustlers. America is overwhelmed with do gooder non profits. Most are run by liberal Whites who can’t find other jobs because of affirmative action and immigration.

    So they find a cause and get a federal grant to take care of the problem. It leads to all sorts of grand titles, what in the private sector or even a regular government agency would be titled clerk is now called counselor. Everyone else is either an executive director or analyst, facilitator etc.

    The churches and other religious organizations are heavily involved. They actually don’t do anything for their clients. They counsel, advocate and refer. The referrals are to the government welfare agencies including food stamps.

    With increasing electronic advances, the actual number of workers needed to run the food stamp program decreases. For instance, the food stamp debit card means the paper vouchers no longer need to be distributed, counted and collected.

    This is just another way of increasing the affirmative action government sector.

    There is also the real fact that once housing, utilities and commuting expenses are deducted from take home wages, there is not that much money to spend on food, clothing and other items.

    The increase in gas prices means that even more people will be eligible for food stamps as commuting and car repair expenses take an even bigger chunk out of take home wages.

    The churches, Bet Tzdek (Jewish) and other faith based non profits help millions of legal and illegal immigrants get food stamps every year. The church resettlement of refugees programs consist of getting third world immigrants on welfare including food stamps.

    Major food related industries such as the restaurant chains and food processing plants refer their employees to the local food stamp office.

    I don’t know why the WSJ has such a negative attitude towards food stamps. Its goal is for American wages to sink so low that virtually everyone’s take home qualifies them for food stamps.

    Of course the fact that the food stamp program feeds millions of anchor baby children of WSJ’s beloved illegal workers is not mentioned.

  • Anonymous

    How about restricting foodstamps to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and rice? It would be a lot cheaper and more nutritious than what people normally buy with foodstamps. Plus, it would cut down on the fraud. Because people who don’t need foodstamps won’t be able to resell beans and rice the way they can steak and lobster. In fact, most people who don’t need foodstamps won’t even bother with them if all they can get is beans and rice.

  • Question Diversity

    10 Anonymous wrote:

    I predict that it will be more on the feudal model, because that is what naturally forms after a huge crash of civilization. Locals will unite around the best leader and it will necessarily be a military one because others will attempt to break in and take due to the chaos.

    In other words, you’re saying the United States will go through exactly what the Roman Empire went through in the Crisis of the Third Century. Before the Crisis, the Roman Empire was fairly much a unitary nation-state. After, it was just as you described, a collection of feudal land claims and strong men. Especially in the western part of the empire.

  • Salt

    Tomswift — Pretty much Missouri’s food stamp program IS limited to drug addicts, and welfare mom’s. There are a handful of people that sickness has made so broke that they qualify, but its a very small minority of cases.

  • the_white_raider

    I guess this is another way we enjoy our white privelege.

  • Anonymous

    5 — Anonymous wrote at 8:46 AM on June 25:

    “Not surprisingly, the contemporary ‘back-to-the-land-off-the-grid’ movement is about as white as a Mennonite village. Instinctively, some whites are already preparing for the worst, as if it’s a genetic calling.”

    —- You are so right, #2. I cannot stop thinking about this now. Buy some land in the hinterland. Learn to farm. Withdraw financially from the financial life of a country I no longer feel is my own. Gold, silver, barter. The whole nine yards.

    +++++++++

    Well, if you have no faith in the country’s currency, no faith in its government, no faith in its legal system, then how do you expect to retain ownership of your land? Your deed will be just a scrap of paper. Who is going to back you up?

  • It’s a wonderful life

    Anonymous (#2): “The next 20 years are going to get very interesting.”

    The old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”.

    Anonymous (#5): “We … want to preserve a middle class, genteel white culture… Small town America… is the… kind of civilization that is worth defending.”

    Amen, brother! Civilization peaked, in my opinion, somewhere around 1957, in the smaller towns of Anglo-America.

  • Anonymous

    Bread & Circuses….

    Keep them fed and keep them entertained and you own their fear: That someday, someway, they will disappoint you. And you will not.

    The rural model, survivalist, existence is going to depend on how far and how far along, things get.

    As society delines, parties will segregate by Race until the breaking point wherein bodies represent bayonets as the Russians used to say. If they can stay organized enough to _project power_ the likelihood of isolationists surviving any ‘final collapse’ model is ZERO. Because the 300 million will come to you, Mohammed.

    I also would argue against the so called ‘feudal model’ because what inevitably happens is either the Roman equivalent where a foreign, supranationalist, expeditionary force, delegates legionary cohorts to go ‘conquer and civilize’ any smoke on the horizon. In trade for cheap manufactured goods and trade in the currency of their choice. Which rapidly ‘regulates’ barter mode economics from their seasons variations.

    The alternative, as rose in the aftermath of the Black Death, is the _manorial system_ where again, you have a local knight or sheriff who is basically a tax collector, being given fief over a certain area of land from which he can _force_ the locals to work for him. Given that he works for his Lord and thus -no one- has any control over pricing. Throw in religious tithes and you have a guaranteed system of binding the manpower which could otherwise (re)create a middle class, skills-based, demand culture, back to a serf state of submission to the very martial skills which nominally should ‘protect them from pillage’.

    I suppose it is better to live a slave than not at all but given even a -fraction- of our current technology levels survive intact (available to the upper classes), it would be orders of magnitude harder to escape from this ultimate of classist systems than it was for our ancestors because _as whites decline_ rather than conserve their skill sets, the very wealthiest, with absolute punitive dominion, not simply over whether you will work but for how long and at what level of payment, will switch to automation to drive most of their manufacturing and skilled labor work.

    i.e. There will be no place for us to return to, socially, from our self-elected sojourn in th hinterlands.

    Those who think that centralized government is the flaw in the system have no idea how bad it can get when centralized government is replaced by feudalistic autocracy and there is essentially -no one- fighting for you, the unappreciated mob class.

  • Baobhan Sith

    [email protected]:

    How about restricting foodstamps to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and rice?

    Better yet, how about restricting the population that demands food stamps.

  • oregonian

    In Oregon , illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico are actively enrolled in food stamps. The Oregon Law Center a super liberal pro amnesty , US taxpayer funded organization recruits migrants ( who are illegal aliens either here illegally or under a program that requires them to leave at some point, but they never have , creating entire communities called Woodburn but thats another story line) for food stamps.

    So does the entire state of Oregon, stop by a DHS office and get a form, and on it you will find the Migrants section.

    Indeed I was behind a Mexican woman who only spoke Spanish, and her anchor baby son, had to swipe the card for her. She bought fifty dollars of fresh pork at Safeway. I myself can rarely afford meat. Mexican illegals with anchor babies can get up to 600.00 a month in food stamps. The man who doesnt marry her, the breeder, works under the table doing yard work. She collects the welfare, they rob us blind. Obama wants food stamps because there would be a revolution if they stopped them because no one can afford food or rent any more.