How “food stamps” are helping to destroy the country, and how to fix the problem

I am all for helping the truly poor, but the current food stamp program is out of control and being systematically abused.  It is hard to conceive how much the program has grown under Obama, and we all know it would be a 24×7 news item if it occurred under a Republican administration.

The cards are basically treated like cash and can easily be converted to buy tobacco, alcohol, drugs — anything!  It was originally a program to help the truly needy but is now a thinly disguised vote-buying scheme.

We’ve all got examples of abuse.  My most recent one was a shoe salesman describing how his ex-girlfriend had literally thousands of dollars of tattoos while being on these programs.

The government could easily track the spending of these cards, but chooses not to.

The Kenyan hospital we visited on many mission trips has a worthwhile “food stamp” program.  Women walked long distances to get basic commodities and carried them back themselves.  Yet unlike most U.S. recipients, these women were extremely grateful and would dance and sing when they got the food.

The U.S. should go back to giving real food instead of cards.  Then the truly needy would get food and the fakers would skip the process entirely.  And the food would be healthier and less expensive: oatmeal, bread, apples, bananas, rice, pasta, butter, milk, OJ, peanut butter & jelly, corn flakes, sugar, flour, etc.

Oh, you don’t want those?  Tough!  That is proof that you don’t really need them.

And there should be drug and/or polygraph tests.  Have you gotten a tattoo or been on drugs while on food stamps?  Then you are cut off.

Enabling people to abuse the system harms the abusers, their children and those forced to pay for them.

19 thoughts on “How “food stamps” are helping to destroy the country, and how to fix the problem

  1. We have been on food assistance in the past. I agree that the system is out of control and abused beyond belief. There was a news story here a few years ago about how people would go into a store and buy cases and cases of soda pop, go outside, pour the pop down the drain and go back in to return the cans (10 cents here in MI) in order the get the deposit back and buy cigarettes or alcohol.
    When we got to the point where we needed help, I had to swallow my pride and go down to the welfare office and apply. I broke down and cried when I was interviewed by the case worker because I was so embarrassed and felt like a failure because I couldn’t feed my kids.
    What really floored me was the number of young, able bodied men and women that were in that office. Listening to them talk to one another I learned that many grew up on assistance, and now that they were turning 18 their mothers were making them go down and apply for their own food stamp cards. How about making them go get a JOB? Some were giving advice to others on how to “milk” the system. It was disgusting. Meanwhile, they are playing with their iPhones and Ipods, with salon manicured finger nails and gold jewelry. The first thing we did when we were running low on money? Got rid of the cell phones, sold one of our cars and I sold all my gold jewelry, including my wedding band.
    Its too bad that the food assistance program isn’t run like the WIC program. With WIC, you get a card just like the food stamp card, but the type of food you can buy with it is limited. If Food stamps would disallow things like soda pop, candy, cookies, chips, and all the other “junk” food it would help. Set a certain amount of $$ that can be spent only on fruit and vegetables.
    Our local Farmer’s Market has a great program called “double up food bucks” for those that are on assistance. I would go to the office and tell them I wanted $20, they would swipe my card, debit it for the $20, but give me $40 worth of vouchers to spend. That really helped!

    • Thanks for sharing that! The system was designed for people like you and you used it properly. And you gave me a couple ideas to add to the post about the abuses (people with thousands of dollars of tattoos and such!). Loved what your local Farmer’s Market did!

  2. When I was in my early to mid-teens, we lived in federal housing projects in Denver (the only non-Mexican family there). They had a “commissary” where my dad went to get the food. Plain brownish boxes with federal stock numbers and titles like, “Potatoes, mashed, instant.” No food stamps – just go to the commissary for your needs. Can’t really abuse that. (I suppose they could get the food and sell it?)

    • you are just being racist, not all immigrant are Mexicans, this has been land of opportunity for everyone, unless you are native, you or your family came from somewhere else , i have seen all kinds of persons abusing the system using food stamps and driving Cadillac Escalades , besides are you aware of all the taxes illegal Mexican and others immigrant pay and cant have any benefit from it , think , there’s 2 sides of the story

      • Tony, Glenn was not being racist. He merely mentioned that when he lived in the projects, his family was the only one not originally from Mexico. That’s a fact, not an insinuation about legality or illegality, He didn’t even insinuate that his neighbors were doing anything wrong; he just related how things were in the past, and how it made fraud less likely, because it was harder to abuse picking up items from the commissary, compared to having something like a credit card which could be used for purchasing non-food items, even though it’s only supposed to be used to purchase food.

      • Tony, where in anything I wrote did I say anything against the Mexicans? What was I said which was racist? Or is it racist just to mention Mexicans? I was describing the housing projects in which I lived and that they had a commissary there for welfare food. I described that we were the only non-Mexican family there as a point of demographics. Telling the truth is not racist.

  3. I used to work as a cashier in a grocery. It didn’t take long to notice that whenever someone came in with a cart packed full of junk food (frozen tv dinners, potato chips, etc.) – 9 times out of 10 they would pay with food stamps. And then they would pull out a wad of cash and pay for their cigarettes and beer. And most of them were overweight (no surprise there, considering their diet). We’re not helping anybody doing it this way. I can see helping those who truly need help, but that’s a tiny fraction of those currently milking the system.

  4. My mother tells a story similar to what you said above: “The U.S. should go back to giving real food instead of cards. Then the truly needy would get food and the fakers would skip the process entirely. And the food would be healthier and less expensive: oatmeal, bread, apples, bananas, rice, pasta, butter, milk, OJ, peanut butter & jelly, corn flakes, sugar, flour, etc.”

    When she was a young wife in the ’70s, a woman with several kids came up to her house one day, asking for money to buy food for her children. Moved with compassion, my mom gave her something like $5, which was a lot more money back then, and about all my mom had to spare (they were not rich, not really even “comfortable”, back then), and the following Sunday, talked to some of the ladies at the church about this poor woman with all these kids who didn’t have food, and couldn’t the church come together and help her? The women asked questions and figured out who it was, and told my naive mother that the woman was on government assistance and had plenty of food, and they often saw her in the grocery store buying (with cash) cigarettes for herself and candy for her children. They further suggested that the next time she came back, that my mother offer her a bag of flour or something instead. Of course when she did, the woman never came back. It turned out the woman wasn’t quite so needful of food after all.

  5. Today in Massachusetts, the Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance resigned from his job over fraud relating to food stamps. TImely post you have there, Neil.

  6. The U.S. should go back to giving real food instead of cards. Then the truly needy would get food and the fakers would skip the process entirely. And the food would be healthier and less expensive: oatmeal, bread, apples, bananas, rice, pasta, butter, milk, OJ, peanut butter & jelly, corn flakes, sugar, flour, etc.

    WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is similar: you do not get the food directly, but there’s only certain types of food that you can buy with the vouchers. You can pretty much get all the rice, beans, frozen fruit juice, and milk that you can carry away. Then you’re entitled to a certain amount of cheese. You can also get eggs, cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables. Boring, but healthy – and, in fact, not much different than what some of us working stiffs eat on a regular basis.

  7. My blood pressure was high after I was trying to teach my 4-yr old how to write his name. After an hour, I thought I’d peruse the web and read something peaceful. Now my blood is simply boiling! Lol. Thanks, Neil!!!

  8. To be honest it in almost everything we have in this world there is going to be abuse. Isnt there some saying about throwing the baby out with the dishwater, there are people out there that genuinly need food stamp and than there are the ones out there that abuse the food stamps.Notthing makes me angrier than when I see my grandmother who worked hard all of her life with minimal education because she left school to help the family on the farm and take care of the younger kids get her food stamps cut because her SS went up five dollars and she doesnt even get $800 a month in SS ,but than I look at another relative that is ( I’ll give this to her she is missing an eye thatshe lost to cancer) able bodied and has six children and is getting disability and gets loads of food stamps I understand she has lots of children to take care of but, she can work my grandma is 89 and can’t go out to get a job. Anyways i think with anything that LOVE AND COMPASSION is necessary I think that it would be great if we did like the new testament and pooled all of our resources together give to those that have a need but ahhh thats in a perfect world.

    • Hi Mrs. Mickle,

      I think we agree that there will always be some abuse, but the abuse going on now is over the top. The suggestions mentioned here would reduce a lot of that abuse and leave more for people like your Mom.

  9. At a hospital I work at, in order to qualify for medical assistance you first have to apply for food stamps. I am not joking. You first have to apply for food stamps before you can qualify for medical assistance. The resource assistance department will even fill out the paperwork for you. Why? These people do not need food they need help paying for their medical bills. Entitlement programs in this country have become abhorrent. Their primary purpose of helping those in need has now become a way for government officials to increase votes for themselves. If it was about “need” the program would be designed like the WIC program leaving out luxury foods like chips, cokes, prime rib, t-bone steaks, etc. Food stamps should be about helping someone survive not thrive because when you start to give people things that others have to work hard for and still may not even be able to afford, you create animosity amongst the people. The hard working people have every right to be upset and demand change for it is their money that is being siphoned to those who choose not to work for their luxuries.

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