Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Food Stamp Crime Wave

Millionaires are now legally entitled to collect food stamps as long as they have little or no current monthly income. 35 states have abolished testing of how much money people have. The food stamp program has become a magnet for abuses and absurdities. The number of food-stamp recipients has soared from 26 million in 2007 to 44 million today, and costs have risen from $33 billion to $77 billion. The U.S. Department of Agriculture now has only 40 inspectors to oversee 200,000 merchants that accept food stamps. Retailers who traffic illegally in food stamps by redeeming stamps for cash or alcohol or other prohibited items "are less likely to face criminal penalties or prosecution" than in earlier years. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that Wisconsin food-stamp recipients routinely sell their benefit cards on Facebook, and that "nearly 2,000 recipients claimed they lost their card six or more times in just one year" [2010] and received replacements.

Prosecutors have stopped prosecuting the majority of food-stamp fraud cases. A Seattle television station reported that some food stamp recipients were selling their cards for cash on street corners and using the proceeds for illegal drugs or prostitution. In Iowa, it was found that 30% of the inmates in jail were collecting food stamps sent to their non-jail mailing addresses. The food stamp poster boy is 59-year-old Leroy Fick who won a $2 million lottery jackpot, and the Michigan Department of Human Services ruled he could continue receiving food stamps.

These facts are only part of the long list of abuses of the food stamp program reported by the Wall Street Journal. The famous writer H.L. Mencken once quipped that government has divided America into "those who work for a living and those who vote for a living." We are now approaching 50% of Americans who have become government dependents, and that's not a good sign for limited government.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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