Saturday, July 30, 2011

SNAP, crackle, BOOM

Last Saturday, I stopped for gas at a little store near my home. There was a young woman in line in front of me while I waited to pay for my gas. She had two V-8 Splash drinks and was waiting while her little girl picked out some candy. After what seemed an eternity, the little girl brought her candy to the counter. She had three little boxes of candy and a bag of Reese's Pieces.

When the cashier announced the total, the woman pulled a card out and said,"It's EBT." My head almost exploded!!! I have been waiting while a kid picks out candy and now they are paying for it with food stamps! Are you **##**##@@ me?? I was almost speechless.At that moment, I could have blown a blood pressure cuff right off my arm.

What's my problem with this?? Let's start with an easy one. I think that food stamps should be used to buy groceries at a grocery store, not snacks at a convenience store. Why should my tax dollars be used for someone to buy snacks that I wouldn't even buy for myself? Why can people who can't afford snacks have me provide snacks for them? Do you think that I'm buying juice drinks at $2 a bottle? All I drink is water! Most of that is in a cup from home.

Now, the government has made my treating people to snacks even easier. I see banners at convenience stores "SNAP accepted here". Despite the program name, I'm thinking that Reese's Pieces aren't any kind of supplemental nutrition. Is there any kind of misuse or fraud in this program? Have I suffered some hair loss? Do bears do it in the woods??

I stopped shopping at Food Lion years ago because it seemed that every time that I was there, I was in line behind someone with food stamps. There is nothing more frustrating than watching someone spending your tax dollars buying something that you can't afford to buy because you have to pay taxes. I'm buying the store brand and the person with the EBT card is buying the name brand. What's wrong with that picture?

How can we correct this? First, let's go back to buying groceries at the grocery store. I don't give a rat's behind if it is convenient or not for the person receiving the benefits of the government's largesse with my money. Go to the grocery store!! Buying at a convenience store is not an efficient use of my money. We are getting less for my money than we would get at a grocery store.

Once we have them back at the grocery store, let's limit what they can buy. Why are we letting people with EBT cards buy rib roasts? Almost everything known to man has a UPC number or a PLU (price lookup number) at the grocery store. We could easily limit which items could be purchased with the EBT card. The grocery stores would oppose this because they thrive on the EBT crowd buying the pricier things. Sorry guys, if you want the EBT business, get on the program. The labels on the shelf could indicate EBT items. All grocery store computers could easily handle this task. They track what I buy with my VIC card, why can't they track what the EBT card holders buy??

Last, but certainly not least, we need to train the EBT holders in how to shop for groceries. We will probably need to teach them how to cook. I'm thinking something like "Home Economics for EBT card holders". They should be required to attend classes to receive benefits. We wouldn't give someone a car without knowing that they can drive. Why would we give someone food without knowing if they can cook or if they even know what they should be eating? I don't think that letting them buy Swanson frozen dinners is an efficient use of benefits. If I'm buying your groceries, I don't care if it is easy for you to prepare. Learn to cook, I can. After seeing so many obese EBT people at the grocery store, I think that we need to add  fitness and nutrition classes. Attendance would be required to continue receiving benefits.

By now, many reading this are thinking, "This guy is crazy!" Yes, I can make a case for that. But what is really crazy is to give people money to buy any food that they want and then wonder why the program fails. If we want the Food Stamp program to produce healthy individuals, it needs to be reformed. It MUST include training for recipients and limits on what is provided by the program. Liberals tell us that they are concerned about the health of these individuals.It's time to prove it!! Reform the program and require the training that I have suggested.

Fraud?? This is an easy one to solve. Recipients selling their benefits or committing fraud will be banned for life from the program. Stores failing to comply with all regulations will receive the same lifetime ban. Government officials failing to enforce this will lose their jobs. Let's go shopping!!


At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...
Basically, it would cost the govt. more to restrict purchase of snacks, sodas and candy, than what it would be worth.
With 45 million people on this dole, what will happen when the governments run out of money to pay for this and other unsustainable entitlements.


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