The US Welfare program has been a problem since its inception. It’s been reported that many federal welfare recipients are receiving food stamps and then trading them for cash to purchase weapons and drugs.
The USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong reported this information to Congress this month. She said, in her prepared remarks:
“In terms of fraud, we have seen many types of trafficking in SNAP benefits. By giving a recipient $50 in cash for $100 in benefits, an unscrupulous retailer can make a significant profit; recipients, of course, are then able to spend the cash however they like….In some cases, recipients have exchanged benefits for drugs, weapons, and other contraband. When trafficking occurs unchecked, families do not receive the intended nutritional assistance, and unscrupulous retailers profit at the expense of the American public.”
Ms. Fong continued, “[The Office of Inspector General] also has been looking at recipients who misrepresent themselves to receive benefits…Recently, OIG has conducted a series of audits of 10 States to assess how they used participant databases to identify potentially fraudulent recipients, and we have completed work in 5 States. Our analysis of the databases that States check as part of their role in ensuring recipient eligibility revealed that a total of 8,594 recipients in the 5 States were receiving potential improper payments. Some of these recipients were using the Social Security numbers of deceased individuals, or otherwise invalid Social Security numbers, while others were receiving benefits in more than one State. In total, we estimate that these recipients could be receiving about $1.1 million a month.”
What we were not told by Ms. Fong is were any arrests made. We were not told of any means of recouping the millions of dollars in fraud by these people. We were not told of the confiscation of their property in order to repay what they had stolen from taxpayers. Do you think we will see such enforcement of the law? I think not.
What makes all this worse is the staggering figure that is a part of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the USDA’s largest welfare program. There is a total of $75 billion annually spent on this program alone. The fiscal year of October 2011-September 2012 estimates that about 46.3 million people are receiving food stamps from the government which is significantly higher than the previous year of 30.8 million.
What are we to do? I believe in a “safety net”, but the safety net I’m thinking of has nothing to do with government. It has to do with family. It has to do with friends. It has to do with the Church of Jesus Christ and other organizations of charity. They must be willing to hold these people accountable and not provide for them if they are unwilling to work. As the Scriptures teach, ” If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Let government deal with these people who have defrauded the taxpayers and let them earn a living and pay back what they took.
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