My friend, the Left Coast Rebel, has an excellent article below, on the mess that is California and the slippery slope the politicians keep greasing. The only trouble with the Rebel's article is: It's even worse than that.
In talking about the Food Stamp mess, first we might note that the politicians have renamed it last October, to get rid of some of that nasty stigma.
The new name? CalFresh
-First Lady Maria Shriver
"This rebranding campaign will go a long way in helping to erase the unfortunate stigma associated with this program and encourage families to seek CalFresh as a resource for putting healthy meals on their table,"
And well they should. Back when the government printed the food coupons, the next person in line could see what you were using. I remember an incident from over thirty years ago. It was the mid seventies, I had just bought my first house, (for fewer dollars than my current car, but the devaluation of the dollar is another story!), at a time when it was suggested that your mortgage payment be no more than 25% of your gross income. Mine was about 33% of my take home, so let's just say times were tight!
I was in the grocery store, buying some sliced bologna for my brown bag lunches. The guy in front of me in the line was a healthy looking, burly fellow, and I noticed that he had just bought two of the biggest t-bone steaks I had ever seen. And he had junk food and dog food and beer, and the checker told him he couldn't pay for the dog food or the beer with food stamps. (Sorry, Fido. Get a job!) So the gentleman proceeds to pull a roll of bills out of his pocket that would have choked a horse, peeled off a couple of fifty dollar bills and paid for the non-covered items.
You will forgive me, if in a moment of weakness looking at those steaks, pondering the tastiness of my lunchmeat, if it didn't at least cross my mind that maybe this guy didn't really qualify for foodstamps?
So, now that stigma has been taken away. Instead of a printed food coupon or stamp, the recipients receive what amounts to a debit card they swipe through the machine at the grocery. Much harder to see at a glance how the person in front of you is paying, so no one can tell who's using them. And in itself, that's not a bad thing. This is: the EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards, as they are called have not been allowed to be used for alcohol or cigarettes, but they could be used for cash! In other words, the person goes through the line, pays for the allowable groceries and then asks for cash back, which they could then spend on literally anything.
In fact, last June, a small scandal revealed that the EBT cards were being used to withdraw cash in California casinos!
California welfare recipients are able to use state-issued debit cards to withdraw cash on gaming floors in more than half of the casinos in the state, a Los Angeles Times review of records found.
The cards, provided by the Department of Social Services to help recipients feed and clothe their families, work in automated teller machines at 32 of 58 tribal casinos and 47 of 90 state-licensed poker rooms, the review found.
So, add gambling to the alcohol and cigarettes we provide welfare recipients in California. Add to that the irony that the state is spending literally millions of dollars to convince Californians not to smoke, while they are subsidizing tobacco products for the poor, the people who are statistically most likely to smoke. Go figure.
Cross posted at LCR.