July 29 2013

AARP: We Need More People on Food Stamps!

Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

“People have their pride,” he told The AARP Bulletin. “But if we get 1 out of 10 or even 1 out of 100 people, it’s worth it.”

That quote is from an AARP volunteer whose job it is to encourage potentially eligible older people to sign up for food stamps—or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program as food stamps are now known.

You would think that with 47 million Americans on food stamps a better program might be to encourage the kind of pride that keeps people off food stamps.  Now, I am not talking about people who would otherwise starve. I am talking about people who were feeding themselves adequately until the AARP volunteer came along.

The Daily Caller reports this morning that AARP has launched initiatives in several states to persuade people to sign up for food stamps. AARP lobbies for “less stigmatized access on a state level” to food stamps and contacts people who are not receiving food stamps to encourage them to sign up. This is a push to make government bigger and convince people who were making it on their own that government dependence is the way to go.

I can’t help surmising from this story and recent reports of a food stamps scam in New York that actual hunger of the prospect thereof is no longer the sine qua non for becoming a food stamps recipient. It seems that some well-fed Supplemental Nutrition recipients are sending their free food to Latin America.

When I first read about this food stamps fraud , I thought recipients were sending the food to hungry relatives in Latin America. Silly me! Some are doing that but for many there is also a thriving black market business in food stamps.

The New York Post interviewed some of these fraudsters:

Last week, The Post revealed how New Yorkers on welfare are buying food with their benefit cards and shipping it in blue barrels to poor relatives in the Caribbean.

But not everyone is giving the taxpayer-funded fare to starving children abroad. The Post last week found two people hawking barrels of American products for a profit on the streets of Santiago.

“It’s a really easy way to make money, and it doesn’t cost me anything,” a seller named Maria-Teresa said Friday.

Free for Maria-Teresa but not for thee and me, the U.S. taxpayers who are hit up for billions of dollars that go to food stamps.   

Nick Gillespie of Reason had a piece last Thanksgiving, when it was reported that more Americans than ever would be paying for their holiday meals with food stamps, on why so many people now apply for the program: the government has relaxed eligibility and made it very easy for people to get on food stamps.

Unfortunately, it is becoming more difficult to foot the bill for food stamps.

Add to that the erosion of civic values brought on by actively acting against the healthy pride of self-supporting citizens and you’ve got  a recipe for disaster.

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