In response to the widespread theft surrounding a food stamp computer glitch last month in his state, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that participants will have their benefits suspended for a year or more.
Countless looters converged on a number of Walmart stores in the state Oct. 11, leaving with overflowing shopping carts full of merchandise they could not have otherwise purchased with their EBT cards. The issues were nationwide; however, retailers in Springhill and Mansfield, La. remained open to the public despite the fact that their systems were not displaying card balances.
When the issues were resolved, at least one shopper was caught with about $700 in merchandise despite having an EBT balance of just 49 cents.
In total, at least 12,000 food stamp recipients received notification of overdrafts to their accounts, prompting Jindal’s office to support rescinding benefits to at least some of the opportunistic thieves.
The Republican governor is not alone in advocating action against the criminals. Suzy Sonnier of the Department of Children and Family Services indicated that her agency is “looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system.”
Reports indicate that letters will soon be sent to those who took advantage of the system failure, informing them that their benefits have been cancelled and providing them with recourse through which to possibly get their cards reinstated. Some offenders, however, could lose their food stamps indefinitely.
Though welfare fraud is nothing new, the level of disregard for the law that surrounded the melees in those Louisiana Walmart stores illustrates a frustrating trend. More and more, government assistance is viewed as a right, prompting many recipients to treat other people’s money as their own personal bank account.
Hardworking Americans, already besieged by confiscatory taxes in support of a hopelessly bloated federal government, cannot afford to subsidize the criminal exploits of those who rely on Uncle Sam for their necessities.
Such fraud is not only an affront to the taxpaying public forced to provide these handouts; it perpetuates a stigma that all welfare recipients are scoundrels.
–B. Christopher Agee
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