As leftists continue to bemoan the modest reduction in welfare payments made to struggling Americans, a recent report proves how rampant fraud has become within the bloated world of government entitlements.
Local media in Sacramento, Calif., uncovered a scheme to sell food stamps online, using social media sites and classified listings on Craigslist.
Caught on camera by reporters, one suspected fraudster conceded, “Everyone said I was crazy, but I thought they’d say, ‘That’s freaking brilliant, man.’”
Another subject explained he would sell his electronic benefits card — containing a balance of $116 — for $60 online.
These people are criminals who apparently feel comfortable describing their crimes on camera. This widespread disregard for the law amounts to an estimated $750 million in welfare fraud each year in the U.S.
The recent reaction of many welfare recipients to a computer malfunction further illustrates the troubling trend. When they found out electronic systems were not keeping track of their card balances, several Walmart stores were overrun by scores of criminals seeking a taxpayer-funded shopping spree.
The brazenness with which many recipients flout the law is in part due to the government’s inability — or unwillingness — to keep fraud under control.
Welfare benefits have long been used for purposes other than vital assistance; and technological developments are only making such illicit usage even easier. While taxpayers ultimately bear the financial burden of this unchecked criminal behavior, those who truly need the help are also victimized.
Prevalent fraud creates a stigma not only on the welfare system itself but also on those within it. Instead of addressing these concerns head-on, the leftist response is to create even more government dependency among Americans, expanding the already insolvent programs even further.
As it stands, there is no way to know how many food stamp cards are sold for pennies on the dollar, nor what purchases or activities that dirty money ultimately finances.
If only authorities would hold the criminal element responsible for their actions, needy individuals could take advantage of temporary assistance while reducing the undue strain on taxpayers. Unfortunately, the left is concerned far more with creating a permanent bloc of dependent voters than it is in remedying America’s societal ills.
–B. Christopher Agee
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