I was at the grocery store today…
…and I saw something that made my jaw drop. I couldn’t help but laugh at the time, but ultimately, it’s not that funny.
It is about 11:20 as I write this, and I was at the store some 10 minutes ago. It is too late to cook, and the nearest grocery store to me that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg has a deli. I went to grab some chicken for a late dinner.
The young men in line in front of me were buying three kinds of soda, Oatmeal Cream Pies, Swiss Rolls, Ho Hos, and Mini Donuts. Before they paid, they waited a few moments for another of their group to come back from the candy aisle. Apparently they forgot Gummi Bears.
Their purchases lined up on the conveyor belt, the clerk checks them out. When the provisions are totaled, what should the young man reach for as payment but a Minnesota EBT card. For the uninitiated, that means he was paying with food stamps.
I feel like I should add the disclaimer that this is real. It sounds so silly, you might think I am embellishing or making the whole thing up. But I assure you, I was just there. And that really happened.
Taking the longer view, it is frankly amazing to me how many people discount the fact that these types of programs are rife with fraud and abuse. Under the guise of helping the poor, we are creating a permanent underclass with no skills save the ability to game the system.
People often accuse those of us who would like to see the end of these types of programs of taking food out of the mouths of poor families. That is simply untrue. Having people take care of themselves and, more importantly, allowing them to do so makes everyone better off, including the very poor. The evidence is clear, and the social welfare state is a failure.
But beyond that, I wouldn’t consider taking the Ho Hos away from a group of twentysomething boys who are clearly about to go smoke weed because none of them has a job to go to tomorrow a violation. That’s not taking food from poor people. That’s preventing the theft of the productive by the useless.