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(Boston Herald)   People use EBT to buy guns, porn, booze. Paging Dr. N.S. Sherlock   (bostonherald.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, EBT, nail salon  
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8664 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Mar 2013 at 8:44 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-04 12:34:35 PM  

factoryconnection: Fukuzawa: As someone who actually uses this program, nothing in this article actually meshes with my experience. But maybe NJ is the one state where it's working as intended?

My medical insurance comes with a FSA card, which prior to some string-tightening used to be usable for OTC medical products.  If you went to, say, a grocer and bought allergy medicine and ibuprofen along with your regular groceries, swiping the FSA card first would allot payment only for those eligible items.  The rest of the groceries wouldn't cause a debit, and you'd pay the rest of your bill normally.

I'm perplexed as to why this article describes such a system as non-existent.


UPC scanners are not commonly used in gun stores, nail salons, or casinos.
 
2013-03-04 12:38:09 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: UPC scanners are not commonly used in gun stores, nail salons, or casinos.


Those are the places that EBT recipients are suspected of using their withdrawn-cash benefits, not the cards themselves.  That's a different discussion point, and one worth addressing, certainly.
 
2013-03-04 12:43:25 PM  

fanbladesaresharp: bdub77: The stupidest part of the welfare argument is that welfare is a pretty damn small part of our problems with government waste. The military spending on the other hand is asinine. 700 billion dollars a year? That is f*cking insane. Giving money to some person who may or may not make a living selling drugs pales in comparison to the criminals making 'bling' by selling arms at the top of the military industrial complex.

Start there.

You do realize that the military money goes directly right back into local economies right? It doesn't go "POOF" and you never see it again. It goes back to military families, contractors, builders, ancillary personnel and companies, all with families, kids, mortgages, grocery lists, beer, boats, college tuition...all sorts of shiat. They take that military money and put it back into the economy. Hell one of them might even take that E-6 pay and buy a Fark sub.  The military is just another temporary holding point of that money.

What comes around, goes around. Now if you're sending 100 million dollar planes to other countries for defense that turn on you later, with your own shiat, then oh hell yes, I'm with ya on that one.


Totally agree. Of course it goes back into local economies. That doesn't mean that it's a good thing. Building a huge infrastructure whose entire purpose is to murder people in other countries is better than using that money for, oh I dunno, public works projects like high speed rail, highways, education, science, space exploration, etc.

We put wayyy too much money into military. The things the military has been good for is funding research into prosthetics and other devices, but then again that's because we sent some poor soul into a backwards ass state with millions of dollars worth of equipment that then gets blown up by an explosive device that costs only $10 because at some point we probably gave the explosive to them in the first place. Now THAT is retarded government waste.
 
2013-03-04 12:44:06 PM  
i.imgur.com
 
2013-03-04 12:48:10 PM  

factoryconnection: BarkingUnicorn: UPC scanners are not commonly used in gun stores, nail salons, or casinos.

Those are the places that EBT recipients are suspected of using their withdrawn-cash benefits, not the cards themselves.  That's a different discussion point, and one worth addressing, certainly.


Really?!?! That's what this argument is about?  I admit I didn't RTFA and assumed the program has some serious UPC coding errors.  Look if someone gets cash assistance that means they can use that cash for whatever they want.  If you want it regulated make it something other than cash assistance.  You can't complain about spending of money that you give to someone as cash.

If they are swiping the card and it just works then the system needs a better check on where the credit is coming from.  I tried to use my government travel card at the movie theater the one time I was deployed and it was denied (I mean wth it's my per diem money if I want to watch a movie then why not), you can't tell me that they can't lock out the EBT card.
 
2013-03-04 12:49:30 PM  

x-caliber: My FSA can handle this quite easily.  Leave it to Massachusetts government to go with the lowest bidder for software development for this work (or at least have not completed a requirements document for the software development).


What we're talking about wasn't a requirement at the time the software was developed.  The cash benefits on an EBT card can be spent on anything.  It's possible to restrict where cash benefits can be spent, but many purchases simply cannot be checked against a database of prohibited items.  Ever seen a UPC scanner used to ring up a manicure?
 
2013-03-04 12:49:58 PM  

factoryconnection: Fukuzawa: As someone who actually uses this program, nothing in this article actually meshes with my experience. But maybe NJ is the one state where it's working as intended?

My medical insurance comes with a FSA card, which prior to some string-tightening used to be usable for OTC medical products.  If you went to, say, a grocer and bought allergy medicine and ibuprofen along with your regular groceries, swiping the FSA card first would allot payment only for those eligible items.  The rest of the groceries wouldn't cause a debit, and you'd pay the rest of your bill normally.

I'm perplexed as to why this article describes such a system as non-existent.


This is EXACTLY what I was thinking. Medical FSA payment systems have the ability to differentiate between eligible and non-eligible items. There is no reason that EBT systems can't do the same. The reason they don't is probably a combination of inertia and incompetence.
 
2013-03-04 12:55:13 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: x-caliber: My FSA can handle this quite easily.  Leave it to Massachusetts government to go with the lowest bidder for software development for this work (or at least have not completed a requirements document for the software development).

What we're talking about wasn't a requirement at the time the software was developed.  The cash benefits on an EBT card can be spent on anything.  It's possible to restrict where cash benefits can be spent, but many purchases simply cannot be checked against a database of prohibited items.  Ever seen a UPC scanner used to ring up a manicure?


It should be fairly straightforward to group businesses into two classes: allowed to accept EBT payments, and not allowed to accept EBT payments.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, and stores that sell necessities: allowed.
Liquor stores, hair/nail salons, strip clubs, adult bookstores: not allowed.

...and so on.

This is something that can be done, it just isn't being done.
 
2013-03-04 12:55:16 PM  
Obviously if they are spending the money on items that aren't essential, they are getting too much money.  I think I see where we can cut some spending and save some money.
 
2013-03-04 12:56:52 PM  
This push to micromanage EBT cash benefits is going to turn out as poorly as voter ID and drug testing welfare applicants.  It will cost the state and businesses a fortune and it will be impossible to measure results.
 
2013-03-04 12:56:56 PM  

TNel: You really have no idea how it is to actually "live" off of welfare. I put that in quotes because it's not the rainbows and unicorns you republicans keep talking about.


I'm not Republican.

I lived off of it for a few years when I was a teenager with my parents and it freaking SUCKED. The looks you got when you used the stamps, the comments from kids when you use the special green token to get a free meal at school.

They changed all that. Now you get a card that you swipe- no more embarrassment producing the Food Stamps.

You barely get enough to make a passable meal every day.

Ha. I know people who get EBT. I know how much they get. But you wouldn't believe me if I told you.
 
2013-03-04 01:00:26 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: This push to micromanage EBT cash benefits is going to turn out as poorly as voter ID and drug testing welfare applicants.  It will cost the state and businesses a fortune and it will be impossible to measure results.


But I thought government waste was the purpose of this exercise. Then after we waste more money 'researching it' we can argue about how there is even more government waste than there was before.
 
2013-03-04 01:02:35 PM  
The loophole ... involves supermarkets, convenience stores and department stores that sell those things as well as EBT-eligible items - but there is no way the state's cash card system can tell the difference.

"The technology that we're using with Xerox allows us to block usage by the store. It does not, at least currently, have the ability to block individual purchases at the store level,"


Then your system sucks. I've used EBT here in Virginia. Ring up everything at the local grocery store (Food Lion, Kroger). Toilet paper? Beer (in theory)? Cat food? None of these are payable with EBT. You use the EBT, it debits the appropriate amount, then tells you your remainder so you can pay cash or credit or whatever.

The rules were: no booze, pet items, hot prepared foods, paper products, etc. Just food. About the only "loophole" was that you could buy a Snickers or a bag of Doritos.

If these stores could do it, then stores there can do it. And if they don't, why are you letting them do business with EBT?

clane: [images.sodahead.com image 350x261]


Misleading graph is misleading. Numbers may be accurate, but when a graph arbitrarily starts it's y-axis at something other than zero, it's intentionally distorting the visual.
 
2013-03-04 01:05:00 PM  

bdub77: The stupidest part of the welfare argument is that welfare is a pretty damn small part of our problems with government waste. The military spending on the other hand is asinine. 700 billion dollars a year? That is f*cking insane. Giving money to some person who may or may not make a living selling drugs pales in comparison to the criminals making 'bling' by selling arms at the top of the military industrial complex.

Start there.


Trouble is EVERYTHING except the military is a pretty damn small...see, you can argue nothing is worth cutting with your rationale and nothing is a problem.
 
2013-03-04 01:12:31 PM  

fredklein: Ha. I know people who get EBT. I know how much they get. But you wouldn't believe me if I told you.


I wouldn't because I have taken the effort and looked up my state's program and inputted dummy information to see what I get.  PA has a very easy online tool (Compass) that lets you know and I believe the max food stamps is $500 a month and you need a lot of kids to get it.  Now to even get Food Stamps you need to make less than $20k a year and have kids.  If you don't have kids you have to make like 15k and then you only get like $150 or something.

Are you confusing SSI, disability as welfare?
 
2013-03-04 01:12:49 PM  

Mimic_Octopus: in Oregon, there is no cash access unless one is over the retirement age.  solved.


Some of us old folks like booze, porn and guns.  And Beavers.

/Heh, Beavers.
//Don't remember what they're for, but remember I like 'em.
 
2013-03-04 01:17:58 PM  
whew...


This thread


Mention the welfare program and watch the furious political masterbation festival begin...

I'm going to back out of here lest i get hit by political bukkake from the laft and the right side...
 
2013-03-04 01:19:13 PM  

bdub77: fredklein: bdub77: Well in your little world, that makes you a chump, apparently.

Yup. Straight, white, middle aged male here.

Yeah the whole world is just completely against you. After all, you think your sexual orientation has anything to do with it.


It's a play on an old joke: "I'm in every majority there is: Straight, white, male, protestant... and there's darn few of us left!"

People get off of welfare because they are given a chance - that means better education,

Why do poor people deserve "better"??

And I suppose if you want to be completely ruthless, if we simply let them die someone ultimately has to pick up their corpse and drop them into a ditch somewhere.

Firstly, I'm okay with that.
Second, it wouldn't be "us" who "let" them die- it'd be "them" who chose to die.

Seems like a pretty stupid thing to just let people die though because we don't want to pay a few hundred in taxes each year. Then again I'm an actual human being.

Implying that people who don't like giving away money aren't. Nice.

I think of the poor in this country the same way I think of the starving in Africa: yes, people are suffering. But it's not my fault. And trying to throw money at it doesn't work. There are plenty of explanations of why that's true. For instance, local farmers cannot compete with 'free', and so stop farming. No local farmers = no local food = even more reliance of handouts. And the same is true here in the USA: if you can either sit on your ass and get enough money to eat and pay bills, OR work a full time job and end up with less money, which do you think people will choose??
 
2013-03-04 01:19:51 PM  
I always thought if you're on food stamps you should be issued a nutritious paste containing all your daily vitamins and minerals necessary for survival and that's what you and your family eat.  Give them some incentive to try and get off of food stamps.  When you're allowed to buy steak and shrimp on some one elses dime, why try and improve your life?
 
2013-03-04 01:20:48 PM  

clane: clane:
and yall keep voting Democrat...
[i105.photobucket.com image 544x199]

I know I'm feeding the troll, but I can't resist.
rustypouch:
There are about 47 million people in the US on some sort of food stamps. http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34SNAPmonthly.htm

So if the SNAP program is cut off, we now have 47 million people going hungry. What happens to them? Are they just going to go away and quietly starve? Or will they start stealing rather than dying in a ditch?

clane:
47 MILLION!! just think about that.Do you think this program is being abused?  This system does not work at all, it is used by the Democrats to buy votes.  It's original intentions were good but now it is a crime the way it is run.
[images.sodahead.com image 350x261]


yay, using 20mil as the zero base does not skew that graphic at all
 
2013-03-04 01:22:33 PM  

Big_Fat_Liar: bdub77: The stupidest part of the welfare argument is that welfare is a pretty damn small part of our problems with government waste. The military spending on the other hand is asinine. 700 billion dollars a year? That is f*cking insane. Giving money to some person who may or may not make a living selling drugs pales in comparison to the criminals making 'bling' by selling arms at the top of the military industrial complex.

Start there.

Trouble is EVERYTHING except the military is a pretty damn small...see, you can argue nothing is worth cutting with your rationale and nothing is a problem.


No, what you can do is argue that you have higher priorities in cutting defense budgets than to spend all your time and money researching ways to make welfare work better which may or may not actually cost taxpayers more money in the long run. But if you want to make the argument, fine go after both. But put defense higher on the list.

What we really need is a defense transition program that takes defense projects and works on finding applications in private enterprise, thereby moving those projects off of government funds into private funds.

And move some budgets for defense into one-time infrastructure spending on things like construction and the like. For those soldiers you would have let go, give them transition jobs in construction while giving them training in other areas.

Sad truth is that unemployment is going to continue to rise because there aren't enough jobs. Robots are truly taking our jorbs, and those are never coming back until the robopocalypse comes.
 
2013-03-04 01:23:13 PM  

Cybernetic: BarkingUnicorn: x-caliber: My FSA can handle this quite easily.  Leave it to Massachusetts government to go with the lowest bidder for software development for this work (or at least have not completed a requirements document for the software development).

What we're talking about wasn't a requirement at the time the software was developed.  The cash benefits on an EBT card can be spent on anything.  It's possible to restrict where cash benefits can be spent, but many purchases simply cannot be checked against a database of prohibited items.  Ever seen a UPC scanner used to ring up a manicure?

It should be fairly straightforward to group businesses into two classes: allowed to accept EBT payments, and not allowed to accept EBT payments.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, and stores that sell necessities: allowed.
Liquor stores, hair/nail salons, strip clubs, adult bookstores: not allowed.

...and so on.

This is something that can be done, it just isn't being done.


The new law is demanding item-level blocking.  The benefits manager acknowledges that location-level blocking is possible, but says he can't comply with this law.  Even if he could, cash can still be withdrawn at some ATM and spent on anything, anywhere.

I wonder if States can prohibit cash withdrawals on their own.  The ability to get cash benefits in cash may be a federal requirement.

BTW, it's not just States that are pushing this micromanagement.  A new federal law requires them to prohibit use of cash benefits for purchases of liquor, cigarettes, adult entertainment, gambling and guns by 2014 or lose federal money.  That law passed on the strength of a House Ways & Means Committee report that merely cited anecdotes from news media without a single estimate of how often abuse happens or the dollars involved.
 
2013-03-04 01:23:36 PM  

durbnpoisn: 3. There are a great number of assholes that take advantage of point #1 to a ludicrous degree.


No, there isn't. The small number is just highly publicized. Hell, even TFA we are commenting on doesn't say that people are actually abusing the system, just that it's run poorly enough that they could.
 
2013-03-04 01:24:22 PM  

TNel: rlv.zcache.com


The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'... but how many stories do you have to hear before you start thinking there might be something to them??

No, really, how many? Like, a number. Because I'm sure I can find that many. And then you'd have to start taking shiat seriously instead of tossing off cutesie t-shirt one-liners.
 
2013-03-04 01:24:35 PM  
fredklein:

And I suppose if you want to be completely ruthless, if we simply let them die someone ultimately has to pick up their corpse and drop them into a ditch somewhere.

Firstly, I'm okay with that.
Second, it wouldn't be "us" who "let" them die- it'd be "them" who chose to die.


Troll detector went off. Bye bye.
 
2013-03-04 01:26:17 PM  

Rivethead: i.imgur.com


...and therefore (despite this being a thread about EBT), we should totally ignore the problems (mentioned in the article this thread is based on) regarding EBT.
 
2013-03-04 01:29:47 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: The loophole ... involves supermarkets, convenience stores and department stores that sell those things as well as EBT-eligible items - but there is no way the state's cash card system can tell the difference.

"The technology that we're using with Xerox allows us to block usage by the store. It does not, at least currently, have the ability to block individual purchases at the store level,"

Then your system sucks. I've used EBT here in Virginia. Ring up everything at the local grocery store (Food Lion, Kroger). Toilet paper? Beer (in theory)? Cat food? None of these are payable with EBT. You use the EBT, it debits the appropriate amount, then tells you your remainder so you can pay cash or credit or whatever.

The rules were: no booze, pet items, hot prepared foods, paper products, etc. Just food. About the only "loophole" was that you could buy a Snickers or a bag of Doritos.

If these stores could do it, then stores there can do it. And if they don't, why are you letting them do business with EBT?


From what you describe, it sounds like Virginia's EBT card holds only SNAP benefits.  In many States, EBT cards hold SNAP and cash benefits. So an EBT card would first be used to pay for food, then the same card would be used to pay for other items and even get cash back.

That's not a flawed system; it's more efficient for the government and more convenient for card users.  It just didn't anticipate this new requirement for item-level micromanagement. of cash benefits.
 
2013-03-04 01:30:47 PM  

fanbladesaresharp: You do realize that the military money goes directly right back into local economies right? It doesn't go "POOF" and you never see it again. It goes back to military families, contractors, builders, ancillary personnel and companies, all with families, kids, mortgages, grocery lists, beer, boats, college tuition...all sorts of shiat. They take that military money and put it back into the economy. Hell one of them might even take that E-6 pay and buy a Fark sub. The military is just another temporary holding point of that money.

What comes around, goes around. Now if you're sending 100 million dollar planes to other countries for defense that turn on you later, with your own shiat, then oh hell yes, I'm with ya on that one.


EBT money does the same thing -- it goes into the hands of the liquor store owners, local drug dealers, local hookers, gun dealers, etc.  All of whom live in that area and then use that money to shop for other goods and services.

Congratulations -- you've just figured out that money circulates in an economy.  That's kind of what it's for.

The thing is, even if the money were paid to buy things from foreigners, what do you think those foreigners are going to do with those American dollars?  They'll use them to buy American goods.  Either that, or they have to use those dollars to buy other foreign currencies, and the buyer of those dollars then uses those dollars to buy American goods.

The problem with military spending (or any other form of government-directed expenditure) is not following where the dollars go; the real issue is what kind of productivity you're getting for that expenditure of that money, and more importantly, what kind of productivity does NOT occur as a result of the government-directed diversion of money.

What do you get for all those billions spent on the military?  Ships, guns, missiles, and a huge infrastructure that costs billions to deliver a single bullet aimed at an enemy.

What is not being done with the time, energy and labor of all of the people employed in military enterprises?  It's incalculable.  Even Eisenhower said --

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

The cost of the governmental diversion of money, away from all of the transactions that WOULD have occurred, and into the transactions that the government mandates, is an opportunity cost, and is almost always a move away from things that people actually want, and into the production of things that no one wants or would ever buy voluntarily.  Every government dollar spent is a net loss of real wealth.
 
2013-03-04 01:35:12 PM  

bdub77: Troll detector went off. Bye bye


You're the one assuming people would lay down and die, rather then get a job... and I'm the troll??
 
2013-03-04 01:35:42 PM  

Phinn: What do you get for all those billions spent on the military?  Ships, guns, missiles, and a huge infrastructure that costs billions to deliver a single bullet aimed at an enemy.

What is not being done with the time, energy and labor of all of the people employed in military enterprises?  It's incalculable.  Even Eisenhower said --

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

The cost of the governmental diversion of money, away from all of the transactions that WOULD have occurred, and into the transactions that the government mandates, is an opportunity cost, and is almost always a move away from things that people actually want, and into the production of things that no one wants or would ever buy voluntarily.  Every government dollar spent is a net loss of real wealth.


You and Dwight said it better than I ever could.
 
2013-03-04 01:35:52 PM  

vudukungfu: m053486: Oh, and said women come in all sorts of colors.

But mostly in only one size.


Fat & Obnoxious?
 
2013-03-04 01:41:19 PM  

Happy Hours: WTF is EBT?


Welfare and/or food stamps.  It doesn't come in a check or actual stamps in most places anymore.  They're basically debit or prepaid credit cards.

Oh, and someone tells me people misuse them?  The next thing you'll tell me is that the sky is blue and water is wet.

Although really, the misuse described in TFA is pretty infrequent.  Far more frequent is selling or 'renting' the EBT for cash (say 50 cents on the dollar), which is then used to buy prohibited items.
 
2013-03-04 01:56:06 PM  
Good news every one! clane is here to rescue us from logic and reason. WOO HOO! We don't have to think any more!
 
2013-03-04 01:59:30 PM  
Guys, guys, its OK, we shouldn't complain about our tax dollars being used for non-essential goods and services.  It's rich people's fault that poor people don't have money anyway, so who cares if the poor people spend the rich people's money on porn and whatever they want?   It just helps ease the suffering caused by big oil, big banks, wall street, and republicans.
 
2013-03-04 02:02:28 PM  

bdub77: Phinn: What do you get for all those billions spent on the military?  Ships, guns, missiles, and a huge infrastructure that costs billions to deliver a single bullet aimed at an enemy.

What is not being done with the time, energy and labor of all of the people employed in military enterprises?  It's incalculable.  Even Eisenhower said --

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

The cost of the governmental diversion of money, away from all of the transactions that WOULD have occurred, and into the transactions that the government mandates, is an opportunity cost, and is almost always a move away from things that people actually want, and into the production of things that no one wants or would ever buy voluntarily.  Every government dollar spent is a net loss of real wealth.

You and Dwight said it better than I ever could.


Dwight stated only facts. Phinn spouted mostly derp; only "opportunity cost" is a fact.  In Phinn's world, "the people" are only the people who want what he wants.

How do Congresscritters who "almost always" buy what people don't want get elected?
 
2013-03-04 02:07:09 PM  

fredklein: TNel: rlv.zcache.com

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'... but how many stories do you have to hear before you start thinking there might be something to them??

No, really, how many? Like, a number. Because I'm sure I can find that many. And then you'd have to start taking shiat seriously instead of tossing off cutesie t-shirt one-liners.


Go see a climate change global warming thread and this is the exact same line that appears.  You really believe that majority of people are scaming food stamps?
 
2013-03-04 02:20:40 PM  

TNel: fredklein: TNel: rlv.zcache.com

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'... but how many stories do you have to hear before you start thinking there might be something to them??

No, really, how many? Like, a number. Because I'm sure I can find that many. And then you'd have to start taking shiat seriously instead of tossing off cutesie t-shirt one-liners.

Go see a climate change global warming thread and this is the exact same line that appears.  You really believe that majority of people are scaming food stamps?


I for one do not believe a majority of people are scamming on food stamps. Much like the school funding thread, government assistance threads usually boil down to either side claiming the other side is in one of two camps.

Camp A. Believes that every single person using government assistance is a fat lazy slob who sits on their ass at home on their pristine leather furniture, watching 800 channels of cable while talking on the latest high end cell phone just before they climb into their 2013 Cadillac Escalade.

Camp B. Wants every single person receiving government assistance to go without even the smallest amount of help, but also to sell off every worldly possession they have, including but not limited to the clothes on their back and the hair on top of their head.

Lost in the middle are the sane people who want to see some minor reforms made to the system, like removal of candy, soda, and other absolute "non-necessity" foods from the system that, despite the "we swear it isn't happening" statements of the Department of Agriculture, those of us who work on the front lines know damn well that it is.
 
2013-03-04 02:28:44 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: How do Congresscritters who "almost always" buy what people don't want get elected?


Gerrymandering can create an effect by which the majority of people are underrepresented in Congress. This happened in 2010 with the whole Tea Party movement. Second, some people are just plain f*cking stupid, don't know the issues, pick candidates based on coinflips and 'gut feelings'. This happens on both sides of the aisle. In the end, they vote against their interests quite often, or are brainwashed into doing so.

My Congressman won 55-45 in 2010. He won 75-25 in 2012. Gerrymandering.
 
2013-03-04 02:34:03 PM  

bdub77: Big_Fat_Liar: bdub77: The stupidest part of the welfare argument is that welfare is a pretty damn small part of our problems with government waste. The military spending on the other hand is asinine. 700 billion dollars a year? That is f*cking insane. Giving money to some person who may or may not make a living selling drugs pales in comparison to the criminals making 'bling' by selling arms at the top of the military industrial complex.

Start there.

Trouble is EVERYTHING except the military is a pretty damn small...see, you can argue nothing is worth cutting with your rationale and nothing is a problem.

No, what you can do is argue that you have higher priorities in cutting defense budgets than to spend all your time and money researching ways to make welfare work better which may or may not actually cost taxpayers more money in the long run. But if you want to make the argument, fine go after both. But put defense higher on the list.

What we really need is a defense transition program that takes defense projects and works on finding applications in private enterprise, thereby moving those projects off of government funds into private funds.

And move some budgets for defense into one-time infrastructure spending on things like construction and the like. For those soldiers you would have let go, give them transition jobs in construction while giving them training in other areas.

Sad truth is that unemployment is going to continue to rise because there aren't enough jobs. Robots are truly taking our jorbs, and those are never coming back until the robopocalypse comes.


I certainly want both too.  It wouldn't bother me if we "slashed" our "defense" spending to a level that was only equal to like 35% of the world defense spending combined (vs. 41% where it's at right now).  We'll only need enough firepower to take on the robots.
 
2013-03-04 02:39:21 PM  

Big_Fat_Liar: We'll only need enough firepower to take on the robots.


Maybe we shouldn't be making so many drones then? :)
 
2013-03-04 02:48:04 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: How do Congresscritters who "almost always" buy what people don't want get elected?


They do it by setting up a system of elections in the first place!  This system of making spending decisions has the convenient effect of separating Election Day from Spending Decision Day.  Let's call this the "Electoral System" of spending money.

The Electoral System also has the convenient effect of appearing to empower the elected person to spend other people's money, rather than the voter's own money.  I, for one, would spend your money on my stuff every day of the week and twice on Sunday, before I ever chose to spend my own.  Spending my money imposes real costs on me. For example, it prevents me from buying pretty much everything I might have otherwise done with that money, since every dollar can only be spent once.  But spending other people's money?  It's seemingly endless.  All of the benefits, none of the (immediate) costs.  I could get used to that.

This Electoral System of spending money is, you might notice, a very different mode of social organization from, say, every person spending his or her own money as he or she sees fit.  In that type of system (let's call it "Real Life"), people get to choose what they spend their money on, and they must immediately live with the consequences of those decisions, on account of the aforementioned fact that every dollar can only be spent once.  As a result, there is no distance at all between the decision to spend money, and the real costs of spending it that way.

So, the "decision" to have "the government" spend money (by ticking a box on a ballot once every few years) on aircraft carriers and EBT cards and sugar subsidies and chicken inspectors and solar panels really can't be compared to the hundreds of millions of decisions of that people make every day in Real Life -- to spend their money on the things they actually want (food, houses, cars, clothes, cell phones, etc.).

Economically, these two modes of spending are so different from one another that they are two entirely different processes.  It's not surprising that one mode yields the production of things that people don't actually want to pay for (but want other people to pay for), and the other mode yields goods and services that people actually enjoy.
 
2013-03-04 03:07:17 PM  

bdub77: BarkingUnicorn: How do Congresscritters who "almost always" buy what people don't want get elected?

Gerrymandering can create an effect by which the majority of people are underrepresented in Congress. This happened in 2010 with the whole Tea Party movement. Second, some people are just plain f*cking stupid, don't know the issues, pick candidates based on coinflips and 'gut feelings'. This happens on both sides of the aisle. In the end, they vote against their interests quite often, or are brainwashed into doing so.

My Congressman won 55-45 in 2010. He won 75-25 in 2012. Gerrymandering.


So Congresscritters almost always buy what people who didn't elect them don't want.  People take the bad with the good because that's how things come. Color me surprised.

Gerrymandering is a scourge.  Districts should be drawn by out-of-state committees composed of people who haven't voted in at least ten years.
 
2013-03-04 03:09:41 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: From what you describe, it sounds like Virginia's EBT card holds only SNAP benefits. In many States, EBT cards hold SNAP and cash benefits. So an EBT card would first be used to pay for food, then the same card would be used to pay for other items and even get cash back.

That's not a flawed system; it's more efficient for the government and more convenient for card users. It just didn't anticipate this new requirement for item-level micromanagement. of cash benefits.


Ah, that could be. Thanks.
 
2013-03-04 03:20:22 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: bdub77: BarkingUnicorn: How do Congresscritters who "almost always" buy what people don't want get elected?

Gerrymandering can create an effect by which the majority of people are underrepresented in Congress. This happened in 2010 with the whole Tea Party movement. Second, some people are just plain f*cking stupid, don't know the issues, pick candidates based on coinflips and 'gut feelings'. This happens on both sides of the aisle. In the end, they vote against their interests quite often, or are brainwashed into doing so.

My Congressman won 55-45 in 2010. He won 75-25 in 2012. Gerrymandering.

So Congresscritters almost always buy what people who didn't elect them don't want.  People take the bad with the good because that's how things come. Color me surprised.

Gerrymandering is a scourge.  Districts should be drawn by out-of-state committees composed of people who haven't voted in at least ten years.


This is the smartest thing I have heard on here in a long time.
 
2013-03-04 03:26:35 PM  

RevMark: Good news every one! clane is here to rescue us from logic and reason. WOO HOO! We don't have to think any more!


clane:
golf clap...
 
2013-03-04 03:49:28 PM  
This is why I know educational vouchers will be a big hit.
 
2013-03-04 03:53:18 PM  
Technology does not exist?  Funny, when they accidentally tried to run something through with my Flex Spending card at Wal*Mart it kicked it out as not eligible.  Of course, this may be a store system, but the technology does exist.  Unless the merchants are crooked, but since we know that it's only the buyer that is the crooked one.
 
2013-03-04 03:55:42 PM  

Bigdogdaddy: Technology does not exist?  Funny, when they accidentally tried to run something through with my Flex Spending card at Wal*Mart it kicked it out as not eligible.  Of course, this may be a store system, but the technology does exist.  Unless the merchants are crooked, but since we know that it's only the buyer that is the crooked one.


Have you ever used a government website?
 
2013-03-04 05:00:02 PM  

Happy Hours: WTF is EBT?


EBT is Afrocan-American for ATM
 
2013-03-04 05:40:31 PM  
Is this what we're going to use to demonize the millions of veterans, active-duty service members, and elderly people who need help paying for food, or are we just going to use it to rationalize cutting off food aid to the millions of kids who grow up not knowing where their next meal will come from?

I don't doubt there's some abuse, but I'm not down with farking over the most needy citizens or letting thugs dictate policy. Prosecute the hell out of people who misuse them, but adding more fraud-protection such that families on the brink are told to wait weeks or months for emergency food aid is not acceptable.
 
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