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Wisconsin's Food Stamp Follies

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Wisconsin's Food Stamp Follies

CREATED Aug 18, 2011

Although I did the segment almost a week ago on the radio, it still continues to draw a huge response.

A listener e-mailed me a receipt that he had come across from a grocery store located just across the Wisconsin border in the U.P.  The receipt showed that someone had purchased 5 cases of Diet Mountain Dew  (24 cans per case), 6 lobster tails (4 at $8.99, 2 at $17.98) and 2 porterhouse steaks ($12.27 and $11.64).  After adding the deposit for the cans of soda, the total bill came to $141.78.

So, what's the big deal?

Well, according to the receipt, the whole feast was paid for by food stamps.  In other words, we taxpayers picked up the tab so that some food stamp recipient could eat better than most working people do.

If you're thinking that this couldn't happen in Wisconsin, you're wrong!

Wisconsin FoodShare benefits can't be used for nonfood items, alcohol, hot food or food that will be eaten in the store.  There is however no other limitation on the type of food which can be purchased.  In other words, lobster, crab legs, filets, whatever - let the good times roll.  All courtesy of the taxpayers!   

Here are portions of a couple of e-mails I received from people on the topic:

"I am a police officer. ... The day before you were talking about the food stamps, I arrested a man and woman for prescription fraud.  During the search of their vehicle, I located several receipts from a Pick N Save in Milwaukee.  I was blown away to see several hundreds of dollars spent over the past couple of months on numerous lobster tails, tiger shrimp and several different cuts of steaks. ... " 

Here's another:

"I manage a local big box grocery store in the Milwaukee area and I see this happen every day.  Many of the food stamp participants shop at my store ... .  Soda, candy and processed frozen ready to eat meals are all they buy.  The only fresh goods they purchase are the meats, of which they buy more of than myself.  ... Additionally, we have people come in and buy cart loads of soda and other items obviously being resold.  No one need 100s of 2 liter bottles of soda at one time.  To make things even worse, we are told that we cannot deny these purchases or we could risk our ability to accept food stamps." 

I could go on and on but you get the idea.

The number of food stamp recipients has absolutely exploded in this country over the past few years.  I guess that's okay to the extent that we need to provide a safety net for those in greatest need.  Still, the safety net doesn't need to be lined with empty lobster tails and Oreo cookie crumbs!

There is absolutely no reason that food stamp recipients should be able to blow your tax dollars on high end crab legs, porterhouse steaks, bags of candy and cases and cases of soda.  I'm pretty sure that people can get by quite well on hamburger, chicken and milk. 

After all, it's how most people who actually work for a living and pay the tab for those on food stamps do it.