Proving Something Important Here

My first stop was the seafood counter, where I found the thickest swordfishsteak I could, which at $18.99 per pound also turned out to be the most expensive item in the department. Then I headed to the coffee section, where I dropped $11.99 for a pound of fresh roasted beans.

From there, the milk aisle, where $8 bought a half gallon of pure organic goat’s milk. Nearby was the cheese section, where I found a tiny wedge of fancy-looking cheese from some European city I’ve never heard of and threw it my cart.

Last I hit the produce section, where I discovered a small but tasty-looking container ofChanterelle mushrooms. Price? $13.99, plus tax.

At the checkout line, I whipped out my shiny new Electronic Benefits Transfer card and watched the cashier ring up my order. The total (minus the cheese, which I discarded at the last moment) came to $51.10. Not bad for a gourmet meal, especially since I wasn’t paying for it.

THE DAILY CALLER INVESTIGATION! It took an investigation to break this shit wide open! The important case of some asshole being able to afford fancy food! Which proves that … somebody bought fancy food, with his food stamps! And didn’t pay for it! Except he did, with his taxes prior to needing food stamps, or he will be paying for it, with his taxes, after he gets off food assistance. In summation, screw him basically, because this is stupid.
Which is really what I want to talk about. Melissa and her commenters have already covered the food policing and nonsense that ensues whenever somebody poor isn’t adequately punishing him- or herself for being poor by looking very sad at the checkout counter with one can of beans. I mean, the hell do I care what you buy with your food stamps? I take precisely the amount of interest in what you buy with your food stamps as I would expect you to take of what I would buy with mine, which is to say, don’t you have TV to watch or something? Go watch TV.
No, what’s annoying to me about this type of “investigation” is that, its home on a right-wing smuggery & stroke session blog notwithstanding, it’s fairly typical of the not-important shit we make sound like horrible scandal in the news nowadays. Some waiter somewhere didn’t wash his hands! Some woman got away with shoplifting! Somebody bought a flat-screen TV! OMFG, we’d better kill all welfare programs like burning with fire so that no one is ever able to get away with anything ever again!
People, we have a limited amount of time on this planet. We have an even more limited amount of time we can devote to both doing and consuming journalism, even right-wing journalism. Can we not ever have a discussion about how, on balance, one person being a dick doesn’t doom our society?
Every system can be gamed. I’m not talking about deliberately ignoring the absence of basic safeguards to ensure good stewardship of public funds, but: Every bit of kindness in the universe can be taken advantage of, and I’m just so done listening to people be shocked and appalled when that turns out to be the case.
A.

16 thoughts on “Proving Something Important Here

  1. m says:

    thank you. nicely done. and one more thing: if the food-stamp gangster buys that fancy meal today, how many meals is he going without the rest of the month? the whole thing IS stupid, as you say, because that magic card he uses to pay for his food (how dare he think he can eat the same food rich folk do?), is not without limit. food stamp recipients, at least, are no doubt fully aware of that fact when they shop.

  2. idiosynchronic says:

    To be honest – I’d rather have food-stamp recipients snarfing up good real food rather than “food” like Chef Boyardee or Pringles.
    It’s pretty clear that Boyle has never really had to contemplate starvation on a 600-800 calorie/day diet.

  3. virgotex says:

    heh, reminds me of my mother being apoplectic when my grandma spent part of her assistance check on cornish game hens and avacados. My grandma told her to mind her own business too.

  4. MichaelF says:

    Having lived paycheck to paycheck for more than a little while (though, knock on wood, not recently), I used to grocery shop at odd hours and for limited items and often found myself in line behind food stamp (old enough to remember actual coupons) or food debit card users.
    I don’t recall ever seeing the Reaganesque “strapping young buck buying a T-Bone steak” or the Daily Caller’s modern equivalent, itself likely a cheap rehash of a NY Times piece a while back about Gen Y food stamp connoisseurs…anyway, I digress. Most of the people I saw using food stamps were buying things like cereal, bread, lunch meat — stuff that that either keeps without having to be refrigerated or stuff that’s super easy to fix (like a baloney sandwich.)
    Not to stereotype, but I’m guessing a fair number of food stamp users might not even really know how to cook a steak, much less a swordfish filet…they might not even know what a swordfish filet IS.
    And the people who seethe with resentment about folks getting a bare minimum stipend to buy cereal, bread, and baloney are really revealing how empty their own lives are…

  5. Maitri says:

    If you’re rich, gaming the system with your and taxpayer money to divert more money to you is smart and American. If you’re poor, screw you.

  6. pansypoo says:

    fine. the asshole gets to eat maybe 2 days. i think if you vote GOP. you need to live 1 month at least like a person at the lowest income. those who have no right to whine must be afflicted.

  7. vitaminC says:

    I just sent off an email to SNAP reporting this possible fraud. Hopefully, in addition to his shiny new food stamps, Matthew will really get what he has coming to him.
    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/07/thedc-investigation-food-stamps-are-easier-to-get-than-you-think/#ixzz17dg0JdEo

  8. vitaminC says:

    The fraud being his not reporting parental gift money and student loan income on his app, not the swordfish.

  9. montag says:

    What the right wing hopes to do with this sort of “reporting” is to establish in the minds of those so disposed the belief that this is the norm, rather than the extreme, manufactured exception.
    The law doesn’t make distinctions between “food” and “food.” It disallows, for example, liquor purchases with food stamps, even though liquor has calories, because buying liquorinstead of food is a disincentive to nutrition–the precise point of the program.
    Down deep, this is yet more propagandizing of the bigoted who think the poorshould suffer, and suffer mightily because, well… they’re the poor.
    The more outrageous the claim, the more traction it has, even though, ultimately, this sort of propaganda has one aim–to protect the wealth of the very wealthy, and to convince people that aim is more important and more urgent than societal cohesiveness.
    That’s the principle that Ronnie Raygun ultimately bequeathed to us.

  10. BlackSheep01 says:

    Well, Athenae, it depends on who, exactly, acts like this:
    Can we not ever have a discussion about how, on balance, one person being a dick doesn’t doom our society?
    Cause from where I stand, w’s 8 years of such behavior pretty well did doom our nation.

  11. hoppy says:

    “…one person being a dick doesn’t doom our society?”
    What a relief! This eases my mind a great deal about Obama’s transformation into a Republican.

  12. mass says:

    A letter usually appears in the local rag every couple of months here in North La. — some holier-than-thou asshole reporting the inventory of some “welfare queen’s” grocery cart at WalMart.
    It’s always bullshit, and it never fails: “My cousin said his sister’s best friend saw it happen. And after buying $4,000 worth of steaks with her food-stap card, she walked out to the parking lot and got into an Escalade with $1,200 rims!!!”
    Oh, and she was uppity and her kids were loud and dirty, had sagging pants, were pregnant at 13 and all texting and talking on their $400 cell phones.
    Reagan’s horshit legacy of lies and racism lives on…

  13. PWL says:

    To repeat: The Republican attitude toward the poor and unfortunate, as summarized by George Bernard Shaw: “…Poverty isn’t a crime, but it ought to be…”

  14. supra shoes says:

    Oh I do hope to visit some day! What a great place to work!

  15. Interrobang says:

    The other half of the lie there is thatnobody would ever actually do this in real life because those benefitshave to last you for an entire month.
    We don’t have specific targeted food aid as part of our social benefits programmes, but a reporter for theToronto Star did the math once and figured out that on what you were getting for welfare at the time, you had about $7/day to buy food, toilet paper, grooming and cleaning supplies, and all those other nice things.
    Now, you can eat on ~$5/day even in super-expensive Toronto, but it takes some doing. And you sure as hell don’t do it by buying swordfish and chantrelle mushrooms.

  16. BlackSheep01 says:

    You know, that wanker ought to have to go to jail for fradulently obtaining a SNAP card.

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