The War On The Poor, Louisiana Style

Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich surprised everyone recently by sounding like a pinko and criticizing the “war on the poor.” It is, of course, largely being waged by his own party.The latest front has opened in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and was instigated by our old pal David Vitter:

Saying there is no tolerance for fraud in the EBT program, Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Suzy Sonnier said Wednesday that her department is seeking approval to sanction card users who tried to purchase food over their allotted amount during a recent computer outage.

Sonnier issued a response to a letter from Sen. David Vitter who was requesting that something be done to customers who had ‘stolen’ food during the outage.

On Oct. 14, a computer failure at Xerox, the company that manages the EBT card purchases, took down the electronic food stamp system for several hours in 17 states, including Louisiana.

Reports documented the stores’ shelves being cleared at two Walmart locations that didn’t institute the normal $50 limit in such situations. With no limit on the cards showing, people with the cards could purchase hundreds of dollars of food.

Sonnier said in a statement that her department is asking the USDA for the right to sanction those who broke the law, saying that Louisiana’s SNAP program allows for a 12-month sanction from the program for a first offense, a 24-month suspension for a second offense and a permanent disqualification for a third offense.

“DCFS has no tolerance for fraud or abuse of the SNAP program and works aggressively every day, using the latest technology, to hold people accountable. No unauthorized taxpayer dollars were used in Louisiana during the multi-state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT transaction outage.”

Weeks after a glitch allowed food stamp recipients to make unlimited purchases of groceries at stores, including two Walmarts in northern Louisiana, Sen. David Vitter went public with a call for the prosecution of the EBT card holders who misused the funds.

“The outrageous theft and fraud at several Louisiana retailers, including at the Walmart stores in Mansfield and Springhill, is completely unacceptable,” Vitter said. “Like many citizens, I am appalled and believe there should be serious consequences for what occurred; so far, I have heard of none.”

Bitter Vitter wants a great giant foot to come down from the sky and crush these welfare chiselers like cockroaches. I’m not hearing anything about Walmart being prosecuted for their employees letting the poors buy caviar, champagne, and a variety of stinky cheeses. I made the last bit up obviously. But Walmart is too big to be prosecuted, and if they were they’d simply throw their underpaid workers to the wolves that have been unleashed by Vitter, Jindal and their ilk.

It’s obscene that, in a country that allowed Wall Street to get away with looting, raping, and pillaging the economy, we should go after some poor bastard who bought some extra food to feed their kids. It is, alas, the American way. If you get food stamps, you’re automatically assumed to be lazy, shiftless, and unworthy of any compassion or forgiveness. If you’re a rich crook, you get a golden parachute but if you’re a poor one, you get the shaft.

Ironies abound in this story. Bitter Vitter has benefited from a forgiving public, but he’s a right-wing Republican, which makes him better than the undeserving poor he wants punished. Empathy is a powerful thing and it’s a pity that David Vitter has so little of it that he can spout ludicrous nonsense like this:

“Food Stamps have more than doubled in cost since 2008 and continue to grow in an unsustainable way, and the events in Louisiana unfortunately highlight the fraud surrounding the taxpayer- funded program. I believe there should be serious consequences for what occurred.”

Apparently, serious consequences are only for poor people, and not for hedge fund sleazeballs or whore mongering politicians.

3 thoughts on “The War On The Poor, Louisiana Style

  1. Wait, the EBT food program in LA has a $50/purchase limit?
    A cheap week at the store for my family of 3 is $200.
    Fuck these cheap-ass republican colostomy bags.

  2. In the next election cycle, Louisiana voters will overwhelmingly vote to elect Republicans at every level of government. At what point will people learn to stop voting for their own destruction? At what point will people realize their fundamentalist dogma won’t feed their children?

  3. You might have made it up, but I have little doubt that store cashiers, thinking they were being helpful, told folks that the system was down and you could buy whatever.
    Is there any evidence that the welfare cheats were buying widescreen TVs? Or did they buy some extra milk, eggs, and bread?
    And, of course, there was never any doubt that the system would come back up – and those who overspent would simply have any excess removed from the next month’s payment.
    I’ll see if I can dig up the study, but it looked at the fraud rate in the SNAP (food stamps) versus the fraud rate in crop subsidies (both part of the same program administered by the USDA). The rates for fraud in crop subsidies was a lot higher – perhaps because SNAP goes to the little people while a lot of recipients of crop subsidies are big, factory farms.

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