Prove You’re Really Poor

I do not get it, I do not get what we get out of it, I do not understand the impulse to be mean for the sake of being mean, and I will never ever comprehend how anybody else’s fucking purchases of cereal or whatever should bother me at all:

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on Wednesday introduced legislation to require food stamp recipients to produce a valid photo ID every time they purchase food with their Electronic Benefits Transfer card. Under the Food Stamp Fraud Prevention and Accountability Act, anyone caught using someone else’s EBT card illegally would be banned from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“Using a photo ID is standard in many day-to-day transactions, and most of those are not exclusively paid for by the taxpayer dollars,” Vitter said in a press releaseWednesday. “Food stamps have more than doubled in cost since 2008 and continue to grow in an unsustainable way.”

Vitter’s bill comes after an October system glitch that temporarily disabled the spending limit on EBT debit cards, leading some recipients to take advantage by exceeding their normally allotted cap.

“A photo ID would not have stopped people from taking advantage of the system failure that day,”The Times-Picayune reported. “But Vitter said requiring photo IDs would make it harder for someone to use a stolen or fraudulently obtained [EBT card].”

So it won’t solve the problem, which appeared to be that POOR PEOPLE BOUGHT TOO MUCH FOOD. A catastrophe which must be addressed, via this solution which is utterly ineffective.

If we put the amount of time and money into actual productive effort that we put into worrying about what brand of soup some hypothetical welfare mom is choosing, we could cure famine, pestilence and death, and buy Kuwait just for kicks.

The grocery store near my house, which recently closed, catered to a number of poor neighborhoods. I can’t tell you the number of times I’d be in line behind somebody who was behind somebody using an Illinois food assistance card to pay, and the person in front of me would be huffing and rolling his or her eyes like how dare you … what, appear in public and purchase a chicken? To eat? With your human body?

What do we get out of being outraged by that? A miniscule sense of superiority? For ten seconds? Does the satisfaction even get you to your car before it fades?

I’d like to reserve my seething frustration with the human race for those sheltered souls who haven’t been out of their houses in 25 years and have JUST NO CLUE how the card reader thing works, thank you. Or those assholes who wait till they’re next in line and THEN send their kid/spouse/friend to the opposite end of the store for that one thing they forgot. If we’re making a list of bullshit grocery store behavior, buying something with food stamps isn’t at the top of it.

As to the huffing about taxpayer dollars, grow the fuck up. Taxpayer dollars pay for everything communal in this country including (in the case of subsidies to the grocery stores in which people may avail themselves of tomatoes, and payments to the farmers who grow the corn) the damn food itself. Taxpayer dollars also pay for many things I find objectionable personally, like David Vitter’s continued ability to be in Congress and open his cakehole about things like this.


14 thoughts on “Prove You’re Really Poor

  1. Vitter and his staff let their hate-flag fly more than any other contemporary politician I can think of, offhand. It almost seems like a contest — how can they top themselves? Photo ID? Straight denial/loss of benefits if convicted of certain crimes (interestingly, soliciting prostitutes was not on the list). His re-election campaign was focused almost exclusively on illegal immigration, which is pretty much a non-issue in Loosiana (it also helped that the major media in The Gret Stet ignored or downplayed his baggage). His ads featured “illegals” as violent hordes in a way that would be comical except for being, well, vicious, ugly, and mean-spirited.
    The fact that he gets elected, re-elected, and is likely a front runner for next year’s governor’s election is…troubling.

  2. “Using a photo ID is standard in many day-to-day transactions, and most of those are not exclusively paid for by the taxpayer dollars,” Vitter said
    Complete and utter bullshit. My husband’s DL wound up in my wallet for some reason and neither of us even noticed it for several months. The only reason it ever came up at all is he got a renewal notice in the mail.
    He shops, buys things, writes checks, uses a credit card and even occasionally gets stopped by the cops. Even the cops aren’t too bad about demanding to see the actual license as long as he knows his license number. What is Vitter doing that he’s getting carded daily?

  3. In corporate settings, narcissists at the top breed more narcissism, so, in national settings, I suspect that the same occurs. This whining about food stamps is just another way that the narcissist says, “I deserve it, not somebody else.”
    If we tend to put narcissists in charge at the top levels of a corporation, I don’t see why the same doesn’t work at the national level, and that those narcissists tend to breed more narcissists in the population.
    Think about our accepted norms–about “defense,” about business, about surveillance–and see if they don’t conform to the understood attributes of the individual with narcissistic personality disorder. Maybe we’re the narcissistic nation.

  4. Would that Mr. Vitter concerned himself with the annihilation of the Gulf of Mexico by that broken oil well as much as he is concerned that someone, somewhere, might be getting too much food.
    And every time I’m in a grocery checkout line and someone is using a SNAP card (by the way, because of the card it’s almost impossible to distinguish anymore when someone’s making their purchase with SNAP), if there’s anyone dumb enough to sigh or roll their eyes, I make sure to comment loudly enough to no one in particular that I’d much rather see my tax dollars feed my fellow citizens than to blow up someone thousands of miles away.

  5. Am I wrong in thinking this would prevent any other member of the household from doing the shopping? Am I wrong in thinking the purpose is to make life just that little bit more difficult for the single mothers that Vitter and his ilk think are destroying the world?

  6. I have no deep insights here, just a comment. Once while my white ass was vacationing in Hawaii, the family in front of in line in the grocery store was checking out and paying with food stamps (or SNAP, whatever). They were buying about a million pounds of pork and fifty gallons of fruit punch (there may have been a quart of milk in there). They paid for their cigarettes with cash. No alcohol. And all I could think was that they were buying shitty food with their stamps, and for the money, they should buy rum in lieu of cigs. I hope I kept my mental scolding as internal monologue, but just to be fair, were the scolds anti-poor people, or just militant vegetarians?

  7. Shouldn’t Diaper Dave then be required to show a photo ID every time he gets his paycheck? And show it again during any transaction where he spends his salary? After all, those are EXCLUSIVELY PAID FOR BY THE TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

  8. As I was entering the subway a few weeks ago, I overheard a 20-something exiting the subway complaining that she didn’t “get anything for her tax dollars.” I wish I’d had the opportunity to ask her if she went to public school, had ever been in a car, on a highway, gone over a bridge or into a tunnel, been in a plane that landed safely, been to a national park, if she ever drinks water, breathes air, eats food, takes medication — and if she wants all those things to be available to her and wants them to be safe. If so, WHERE DOES SHE THINK THE MONEY CAME FROM that paid for all those things? Not to mention the subway she was exiting? My taxes (and the taxes paid by all others) have been supporting this kid since the day she was born. And she doesn’t think she’s getting anything for the taxes SHE pays????

  9. Ah, the Senator Vitter for Governor campaign is winding up. Senator Vitter doesn’t realize that SNAP cards only require a PIN as they are considered “debit” cards by the processors. No retailer that I know of us asks for photo identification for debit cards, unless it used as a credit card. In fact, the only way for the clerk to know that you used a SNAP card is by looking at the bottom of the ticket that tells the SNAP card holder (normally for a household), how much is left of their monthly allotment.
    By the way, Senator Vitter, being mean is not a virtue nor is it very Christian.

  10. I wonder if identification is required of the senator when he uses his credit card to buy sex? nah! They know him by sight.

  11. In The Old Crazy Book With Some Nice Thoughts In The Second Part, The First Angry man demanded of his God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
    And the enlightened members of God’s Own Party now have a reply; “Not on my dime!”

  12. When was the last time a clerk in a store held onto your credit card to compare the signatures. I used to work in retail back in the ’70s and again in the mid ’80s. We always checked signatures. Now almost no one checks the signatures unless it is a really large amount.
    I fail to see how requiring photo IDs would stop the problems talked about with Food Stamps. If a system failure allows people to buy more than they were authorized in Food Stamps a photo ID would do nothing to stop it.
    I worked forv17 years for a state agency that administered Food Stamps. There is a system in place to deal with problems like people getting benefits they do not deserve. It is called overpayments. If a client got something he or she should not have gotten we collected back the excess.

  13. There are many reasons this is dumb. The first of which is that many people who are elderly or ill may have other people shop for them. The card is not being used illegally but it may not be used by the person it is assigned to for very good reason.
    I have done shopping for members of my church when they simply could not go for themselves. Under this law, I, or they, could be arrested for giving and needing help to shop for food.

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