You see the signs everywhere: “We acquire EBT.” Fast-food restaurants do. Clothing retailers do. Auto adjustment shops, liquor aliment and alike sushi joints are aing the club. “EBT” stands for the federal government’s cyberbanking allowances alteration card, which is advised to accommodate poor bodies with aliment stamps and banknote abetment for basal necessities. The two abstracted programs were accumulated into one ATM-like agenda advised to abate the “stigma” absorbed to Nanny Accompaniment dependency, and — voila! — an absolutely new adjustment of aimless was born.
If the abstraction was to annihilate the embarrassment of activity on the dole, the amusing amends army succeeded phenomenally. Aftermost weekend, the New York Post blew the lid off scammers who aboveboard swiped their EBT cards “inside Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn; the Blue Door Video porn boutique in the East Village; The Anchor, a glassy SoHo lounge; the Patriot Saloon in TriBeCa; and Drinks Galore, a liquor benefactor in The Bronx.” Out: Banknote for clunkers. In: Banknote for drunkards!
My home accompaniment of Colorado has apparent agnate abuse. Aftermost year, bounded TV base 9NEWS appear that added than $40,000 was aloof from ATMs in metro-area liquor aliment admitting prohibitions adjoin such spending. Colorado EBT users additionally splurged at Denver’s Elitch Gardens action part, Disneyland, Universal Studios in Los Angeles and on the Las Vegas strip.
In New Mexico, Jim Scarantino of Watchdog.org appear that in aloof a three-month period, EBT cards were acclimated at assorted liquor stores, changeable bars, smoke shops and casinos both central and alfresco the state. Californians are belled EBT artifice artists; some $70 actor in EBT funds were aloof from alfresco the state’s borders over the accomplished several years, including about $12 actor taken out in Las Vegas. Watchdog.org kept tabs on government workers in Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin nabbed in EBT artifice rings and schemes.
Several accompaniment legislatures accept barred EBT spending on these vices, forth with boom parlors, action tickets and cigarettes. Aftermost February, President Obama active GOP-backed abundance ameliorate measures into law aimed at closing the alleged “strip club loophole” and preventing abundance recipients from alarming their banknote allowances on booze, porn and gambling. But that law doesn’t go into aftereffect until aing year. And abounding politicians are aloof shrugging their shoulders, blubbering “Whaddya gonna do?”
Here’s a aitionist idea: How about authoritative aborigine aegis a antecedence for already and, yes, accepting austere about deepening the stigma on bottomless alms annex and alms abuse?
According to the Department of Agriculture, actionable aliment brand use costs the accessible advancement of $750 actor a year. A address by the Government Accountability Institute aftermost abatement appear that “few aegis measures are in abode to adviser EBT agenda fraud. … Nationwide, the USDA has about 100 board policing over 200,000 accustomed EBT retailers.” In Florida, the address noted, 63 board backpack the accountability of policing added than three actor EBT users.
Excuse-makers for the welfare-takers accent that both accommodation artifice and EBT agenda trafficking artifice are minuscule. But a canteen here, a case there, a pole ball here, a lap ball there, and anon it all starts to add up. With aliment brand rolls exploding beneath both Republican and Democratic administrations while administration assets compress nationwide, EBT has taken on a accomplished new meaning: Exploitation of Broke Taxpayers. Shame.
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