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Food stamp fraud: big problem or exaggeration?

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  • RBN Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 9:13 p.m.

    ..and those numbers don't tell the tale of how groceries are sold to family members, friends, neighbors for 50 cents on the dollar and how much waste there is in the program. They do tell that the benefit paid is, in most cases, too high.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Aug. 28, 2013 9:28 p.m.

    Basically 1.14 percent of the money is being used wrongly.

  • Brother Benjamin Franklin Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:13 a.m.

    The numbers speak for themselves. The program has doubled in size since its inception, and the amount spent now is $75 million up from $36 million.

    People are seeking answers from the government cannot argue with this data. All they can do is remain silent or use tactics to distract from this information.

    This food stamp program needs to be scaled back yesterday. It is such a waste. Churches, neighborhoods, private businesses, and non-profit organizations can easily step up and take care of those who need this sort of help.

    There will be the usual kicking and screaming from those who have become dependent. But we must be strong and firm. There is no such thing as a free lunch. This food stamp money is not always going to be there. It will eventually run out.

    Those who believe the government will always be there to take care of them will be sorely disappointed when the money dries up. They are usually the people that have no problem wasting other people's money, but when they have to shoulder the responsibility, usually take responsibility for themselves.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 5:25 a.m.

    The real fraud is in the qualifying process.
    The second fraud is that immigrants have become a public charge, with the official sanction of our government. You should see the list of goodies an immigrant can get and still not be considered a public charge. USCIS public charge information is available on line. It may shock you.

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:34 a.m.

    All government programs are subject to massive waste and fraud. Senator Tom Coburn has detailed exact waste and fraud a hundred areas, but Congress yawns and goes on wasting with the lame excuse that the savings would be inconsequential, evidently mirroring their true feelings about the American people.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:40 a.m.

    That is just the amount that is sold. Just go to a supermarket in a bad part of any big city and you will see food stamps used to buy junk food or steak while the user buys booze and cigarettes with cash. If only yhe feds could work out a model like the bishop's storehouse. Of course if the government tried it would be run by SEIU and most of the food would be gone or rotten before the poor could get their hands on it.

  • katy salt lake city, ut
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    If all these government handouts are really helping people, then why isn't the number of poor people going down? No one is complaining about trying to help people who are needy. We need more accountability when applying for state or federal funds.

    Another thing to consider is the people who are qualifying for all kinds of programs because they are not using their honest HOUSEHOLD INCOME. I personally know many situations where people are living together, but not married and only using their individual income on the government forms instead of the household income that is required.

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:58 a.m.

    I'm tired of working so I think I will go out and take advantage of this program. I have supported others for so many years that I think I will have others support me now. It is only fair that I get my turn at the freebies now.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:04 a.m.

    Wow.

    Imagine that.

    During a recession people need to use safety nets to survive. Kinda shows the purpose for which they were created.

    The solution? I have an idea. Lets give more tax cuts to the rich, get rid of min wage, and cut food stamp funding while increasing agriculture subsidies. That should fix it! I'm sure Walmart and McDonalds will finally pay their employees liveable wages.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    A Census Bureau report on Wednesday revealed nearly 46.2 million people (one out of six Americans) live in poverty in President Barack Obama's economy. Yet, the Obama administration touted the country's horrific poverty figures and attempted to spin the statistics in its favor. Dependency is just another form of slavery but it sure wins elections, which is really the point for Democrats.

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:32 a.m.

    More than 5,000 active duty US soldiers receive food stamps. Congress refuses to give them a raise. More than 60% of the people getting food stamps work full-time jobs, hence the term "working poor." And, as pointed out above, 1.14% is used wrongly. Yet every person I have ever met who calls himself a "Christian" derides the poor for being lazy and unwilling to work.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    So foodstamp use is up... and that means the President's economy is getting better how?

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    The food stamp issue is more broken than the government. And they issue the darn things.

  • vern001 Castle Rock, CO
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    I'm discouraged by the judgmental tone of so many of these comments. Aren't we told in Mosiah not to judge those who needs help? Aren't we told that we are all beggars before God? The food stamp program has very low levels of fraud and there are some pretty strict income and work requirements for applicants.

    Maybe we should ask ourselves why so many Americans can't afford food while a very small percentage basks in absolute luxury. If workers were paid a decent wage and if there were jobs for all, people wouldn't need to turn to food stamps.

  • IDC Boise, ID
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    Even if there is only 1% fraud, too many people are living off of the government. Scale it back. Cut it in half. No fast food, no junk food, no soda, no steak, no lobster, no nachos from the gas station.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    barack's biggest "success"

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    If each food stamp, feeds three people, than half our people are fed by a bankrupt government. Add the school lunch program, and we find a very dependent population.

    Why do I feel, we're being led into a trap?

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    When we found ourselves unemployed in the late 90s (just months after purchasing our first home and buying a new car) with two small children, I swallowed my pride and went to apply for food stamps. We had been tax-paying citizens for years, but I was told we did not qualify because we owned a new car. I explained that no, we did not own the car, the bank did, and if I could, I would return it! The food-stamp worker told me, "We can't issue you food stamps and have you take your free groceries out to a brand-new car in the grocery store parking lot." I was dumbfounded, having thought previously that programs like this were in place to help people in times of temporary need. We did qualify for WIC for our kids, but like IDC suggested in a previous post, the food choices were limited to very specific items. That's the way food stamps should be, too. Staples such as eggs, milk, etc., should be covered, but not the junk food, the soda, and the gourmet items.

  • kclady53 Baton Rouge, LA
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Big Government is a conduit for corruption. The more they try to control - the more they lose control.

  • gehelmke Bastrop, TX
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    The Food Stamp program, like so many other welfare programs, is not, of itself, bad. The problem is in the failure to monitor these programs....Selling, etc. are really bad, but the problem for me(and I have seen this more than once)is the woman in the full length mink, who pushes two baskets around the supermarket, pulls a roll of $100 bills out of her handbag to pay for one of the baskets, then pays for the other with Food Stamps.....Then, after she loads the goodies in the trunk of her Cadillac, she drives away.....What's wrong with this picture??

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:42 a.m.

    Brother Franklin,

    If Churches, neighborhoods, private businesses, and non-profit organizations can easily step up and take care of those who need this sort of help, why have they not done so? Does there have to be no government help available for these people/organizations to step up and help those who are struggling? What are they waiting for? These numbers indicate over 95 percent of the need is real.

    RBB,

    If you don't mind me asking: when was the last time you were in a inner-city grocery store to witness the activities you allege?

  • ImaUteFan West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    I'm wondering how many of you making these comments actually have any experience with the food stamp program? Have any of you been out of work for an extended period of time? Any of you had four kids to feed and no money to feed them? What would you do if the food stamp program were the only option available to you if you needed to feed your family?

    Remember, "There but for the grace of God go I."

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    We lose five times the amount spent on SNAP to tax evasion every year. When is the DN going to run a front page story on that?

  • kimnprovo Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    Wow! They must have really changed the food stamp program if you can now purchase fast food and hot prepared foods. My first job was working in a grocery store back in the day when people were shamed by using their paper food stamps. You couldn't purchase any fast food, hot foods from deli cases or even ice (which I know that has changed).

    What I would like to know is how do you (IDC) know what food stamp recipients are purchasing with their food stamps? Since funds are now put on cards (along with other benefits like child support, unemployment, etc.), how is it you know what they are purchasing with which funds?

    Perhaps instead of being all judgy and condemning those in need, we should find a way to help lift others from poverty. I'm not saying there isn't abuse, but why condemn all because some abuse? Compassion.

  • bigv56 Cottonwood, CA
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    There is so much fraud. The lefties want as many as possible to increase their voting bloc. The bar is set way too low for eligibility and many of these people are laughing at us skimming from the taxpayer. The income level for I school luncheons and breakats is ridiculously high. Govt is fostering dependency. Parents coan make lunch. A lot of their money goes to booze,drugs,gambling ,waste etc.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    The fraud measured only included retailers, but did NOT include any type of black market exchange, where a drug addict would trade his/her foodstamps for their next high while their kids go hungry. No telling what the fraud rate is when you include all the types of fraud.

    Maverick,
    Cannot argue with the facts about the fraud, so you obfuscate. Tell me, is 43% a majority yet?

    The government used to provide food, rather than foodstamps. Go back to that and the incidents of fraud would decrease while we still help those in need.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    The reason the food stamp program was created was to provide new money and new customers for the food industry.

    Once created, the food stamp program supporters became vigilant and protective of their new business. They didn’t want other non-food businessmen to take their profits that they had paid for.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    Because business has failed to provide the means for people to sell their labor for the money needed to buy life’s necessities, it will become increasingly important that our government takes over that need.

    Lest we fall into the trap of riots, unrest and civil war like the rest of the world.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    There's a book called "That's not what we meant to do" by Steven Gillon.
    It addresses the unintended consequences of government programs.
    It was published back in 2000 so that takes away all the Blame Bush and Blame Obama rhetoric.
    Gillon devotes a chapter to the history of welfare programs. In 1935 it was created to help widows raise their children without having to leave the home to go to work.
    Look at it now. every effort at reform has only made things worse.
    Let's stop pretending the government can fix our problems.
    As we think about Rev. King's unfinished business, it may very well be that the best thing for our society would be to STOP giving away government cheese.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    " A federal government contractor in Huntsville pleaded guilty today in federal court to charges related to a scheme to defraud the government of nearly $14 million in contract payments over six years."

    Lockheed Martin in 2008 paid $10.5 million to settle charges that it defrauded the government by submitting false invoices on a multi-billion dollar contract connected to the Titan IV space launch vehicle program.

    Northrop Grumman paid $62 million in 2005 to settle charges that it "engaged in a fraud scheme by routinely submitting false contract proposals," and "concealed basic problems in its handling of inventory, scrap and attrition." Despite the serious charges of pervasive and repeated fraud, Northrop Grumman received $12.9 billion in contracts the next year, 16% more than the year before.

    The Pentagon paid $573.7 billion during the past 10 years to more than 300 contractors involved in civil fraud cases that resulted in judgments of more than $1 million, $398 billion of which was awarded after settlement or judgment for fraud. When awards to "parent" companies are counted, the Pentagon paid more than $1.1 trillion during the past 10 years just to the 37 top companies engaged in fraud.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    Any time there is a program there will be abuses. Any is too many and we have too much abuse in this country. But the abuses are to be found at all levels: Government which seems bent on self perpetuation on tax dollars. Some wealthy who grind the noses of the poor; all the way down to poor people who take advantage of kind heartedness and the list goes on.

    A recent study is suggesting that welfare has a tendency to dampen a person's will to rise above their situation. That should come as no surprise. And I'm not suggesting that everyone on welfare is a slug, the program does help and lift many.

    It is in our natures to work for what we eat and where we live and what we drive, etc. Government would serve us better if they stopped preventing innovation and creativity. Government has become the epitome of waste and corruption and represents itself well in many facets of society who have followed their lead and elected those who would insure handouts --- a most vicious cycle.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    Everybody please turn your tv's off (like your really need to be watching Miley Cyrus anyway) and help your kids with their homework. Stop being lazy.

    Kids. Stop playing your video games. It will make you stupid. Go read a book.

    Take control of your lives and stop being a victim.

    Everyone needs help from time to time and the people who think they don't are actually just as big as a problem as everyone who is lazy on the public dole.

    Get off food stamps as fast as you can.

    Also, everyone crying about the minimum wage. Stop it. Go get a real job instead of taking jobs from teenagers. Which should be just fine working for the minimum wage. They don't need to raise a family on it.

    You fraudsters are all going to have to stand accountable someday. Go look in the mirror. If you are one of them repent and change your selfish wicked ways.

    There are opportunities everywhere. Go make something good happen!

  • hamrdown OREM, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    Unfortunately for me, I was laid off on November 30th of last year. My employer gave me a small severance package that lasted about 45 days. During that time, I actively sought new employment, applied for food stamps and other unemployment benefits, and watched our spending (especially hard during the Christmas season). Sometime towards the end of January, I was informed that I qualified for food stamps (after my severance had run out) and I was very grateful.

    Fortunately, I found a new job and was hired on March 30th. During the 2 months we had the food stamps, my wife and I were extremely budget conscious - especially with our food. We even clipped coupons like a crazy coupon queen to help the food stamp money extend further.

    If ALL people could and would use the program the way it is intended, this country would be better off. But sadly, we mostly hear the stories of how food stamps are abused versus hearing a story about how it has helped people. My family was able to have food in the house during my short time without employment and it is due to this program.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    The thing I don't get is how does President Obama, and the big spending Democrats in general, claim that the country is improving under their leadership. In the 5th year of Obama, unemployment/underemployment/part time jobs, is still very high. Food stamps at all time high. And deficit spending is and has been astronomical. Trillions. Is this the kind of legacy that a President can call greatness? How is he getting away with this? A Republican President would never have been re-elected with this record. In reality the Democrat candidate for President in 2016 should have to run totally away from Obama to win. How could they sell continuing this for another 4 years? If this is the "new normal", get your food storage in order and get ready to ride out the storm. Well maybe that's what the Prophets have been saying all along.

  • ImaUteFan West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    Amen, hamrdown, Amen!

    Thank you for your post and providing a personal example of how food stamps can be a positive thing for those who are truly in need.

    Proves that not everyone using the food stamp program is a deadbeat who is living off and abusing the system.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:04 a.m.

    Why does anybody in UT need to be on foodstamps? The LDS Church has vast resources in UT to help the poor. Churches do help the poor--I know of churches (not LDS) which open their doors to feed and even provide a temporary place to sleep for the homeless.

    There are thousands of malnourished LDS children living in underdeveloped countries. The meager fast offering funds in those countries more often go to bury the dead.

    D&C 78
    "For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion—

    For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;"

  • AClaridge Tucson, AZ
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    And how come I can be in line in the grocery store behind someone who is getting shrimp, steak, potato chips, candy, etc. while I am purchasing whatever fruits and veggies are in season, whatever meat is on sale. That someone pays with food stamps, and I am on a super strict budget to make our paychecks go as far as possible. (shaking head in disbelief)

  • D_Hug NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    I have no problem helping the poor and giving them the help they truly need. The problem lies in the program specifics. A family of 4 can receive nearly $1000 per month for groceries. I have a family of 5 and never spend near that amount. Another problem with the program is that this $1000 is basically a monthly gift card to the grocery store that can be used for just about anything but beer and cigarettes. This program needs to be more like the WIC program where coupons are given for specific items (ie coupons for meat, cheese, produce, bread, etc) instead of an open ended gift card approach. This would save money while at the same time help people to eat healthier which would save money on the back end in the form of health care.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    This is one of the least fraud-filled programs in the nation (order of 2% waste) but that doesn't stop some of you from thinking it's a rampant problem...

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    Some say "only" 1 percent fraud like that's a good thing. Any fraud is bad isn't it? The truth is, the percentages would be quite higher if you factored in the amount of people who get their SNAP card legitimately, but then get items and then sell them. Having been on this program a few years ago for about 6 months, we witnessed too many people buying boxed snack cakes and chips, carts full of non-nutritional items, and the finest cuts of meat that most people just can't afford. I witnessed with my own eyes at the Orem Winco, a family with two carts full of mostly the items I mentioned, go out to their Escalade with big chrome wheels and exchange one cart for cash right there in the parking lot. I'm not opposed to this program, I am opposed to it having no limits, other than alcohol and cigs, on what can be purchased. There should be an approved list of nutritional food that can be bought. NO chips, snack cakes or anything with little nutritional value. Basics, milk, bread, eggs, fruits and veggies. Might help some people get healthy.

  • bullet56 Olympia, WA
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    I depend on SNAP and live on $5.20 a day. This must include the cost of cooking oils, spices, condiments, as well as nutritious vegetables which, cost as much per pound, as meat these days. I am sure there is fraud, just as there is fraud in Defense spending. However, when I see so much cutting in Federal and State programs of all kinds, I know that enforcement of the laws surrounding the government implementation of the program, is lax and lacking. If there are more fraud enforcers, there is less fraud. That would go a long way to cutting the needy from the thievery. It would mean a tax increase or an increase somehow to the program. I doubt FOX mentioned any of that.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    There is considerably more fraud in military expenditures then there will ever be in the food stamp program Lose the anger. The poor are not bad. Neither is the food stamp program.

  • EW HENRIETTA, NY
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    In Chicago last I lived there real fraud was rampant both in getting into the system and staying in the system. People would buy other's groceries at the end of the year trying to spend enough to keep their assistance! Something altogether flawed about a program designed to keep you spending more than you really need. Or you'd see people driving sports' cars with designer clothes and hair using public assistance for money. No surprise in Chicago but it still hurts to see it as a taxpayer. REFORM!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    I laugh at some of these comments... such simplistic views of the world. Corruption, miss-use of funds, waste, happens in all operations of large scale. Within my own ward I can tell you of many cases where people who have received assistance from the church with questionable and dubious needs. One, while the ward was supplementing their diatary and other needs, kept their cable subscription with premiums added... because it wouldn't be fare to the kids to loos those.

    This kind of stuff goes on everywhere. The U.S. government isn't alone in those that abuse the generosity of the system. A waste/fraud rate around 1 percent isn't shocking to me at all. What is sad is the number of people on the system in general that is a bit disappointing.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    I do admit that many people in need should get some public assistance. But when I'm in a Walgreens the other day standing behind a lady using her food card who I then saw getting into a brand new Toyota Camre while I was getting into my 5 year old one, it bothered me.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    It starts at the top.

    Just think of the hundreds of millions taken in benefits by our political leaders.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    I, too, wonder, time and again, if there's anywhere else in the world where people are so envious of the poor.

    Where else do people complain that the poor aren't suffering enough, and insist that they shouldn't have any pleasures, not even simple pleasures like a fruit pie or a candy bar? Where else do people take an inventory of other people's shopping carts, and keep their eyes peeled to see how they are paying? Where else do they keep other customers under surveillance in the parking lot, to check out the kind of car they're driving away in? Where else do people know better than their neighbor what their neighbor should be eating and drinking?

    "Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own?" (Matthew 7:3-4)

    "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed" (Herman Melville, "Poor Man's Pudding and Rich Man's Crumbs").

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    The sad thing is, some people that get assistance stay on it because it's too easy! I just had a convo with a young man last week that said when his job ends in November, he was going to get on unemployment and food stamps and snowboard all winter. The tragic thing is, he said he learned this from many others who have done it! It's sad that the youth are now being conditioned to let the government take care of them instead of working hard and either getting an education, or looking for work in a stable industry. I only hope my son who has been working an extra job to buy his pass, doesn't hear from this group and think it's the way to go, because being on the government leash is NOT the way!

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    I will never be jealous of someone on food stamps. I'm sure there are abuses and fraud and these abuses should be fixed but these programs help people through some tough times.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    re:Joseywales
    Did you take down the license plate number and report it to the state administrators of the foodstamp/SNAP program? If people see fraud--why don't they report the store or the fraudsters to state administrators or law enforcement? What resources do states commit to fighting fraud?

    Foodstamps are a state administered program, allowing states flexibility as to how the program is administered. For example, states can require yearly face-to-face meetings for re-authorization. Other administration options are spelled out in the SNAP "State Options Report."

    Why doesn't DN write an article about the SNAP program? For example it could provide valuable and educational information to readers as to the demographics of people who use the program, requirements for qualifying, average allocation, follow-up etc.

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Lightbearer, Try actually reading the Bible in context once in awhile and lose the dog-eared copy of 'God's Politics".

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 29, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    To "Utah Native" I fully understand why you would have been denied the food stamps. If you have enough money to pay for a car, you have enough to pay for food. That would be the time to stop making car payments and buy food. You can always walk/bike/bus where you need to go, but you can't survivie without food.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    KJB1
    You mean from BO cabinet members like Geithner? Is that where we’re losing money to tax evasion?

    Truthslayer,
    Why do you quote LDS scripture when you don’t even know the persecution the church suffered at the hands of the feds due to its views on marriage?

    Bluedevil,
    Wouldn’t be “fare” to “loos” those? Really??

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    Idiots.

    Total idiots.

    Sadly, as a nation, i.e., the nation as a whole, based on the November 2012 election, we are nothing but idiots. We literally are now a nation MORE of "takers" than "makers". The Democrat party does not unitedly say "we want to work", and you're in la-la land if you think they do. Instead, Democrats' unified cry is "the government will take care of everyone". (Really? And where does the "government" get their money?)

    And the extreme expansion of the food stamp program is an undeniable indicator of just that. What?, you actually thought that an INCREASE of food stamp users was a sign of people standing up and taking care of themselves?

    It does NOT take a genius IQ to see the destructive path we are on as a nation. It takes honesty, simple honesty and integrity. The chaos that Greece went through 2-3 years ago is only a SMALL taste of the chaos and massive destruction America will go through when our economy implodes. You simply cannot run a home, a family, a town, a state, a business or a country, with borrowed money forever. Sorry, liberals, reality doesn't work that way.

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    @ gehelmke - Bastrop, TX - "The Food Stamp program, like so many other welfare programs, is not, of itself, bad. The problem is in the failure to monitor these programs....Selling, etc. are really bad, but the problem for me(and I have seen this more than once)is the woman in the full length mink, who pushes two baskets around the supermarket, pulls a roll of $100 bills out of her handbag to pay for one of the baskets, then pays for the other with Food Stamps.....Then, after she loads the goodies in the trunk of her Cadillac, she drives away.....What's wrong with this picture??"

    Man!, I would L-O-V-E to work undercover in fighting food stamp fraud! I would go to work every single day with a smile on my face knowing that I'm saving precious tax dollars (read that as "the PRECIOUS financial sacrafices of my friends and neighbors") and catching bad guys. Put me in, coach!

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:07 p.m.

    Seriously? Line up the 'poor' in this country with the 'poor' in say Haiti or Uganda and you tell me who needs food stamps, gov't housing, utility assistance, paid internet and cable and free phones. Here's a hint...it's not the perfectly healthy guy wearing the $100 Niki's munching a bag of Nachos.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:14 p.m.

    My, doesn't the DN comment forum work in an "interesting" way.
    People can call each other, our President, and the opposing political every kind of offensive name and have their comment posted.
    However, when a new moderator comes in, a comment, approved by the previous moderator and posted for an hour or so, can be taken off, apparently, because the new moderator "did not like it".
    DN has "child, or newby moderators" and "senior, easily offended moderators"? Watch out the "Boss" is coming in!
    And your paper publishes all the "stuff" on Miley Cyrus and similar stories?
    You have many of us very confused!

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    A significant portion of posters have problems using millions, billions and trillions correctly.

    There are a thousand thousands in one million.

    There are a thousand millions in one billion.

    There are a thousand billions in one trillion.

    There are a million millions also in one trillion.

    Powers of ten can be confusing.

    Typing too fast is also sometimes the problem. Just one or two wrong letters before the "illion" will result in very large errors.

  • EKO Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    While many people do not see this side of it, I have a family member who uses food stamps. My sister, who is bipolar and was supported off and on for many years by my late parents,has needed and continues to sometimes need food stamps. She usually works for little, can only find part-time work and loses her job every 1-2 years due to her mental illness. During her times of unemployment, food stamps was the only way she did not go hungry. (And the small town where she lives in Colorado has no food bank for the poor to use.) When she is employed her food stamps are reduced or stopped depending on her income (which the program tracks closely). While my own family's money has occasionally been used to help fix her car and sometimes pay rent when it was possible, my family cannot afford to feed her and every month. For me, knowing she and others like her can get food stamps and at least be able to eat is a huge blessing.

  • IDC Boise, ID
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    I was on food stamps for 6 months while in school. Between my wife and 2 kids, we couldn't spend the money we received. I even bought steak and lobster with my ebt card. I ate better on food stamps than I do now. I could spend more now but I would rather save the money. Food stamps should be limited to basic staples. I don't want anyone to starve but if I am paying for their food, they shouldn't be eating better than I am..

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    "Idiots.

    Total idiots."

    "Sadly, as a nation, i.e., the nation as a whole, based on the November 2012 election, we are nothing but idiots."

    Not even a hint of a suggestion of any abuse there.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    Re: "Try actually reading the Bible in context once in awhile ..."

    Is this enough context?

    "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive. Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye,' while there is a beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye....In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets."

    If this isn't enough context, perhaps someone can enlighten me. Where does Jesus tell us to do the opposite of these things?

    Or where does he say, "Be envious, be hard-hearted, be petty, be uncharitable, always assume the worst about people, and don't treat others as you would like to be treated, but treat them judgmentally"?

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    @ The Real Maveric and FatherofFour

    I have no problem with people receiving help who need it. I take time off work and volunteer at our local bishop's storehouse. I do get a little annoyed, however, then the woman in front of me at the store is buying steak with food stamps and then drops a Benjamin to buy a case of beer and a carton of cigarettes. If you cannot afford to feed yourself, you cannot afford to smoke or drink.

    I have a relative who is an administrator at a local high school. She gets really frustrated when she processes fee waivers for kids who are "poor" and they show up wearing the latest designer clothes (i.e. clothes she cannot afford) and mom picks them up in a new Cadillac SUV at the end of the day.

    If you are truly in need, there is nothing wrong with accepting help. When the government confiscates 40% of what I make, however, I think I have the right to ask that they use that money to help people truly in need and not to simply subsidize those who are gaming the system.

  • Brother Benjamin Franklin Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    I stand with the prior comment made by RBB on this issue.

    No one is saying there aren't legitimate needs out there. But to say this is the job of government, is untrue. You fail to understand the role of government as written in the Constitution.

    The role of government is to provide basic rights and enforce laws to protect people's abilities to pursue those rights. It does not give you a right to eat nor does it give the government to right to regulate your eating.

    That law is biblical. It is that you reap what you sow and that if you do not work, you do not eat.

    The real tragedy of the food stamp program, beyond the wasted money and lack of regulation and contention it causes among us, is this mindset it has created that the government is responsible for providing our meals.

    This is an unconstitutional and unrighteous mindset. It is not the government's responsibility to feed you. It is yours. If you need help, then let's get government out of the way. My neighbor and church can do that, unregulated and discreetly.

    We the people are the answer, not government.

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    Lightbearer, You misunderstand me. I am not opposed to helping those who are truly in need,or physically or mentally incapable of helping themselves or those who occasionally need a hand up, but I am opposed to those who scam the system. That is not being 'judgmental', that is seeing a wrong and wanting it made right. The early church had such a problem, able bodied people refusing to work and expecting others to support them. Read 2 Thessalonians chapter 3. You probably won't like Paul's solution, It doesn't line up with current political trends. Non of us would walk into our neighbors house and clean out his frig to feed someone else. That would be stealing. Yet the same people have no problem using the ballot box to vote for the guy who promises to increase taxes and benefits which is the same thing. You are just using the power of the gov't to steal the paycheck of your neighbor and give it to someone else who may or may not need it. Theft is theft. Charity is Latin for love. Charity is you giving freely on your own, not the gov't redistributing other peoples money.

  • osm fromidaho nampa,canyon, ID
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    osm from Idaho
    true story! we had a man working for us getting paid $17 an hour.He quit and moved to Washington to be with family. Is out of a job and getting food stamps now. .why doesn't the government make people do anything they can to make people earn the food stamps they receive. there are plenty of community services that can be done to help people keep their dignity and teach self reliance. there is definitely fraud in the system.

  • quickmatch Oak Park, IL
    Aug. 29, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    We could take a cue from the old Salem Witch Trials, where the suspect was bound and trrown into deep water: witches would survive, innocent people would die. Let's cut the program back to 36 billion a year: those who do not need SNAP will not be endangered; those who need SNAP to survive--and their children--will starve, or show up at local ER's for emergency treatment. A side benefit will be that those who starve will be buried and will no longer need SNAP, which can be cut farther until there are no more poor left and America will be good again.

  • biil Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 5:33 p.m.

    So, the percentage of SNAP benefits illegally converted to cash is 1 or 2 percent? Probably less than most retail businesses lose to shoplifters, etc. Seems to me that the story was really about how effective the program is.

    Many of the comments on this thread reflect conservative mythology: SNAP is plagued by rampant abuse. That's bunk. The program is not a handout for the unemployed or lazy; over 90 percent of funds go to the elderly, working families, or the seriously disabled.

    Shouldn’t food stamps be every conservative's favorite benefit program? It's a success story with a narrow mission, costs that link directly to impact, and a proven record of effectiveness. An April 2012 USDA report credited the program with singlehandedly reducing the prevalence of poverty by 4.4 percent from 2000 to 2009.

    Food stamps are the bottom layer of the social safety net. Even if you think government generally does too much, can’t it step in to prevent the elderly, children, poor, and sick from going hungry? A society that leaves these people to die is hardly a society at all.

  • kimnprovo Orem, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    It blows my mind how many people saying they saw such and such person doing something with food stamps and they have this and that and it bothers them. You don't know their situations. You think you do. You assume you do, but you really don't. Quit judging others and be grateful.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:19 p.m.

    RedShirtMIT,
    By "fully understand," sounds like you have all the answers without having heard the entire story. Let me fill you in. The car which disqualified us from food stamps was purchased six months before we lost employment. Upside down on the loan-to-value ratio, a hefty balance to pay back the car loan would remain were we to sell, but that would also leave us without a car needed to transport a small child with disabilities to and from hospital and doctor's appointments. (Just for kicks, or so you can more "fully understand" the situation, try hefting a baby car seat and a toddler with substantial motor impairments around on public transportation some time.) Food stamps were intended to temporarily sustain a small family while we searched daily for six months for work. We've not been on public assistance since. Is this not what the food stamp program should be about, helping families who have temporary need, who go on to be financial contributors to society?

  • fredsgirl1 usa, MA
    Aug. 29, 2013 7:52 p.m.

    What ever the problems are with SNAP, the alternative is unthinkable. I would rather pay higher taxes than see starving families huddled in store doorways. There are people who need help, for what ever reason, and I want my tax dollars go to them. If the percentage of fraud was the same as the level of down right larceny in the armed forces then I would be alarmed. But it's not.

    People are more important than money. If there is fraud then investigate and prosecute. If states are short on funds then don't build that big new police station, or school. Those things we can live without. People cann't kive without food.

  • Redrocks2 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:46 p.m.

    Shortly after we had our fourth child, my husband lost his job. We applied for food stamps and were accepted. I was appalled at how much we received. Nearly $900 a month! Our previous food budget had been $100 a week, which included all of our non food items. We also qualified for WIC, which we did not accept because..well, we couldn't possibly spend it all. So could we just use what we need and let the rest go? NO! IT ROLLS OVER. And before long, we had an absurd amount built up on our card. So. Much. Waste. We could have easily lived off half, and even less if we tried hard. Not much motivation to get a job. Luckily, we found work soon and were able to get off the program (even though we still qualified). But we've never eaten better than the few months we were on food stamps.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:56 p.m.

    "Poverty and the all-consuming fretting that comes with it require so much mental energy that the poor have little brain power left to devote to other areas of life, according to the findings of an international study published on Thursday.

    The mental strain could be costing poor people up to 13 IQ (intelligence quotient) points, and means they are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that amplify and perpetuate their financial woes, researchers found.

    "Our results suggest that when you are poor, money is not the only thing in short supply. Cognitive capacity is also stretched thin," said Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan, part of an international team that conducted the study.
    (MSN 2013)

    In a series of experiments, researchers from Harvard, Princeton and other universities in North America and from Britain's University of Warwick found that pressing financial worries had an immediate impact on poor people's ability to perform well in cognitive and logic tests.

    Far from signaling that poor people are stupid, the results suggest those living on a tight budget have their effective brain power, or what the researchers called "mental bandwidth," dramatically limited by the stress of making ends meet."

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 30, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    To "Utah Native" that is a nice addendum to your story, but it still is not justification for getting food stamps. Like I said before. If you have money to make car payments, then you have money to feed your family. So what if you lose you car? Does it really matter that it is "inconvienient" to take small children on public transportation?

    I hate to break it to you, but nobody is entitled to fancy cars or an easy life.

    Yes life is difficult some times, but expecting others to care for us is not the solution. We must do all within our own power to take care of the needs of our families. If that means it takes 1 minute longer to get on a city bus, that is far better than allowing yourself to become bitter waiting for others to care for you.

  • youtefan Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    Does Obama even have a clue of what is going on in the country he runs? He is in way over his head!!!!!!!!!!

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    Dear RedShirtMIT,
    Again, you do not "fully understand" the situation. Who says we had a fancy car? We did not. It was very much an economy car. It just happened to be "new" enough in its model year to disqualify us from assistance. Again, who says we had money to make car payments? We did not. You missed the point where I said we'd lost our jobs. We had to borrow money from our parents for this. I think you also missed the part where a car was needed to transport two small children, one with special needs who could not walk until she was nearly 4. You may suggest the bus, but until you show evidence that you have managed an immobile toddler while also carting an infant in a baby carrier, you have no credibility in this matter whatsoever. It is also laughable that you term this an "easy life;" in what way was it easy to have no job, no food, and small children to care for? Your tone is so obtuse in missing the point of my post, and self-righteous. We have done nothing but be self-reliant since that time.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    To "Utah Native" I have been out of work. However, I didn't worry about food or missing car payments because I had a supply of food on my shelves, and a car that was paid for.

    I used to ride the bus while going to school, and I saw severly handicapped people getting on and off the bus along with parents of disabled children doing the same.

    Still, lets look objectively at what you were doing. You were borrowing money to pay for a car when your children were hungry. To me, that seems like the wrong priority to have. For me, I will feed my family first, then worry about the car payment.

    That is great that you have learned to be self reliant since then.

    You are reminding me of my kids when I tell them that they have to do some unpleasant work. They don't like it either, they would rather sit and watch TV.

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    Aug. 30, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Re:UthahNative
    One thing we know about Redshirt is that he has never walked in your shoes.
    Some people are just stunted in their development as human beings.

    “I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.”
    ― Mother Teresa

    All i can say in response to some of the comments here:

    "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
    Mark Twain

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 12:50 p.m.

    RedShirt,
    To know that you have equated me in your mind with one of your children makes more sense and tells me where you are coming from. Please know that, unlike you have indicated about your own children, we are not lazy. While poor college students doing undergrad work, we didn't rely on food stamps. While young in the years after graduating, we didn't anticipate losing a job whose operations went overseas right after we bought our first car and home, yet we certainly weren't lazy about looking for work. We did menial jobs to get by in the interim. We hadn't been out of college long enough to amass a good supply of food storage (we'd been saving up for a down payment on a home). Pontificating as you have communicates an overly self-righteous and quite misguided mindset. Also, you have failed to provide sufficient evidence that you have walked in the shoes of those who care for (and transport) small children with disabilities. My original post was to show how the food stamp program often helps those not helping themselves, but is not always available to those who are.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Sept. 2, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    If you want to be a successful politician and get re-elected, just use tax dollars and public debt to buy yourself a large constituency of loyal parasites who want and then depend on handouts to fill the void left by a dearth of opportunity due to the way the economy has been stifled, overtaxed, and over-regulated. The formula is fairly simple, and has been used over and over to destroy free market capitalism and to replace it with socialism, which then tends to devolve into absolute communism if even more self-serving and impatient people grab power. But we're apparently very slow learners, so the pattern repeats and repeats, and the factions cheering for this transition continue to multiply and grow in number.