While most Americans agree the government should provide temporary, limited assistance to those citizens unable to make ends meet, many feel the welfare system is hopelessly bloated and constantly misused. Through subsidies for housing, food, healthcare, and any number of other needs, a large segment of our population exists solely on taxpayer-funded handouts.
When one of those programs — the Electronic Benefits Transfer card, or food stamps — experienced technical issues over the weekend, it quickly became evident many of its recipients were perfectly comfortable fleecing the federal government for as much as they could. The problem has been blamed on a power outage at Xerox, which handles the system, and retailers in multiple states were affected.
Two Walmart locations in Louisiana found this out the hard way when management allowed moochers to use their food stamps despite the fact their machines were unable to display card limits. As one might expect, word quickly spread and the retailers were swamped with welfare kings and queens filling their carts with anything and everything.
Police were called in to handle the bedlam, leading local police chief Will Lynd to describe the confusion as “worse than any Black Friday” he has ever witnessed.
The two-hour free-for-all finally ended when the stores informed shoppers the system was back up. At that point, those who had not yet made it to the register abandoned their carts en masse, leaving the merchandise they planned to steal behind them and exiting as quickly as possible.
One woman had just amassed a bill of about $700 when the system was repaired. She was detained by authorities when the computer revealed she had less than 50 cents on her EBT card.
In the wake of the chaos, staff members spent nearly an entire day returning all of the merchandise to the newly bare shelves.
Though no one was arrested, plenty of onlookers agree there was blatant criminal activity afoot.
“That’s plain theft,” said one shopper. “That’s stealing; that’s all I got to say about it.”
Welfare programs, initially heralded as a way to give the less fortunate a hand up, has morphed into an uncontrollable amalgam of fraud and incompetence. Recipients now feel entitled to — rather than grateful for — the generous programs taxpayers spend more and more to offer. Not only do they apparently feel they deserve free money every month, they will jump on any opportunity to further scam the system by raiding businesses during a power outage.
While there are undoubtedly many families on food stamps because they have no other options, these are likely not the same individuals who rushed the local Walmart to go for a shopping spree.
This culture of dependence plays right into the hands of the leftists behind such widespread entitlement programs. By creating a large community of people supported, either in part or in whole, by government handouts, Democrats can count these recipients among their permanent voters.
As an aside, and given the pandemonium that ensued after just one relatively small system went down, one can only imagine what would result from a coordinated attack on our technological infrastructure.
–B. Christopher Agee
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