Whenever the conversation turns to reductions (in the increase in spending) in government programs, the tried and true response from Democrats is "Now is not the time to cut, because demand is too great!" If a recent rash of Food Stamps fraud cases in Green Bay is any indication, the demand is coming from all the wrong people.
This week, police busted the owner and an employee of Billy Goats Pub for accepting payment for booze in the form of Quest cards from customers. The owner and the employee would then use the cards to buy food that they sold or gave away in the bar. Now before you anoint those two "criminal masterminds", I should point out that they got the idea after their customers suggested it to them. It was the "struggling" FoodShares recipients who wanted to sell their cards--and the folks at Billy Goats were willing to take them up on that offer.
The Billy Goats incident comes after another Green Bay business specializing in the sale of booze got busted for the same scam last year. The owners of Beach Road Liquors were accused of accepting Quest cards as payment on alcohol and cigarettes and then turning around to make their own purchases with the taxpayer money. It appears their going rate was the same as in the Billy Goats scheme--fifty-cents on the dollar--which the "struggling" FoodShares recipients were more than happy to take.
And let's not forget the "kindhearted" operator of a Green Bay homeless shelter who was making the men staying there turn over their Quest cards to him--so that he could buy groceries for everyone staying there--whether they were eligible for FoodShares or not. He recently reached a plea deal with prosecutors where he will avoid jail time and instead will pay a fine. The other two cases are still pending in the courts.
What I find interesting is that we hear plenty about the business owners who take the Food Stamps--but we never hear about the people selling them off. They are never named in the criminal complaints, and charges never seem to be filed against them--even though they are just as complicit in the crime as those giving them the cash. It doesn't send much of a "message to others" if only those who are getting the illegal benefits are the one's getting punished. Add to that, the policy of "no questions asked" replacement of "lost" Quest cards--and you can see why the sellers fear no repercussions. (Plus, efforts to end the practice of easy card replacement by Republicans are attacked as being "racist" and as attempts to "shame the poor")
And don't tell me about how these are "isolated incidents". If you don't think the same kind of selling of Quest cards isn't taking place in Oshkosh and Manitowoc and Wausau and most certainly in Milwaukee--then you are a fool. It just so happens that Green Bay police are trying to do something about it.
Anyways, when your friendly neighborhood liberal goes on his next diatribe about how "cutting" into the billions of dollars in increases in Food Stamps will leave people going hungry, just reassure them that the money Republicans want to take out will come from those who obviously didn't need it in the first place.