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Free ObamaDollars: The EBT Card for Cigarettes and Alcohol ^ | July 3, 2012 | Ann-Marie Murell

Posted on 07/03/2012 6:00:37 AM PDT by Kaslin

My son called me, furious. 

“I was just in line at the grocery store, and the girl in front of me had all this food and paid for it with an EBT card,” he told me. 

“Okay,” I said, trying to calm him down.  “You’ve lived here all your life--you know that’s normal in L.A.” 

“Yeah, but her boyfriend was in line right behind her and he had beer and all kinds of alcohol and then he got cigarettes and they paid for it with their EBT cash card after they got all their food!” he yelled.  “I saved all week to buy my stupid groceries.  I clipped coupons to save a few bucks, bought off-brand things and then I ended up paying for all of their food and their party stuff, too!” 

I didn’t know what to say because basically he was right.

The public relations makeover for the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is not only changing the entire system, it’s also taking away the last bit of “good shame” (the type you feel when you’d rather not be doing something) previously associated with using food stamps. 

The EBT card looks like any other ATM or credit card: 

And in California, you’re not only allowed to use your EBT cards at almost any fast-food restaurant, they actually seem to encourage it with large signs in their windows, billboards and advertisements.  It’s simply no big deal anymore.  You just swipe your card and there’s your food.

(By the way, why isn’t Michelle Obama all over this “free junk food” thing? But I digress…)

The easy-to-use EBT card has, of course, already had its share of abuses.

In a 2010 Los Angeles Times report, EBT cards were being used in places like Indian casinos and strip clubs. 

According to The Times, it was discovered that nearly $5 million in cash benefits were spent or withdrawn from ATMs at casinos and poker rooms between January 2007 and May 2010.

“The cards, which provide recipients access to federal as well as state cash, were also used in tourist destinations, including the Las Vegas Strip, a remote Hawaiian island that is home to two Four Seasons resorts and on cruise ships leaving from ports around the globe,” The Times reported.

To try to combat the abuses, a bill was introduced last year by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee which bars welfare recipients nationwide from using their EBT cards in casinos, strip clubs, liquor stores, massage parlors, medical marijuana dispensaries, bars and even cruise ships.

California liberals immediately called the bill “discriminatory”.

Jessica Bartholow, a spokeswoman for the Western Center on Law and Poverty said, "These measures come from a place of wanting to smear the names of low-income people who are looking toward the [welfare] program to help end hunger and homelessness."

In then-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s defense, he fought to combat welfare fraud--including the use of fingerprinting food stamp recipients-- but he was shot down every step of the way.

It’s not just California-- EBT abuse is happening nationwide.  In Washington, Republican Senator Mike Carrell tried to pass a bill that would ban the use of EBT’s in tattoo parlors, bars and gun shops. 

“In Washington State EBT cards and their PINs are sometimes sold on sites like Craigslist.  Then the sellers report them stolen and get new ones,” Carrell said in The report says that approximately 37,000 cards a year are reported lost or stolen and are replaced.

The good news is that a phenomenon is happening throughout the United States in which regular citizens are starting to take a stand. 

In Peterborough, New Hampshire, 65-year old store clerk Jackie Whiton refused to sell cigarettes to someone using an EBT cash card. 

Whiton claimed she initially didn’t realize that there were two different types of EBT cards: one used strictly for food and one that can be used as a debit card for any items, including cigarettes and alcohol.  However after being reprimanded, Whiton told her manager that she still wouldn't sell to EBT users because she didn't think it was right.

"I made the statement, 'Do you think myself, that lady and that gentlemen should pay for your cigarettes?' Whiton told the New Hampshire Sentinel Source. "And he responded 'yes.' He was very capable of working, so I told him to get a J-O-B."

She was fired soon after.

Yes, Ms. Whiton was wrong since the rules in her state say it is okay to use EBT cards for the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol—but our question nationwide should be why is this even possible?  How can “free” alcohol and cigarettes help poor people? 

Maybe the only good thing about this EBT bonanza is that it is making a lot of struggling 20-somethings like my son and his friends very angry. 

Kids who were previously Democrats are now seeing the difference between what Obama and his regime are promoting in America—complete government dependence—and the Conservative/Republican stance, which is self-sufficiency. 

For a political party that is always whining about ‘leveling the playing field,’ it’s not looking very ‘level’ to people like my son and his friends, who actually have to work hard for a living and are realizing first-hand that they are the ones paying for someone else’s food--alcohol and cigarettes. 

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: california; ebt; ebtcard; losangeles; welfare
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
Anyone remember the $2K debit cards that were given to the “victims” of Hurricane Katrina? Reports were that many of them were used to purchase Louis Vuitton handbags and lap dances at strip clubs.

I remember distinctly...hey...they had to purchase "necessities", didn't they? /s

41 posted on 07/03/2012 11:42:18 AM PDT by Jane Long (Soli Deo Gloria!)
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To: SaraJohnson
LOL! Where have you been! We worked our butts off to ‘reform’ welfare and finally made some positive changes when Newt was in power.

That was long ago. Nothing whatsoever to crow about now.

Liberals just undid what we fixed in the dark and made it worse. That is the way life swings in the US.

That sounds awfully complacent, exactly the attitude I was talking about.

Working within the system, nominating Romney for example; voting for some new congressman same as the old; "just you wait 'til November!" and all that. It isn't helping save the Republic.

42 posted on 07/03/2012 11:59:28 AM PDT by Lady Lucky (If you believe what you're saying, quit making taxable income. Starve the beast.)
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To: Lady Lucky

What are you doing to change the world...

43 posted on 07/03/2012 12:05:26 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson

Rest assured I’m doing my part to change the part we’re in. I’m not here to respond to ad hominem arguments, and I don’t.

44 posted on 07/03/2012 1:03:23 PM PDT by Lady Lucky (If you believe what you're saying, quit making taxable income. Starve the beast.)
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To: Kaslin

We feed “poor” school children breakfast and lunch here in Indiana.

Also when school is on vacation, the schools are still open to feed “poor” children breakfast and lunch.

I’ve always wondered if the amount offered in EBT even considers this as part of the calculation?

45 posted on 07/03/2012 1:11:32 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Kaslin

A major fundamental problem—far more fundamental than the fact that money is fungible—is the fact that far too many people have lost sight of the fact that getting government handouts should not be pleasant. There is societal value in having a ‘safety net’ sufficient to ensure that temporary setbacks do not become permanent (e.g. in an extreme case, people without jobs becoming so malnourished that they can’t usefully work), but only if using the safety net is sufficiently unpleasant that anyone who can avoid it will do so or, at minimum, become free of it as soon as possible. Feeding people’s addiction to handouts is not compassionate.

46 posted on 07/03/2012 3:41:50 PM PDT by supercat (Renounce Covetousness.)
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To: Lady Lucky

I’m glad you are active. I am in Texas and busy, too.

47 posted on 07/03/2012 4:44:16 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: muawiyah
Within our lifetimes mechanization, automation, computerization, robotics and improved work methods are going to eliminate almost all the jobs in this country.

ROFLOL!! You apparently think you know everything.....

Good luck with that.

48 posted on 07/03/2012 5:00:55 PM PDT by Osage Orange (8675309)
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To: Osage Orange
I watched the industrial organization I worked for increase its productivity levels over 700% in four decades.

That was simply through the application of mechanization, automation, computerization, robotics and improved work methods.

That doesn't happen to be that astounding, but the US government has had just about the same number of working bureaucrats since 1960.

That has happened as a consequence of some really serious computerization.

Recently we changed our battle posture substantially through development and application of what we call DRONES. They are little more than computerized aircraft ~ and speaking of automating unusual things, much of the plowing and seed drilling in the Midwest ~ one of Earth's premiere agricultural regions ~ is now done by automated systems.

Happened right under your nose I am sure.

What do you think happened to the pilots who used to fly the planes to do the same job the drones do? And farmers ~ who's driving the tractor.

We used to have secretaries where I worked. When I retired we'd gotten rid of secretaries ~ there were no more secretaries and every employee could type.

Unless you intend to die early you should be able to see most jobs just disappear. You already saw well over 10% of existing jobs disappear permanently.

49 posted on 07/03/2012 6:59:49 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: duckman
We are becoming a country with no sense of pride as well as becoming morally bankrupt.

Why should we not expect this??

Are you still killing your unborn?

-- GOD


50 posted on 07/03/2012 8:33:36 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Elsie

OMG!!! THAT is the reason why we are in this state of affairs....women KILLING their children, and HAPPY about it....CELEBRATING IT!!

51 posted on 07/04/2012 4:51:34 AM PDT by Ann Archy ( ABORTION...the HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Kaslin ~ yup, lobster is down to $4.00 a pound and that beats most every kind of deli meat ~ and is close to SPAM. Dem Welfare folks gwin’ be eatin’ good, en high on die ol’ hawg.

52 posted on 07/06/2012 8:09:09 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

WTF are you batting about? Did you even read that?

53 posted on 07/06/2012 11:25:56 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: dennisw

Read 52.

54 posted on 07/07/2012 5:59:43 AM PDT by muawiyah
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