Food Stamps Bill
The House is proposing to cut food stamps by 5% ... that would be $4 billion from an $80 billion budget.
As we might imagine, this is not real popular with the Ds. The cuts focus on able-bodied adults withOUT dependents. This might mean that someone getting $100/mo now would end up getting only $95 under this proposal. They key element would also be allowing the states to add a work element to the program. Is it so bad to ask someone who is able-bodied to work a bit for their food subsidy?
How about an easy-to-accept way to cut budgets for food stamps? I was thinking, if they uncover $5 billion of waste and fraud in the program, cut the budget for the following year by that amount. Spread the cut equally over the program. Will it take a while before the people who really need the program start to watch out for those who abuse the program? ... both the individuals who do so and the businesses that collaborate with those individuals? Remember, we just heard of a dollar store owner who collaborated to the tune of $5 million or more.
So, there's the first $5 million that could be cut from the budget. Nobody will lose any food from cutting that $5 million because it was never being used for food anyway.
Maybe someone would have reported the fraud sooner if they knew that it would impact their own food stamp budget next year? Private companies reward employees for innovative ideas that reduce costs or increase productivity. Law enforcement pays anonymous tipsters when convictions result from the tip.
There was a recent story of $1.5 billion in welfare payments being made to ineligible illegal aliens. There's $1.5 billion to cut that wouldn't be hurting anyone legally eligible for welfare payments.
These are the only fraud/waste items that we actually know about publicly. How much more is there?
What about fraud in the farm bill?
It would be harder with Medicare fraud. There it would have to be the care providers who monitored their illegitimate colleagues. Those could be "rewarded" with a %-age of the recoverable fraud amounts. Those legitimate care providers would actually be motivated to push the govt agency to recover those amounts. We really don't know how vigorously these agencies attempt to recover those amounts.
If there was some motivation for "many eyes" to be watching for the fraud and waste it, we could be more effective in uncovering it.
We often get caught up in the billions of dollars. Perhaps we need to focus on reaching goals one million at a time. You can feed a lot of kids for $5 million a year. You could provide many school vouchers for $1.5 billion a year.
Gerry, I agree with your comments....I think people who are receiving welfare, food stamps (credit cards), free phones, and/or Medicaid should be required to proved residency, pass periodic drug screens, which include alcohol and nicotine, before getting anything. Then if able bodied they must work a week to get a weeks coverage. That would cut 25% of them off right away. Food Stamps or Credits should only work in grocery stores and only work for basic food stuff, fresh vegetables, fresh meats, milk, eggs, butter, canned vegies, canned meats, etc. No TV dinners, soda pop, prepared food, etc. that would cut another 10-15% etc. I think poor people should be taken care of, but it should not be a fun trip, leaving incentives for self improvement.
I think you made a very true statement ... we should help the poor, but we should also work to help them not stay poor. There is self-esteem involved when one earns something, so if those able-bodied earned at least part of their benefits it could create motivation.