Fighting the Food Fraud Swamp

Residents wait to be helped at the Food Stamp and Public Assistance Program Office at the Department of Public Health and Social Services. (Photo: PDN file)

Dysfunction in Washington, DC is rampant. Federal programs are wrought with fraud. This is the swamp that needs to be drained. The bigger the federal program, the bigger the fraud. The bigger the bureaucracy, the bigger the waste. And let me tell you, the United States federal government is wasting our tax dollars at an alarming rate.

(bu·reauc·ra·cy) a system of government in which most of the important decisions are made by state officials rather than by elected representatives.

Our elected representatives have turned our government over to non-elected agencies and departments who publish thousands of regulations and administer thousands of programs. The federal government now has more than 2,100 federal agencies and departments. Do we really need that much bureaucracy to rule over us; and to regulate our lives and our workplaces? I think not. Do you?

A Swamp for Every State

A long time ago in a country far, far away, long before many of my readers were born, there was a farcical political promise: “A chicken for every pot.” Now, our politicians are guaranteeing a “Swamp for Every State.” It seems they all want to get in on the action: “My Fraudulent Program is Bigger Than Your Fraudulent Program.”

Yes. The states have all gotten into the game. The game of stealing as much taxpayer money as they possibly can to make sure “the other guys don’t get more than we do.” State governments are emulating their “Big Brother” in every aspect. Many readers have begged me to write about the fraudulent acts in their state governments. I have considered this and found that no one person can solve the dishonesty of the millions of politicians and their surrogates. However, I will attempt to uncover a joint duplicitous operation the federal government and states are perpetrating on “We the People.”

Another Government Agency Out of Control

The last article I published in 2017 was entitled Government Gourmet Soup Kitchens. It spoke of how citizens are taking advantage of the many Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) programs. FNS works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity. There may be more than 15 separate federal agencies and at least 50 state agencies involved in this boondoggle. This makes the “Big Dig” look small.

NAP benefits now exceed $100 billion annually while they service more than 50 million people. Some are not citizens, and none are taxpayers. The amount of SNAP food stamps a household gets depends on the household's size, income, and expenses. For most of its history, the program used paper-denominated "stamps" or coupons. Now it utilizes a specialized debit card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) whose benefits are directly deposited into the household's EBT card account.

A GAO Report on SNAP

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that resulted from a review of 11 state and federal efforts to fight food stamp fraud, effectiveness of certain fraud detection tools and how FNS oversees state anti-fraud efforts found that “most of the selected states reported difficulties in conducting fraud investigations due to either reduced or maintained staff levels while SNAP recipient numbers greatly increased from fiscal year 2009 through 2013.”

A woman checks out at a Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market Thursday, June 4, 2015. (Danny Johnston/AP Photo)

The federal government is using the old tactic of “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.” They take the money from the investigative arm of the agencies to provide more free benefits which results in more double-dealing and less money to investigate the waste and fraud. Some state officials interviewed suggested “changing the financial incentives structure to help support the costs of investigating potential SNAP fraud.”  I hope they can solve this problem that most second graders could pinpoint in a heartbeat.


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Dialing for Government Dollars

In a 30-day testing period of the automated tool for e-commerce websites, the GAO report found “28 postings from one popular e-commerce website that advertised the potential sale of food stamp benefits in exchange for cash.” The GAO found limitations on the effectiveness of recommended replacement card data and website monitoring tools for fraud detection.

It also said states have different thresholds for prosecuting food stamp fraud. In Tennessee, for example, $100 in benefits must be fraudulently obtained before officials will consider prosecuting, but in Texas it is a $5,000 level.

The only thing we know for certain is that the federal government and the states are advertising for customers. We hear it on the radio every day in Florida and other states. The bottom line: government agencies perpetuate themselves and grow too large to control and investigate by advertising for more recipients. This is not a method of survival, it is a method of growing too large to be taken down.

We have become weak and willing to accept this as the “New Normal.”

Likewise, one person cannot purify this hideous immorality. It will take a majority of the more than 320 million American citizens to “Drain the American Swamp.”


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Finally, an author who brings you solutions, instead of problems.

Americans have lost faith in their overreaching federal government. “We the People” don’t need to be overregulated or have their taxes misspent. Americans are victims of a crumbling economy, high prices and stagnant wages. They view government as bloated and politicians as corrupt.

They do not trust the leadership at any level. They see politicians of both parties as self-centered narcissists whose only objective is re-election. The author is like you, with one principal difference and 20 reasons for optimism. His “Vision” of America is “clear.” It is a vision of the Constitution and America the way it could be, the way it should be. The author’s eyesight is twenty-twenty.

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