Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh SNAP




S.N.A.P. is the acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

That would be a new name for an old program - our modern day food stamps program, now made more convenient and widely accessible with Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. Over 44.5 million Americans were enrolled in the program in 2011. As this infographic demonstrates, this is why we don't have the visual of long, winding breadlines at soup kitchens in cities across the nation that were the hallmark of the 1930's era Great Depression's landscape.

Thanks to the EBT program, the reality of our economic situation can be hidden from plain sight.

This is why mass media talking heads, pundits and "experts" can get away with lying in their broadcasts and publications, prevaricating that we are "in recovery."


Many folks on the conservative side of the so-called "aisle" often castigate the food stamp program as socialism. Wealth transfers from the producers to the non-producers.

The manosphere points out a different aspect of this wealth transfer - from working men to non-working, dependent single mothers married to the State.

Both points are true...but only partially so.

Don't forget who else gets their slice of the transfer lucre, like the Banksters-too-big-to-fail, (BTBTF) who distribute and administer the EBT system.

Don't forget too, that every single benefit transfer is an entitlement expenditure...one that is done with fiat currency printed up out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, for which we the enslaved sheeple are liable for in interest-bearing debt that adds to our ever escalating tax burden.

Don't forget that Big Ag gets it's cut of this "benefit" transfer as well. From the Eligible Food Items Page of the USDA's SNAP website:

 - Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items.

- Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible items.

- Since the current definition of food is a specific part of the Act, any change to this definition would require action by a member of Congress. Several times in the history of SNAP, Congress had considered placing limits on the types of food that could be purchased with program benefits. However, they concluded that designating foods as luxury or non-nutritious would be administratively costly and burdensome.

Oh sure, it would be costly and burdensome. It wouldn't have anything to do with allowing EBT transfers being made from the taxpayers debt burden to the Big Ag corporations that produce all the processed "food items?" Remember, it's not It’s not the snack aisle, the cereal aisle, or even the bread aisle...it’s the profit aisle:

There’s one big reason that industrial food manufacturers like Kraft (Nabisco, Snackwells, General Foods, many more), Con-Agra (Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, Healthy Choice, many more), Pepsico (Frito-Lay, Quaker), Kellogg’s (Kashi, Morningstar Farms, Nutrigrain, more) are huge and profitable.

It’s because grains are cheap, but the “foods” made from them aren’t.

One reason grains are so cheap in the USA, of course, is gigantic subsidies for commodity agriculture that, while advertised as helping farmers, go mostly to agribusinesses like Archer Daniels Midland ($62 billion in sales), Cargill ($108 billion), ConAgra ($12 billion), and Monsanto ($11 billion)...

I often shop at grocery stores adjacent or in the poorer neighborhoods of Hawaii. I see the shambling mounds of obesity with shopping carts brimming with processed foods, candy, junk food, cakes, chips, crackers, and cases of soda....all paid for with their EBT cards. Many also buy fresh produce and meat to take home and cook...but neraly all buy Big Ag junk food products with their 'benefit tranfers."

I also see many of these EBT recipients put the grocery divider on the conveyor belt to differentiate between all the food and feed they are acquiring, and the prohibited alcohol, tobacco, pet foods, etc. In other words, although the EBT program expressly forbids using the "benefits" to buy drugs and alcohol, because they don't have to spend their money on food, they have the extra income to pay for their vices...an indirect subsidy.



Another unique aspect to this program found here in Hawaii has to do with our love of eating mercury.

Because the Federal guidelines encourage recipients to buy raw meat and seafood to take home and cook, the ubiquitous poke and sashimi stations in every grocery store in the State accepts EBT cards for raw fish.

What a farce.

Raw fish is the primo luxury food item in the State. Prepared poke is never taken home and cooked for family meals.

It is eaten raw, and is the staple food for parties and get togethers.

It's usually $16-$20 a lb.

I've gone to my local grocery store to buy some poke, and stood in a long line that took me half an hour to get up to the counter for my turn to order my fish. The majority of the people in line were literally buying hundreds of dollars of raw fish with their EBT cards...of course, many of them also used the divider so as to ring up the beer and cigarette purchases!

Poke, sashimi, clams, oysters, tako (octopus)...a veritable cornucopia of premium sea food, for which people who are not enrolled in SNAP eat only on occasion, while our "poor" underclass literally feast on it regularly.

I've talked to the workers and they acknowledge that their manager finds out asap when the next EBT disbursements are handed out, so they can get ready for the rush of EBT poke sales. They have to literally make three times the normal daily amount of poke to handle all the benefit transfer purchases.

It's one helluva "benefits transfer" racket we got going on here.

So, let's take a step back and look at the big picture...

The Federal Government borrows the money from the Federal Reserve System to fund the entitlement spending programs like SNAP.

The BTBTF get their share for administering the EBT program.

The sheeple then use their benefits on all of the feed products produced by Big Ag.

Then, of course, after years of eating such crap, the sickness and obesity requires treatment by Big HealthCare, and renewable. lifetime maintenance prescription drugs that profit Big Pharma.

All of this money that goes to the BTBTF and Big Ag corporations are all interest bearing fiat dollars from the Federal Reserve System, continually adding to our exponentially expanding debt.

SNAP is not a direct transfer from the productive class to the non-productive welfare class as conservatives like to point out, nor is it simply a transfer from working men's tax dollars to fund single mothers and their out-of-wedlock entitlement claims.

In the long run, it's a total transfer from the 99% to the 1%. All the "BIG" entities in our "FREE MARKET" make all the profit while sticking us with the future debt burden, ill health and miserable deaths.


12 comments:

newrebeluniv said...

I think that congress does not qualify food types because decades of experience has taught them that such a system is totally unenforceable. Since at the food store level, it all turns into fungible cash and depends on the food store employees to enforce it and they have no interest in doing so.

The alternative is scrapping the food stamp program and going back to distribution of goods. That is much more costly per person served but will result in a huge cutback in people served. It will keep people from starving but won't let them use EBT to supplement their lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Doing my part to keep money out of big ag as I went paleo on March 1, 2012. Not going back to SAD (standard american diet). Dropped 30 pounds so far and feel much better.

Keoni, your are one of the people that inspired me to change. I found your site and Karl Denniger through voxday. After reading Mark Sission, I thought it was worth a try. Thank you.

jay c said...

It would be infinitely better to get rid of these programs altogether, but some controls are not unenforceable. There are already some controls in place and, for the most part, they are being enforced without a lot of trouble. Here's a very simple modification that would go a long ways toward stopping abuse of food stamp programs:

Only allow the purchase of raw, unprocessed fruit, vegetables, and dry goods. Rice, beans, flour, sugar, salt, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, etc. No prepared foods. No meat or fish. No canned goods. No drinks.

Of course, that will never happen.

rycamor said...

Agreed with Anonymous, and yes Keoni, you were one of the ones sho inspired me to go (mostly) paleo with my diet--BIG difference.

I was a libertarian since my college years, and used to have my suspicions of the agribusiness consortium, but let those fade in the face of fatherhood and career worries.

Since looking into these things again, starting last year, I was shocked at just how bad the situation really is. Corruption layered upon corruption. Anyone who wants a real wake-up on how farming and food could be instead of what it currently is should read "Everything I want to do is Illegal" by Joel Salatin.

Hearth said...

One of my mom's favorite nutrition stories... when I was very young and my folks were on food stamps and living in Indiana. Fresh fruit was very expensive in the Winter, but she used her food stamps to buy fruit for me.

She was *glared at* for being so wasteful as to buy fresh fruit with her stamps.

However, she says that I visited the pediatrician only once that winter, as opposed to all of the other little kids she knew, who were sick virtually the whole time.

MissMarie said...

I know *many* people here that trade groceries with the EBT card for cash to buy booze and cigarettes and even drugs. They give the card and the number to someone with money, the person buys 'food' and then gives the card holder cash. There are even some gas stations/convenience stores that find some way to ring up alcohol and cigarettes as food so that people can use the card for that. It's disgusting.

Eric said...

Keoni & Others:
I live in Seattle, which is a welfare/police-state of the first order.

I don't care how the apologists gloss over the characters of the 'poor'. I live and interact with these vermin on a daily basis; and 99% of them are nothing but social parasites.

And contrary to what Marx says, history has never been a class-struggle between 'have and have-nots'. It is now, and always has been, the rich parasites and the poor parasites triangulating on the productive class---upon whom they all depend.

Anonymous said...

Went through a tough time a few years ago. Having a wife and three children, I didn't really see a choice, so I decided to apply for food stamps here in southern CA. I have two college degrees and have been able to hold a good job. (My company 'downsized.') I waited in line for hours with illegal aliens who could not speak English, the bottom social rung of white people and black people. The application and documentation required was as complicated or more so than your average college or university application process. To keep the benefits going you must regularly file ancillary paperwork and there are many deadlines for this that they won't say anything about while you are at their office. I missed one of these deadlines by a single day and we were kicked out of the program and had to reapply and wait several weeks. There is NO way in hell that a bunch of illegal aliens and illiterate poor people can keep up with that kind of paper work. I am white and relatively well dressed. I could tell the hispanic staff people behind the desk did not really want to help me. Meanwhile, I saw several instances of illegals and such getting breaks and extra help given to them. I got a pile of papers thrown at me with a shrug of their shoulders. I got so pissed off I told them to shove it and walked out. I have since started my own business in a grey market particular to California and several other states and am doing well financially. Screw them...

Bob Wallace said...

The people I've known on SNAP tell me they can buy candy, gum and pop, but cannot buy hot food. However, they can buy a cold hamburger and heat it up in the microwave in the store.

El Bastardo said...

I loved this one so much; I wrote a post on it. Thanks for this one bruddah.

El Bastardo said...

@bob wallace;

What I can't wait for is when they cn buy a car with saved stamps! That should be just before the Zombi-Apocalypse! LOL

It makes me wonder what they can't buy when you put it into th idea that we essentially subsidize the laziest among us by using government tax funds to take monthly bills like grecery expenses, college tuition, and daycare out of their budget.

Not like many of them keep a buddget anyways. They know there will "always be more".......... right?

MaMu1977 said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jukQX2pl2Q

1. The EBT/SNAP abuse isn't new. During the crack epidemic, there were a *lot* of inner-city women (not so much the men, funnily enough) who would swap their excess food stamps for cash/drugs/clothes/anything but food. Even in modern times, most stores will "conveniently forget" to verify that the current card wielder is the *assigned* card wielder.

2. The inability of white people to access social aid (and the willingness of social workers to all-but-force minorities to accept social aid) is nothing new, either. The most widespread trigger for divorces in the African-American community (and subsequently, the quickly filled housing projects) was the "liberalisation" of abuse. Or, to put it bluntly: abuse is wrong, so you should leave your husband/partner if "he" abuses you. Of course, "abuse" in the minds of client-hungry social workers can mean almost anything.

Husband smacks you across the face for burning a pot of rice? Abuse!
Husband smacks you across the face after finding another man inside of you? Abuse!

Husband punches you while drunk? Abuse!
Husband punches you in retaliation after you get drunk and stab him with a knife? Abuse!

Husband calls you an idiot for letting the tub overflow? Abuse!
Husband calls you an idiot for trading the family car (2 years old) for a big screen TV? Abuse!

My favorite example, from my life: At sixteen, my babysitter (high school senior) was engaged and was impregnated by a eighteen year old student at her high school. Despite the fact that my babysitter arrived in her guidance counselor's office with an engagement ring, the counselor insisted that she was a "rape victim" (first forcible, then statuotory), proceeded to have police officers drag my babysitter's fiance out of class, then contacted the school's social worker and insisted that my *sixteen year old* babysitter move out of her mother's house and into the local housing project. I only wish that this was an exaggeration. If anyone out there has ever wondered how the African-American community collapsed so quickly, imagine how quickly your hometown would fall apart of hordes of social workers showed up and told your teenaged daughters/neighbours that they could get their own apartment, free money and free food vouchers and a food stipend, if they got knocked up and didn't get married.