Letters to the Editor

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WELFARE: EBT program needs serious reform

Letter by Adam Isackson, Tacoma on Sep. 11, 2012 at 11:47 am with 12 Comments »
September 11, 2012 12:47 pm

Recently I was in line behind two guys in their mid 30s at an area grocery store. Both were wearing easily $1,000 worth of designer clothing. They purchased $100 worth of premium-cut steaks with all the fixings. That purchase was made courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer via an EBT card.

I’ve witnessed many similar instances over the last several months since another incident at a local store brought the EBT issue to my attention. The first incident was a young man, again with a cart loaded full of luxury food items, who decided to yell at a cashier because his energy drink wasn’t eligible for EBT purchase.

If you’re able to use an EBT card on luxury items, and presumably pay cash for food items after your monthly food allowance runs out, you shouldn’t be eligible for an EBT card in the first place. EBT cards should be reserved for the truly destitute, not handed out like candy to anyone able to gain what is obviously a broken system rampant with waste, fraud and abuse.

It’s really discouraging to see so many people taking advantage of a broken system while so many others are making plenty of personal sacrifices during these tough times.

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Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. All you have to do is go to Winco and watch the hordes of Mexicans with full carts using their EBT cards. Some don’t even speak english . When the cashier tried to engage some of them in conversation, they just stood there with the deer in the headlights stare and shrugged their shoulders.

  2. Frankenchrist says:

    You know they are Mexican nationals, huh Frosty? You checked their passports or their birth certificates? What one was it? I can’t wait to hear your exciting immigration enforcement stories.

  3. frosty is another example of why only black people who call white people on their racial stereotypes are considered racist – right?

    The letter is an unsubstantiated story. No more reason to believe it than anything else on the internet.

  4. itwasntmethistime says:

    Go to Walgreens or the Dollar Tree and check out the mounds of candy people buy with EBT cards. It’s heartbreaking, really, to know how hard people work to make nutritious food available to people who just don’t care.

  5. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    KING 5 makes a profit out of exposing fraud using the EBT cards. And what actions are taken by the state legislature? NONE

    Under the leadership of Frank Chopp the legislatue has not been allowed to rein in any of the broken programs at DSHS.

    Frank Chopp and his overlords at the SEIU both must go. If you want more of the same vote for candidates with the D by their name. If you want to change the ways in Olympia vote for the R’s.

    Lets all try to bring some new leadership to Olympia and send Frank Chopp packing.

  6. lylelaws says:


    Great letter.

    Anyone who doubt’s what Adam is saying needs talk to a supermarket checker.

    And, of course the worse thing about the situation is that the deadbeats like the ones he pointed out are in effect stealing from many truly needy people.

  7. commoncents says:

    Without a doubt I believe that there is fraud and waste in the EBT program. But can anyone tell me how much? Are we going to spend $10 million in enforcement to save $5 million in fraud? Will technology soon make it more difficult to commit the fraud?

    Side note – Anyone close enough to see that someone is paying with an EBT card is also close enough to see that someone is paying with a debit card which is entirely to dang close. Step back…

  8. commoncents, you seem to be making an “acceptable risk” argument. This frames your point of view as being from the aspect of cost alone. That’s a slippery slope.

    In theory, there is also be a point of equilibrium between cost and risk in… say, airplane manufacturing. And at this precipice, would you also think it okay for the plane manufacturer to reason that the cost of liability and successful litigation against their company is less than the cost of preventative redundancy, therefor they should go no further than this point in their efforts to produce a safe aircraft?

    Sorry if the question seems loaded, but the same conundrum exists in just about every segment of manufacturing and production.

    I personally don’t subscribe to an acceptable risk approach to public assistance programs – or any other crimes for that matter. I think allowing fraud to exist in any form will only allow it to flourish, whereas interdiction costs will eventually justify themselves in savings by preventing expansion.

    Interdiction efforts are simply the right message to send to both the taxpayers and the deadbeats, irrespective of cost.

  9. Commomcents wrote: Without a doubt I believe that there is fraud and waste in the EBT program. But can anyone tell me how much? Are we going to spend $10 million in enforcement to save $5 million in fraud? Will technology soon make it more difficult to commit the fraud?


    The Obama administration obviously has a system to ferret out waste, fraud and abuse, put a pricetag on it and provided enforcement. The $619 billion carved out of Medicare/Medicaid is ostensibly the product of ridding these two progerams of WFA……or so we have been told. Maybe the administration can wring some money out of EBT to fund some other grandiose social scheme.

  10. Frankenchrist, good point maybe they are not all Mexicans. There’s probably some Columbians, Guatemalans, Equadorians, etc mixed in there. Commncents, You don’t need to stand right over them to see that it’s an EBT card, their not even smart enough to try to hide it.

  11. averageJose says:

    I have had similar experiences not only at the grocery, Adam… in my own family. A 28 year old male family member with a drug problem not only has an ebt card, but he has 2 cell phones… one is an Obama phone and the other he pays for. He’d trade the card for drugs.

    Kooky… some people are soooo sheltered they think it’s “unsubstantiated”.

  12. averageJose says:

    … perhaps “willfully ignorant”.

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