USDA gets around to really cracking down on food-stamp fraud

During President Obama’s first term in office, participation in the federal food stamp program increased from about 32 million Americans in 2009 to approximately 48 million by October of 2012 — an average growth rate of just over 11,000 recipients per day, CNS News reports. In dollars, that translates into $55 billion spent on the program in FY 2009, all the way up to $80 billion in FY 2012.

And the USDA didn’t merely content themselves to fiddling with the requirements and expanding the rolls, but they actively encouraged and recruited participation in the program.

So, it really is too magnanimous of them, after devoting so many of their energies to making the program more popular and widely accessible, to more fully consider and take action against the inherent consequences that come at a cost to taxpayers.

The Hill reports:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday announced it would take action against the “bad actors” who abuse the program by extending the legal definition of “trafficking” to include indirect ways of receiving cash for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

It is already illegal to sell SNAP benefits directly for cash, but the new rules would also bar cash refunds for products purchased with food stamps.

“Where there is a will to commit malfeasance, bad actors will try to find a way, and we must do everything we can to stay ahead of the curve,” said Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon. “Today’s announcement reaffirms USDA’s ongoing commitment to cracking down on abuse and protecting taxpayers’ investment in this critical nutrition lifeline.”

Gee, thanks. Could we perhaps have thought of some of this before we extended and marketed the program?

For the umpteenth time: Republicans do not want to merely deprive people of food stamps, they want to engender an economy in which it is neither necessary nor even desirable for people to do so because there is greater opportunity in the private sector — a task at which President Obama has failed. “Food stamps are the most direct stimulus you can get,” seriously? Well then, why don’t we just sign everybody up for food stamps?