Obama’s Legacy: Food Stamps Expanded for Use on Amazon, Online Retailers

It's going to be much easier to afford that new $60 Xbox game.

It’s nearly time for President Obama to vacate the White House, but he’s not going quietly and is leaving several last-minute goodies for future generations to pay for.

According to the Judicial Watch blog, “Food-stamp recipients can use their taxpayer-funded benefit to order online from retailers like Amazon under a new Obama administration initiative that aims to facilitate the shopping experience for rural and urban residents.”

Of course, to avoid stigma, the program was renamed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) just before Obama was elected. After he had become president, SNAP benefits were increased under the recovery act and raised monthly benefits to $133 temporarily. The average is around $125. Under Obama, there was a record number of participants, over 46 million, costing taxpayers an astounding $70 billion annually. It’s never been easier to get something for nothing.

Michelle Obama’s focus on health during the last eight years has done a lot to increase these numbers. Claiming there is a “food desert” epidemic for those living in poverty, the government has become grocer, shipping fruits, and vegetables to inner cities where they will be left to spoil because snack cakes and sodas are the preferred snack. But the government is going ahead with this even before all the kinks are worked out:

“Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in urban neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the new program this week. “We’re looking forward to being able to bring the benefits of the online market to low-income Americans participating in SNAP.” Besides Amazon, a few other online businesses have been approved by the feds to accept food stamps online, including Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, Safeway and ShopRite. The USDA acknowledges however, that “online payment presents technical and security challenges that will need to be examined and fully addressed…”

Already, the examples are plentiful for food stamp fraud, and crime rings turning EBT cards into cash, as this writer reported two years ago:

It was learned that store owners and managers were buying EBT cards from patrons at half price for cash (meaning the public assistance recipient could now pay cash for things not covered under the government-issued debit card like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs) and then the store owners would use the fully loaded EBT cards to purchase items at wholesalers like Sam's Club and sell those goods in their own stores at highly marked-up prices. It was also learned that some of the Yemeni people involved were wiring their profits to their home country.

Adding the option of purchasing goods online with all the "technical and security challenges" the USDA warns about will surely be another disaster.