The Problem Isn't Just Welfare Abuse, it's the Enablers

We don't just have a welfare state. We have a welfare economy.


At the National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke writes on the Walmart EBT rush, "Whether or not local authorities had legal cause to arrest the shoppers on the spot, there really should be no doubt that widespread theft took place — or, perhaps, that widespread fraud took place. Neither that the beneficiaries evidently believe that they could get away with it, nor that the victim was the unsympathetically anonymous mass of Louisianan and federal taxpayers alters the plain fact. This was a crime...

We are not talking here about a moral grey area, in which starving people saw and took a rare chance to feed themselves. Instead, we are talking about people who, over and above their normal allowance, elected to steal from the millions of people from whose paychecks the food-stamp program’s funds are forcibly taken — and on whose beneficence they rely."

We could of course go on some more about the character failings of the people on generation welfare. But the real criminal here is Walmart.

"At Walmarts in the towns of Springhill and Mansfield, employees called corporate headquarters to ask what they should do. They were instructed to “keep the registers ringing.” This they did — and with a vengeance."

I expect very little from the looters. This is how they live and how they have lived for generations. They have no sense of right and wrong when it comes to government aid.

I have no idea what it would take to change their character.

But Walmart, a huge corporate entity, certainly knew what it was doing. How much of Walmart's income comes from food stamps? That's interesting question.

I grew up in New York City and that means I grew up surrounded by the infrastructure of food stamps. My family never had them, but I still saw them around so often that they're as familiar to me as currency.

They just were and are that ubiquitous. Looking through pictures for my Redkins photoshop yesterday, I recognized three different types I saw growing up.

Yesterday standing in line at the supermarket, I saw a woman actually buying some sort of black sea fish delicacy with an EBT card, hopefully not caviar.

But the woman in some ways interests me less than the supermarket which would probably go out of business if food stamps really were shut down. It wouldn't be the only one.

How many of the bodegas and local supermarkets in minority neighborhoods would survive? How would the banks that cover their loans do? What about the Walmarts in those areas?

It would not surprise me too much if the impact of taking away food stamps would wipe out a huge chunk of what we might even think of as the legitimate economy.

There's a reason we have a welfare state. And it's not just because of Louisiana Walmart shoppers. It's because there's an equally parasitic economic infestation on top of them. And another one on top of them.

That's not just true of food stamps. It's true of every area of the welfare state. There is an infrastructure of

1. Government workers to administer the whole thing in the public sector,

2. Non-profits cashing on community service grants

3. Corporations and businesses making money from it on the other end

It's not just that we have a welfare state. We also have a growing welfare economy backed by for-profit and non-profit lobbies.

There's not much that can be done about people as degraded as these. But companies like Walmart should be held accountable for their complicity in this mess. Because they know exactly what they're doing.

So do the grocery stores and supermarkets slapping EBT stickers on soda machines and deli counters.