WASHINGTON, November 29, 2014 — When President Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty” programs hit the half-century mark, President Obama opted not to celebrate the welfare-state milestone; an estimated $20.7 trillion has been thrown at the poverty problem with little to no effect.
Worse still, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported more than 23,052,388 American households were on food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), a record 47 million recipients under Obama’s income-redistribution economy. Robert Doar of the American Enterprise Institute testified to Congress that the food stamp program is structured to allow “a significant number of adult recipients to remain out of work longer than they might otherwise.”
What Doar failed to mention is that approximately $3 billion in food stamp fraud occurs each year, a favorite with e-commerce shoppers eager to engage in the illegal trade of the program’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards for services, cash, drugs — oh, and explosives.
A few days before the St. Louis County grand jury rendered its decision in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, FBI agents arrested two New Black Panther Party members on “federal weapons charges.”
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the suspects “had plans to bomb the Gateway arch – and to kill St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch and Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.”
According to the Department of Social and Health Services, “It is not legal to … exchange your food benefits for anything of value (trafficking). Examples of illegal trafficking include exchanging food benefits or attempting to exchange food benefits for cash, drugs, weapons or anything other than food from an authorized retailer.”
The suspects, Olajuwon Ali and Brandon Baldwin, allegedly sought to purchase additional pipe bombs, but “could not afford to do it until one suspect’s girlfriend’s Electronic Benefit Transfer card was replenished,” said the Post-Dispatch. The federal indictment states the pair were under investigation for more than a month.
Ali and Baldwin shouldn’t worry. As the Boston Herald reported, convicted Bean Town drug dealer, Kimball Clark, had a taxpayer-provided get-out-of-jail card. “He [Clark] was overheard using his one phone call to ask a person on the other end of the line to ‘get my EBT card and go to the ATM and get the money to bail me out, get me outa here tonight.’”
Who knows, Ali and Baldwin might follow Clark’s lead.
Meanwhile, the National Central Committee of the New Black Panther Party issued a statement disavowing the purported actions of fraternal brothers Ali and Baldwin.
“The New Black Panther Party does not teach, endorse, or allow its members to commit acts of violence against anyone regardless of the circumstance,” read the statement. “We do not condone aggression in deed or action … False reports spreading online or via the media, only serve to confuse the issue and heighten an already tense situation in Ferguson, Mo.”
The Black Panthers, in their statement if not their deeds, come off sounding more reasonable than the Rev. Al Sharpton or the contemptible Attorney General Eric Holder.
Back in 2013, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 251, which made it illegal for liquor stores, gambling casinos or adult entertainment venues to accept EBT cards as legal tender. “By strengthening existing protections for taxpayers and children, and cracking down on those who misuse public funds, this bill will help ensure these programs continue to provide temporary support for needy families and children in a proper and accountable way,” Nixon said in a written statement.
Governor Nixon can always claim the legislation he signed said nothing about the purchase of explosives.
And he shouldn’t expect the feds to be much help in curtailing food stamp fraud. The USDA website says it has a team of “100 analysts and investigators across the country dedicated to SNAP retailer compliance.”
As numbers go, it’s a sure bet the New Black Panther Party has more members than the USDA has fraud investigators.
So, let’s pray the price of explosives and pipe bombs continue to rise faster than the welfare state can replenish the Black Panther’s EBT cards.