Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waste, fraud, and abuse in the food stamp program? Halfway through the SNAP Challenge, Ken M goes searching for the truth - Part 2

In my post yesterday I kind of ripped the GOP a new one for their "proof" that cutting funding for food stamps will save the nation from evil and destruction. (Don't get me started again.) In all fairness, the Democratic-controlled Senate also passed $4 billion in cuts to SNAP in their version of the Farm Bill. Most of those cuts were to the heat and eat program. But at least President Obama has finally spoken out against the House's planned $20 billion in food stamp cuts.

Here's another report on fraud and abuse in the SNAP program by the nonpartisan government body charged with assessing how well government is spending your tax dollars.

What is striking about this report is the clear decline in food stamp abuse it charts. Down to 1%. Given how much mud is being slung at the SNAP/food stamp program, and government in general, I was expecting the opposite. It points to a downward economy as a primary reason for the increase in food stamp recipients and it mostly points the finger at government error and private sector business engaging in illegal practices as the reason for any remaining abuse in the system.

How could government error be part of the problem? I am not a rocket scientist but I have spent a number of years in the private sector. If orders start flying in you better bring in more staff and resources or you can't meet demand. It's that simple. Yet our current state government administration has taken the opposite position by cutting staff. In Allegheny County the number of cases per caseworker exceeds 1,000 – one person responsible for helping a thousand individuals. Or maybe it's 1,200. The exact number is hard to pin down because of a very complex matrix for determining caseloads. Because what you want when the job at hand is helping people is a very complex bureaucracy for them to wade through. (*more sarcasm*)

This isn't sitting right with me. I'm going to eat a fake cheese sandwich, with tomatoes.

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