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June 06, 2011

Late Night: Death By Anecdote

Posted in: Class warfare

Green jelly beans linked to Acne!

(image: http://xkcd.com/882/)

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Wisconsin on food stamps. Scandal: A few of them are assholes:

A review by the Journal Sentinel – part of a larger investigation into FoodShare fraud – found nine Facebook users in Milwaukee and about 70 altogether nationwide who posted to Facebook seeking to either buy or sell food assistance benefits illegally or help others do so. Many more friends responded, and in some cases, later posts indicated that the sales were made.

Even after being contacted by the Journal Sentinel, none of them set their privacy protection so that the public couldn’t read their posts – and Lovett actually made two more posts seeking to buy Quest cards on May 28.

“They’re absolutely looking to do something illegal and they know it,” said Ed O’Brien, a former Chicago police officer and longtime private investigator of public benefits fraud who looked at the Facebook updates at the newspaper’s request.

And you know, screw them, okay? Let’s get this out of the way: If you’re currently scamming the system, stop immediately, report to your local police station, confess your crimes, and remove yourself to jail. Also you suck.

Moving on to the important discussion now:

SO WHAT?

I mean it, so what? This drives me wild about any discussions of any government programs, that it is presumed to be a decent argument against the funding of them that this one Whiskey Tango dude my cousin’s friend totally knows made a shit ton of money defrauding Medicare or something. A good story, like Reagan’s welfare queen, can turn a group of smug middle-class homeowners into a frothing lynch mob, because somehow in the world today we have lost our ability to shrug off fraud and grift if it’s by a poorer individual, preferably one who is not white and is kind of stupid.

(Now, a half-dozen bankers stealing money and wrecking the whole world, that’s another story! That’s capitalism, baby!)

I say shrug off, because in any system, there is gonna be some gaming. There’s gonna be somebody who is getting more than you think he should. There’s gonna be somebody getting something you think she doesn’t deserve. There’s gonna be people working it, because people are jerks a lot of the time and just because you can’t build a jerk-proof system doesn’t mean there should be no system at all. It means you should continually try to make the system as jerk-proof as possible, while still helping folks who need it.

Or, you know, if you’re a douchemook, you should take a few pathetic jerks and use them to declare that the game is over and we should all go home because socialism. Take it away, Journal Sentinel commenters!

Wow, imagine that. Government program created without any oversight that’s rife for fraud. Then when caught in it, everything is denied and the government employees have no idea. Who could have possibly seen this coming except for maybe THE TAXPAYERS?

Well done, JS! About time this problem has been investigated seriously without the typical “but they need help” copout. We need to help only those who absolutely need it due to factors outside of personal choices.

This is all part of a much larger problem which comes from fostering an entitlement mentality. At one time it was shameful to have to be on any kind of public assistance. Now it’s just a way of life.

Schmucks.

A.


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