It's interesting...I just learned that states have been instructed to refuse requests to release data on where SNAP dollars are going. $80 billion of taxpayer money every year, and nobody knows precisely where it goes.
I'd place all the blame on the creeps abusing it through using their SNAP card to get $20 as "change" for a five cent pack of gum, but apparently, that's only the smallest part of the problem. First, it's been labeled a federal crime with jail time awaiting anyone who actually releases any information about what stores are getting the money: "Legislation seemingly designed to protect the industry goes so far as to say that anyone who releases the amount of food stamp dollars paid to a store can be jailed."
But that's only the start of it--why would there be such legislation, if not for the major lobbying firms? "Profiting from the poor’s taxpayer-funded purchases has become big business for a mix of major companies and corner bodegas, which have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the USDA to keep the money flowing freely."
Money makes the world go 'round. The love of money is the root of all evil. Giant pots of money being thrown around by the federal government in welfare bills like the farm bill currently in front of congress always pulls in people looking to get their slice of the pie, either through fair means or fraud.
Again, SNAP needs to be returned to what it used to be: brightly colored monopoly money that only buys staples, not "goods ranging from candy to steak and are accepted at retailers from gas stations that primarily sell potato chips to fried-chicken restaurants."
37 minutes ago