Millionaires qualify for food stamps these days as long as they can show they have little or no income, author and lecturer James Bovard says.
Thirty five states have scrapped asset requirements, which means almost anyone can buy groceries under the auspices of the United States Department of Agriculture's program for hungry Americans.
"The Obama administration is far more enthusiastic about boosting food-stamp enrollment than about preventing fraud," Bovard writes in a Wall Street Journal column.
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"Thanks in part to vigorous federally funded campaigns by nonprofit groups, the government's AmericaCorps service program, and other organizations urging people to accept government handouts, the number of food-stamp recipients has soared to 44 million from 26 million in 2007, and costs have more than doubled to $77 billion from $33 billion."
Food stamps, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), have been the target of abuse even before Obama took office; the number of food-stamp recipients on George W. Bush's watch rose by more than 50 percent, Bovard says.
Plus enforcement is need, as only 40 inspectors oversee almost 200,000 merchants who accept food stamps nationwide.
"The Government Accountability Office reported last summer that retailers who traffic illegally in food stamps by redeeming stamps for cash or alcohol or other prohibited items 'are less likely to face criminal penalties or prosecution' than in earlier years," Bovard says.
As of May , about 40 million Americans currently receive food stamps, according to Reuters.
"This is the highest share of the U.S. population on SNAP/food stamps," said the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center, Reuters reports.
"Research suggests that one in three eligible people are not receiving ... benefits."
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