When Americans think of food stamp recipients,images of desperate lower-income Americans typically come to mind.Taxpayers desperately want to believe that their hard-earned dollars are helping poor people struggling to make ends meet with welfare benefits helping them get the vital nutrients they need to stay alive.Imagine the outrage,then,as taxpayers find out that some of the people on food stamps are in fact millionaires.
Because of a bizarre loophole in how food stamps(formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP)are administered by states,millionaires—or even billionaires—can receive food stamps.A loophole allows bureaucrats to simply ignore federally mandated asset requirements.As a result,an estimated 3.1 million to 5 million people currently on food stamps shouldn't be receiving this welfare benefit.Taxpayers deserve better than having to share their paychecks with well-off Americans who are unlikely to be in want of a meal.
Federal loopholes often have a Kafkaesque quality to them,creating stranger-than-fiction situations that would be hilarious if they weren't costing taxpayers billions of dollars annually.The puzzling policy was born out of the 1990s welfare reform package,which was designed to streamline efficiency and prevent people from having to reapply for multiple welfare programs.The changes stipulated that anyone receiving assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare program was also eligible for food stamps.
This made sense at the time when policymakers were laser-focused on reducing the administrative costs of the program and keeping the application process easy.But now,the 1990s are a faint memory,and welfare programs have morphed out of control.In particular,the TANF program has been expanded to the point that that the mere act of receiving a brochure or calling a toll-free number funded by a TANF program now counts as receiving a benefit from TANF.And receiving a TANF benefit makes citizens automatically eligible for food stamps often without any consideration of assets.In 36 states,rules don't require bureaucrats to ensure that recipients'assets aren't too high to receive SNAP benefits.
这在当时是有道理的，因为当时的政策制定者们正全神贯注于降低项目的管理成本，并使申请过程变得简单。但是现在，20世纪90年代已经成为一个模糊的记忆，福利计划已经失去了控制。特别是，TANF 方案已经扩大到这样一种程度:仅仅收到一本小册子或拨打由 TANF 方案资助的免费电话号码这一行为现在就算是从 TANF 获得了利益。而且，领取 TANF 津贴使公民自动有资格领取食品券，往往不需要考虑任何资产。在36个州，规定不要求官僚机构确保受益人的资产不会太高，以至于无法获得 SNAP 福利。
This gargantuan oversight gap leads to all sorts of ludicrous situations.Leroy Fick received food stamps ,even after winning$2 million in the Michigan State Lottery.Fick used his winnings to buy a new home and an Audi convertible,all while continuing to receive SNAP benefits.
这种巨大的监管差距导致了各种各样的荒唐情况。即使在密歇根州彩票中了200万美元的奖金后，勒罗伊·菲克还是领取了食品券。费克用赢来的钱买了一套新房子和一辆奥迪敞篷车，同时继续领取 SNAP 津贴。
Because the food stamp program is paid for by the federal government,but TANF benefits are distributed by the states,there is little or no incentive for states to behave with any accountability.This mismatch has resulted in wacky situations where TANF-funded family planning brochures have been distributed by one state simply to confer SNAP auto-eligibility onto eager recipients.
因为食品券计划是由联邦政府支付的，但是 TANF 福利是由各州分配的，所以各州几乎没有或根本没有任何动机去履行任何责任。这种不匹配导致了一种古怪的情况，即由 tanf 资助的计划生育小册子由一个州分发，仅仅是为了授予急切的接受者 SNAP 自动资格。
Fortunately,taxpayers may soon get a respite from this ludicrous loophole.The Trump Administration is finally looking into fixing this SNAP-fu,tweaking the rule so that a person can only cross-qualify if welfare benefits they are receiving under TANF are"substantial and ongoing."By replacing the"one phone call or one brochure and you're in"system,this proposed rule change is set to save taxpayers close to$10 billion over the next five years.
幸运的是，纳税人可能很快就会从这个可笑的漏洞中得到喘息的机会。特朗普政府终于开始考虑修改这一系统，对规则进行了调整，使得个人只有在 TANF 下领取的福利"实质性且持续"的情况下才能交叉符合条件
Taking advantage of the SNAP loophole is theft,pure and simple,not only from taxpayers but also from genuinely needy Americans.Reform proposals are not only common sense,but the only fair way to ensure that the SNAP program sticks around for the people who truly need it.All advocates for the less-fortunate should celebrate a much-needed change that saves taxpayers billions of dollars and helps the needy get food on the table.
利用《补充营养援助计划》漏洞纯粹是偷窃，不仅来自纳税人，也来自真正需要帮助的美国人。改革建议不仅是常识，也是确保 SNAP 计划为真正需要它的人服务的唯一公平途径。所有支持穷人的人都应该庆祝一项急需的改革，这项改革将为纳税人节省数十亿美元，并帮助穷人获得食物。
Tim Andrews is the executive director for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.