January 9, 2013 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Entitlements, Liberals, New York, New York City, Progressives, Regulation, Taxes, Warner Todd Huston, Welfare | Comments Off
-By Warner Todd Huston
It seems as though some New Yorkers on the dole are giving the taxpayers the pole with a new report detailing how welfare recipients are using their state debit cards at strip clubs, X-rated video shops, and liquor stores.
Records of 200 million Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) transactions from January 2011 to July 2012 reveal that the cards were used to withdraw cash at such establishments as “Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn; the Blue Door Video porn shop in the East Village; The Anchor, a sleek SoHo lounge; the Patriot Saloon in TriBeCa; and Drinks Galore, a liquor distributor in The Bronx.”
As with most states, New York’s food stamp program prevents use of the assistance at liquor stores and cannot be used to purchase liquor, tobacco, and lottery tickets. But there are no such restrictions on the debit cards which can be used at any ATM.
The state legislature has a few bills in the works to correct this oversight, but currently there are no restrictions on where the cash assistance can be spent.
Unsurprisingly, there are critics of the lack of controls.
“This is morally scandalous,” said Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “I have nothing against strip clubs, but that’s not what benefits are for. I don’t blame [recipients]. If you are poor, it’s a crummy life and you want to have a drink or see a naked woman. I blame the people who are in charge of this.”
Unfortunately, welfare reform is not a favorite topic among New York’s legislature, said State Sen. Tom Libous (R-Binghamton). Libous is the author of one of the bills that would impose such limits.
The New York Post details much of the violence and crime that occurs regularly at the establishments where EBT cards have been used.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.
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