There is currently a letter floating around the internet from United States Department of Agriculture addressed to all (SNAP) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program state agency directors. The letter states in pretty plain terms the USDA is directing States to hold or delay transmission of State Electronic benefit transfer (EBT) until further notice.
If you aren’t familiar with the term, EBT is formally known as food stamps. To reduce the stigma of not working and spending other people’s money it looks like any debit or credit card. You might have heard of the confusion caused this weekend when the system in 17 states when down and mass panic ensued when “their” money was not available for purchases. In a Louisiana Wal-Mart compassion got the better of judgment and they let EBT “clients” use their cards anyway. Word spread quickly on the Obamaphone network and the scene was described as worse than Black Friday. When the system recovered one woman with $700 in her cart only had 49 cents of actual benefits left.
Since this letter was unverifiable a visit to the USDA web site to check the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) contingency plan mentioned in the letter is needed. Up until yesterday when the site was down for the shutdown it still contained two links. One was a letter from Obama thanking all government employees for dealing with the “Republican” shutdown. The other link was the shutdown plans. This morning the site is back up with a link to the plan. The continuing resolution shutdown was planned in a very detailed report. (http://www.usda.gov/documents/usda-fns-shutdown-plan.pdf ). At the bottom of the first page regarding a shutdown of over a month in duration is the statement “States may make the decision to continue operations (of FNCS) for some period, but they will be doing so at their own risk with the understanding that Federal funds may not be forthcoming.” The next page details the dates of when each program will stop funding.
A few comments on this report. Notice that the shutdown is referred like the invasion of an occupied territory, D day. Everything is counted by DDAY +1 and so forth. The second thing to note is a report of this detail was not whipped up on September 30th. Since the report only showed up on October 1st dating this report becomes slightly more difficult. The only clue to when it was produced is the employee estimates which are based upon figures from July of 2013. This means this was in the works three months before the actual event.
Two other strange coincidences are the USDA letter was sent to all states twenty four hours before seventeen states EBT systems went down. Could this have been a dry run to gauge the reaction and response? Each one of the contingency plans for each federal department is in the same format. This means either; they all think exactly alike or received direction on the format from those above.
This means that our president has plans in place to cut off paying for food stamps to over 70 million Americans. He believes that despite the fact that Republicans have approved funding for each and every program and the Democrats rejected every one he continues to deny any responsibility.
Don’t think for a minute Obama doesn't realize the havoc he would create. The two types of people receiving SNAP are the needy and the greedy. If you think the veneer of civilization is thin wait until both groups start to go hungry. What would the class of recipient who will kill for the latest sneaker do to put food in his belly? With the prevailing attitude of being owed combined with food just sitting on shelves for the taking. How long before small stores and bodegas are driven out of business and the mayhem spreads? Using the Obamaphone network will food flash mobs overwhelm food stores like Wal-Mart? Is this the ultimate goal to create a crisis the administration can really sink its teeth into?
The other possibility is this is all for naught. Obama could be using this as a cudgel to get everything he wants from the Republicans. So far he has turned down every offer no matter how far the Republicans capitulate. The longer Obama delays the closer the nation moves to DDAY +31 and utter chaos.
While it is always a good idea to be prepared as those planning to storm the last bastions of American freedom some extra care might be in order if the shutdown continues. To assess the risk in your neighborhood use this helpful chart to figure how many people Obama will starve in your area. (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/04/food_stamp_recipients_by_county_an_interactive_tool_showing_local_snap_data.html) Let us all cling to our guns and bibles and hope it doesn't come to this.