Lost in the news shuffle of the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate this week was the story progressives are quite happy you likely missed. But the story is important to note now, especially since we are on the verge of a massive expansion of the welfare state.
The Electronic Benefits Transfer system went down for a couple of days.
The EBT system replaced food stamps with a debit card to remove the stigma attached to using food stamps and is “reloaded” with a recipient’s government allotment once per month. When the money is gone, it’s gone, until the next month.
Never mind that removing the stigma of food stamps for a credit-looking card was a mistake because a little stigma attached to suckling the government teat might inspire some to do something crazy like, you know, get a job. But that horse left the barn a long time ago.
EBT users know how much they get from taxpayers every month and are generally acutely aware of how much they have left at any given time – it’s printed on the receipt they received when they last used it. But because they know their balance doesn’t mean anyone else does.
Enter the system breakdown.
EBT cards are run like credit cards to ensure the stores get paid, recipients don’t purchase restricted items such as alcohol and tobacco and they stay within their monthly limit.
When the system went down there was no way for stores to ensure they’d be paid for their goods, so they stopped accepting the cards for a few days. That meant EBT users either had to go without shopping for a couple of days or – gasp – use their own money for food purchases.
Two Walmart locations in Louisiana decided to be good community members and accept EBT cards “without limits,” essentially on the honor system, to help users in a time of need. That’s right, Walmart. The company routinely attacked by the Left for their greed, their pay and simply existing in a way they hate offered to help people (NOTE: They regularly help people, you don’t hear about it because it doesn’t fit the left-wing narrative.) That was a mistake.
Under normal circumstance, human beings wouldn’t abuse anyone willing to help them, be they a neighbor or a company. But the entitlement mentality is not a “normal circumstance.”
Word quickly spread throughout the community and EBT users flocked to the stores. With no limits on how much someone could get using an EBT card, those Walmart stores quickly began to resemble a zombie apocalypse.