Pennsylvania's Republican Governor Tom Corbett (who, incidentally, is about to get creamed in the next election) insisted that the food stamp program is riddled with fraud. So he instituted an "asset check" requiring state workers to weed out all the rich people pretending to be poor people on food stamps. They looked for the telltale signs of hidden wealth, such as:

It's the question Kathryn Hoffman hates to ask, especially of the elderly people who come into her office looking for help. Do you have a burial plot? How much is it worth?

It all makes sense, since elderly people who can afford to dispose of their own corpses can't be poor.

Don't worry though, the asset check is working. Of the 1.8 million Pennsylvanians who applied for food stamps last year, "about 4,000" were rejected for having too many assets to qualify. That's less than one quarter of one percent, if you're scoring at home. Sounds almost as scary as the 10 cases of in-person voter fraud out of the 146,000,000 registered voters since 2000.


  • And of those 10 one was a Repug who was busted trying to prove a point of how easy it was to vote twice. Didn't work out so well did it?
    Another was the Repug volunteer caught filling in blanks in Oregon mail-in ballots. Yup there's an over whelming rate of voter fraud, and it seems to be Repugs.

    This sounds remarkably like someone I know who couldn't get Student Aid because her father — a mobile plant contractor — had too much in assets. Because you know you can easily sell the tools of your trade and still earn a crust.

  • And how much do those "asset checks" cost? Adding the legislation efforts, the training of employees, and the amount of extra time and paperwork needed to process each request, it seems to me this is a net-negative on the state's budget. Unless they show they're getting like 20% less applications since they instituted those checks.

  • I'd like to believe, I really would, that your ironic use of "incidentally" was an accurate assessment of the cause-and-effect between the governor's policies and his imminent ouster by the electorate. I really would like to believe that an executive who initiates repulsive, cruel policies that victimize low-income people in a naked attempt to curry favor from suburbanites who just want to feel smugly superior to the less fortunate, would get handed his pink slip at the first opportunity. Because that's how it's supposed to work, right? Guy runs for office, guy proves to be a Darwinian asshole of the first order who doesn't even have fucking MATH on his side, guy gets voted out by an electorate who says "Hey, this guy's priorities and his policies suck!"

    I'd like to believe that. But experience suggests that his unpopularity is probably due to the state of the economy, over which he has next to no control, and for which voters always blame the guy on the top of the political food chain, despite the disconnect between him and the problem.

    In short, I'm glad he's going, and fuck him. But I'm dreadfully depressed at the fact that he's being kicked out largely for something he didn't do by voters who still think that the Wizard of Oz is actually magically all-powerful, and not–at his best–just a guy behind a curtain holding things together as much as he can.

  • Rethugs, Conservatards, et al., they have a way of looking at stories like that (that cite statistics) and ALL THEY CAN SEE IS THE NUMBER '4000'…It matters not to them that it's less than one-quarter of one percent, no, IT IS 4000 AND THAT IS A BIG NUMBER…YOU COLLEGE BOYZ WIT'CHER BIIIG NUMBERS DON'T FOOL THEM!!

  • Ed sez: "Pennsylvania's Republican Governor Tom Corbett (who, incidentally, is about to get creamed in the next election)…."

    Don't jinx us, you mofo.

  • The existence of all those cheaters and moochers is a GOP article of faith by now….and like any article of faith, is no longer amenable to the tools of reason. They need cheaters and moochers so badly they'll manufacture them if neccessary.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    My Mom and I qualified, and are part of the SNAP Food Stamp program.

    After the assett check, and because she still owns this house – now worth a lot less than it was 6 or so years ago – and I have a car, we get a whopping $16 a month for the two of us.
    And we live in Upstate NY!

    WOW! A little over $0.50 a day!
    So, no hookers and/or blow for me!
    No T-bones, lobster, malt liquor, or Caddies, either.

    Maybe it's 'cause I'm white?
    There must be a better SNAP program for "Blah" and brown people, what with Obama in the White House!
    That's what I'VE heard.

    "Religiously, and clinically, cruelly, insane," is the Default Position, of today's Conservatives.

  • Mingent Whizmaster says:

    The fact that 4,000 is a small percentage of
    1.8 million is almost incidental. To some on
    the right, the large number of legitimate
    applicants suggests that the rules need to be
    tightened up so as to force all those 'takers'
    to go out & look for a job. Never mind that
    you can't support yourself with a minimum-wage
    job. It's the principle of 'The Thing'.

  • Freeportguy says:

    Let's remember the 2008 election, when Obama was proposing to increase income tax on those making over $250k/year.

    GOP's response at the time: "Hey, oh, $250k/year is NOT being rich".

    So let me see: $250k/ is not being rich, and as we've heard from GOPers since then, having a fridge or a burial plot is not being poor.

  • Of the 4,000 who "have too many assets", how many of them have, say $10 over the cut-off? Or $20? I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of the 4,000 thrown off the rolls were not Scrooge McDuck, bathing in tubs full of gold coins, but are instead people like the couple in the example who bought side-by-side burial plots in 1978 and are holding on to them.

  • Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant. The "moochers and takers" narrative is an article of faith in the Republican religion, and like all articles of faith, it is impervious to facts. There are enough moochers and takers to be a problem because their corporate-backed overlords tell them there are, one-quarter-of-one-percent reality be damned.

  • Wondering if we'll ever hear from the Family Council types up in arms that this is yet another repression of religious freedom for, you know, keeping folks from getting a decent Christian burial. But perhaps too much conflict there with trying to make miserable folks really sorry for being poor and, like, you know, pouring on the suffering. Nothing cleanses the soul of the misguided like some genuine suffering and humiliation.

  • This is not even 4,000 documented cases of fraud. This is 4,000 people being declined benefits because of a new requirement based on their asset holdings. Because we all know that all these free-loaders are just sitting on those extremely liquid assets like their 1956 un-renovated rambler or their burial plot, instead of selling it to get some cash. Come on! Just put the damn burial plot on craigslist and buy yourself some milk you moocher.

    Instead looking at the 1.8 million people in the state of Pennsylvania (and 46 million nationwide!) forced to turn to monthly food stamp assistance just to survive and buy necessities, and declaring that this is shameful, we have too many people preferring to deride the individuals as "lazy moochers". We have people openly advocating to kill the assistance because potentially forcing people to starve in this country will incite those lazt bastards to get out and take one of the numerous jobs (most likely unskilled, minimum-wage jobs that will not provide enough money to survive) that are currently not available. The idea is that adding 46 million hungry people (over half children) will somehow lead to job growth.

    The numbers don't matter. The percentages don't matter. The facts and realty do not matter. All that matters is the belief that someone else is getting a benefit that he or she does not deserve, paid for on MY DIME.

  • Surly Duff pretty much nails it. Oh, for a world in which the Tom Corbetts of the world all of a sudden finds themselves needing assistance, applying for it and being denied because he has too many "assets."

    Fuckers. The lot of them.

  • Middle Seaman says:

    We cannot allow cheating. Today, it's food stamp and tomorrow a president will have an oral with a young impressional young woman. Next, the whole country will be going to hell in a handbasket. Actually, we are already in hell.

  • Richard Fessenden says:

    People who have burial plots are obviously ready to die. So why not let them starve to death? Why should the government impose sustenance and longevity on those just begging to check out? What next? Life panels?

  • It's almost like the Republican party has watched those north Korean propaganda documentaries about how Americans actually live and thought the Koreans had a lot of good ideas for the poor.

  • To paraphrase a great quote I saw recently:

    Fiscal conservatives believe that because some small percentage of people are abusing the social safety net, the whole thing needs to be done away with.

    Now, if only we could get them to apply that logic to guns.

  • As Big Hank and John said above –the Social Conservatives need the moochers (or the straw effigies of same) to prove a moral point: there are dark forces out there taking advantage of YOU. You are thereby justified in defending yourselves and loved ones by being cold hearted, selfish pricks.

    Being said prick is not a moral failing, it is a virtue, you see.

  • As a PA resident, I like to believe that Corbett is going to get creamed next year. But it's a midterm election and there is a broad swath of the Commonwealth that is more conservative and more ignorant than most of KY and all of TX. So don't count your chickens, as they say.

    I like Joe Sestak—he used to represent the district adjacent to mine (the border is about 3 blocks from my house) and I volunteered for his campaigns for Congress and Senate. Allyson Schwartz would also be an improvement. And maybe when they are done, Michael Nutter (who is a genuinely good guy and a good mayor) can take a crack at the governor's mansion.

    Of course, November 2014 is a long way off and a lot can happen. But the odds are, Corbett will be no more liked in a year and a half than he is today.

  • What Surly said. The thing is, the very same thing that's bad and terrible and morally wrong when you do it is good and understandable and even laudable when I do it. One function of government is theoretically to even out this human "good for me but not for thee" kneejerk reflex by forcing us all to play by the same set of rules, but of course that's in an ideal world. I think that may be the root of the right-wing desire for 'small government'; it's a toddler's ideal world where Daddy loves me more than you, and constantly proves it.

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