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Coke and Red Bull? Not with my money

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By BEN CARLSON

Column as I see ’em …
I was already in a sour mood when I stopped to fill my gas tank Friday night.
I had just reviewed my year-end tax documents and was doing a slow burn over how much money was confiscated from my family so it could be squandered by politicians bottom fishing for votes.
My burn grew a little hotter as the meter on the gas pump charged toward $60, so I shut it off and figured a chat with the jovial cashier inside might put me in a better mood before I went home.
Instead, I got a first-hand look at my money being wasted by a woman using her food stamps card.
No, she didn’t use my money to buy to milk or something nutritious for the child she had in tow.
Not even close.
Instead, she walked up to the cash register and plopped down several pricy Red Bull energy drinks, a couple bottles of Coke and a small mountain of candy bars.
I initially paid her no mind until I saw her break out her stars and stripes embossed food stamps card, hand it to the cashier and proceed to allow my money to fuel her tank.
Biting my tongue until it nearly bled, I kept my yap shut if for no other reason than to not embarrass the child. But when she stuffed the food stamps card back in her wallet and whipped out cash for lottery tickets, I nearly blew a gasket and had to walk outside.
It was either that or end up in jail.
After she left, I went back in and asked if such transactions are even legal.
“Sure it is,” said the cashier. “That happens all the time. People buy snacks and sodas with their EBT card [which is apparently a kinder way of saying welfare card] then buy cigarettes, beer and lottery with cash.”
He continued on, blithely ignoring the vein standing out in my neck and the real likelihood that I was on the verge of a rage-fueled aneurism.
He regaled me with the story of how a 20-something guy and several of his pals came in one day, and quoted the man as follows: “Hey! The old lady [wife or mom, I’m not sure] forgot to take the EBT card. Let’s chow down!” They nearly cleaned out the station’s deli case of meatball subs, loaded up on the requisite chips and drinks, and laughed all the way out the door. The subs were apparently allowable because they had to be nuked.
The cashier kept it up and told me anecdotal stories about people who use EBT cards to buy junk food with the latest and greatest iPhone plastered to their ears.
About people who sell their EBT card for cash to keep them well supplied with beer and smokes.
About people who trade their EBT cards for a bag of dope, and those who refuse to buy items for their children while shoving nuked subs I’m paying for into their faces with one hand, and scratching lottery tickets with the other.
I’m not opposed to the hungry being fed, particularly children, and understand there are those who use this benefit responsibly.
But I am opposed to a system that allows such blatant abuse of my money.
If you receive an EBT card, you’re welcome. If you don’t abuse it, thanks.

Speaking of abuse, I’ve calmed down a bit since writing the above, but cannot bring myself to stop considering other wasteful scenarios.
Such as this. Taxpayers provide millions of school children breakfast and lunch each day, either at no cost or at a reduced cost for their parents. (Calling their lunches “free” is a mixture of ignorance among those not bright enough to know that nothing is free, and deceit among those who do.)
For the breakfast and lunch kids, that’s 10 of their normal 21 meals each week, or about half.
It’s a safe bet that many of those children’s parents also receive EBT cards, in some cases loaded with enough of my money to feed themselves and their kids 21 times each week.
But if my money is already feeding their kids 10 times a week during the school year, shouldn’t their EBT cards be reduced and provide enough of my money to feed their kids the 11 remaining meals?
Or, perhaps the EBT cards should be used to purchase the school lunch.
Of course it should, but don’t expect that to happen. If it did, how would mom and dad afford beer, dope, smokes and snacks?