Washington D.C.: The U.S. Army recently announced a recommendation to provide servicemembers with EBT debit cards, also known as the modern-day food stamps, to help combat skyrocketing inflation.
Military officials recognize some of the financial hardships servicemembers already face and how that contributes to food insecurities.
In a plan that is a first of its kind, eligible servicemembers will be issued financial aid in the form of debit cards. The cards will be limited to food and other basic survivability items like diapers, cleaning products and so on.
“With inflation affecting everything from gas prices to groceries to rent, some Soldiers and their families are finding it harder to get by on the budgets they’ve set and used before. Soldiers of all ranks can seek guidance, assistance, and advice through the Army’s Financial Readiness Program.”
The official program is known as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. The official government website for the welfare program is provided to servicemembers.
According to the U.S. Army official guidance that states:
“SNAP is a U.S. government program that provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families via an electronic benefits transfer card that can be used like a debit card to purchase eligible food in authorized retail food stores. Service members and their families may be eligible,” the Army guidance reads. “To determine qualification, visit the SNAP website or call the SNAP information line at 800-221-5689.”
Servicemembers experiencing financial hardships is hardly a recent issue. However, this troubling dynamic is further deepening with the sky rocketing inflation thanks to the Biden administration.
But financial experts believe the worsening problem is an indicator of much deeper issues:
Mackenzie Eaglan, who works with the American Enterprise Institute recently stated in an Epoch Times column:
“Based on the Pentagon’s own data, 24 percent of enlisted personnel are food insecure,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. “While food stamps are a Band-Aid, they’re also an admission that basic pay for enlisted troops and their families is too low—further exacerbated by unyielding inflation causing paychecks to shrink more.”
Military recruitment has been suffering lately and they have been lowering standards across all branches to attract more recruits.
But if the pay is insufficient and the cost of food continues to rise, recruiters will have a difficult time trying to convince civilians to enlist.
The sharp rise in everyday grocery items has increased in dramatic numbers not seen since the 1970’s.
According to a Fox Business column about food prices, it states:
“The food at home category, which tracks the cost of groceries, surged 13.1% over the last year, the most significant increase since March 1979. On a monthly basis, prices jumped 1.4%.”
The column continues:
“Americans are paying more at the grocery store for a number of items that have climbed considerably in price over the past year. That includes staples like eggs (38%), chicken (16.6%), milk (15.6%), potatoes (13.3%), rice (12.7%) and fresh fruits and vegetables (8.2%).”
Mackenzie Eagle feels the solution to the rising servicemember financial epidemic is to increase basic pay for enlisted soldiers.
No one in uniform should struggle to survive. Our troops deserve much better considering we are the world’s strongest military superpower.
Another potential solution is to provide mandatory financial training for servicemembers, particularly for the younger soldiers.
Many young soldiers have lifelong ambitions to serve in the beloved U.S Army, and the moment they reach the legal age they place their hand in the air and take an oath to protect the country.
Many of these same young recruits come from low-income backgrounds and have limited financial knowledge. Recruits with low-income backgrounds suddenly receive steady paychecks and get caught in a difficult cycle.
They are famous for splurging on brand new cars, trucks, motorcycles, high end clothing and the like. In every base across the country, pay day loan centers with shockingly high interest rates are littered along the entrance to every base. These pay day centers are familiar with recruits spending habits and take full advantage.
Military officials need to mandate financial training courses to help recruits understand just how much they are wasting in interest rates and how much they will spend over the course of their careers.
Combine this training with an increase in basic pay is the solution. Our warriors deserve that and more if we want to maintain our freedom.
This is also why recruiting is suffering.
National emergency: U.S. military can’t meet recruitment goals after Biden’s leftists broke it with woke agenda
Posted July 2, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC – A woke military is a beautiful thing. That could be the services’ new slogan, since it’s the agenda being pushed by top brass. Funny thing is, though, the kids aren’t buying it.
Young men and women are staying away in droves from the military as a career, and some analysts say it is the push for “wokeness,” accelerated under the Biden administration, that is sending recruitment into a nosedive.
Our enemies laugh at us.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) February 9, 2022
Every branch of the U.S. military is struggling to recruit members as the Biden administration races to indoctrinate minds and implement wokeness. As the radical leftist social agenda spreads, the Pentagon admits it is scrambling to meet its fiscal year 2022 recruitment goals.
The U.S. Army, the largest service, has hit only 40 percent of its recruiting goal for fiscal year 2022, which ends Sept. 30.
NBC News reports that military recruitment has plummeted and the Pentagon is struggling to find ways to reverse the decline, including recruiting on TikTok, the social media site that is owned by a Chinese company, and welcoming illegal aliens into the ranks of U.S. forces.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said President Joe Biden’s woke policies are squarely to blame.
Traditional families, who constitute the military’s core recruiting market, have been alienated through diversity quotas, refusing religious exemptions for COVID-19 shots and teaching critical race theory at military institutions. Together, the push has contributed to a growing unwillingness to enlist, she said. Donnelly noted:
“The culture of the military has been eroded by several years of social engineering and woke polices.”
“It’s been accelerated by the current administration.”
The military has not dealt with such a serious drought in recruiting since 1973, when the United States pulled out of Vietnam and the military draft ended.
As a result of leftist meddling in the military and the resultant recruiting shortfalls, the U.S. Army has lowered its standards, dropping requirements for recruits to have a high school diploma or GED to enlist, and allowing tattoos on hands and neck without a waiver.
These two decisions will result in a less-capable force fraught with discipline issues, but at least they will know their pronouns. The Army is even offering enlistment contracts as short as two years — barely enough time to learn the basics of modern warfare.
In addition, the DoD is reconsidering more than 250 disqualifications for service, such as asthma and ADHD. With only 23 percent of Americans aged 17-24 qualified to serve in uniform without a waiver and 9 percent of those eligible to serve interested — the lowest since the Iraq War troop surge in 2007 — some experts are suggesting that a draft might be needed.
Biden’s defense officials might hope throwing money at the problem will magically pump up recruitment, but they’d be better advised to understand that they are the source of the problem.
Consider this, as have our young men and women: When you openly accuse the military of being rightwing and harboring white supremacists, insist on schooling them in transgender pronoun usage, and then force them to get vaccinated for a Covid-19 virus that’s less threatening than the flu for the young and healthy military demographic, you shouldn’t be shocked that they don’t want to enlist under a leadership they neither trust nor admire.
The Biden administration is prioritizing transgender, LGBTQ and race issues, which is turning many young Americans away from service, Donnelly reiterated. She added that pushing social justice agendas sends a “poor message” that discourages people from supporting their country. Donnelly said:
“It sends a message that if your son or daughter joins the military, if they’re not of a certain skin complexion or sex, they might be investigated for extremism.”
“They alienated their constituency.”
A February report from Senate Republicans showed the U.S. Department of Defense spent nearly 6 million man-hours implementing Biden’s “leftist social agenda” across the military.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, requested data on the total number of hours and money the DOD spent on new training regarding climate change, extremism and diversity, equity and inclusion, which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley responded to in a Jan. 6 letter.
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) June 24, 2022
Milley revealed that more than 5.3 million hours and $535,000 was spent on extremism “stand downs,” or discussions about extremism in the ranks, which had ben ordered by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin in February. Milley wrote:
“This averages to just over 2 hours per Service member in a total force of 2.46 million members and is comparable to other Joint Force periodic training requirements.”
Milley also revealed that about 530,000 hours and $477,000 were spent on new DEI training and more than 1,000 hours and $5,000 were spent on coordinating the DOD’s Climate Adaptation Plan.
Inhofe and 11 other Republicans on the Armed Services Committee accused the DOD of targeting military members while relations with Russia and China deteriorate. The senators said:
“We face real threats across the world, yet the Biden administration is more focused on promoting its leftist social agenda in the military instead of countering China, Russia and Iran or creating an effective counterterrorism plan.
EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Demand Answers Over DOD Program That Could Target Military Members Who Speak Out On ‘Woke, Leftist Ideology’ https://t.co/uI0eAAt7Ob
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) December 1, 2021
“Our military is not an extremist organization, and our service members, by and large all good people, are dedicated, faithful patriots.”
The lawmakers also noted a December report by the DOD that revealed “fewer than 100” military members were found to have engaged in prohibited extremist activity over the past year. That meant, they said, that for each instance of extremism found in the military, service members spent roughly 54,000 hours in training on extremism.
“We are alarmed that so much training time and taxpayer money was devoted to a partisan, political agenda instead of recruiting, training and equipping the lethal force we need to defend this country.
“The Department of Defense’s primary task is to protect Americans from foreign threats. If the Biden administration doesn’t make this a priority moving forward, we will use all tools at our disposal, including the annual defense authorization bill, to ensure that it does.”
In addition to Inhofe, the letter is signed by Republican Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Rick Scott of Florida, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
This is how food stamps are abused.
DOJ: Store let customers use food stamps to get cigarettes, drug paraphernalia and cash
Posted December 9, 2019
Investigators just uncovered one of the most elaborate cases of welfare fraud… and it’s costing taxpayers millions.
Connecticut – Tahir Muhammad Shahbaz of Waterbury, Connecticut just pleaded guilty to a multi-million-dollar food stamp fraud scheme.
Bongs and hookahs were bought on your dime.
According to the Justice Department, the store “allowed customers to redeem their food stamp benefits for cash and other ineligible items, including cigarettes, glass pipes, bongs, and hookahs”.
The Waterbury Fair Trade Grocery Store worker got a slap on the wrist and probably won’t serve the entire 5-year sentence for swindling the American taxpayers out of $3 million using food stamps to commit fraud.
The early DOJ press statement on the Waterbury store never says who the storeowner is but mentions three employees who were in on the scam. These co-conspirators only got 30-months.
That press statement, in its entirety:
“Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that TALLAT MAHMOOD, 63, of Waterbury, RAUL CARLOS MONARCA, 40, of Waterbury, and TAHIR SHAHZAD, 32 of Harrison, N.Y., have been arrested on criminal complaints charging them with federal food stamp fraud and illegally trafficking in food stamp benefits at a retail food store in Waterbury. MAHMOOD and MONARCA were arrested by federal law enforcement agents on August 18 and SHAHZAD surrendered to authorities yesterday afternoon.
The federal food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP), is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service and utilizes federal tax dollars to subsidize low-income households to provide them with the opportunity to achieve a more nutritious diet by increasing their food-purchasing power. SNAP recipients purchase eligible food items at retail food stores through the use of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, and SNAP benefits may be accepted by authorized retailers only in exchange for eligible items. Items such as alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, paper goods and soaps are not eligible for purchase with food stamp benefits, and it is a violation of the rules and regulations governing the food stamp program to allow benefits to be used to purchase ineligible items. SNAP benefits may not lawfully be exchanged for cash under any circumstances. The program is designed so that the total amount of each purchase is electronically transferred to the retailer’s designated bank account.
According to the criminal complaints, MAHMOOD, MONARCA and SHAHZAD worked at WB Trade Fair Grocery, located at 43 Willow Street in Waterbury. From November 2014 until June 2016, MAHMOOD, MONARCA and SHAHZAD illegally allowed customers to redeem their food stamp benefits for cash and other ineligible items, including cigarettes, glass pipes, bongs and hookahs. The store operators often charged a premium for these illegal transactions.
According to the complaints, given the stock of eligible food items at the store, the number of registers, and the customer amenities, it is estimated that WB Trade Fair Grocery could lawfully redeem at most between $120,000 to $240,000 per year in food stamp benefits. However, during this approximately 18-month period, food stamp redemptions at the store totaled approximately $3.2 million.
Following their arrests, MAHMOOD, MONARCA and SHAHZAD appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam in New Haven. MAHMOOD and SHAHZAD were ordered to surrender their passports and were released on bond. MONARCA was ordered detained.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a fine of up to $250,000 and full restitution to the government.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anastasia E. King and Neeraj N. Patel.”
According to Breitbart News, Shahbaz told investigators that he charged people who receive food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) double for items that were not allowed to be purchased with benefits at WB Trade Fair Grocery store in Waterbury, Connecticut, NJ.com reported.
He also allowed SNAP recipients to trade their benefits for cash at half price and ran the scheme with three other employees at the store.
The incidences of immigrants who are fraudulently exchanging food stamps for cash is increasing.
Reports of several immigrant store owners committing fraud using food stamps is a problem that should be looked at more closely. These individuals get loans to open the stores and then take advantage of the opportunity by scamming Americans out of MILLIONS.
Cases like these are all too common across America and taxpayers should be livid.
Federal investigators have alleged that a Des Moines, Iowa man has been stealing money from state and federal food assistance programs.
The Des Moines Register reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is suing Osman Jama, owner of the MidCity Halal Foods Mart, to take possession of three homes it believes he purchased with money taken fraudulently from state and federal food assistance programs.
Authorities claim that Jama used proceeds of the improper food assistance sales to pay for all or portions of three properties in Polk County, prosecutors said in the petition. In a 47-page complaint, investigators accuse Jama of scanning bar codes on a sheet of paper for SNAP- and WIC-approved items, then allowing customers to take cash or non-approved items for less than the value he charged.
Among other tactics, Jama and his staff would scan baby formula and other products in place of items not eligible for food programs designed to assist low-income families, according to a federal forfeiture claim filed last week in federal court.
SNAP and WIC policy does not allow participants to use the cards to withdraw cash from their accounts.
Investigators said MidCity Halal Foods Market received $1.9 million more from food assistance business than any other market their size in the area from March 2015 to March 2019.
Jama called the accusations against him lies and said there is a misunderstanding.
Investigators report that MidCity did 45,750 WIC redemptions in January 2019, which was the same level of business as big box stores such as Walmart.
Jama attributes the numbers to the unique range of products his market provides (i.e. halal food).
MidCity sells items that specifically appeal to African immigrants, including halal meat which is meat slaughtered according to Islamic religious standards.
And yet another recent case, this time in Michigan, highlights the need for reform:
On the west side of Detroit, a store owner is in hot water with the feds for buying WIC and SNAP benefits at discounted rates.
The owner would buy a card worth $80 for $20 and then use the card at local discount grocers to purchase goods for his store.
Perhaps one method for helping curb the continuous fraud is more severe punishment for offenders. Oversight of the program would help stop repeat offenders who get a slap on the hand and then come back years later to recommit the fraud.
The Michigan store owner had been busted years before for fraud and is now a repeat offender.
The punishment for defrauding the American taxpayers is usually a fine and/or a light jail sentence. This needs to change because it’s obviously not enough of a deterrent.
Florida has had its share of food stamp busts, but South Florida reached a fraud milestone for what the Justice Department called “the largest combined financial fraud loss for a food stamp trafficking takedown in history.”
That dubious new record, federal prosecutors claim, is $20 million and resulted in a dozen charged with doing the government dirty via food stamp fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“In this instance, eight small convenience stores in South Florida committed a staggering amount of fraud in a relatively short amount of time,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, special agent in charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of the Inspector General, in a release. “These retailers created an illegal benefits exchange system that defrauded the American taxpayer and denied healthy foods to needy children and their families. The store owners who allegedly orchestrated this trafficking scheme pocketed millions in ‘fees’ which they charged for converting food assistance benefits into cash.”
That is a whole lot of taxpayer money being scammed.