A Republican senator has introduced a bill that would require all SNAP recipients to produce a photo ID when they make any purchases through the program.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) claims that widespread fraud and manipulation of the system has contributed to the doubling in the cost of the program since 2008. His bill, the Food Stamp Fraud Prevention and Accountability Act, would mandate all recipients making a transaction on their SNAP cards to produce a photo ID.
Seantor Vitter said that the bill was designed to “restore some accountability to the program so its not ruined for people who use it appropriately.”
Like Republican attempts to tackle what they claim is widespread voter fraud, this is a nasty solution to a non-existent problem. Unfortunately, as with voter fraud, the facts do not back up the assertions. Recently AATTP reported that a study by the Republican governor of Maine into voter fraud in his state proved that it represented less than 1% of welfare spending.
Requirements to produce photo ID are nakedly designed to disproportionately disenfranchise and discriminate against the poor, who are by definition less likely to carry the most wide-spread form of voter ID, a driving license. They are also less likely to have a passport.
Senator Vitter is correct in his assertion that the cost of welfare across the board has increased exponentially since 2008. However if the senator from Louisiana were to stretch his apparently limited mental capacities, he might recall another event that took place in that year of grace: the Great Crash of 2008. This freeze-up of credit and lending led to the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, an unprecedented level of home seizures, a huge increase in the level of unemployment and, by extension, a massive and necessary increase in the level of spending on welfare.
Not one of the above was caused by the working poor and the unemployed. However as is so often the case, it is the poorest in society who are forced to pay for the mistakes of the ruling classes and the built in contradictions and inequities of international finance capital