So it is beyond maddening when taxpayers learn that government-enforced charity, which is the base concept behind all welfare programs, is being exploited by the very people such programs were designed to "help."
A recent case in point involves rampant welfare fraud in New York City. What's more, as reported by the New York Post, "food stamp fraud [in the city] has turned into foreign aid - to black-market profiteers in the Dominican Republic."
Prior, the paper reported that welfare recipients in New York were buying food with their benefits cards, then shipping it in blue barrels to relatives in the Caribbean. But not all of them are distributing the food to the needy; some are selling the taxpayer-funded fare for a profit on the city streets in the DR.
'We do it all the time'
"It's a really easy way to make money, and it doesn't cost me anything," a seller named Maria-Teresa told a Post reporter. Of course, the costs are all being borne by U.S. New York taxpayers. More from the Post:
The 47-year-old Bronx native told The Post she scalps barrels of Frosted Flakes and baby formula bought with welfare money in the United States.
Maria-Teresa said she gets new barrels every few weeks from her sister, who buys everything at a Western Beef on Prospect Avenue near East 165th Street in Foxhurst.
The scamming sibling pays $75 per barrel to transport the items to the DR through Mott Haven's Luciano Shipping. Sometimes the family fraudsters take advantage of a special: three barrels for the price of two.
The woman says she uses some of the products herself but sells the rest out of her home in the city of Santiago. She gives markdowns of anywhere from a buck or two compared to what locals would pay in stores.
As to the pervasiveness of this insult to American taxpayers, Maria-Teresa said, "I don't know how much of a business it is, but I know a lot of people are doing it."
The black market there is so well-established that customers can even place requests for top-selling items. They include 19-ounce boxes of Frosted Flakes cereal, which sells locally for $6.50. She marks it down $2; her sister buys it in the U.S. for $2.99.
"But," the Post points out, "because the sister uses her Electronic Benefit Transfer card, she actually pays nothing - taxpayers foot the $2.99."
Nice work if you can find it.
Maria-Teresa also sells 24-ounce boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes for $2; they sell for $4 in the DR. In the U.S., the Kellogg's brand averages around $2.99.
Baby formula is also popular, according to the report. A 23-ounce can of powdered Enfamil is $25 in the U.S., but $19 in Santiago; Maria-Teresa sells it for $15.
"People want the best quality for the price, so they buy the formula made in the U.S.," she told the paper.
Of course. Nothing but the best, compliments of the American taxpayer.
There is more to the food-stamp fraud business, however. As the Post reports, Maria-Teresa says her Bronx-based sis has local grocers ring up phoney $250 transactions with her EBT card. In exchange, the stores give her $200 in cash and pocket the remaining fifty bucks. No goods are actually bought or exchanged; rather, her sister sends the money to Santiago - that is, whatever's left over from spending it on liquor and other non-food items.
"We do it all the time, and a lot of people do this," Maria-Teresa said. "It's a way of laundering money, but it's easier because it's free."
What else can our government do to abuse its taxpayers?
Well, of course, it's not free to you and I, but that doesn't seem to matter to the enterprising immigrant welfare cheats who are defrauding our system, which is obviously broken. Yet another massive government program gone awry.
A thirtysomething Haitian national, he said his sister in Queens uses her EBT card to purchase food before shipping it to him from Long Island City.
"Every other month, I receive the barrels from my sister in New York City," he told The Post. "Whatever I don't need, I sell."
They say that charity begins at home and while that may be true, it can obviously end up somewhere it was never intended to be.