WIC Welfare – How to get taxpayer cheddar

I was shopping at a Ralph’s grocery store a couple of weeks ago and I picked up a block of Tillamook, my favorite brand of cheddar cheese. It’s expensive cheese. As I was walking away, I noticed a tag next to the Tillamook that said, “WIC.”

WIC stands for “Women, Infants and Children” and according to the official government website it provides “supplemental nutritious foods” to those who are of “low-income” and “nutritionally at-risk.”

First of all, why do people using my money to buy food because of their “need” of “nutritional foods” get to buy one of the most expensive cheeses? Shouldn’t they be required to buy the cheapest cheese that meets the nutritional requirements so they can get more cheese for their…I mean my…buck?

Isn’t it so easy to buy whatever you want, and not what you need, when you’re spending other people’s money? Even the California WIC Shopper’s Guide (found here) says, “buy store or generic brands” as one of the guide’s “Smart Shopping Tips.” What a sham. The government of California only “suggests” you spend my money wisely, but it’s not a requirement.

WIC is very touchy about being called an “entitlement program” which is loosely defined as a program that doesn’t have a “fixed” amount of funds that they can run out of. Hey…I’m sorry, but if you take money from taxpayers and you give it to someone else, it’s an entitlement program, I don’t give a rat’s bass drum if the funding is limited or not.

Current funding for WIC in California is $1.2 billion. Holy cow, that’s a lot of cheddar!

They were also very proud that between 1991 and now they went from 500,000 enrolled to 1.1 million. They look at this as adding people who were previously in need but not getting help. I don’t look at it like that at all. I see it as more fraud, more waste, more people abusing a system that gives you something for nothing. Going from 500,000 to 1.1 million is not something to be proud of.

So how easy is it to abuse the WIC program?

The three factors to determine WIC eligibility include:

  1. You need to be a W an I or a C.
  2. Live in the state you apply in.
  3. Meet an income requirement.
  4. Be nutritionally at-risk, whatever that means.

Numbers 1, 2 and 4 are pretty easy. So I dug into number 3 as the toughest hurdle.

Since each state is different, I looked at California (income guidelines are here) where a family of four needs to earn less than $40,793 per year to qualify. That’s high enough that half of the households in half of the counties in California are potentially eligible for WIC (Click here for the income distribution in California). Five more counties including San Bernardino and Los Angeles are very close to the hurdle. That’s a lot of people who are eligible.

Then I found the real loophole…

“Certain applicants can be determined income-eligible for WIC based on their participation in certain programs…[and]…in which certain family members are eligible to receive Medicaid or TANF.”

In other words, you can get around the income hurdle if you can just prove you are already on some other welfare program or if someone in your household is. So if Granny is on Medicaid, you might be eligible for WIC? If you managed to illegally get on some other welfare program, you get auto-approved for this one too?

I knew the slang for “cheddar” meant “a lot of money” but I didn’t know this is where it came from.

What is the WIC program?

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Children, and Infants, or WIC, is a program that focuses on the special needs of pregnant and lactating low-income women and children. Supplemental foods are provided to women and children in order to ensure nutrition during this delicate time. Although coverage for women ends shortly after giving birth, benefits can be continued until six months after the birth of a child if the woman is breastfeeding. WIC also supplies formula for infants, in addition to basic foods such as bread, cheese, and milk for children up to age 5. In addition to providing supplemental foods, WIC also provides nutritional counseling and referrals to other health and social service agencies.

Five years of welfare for every kid they have. Great idea. Who’s paying for all of this again?

Categories: Taxes, Welfare State

Tags: , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Not any women is eligible for WIC. Pregnant women, breast feeding women, infants, or children up to 5 years old are eligible.

    • I agree. That’s why I added that last paragraph in the post. I wanted to make sure that people understood it wasn’t ANY woman that could get it. That’s also why I said that 50% of the counties in California are “eligible” which just means that of the women who could meet the WIC requirements in those counties, as you’ve stated, are only “potential” WIC recipients. That’s just an uncomfortably large portion of the population even considering the eligibility requirements and demographics.

  2. It is a wonderful program for ppl who cannot afford formula or basic food for children. Think of the babies who are fed thanks to this program and the children as well. Yes ppl should think about how to fed thier kids before they have them but it isn’t the childs fault and they shouldn’t go hungry due to thier parents stupidity. I can not think of a better way for my taxes to be spent!!!

    • I completely agree with you that a program that assists families to provide proper nutrition for expectant mothers and babies is a wonderful program. Not WIC necessarily, but such a privately funded program in general is a good idea.

      The problem is, there is no end to the line of people that are ready to sign up for YOUR money for THEIR “wonderful programs.” So when you agree to travel down this slippery slope of “I can not think of a better way to spend my taxes” you need to realize that what YOU think is just ONE opinion among millions of opinions of how best to spend YOUR hard-earned tax money. And YOUR opinion doesn’t matter.

      The problem is in the way you view your own money. You allow someone to take by force, your own money, that you worked hard to earn, and then THEY get to decide where it goes, not you. Only as luck would have it, does any actually make it to WIC. If YOU could decide for yourself, what to do with YOUR own money, then you could make sure all or just some amount of it goes to WIC.

      On top of that, you are agreeing that the government should force me to give money to WIC, so you support them in controlling what I do with my own money.

      For example, when you got your last paycheck, one penny of the money the government stole from you (called taxes) went to WIC (if any money at all made it to WIC), the rest went to fund these “wonderful programs”:

      * $5,000,000 for the Presidio Heritage Center in California;
      * $1,000,000 for Portsmouth Music Hall in New Hampshire;
      * $400,000 for the USA Swimming Foundation in New Jersey;
      * $300,000 for Carnegie Hall in New York City;
      * $250,000 for the Monroe County Farmer’s Market in Kentucky;
      * $200,000 for the Washington National Opera in the District of Columbia; and
      * $206,000 for wool research in Montana, Texas, and Wyoming.

      + thousands of other pork barrel spending projects and earmarks…all “wonderful programs” to be sure.

      And I can assure you, everyone who is involved in, or benefits from any of that spending would say that they also, “can not think of a better way for my taxes to be spent.”

      Perhaps you wish that MORE of your tax money had went to WIC? Sorry, not your decision. Maybe you don’t think any of your hard-earned money should have went to wool research in Montana? Sorry Charlie, not your decision either. You have surrendered your freedom to decide what to do with your own hard-earned money.

      Lucky for you, our government decided some of your money, a penny or two at least, will go to WIC…the rest went to wool research. Wool was more important than starving babies. And on your next paycheck, WIC will get a few more pennies from the government…if they feel like it… ’cause again, what you want your money to go to doesn’t matter.

      And maybe next month, they’ll decide WIC shouldn’t get any. Again, you don’t have a say. You are powerless.

      We get so caught up in arguing amongst ourselves about which programs our tax money should go to, and who should get how much, that we miss the core of the problem…that the money we earn is OURS and we should each have the right to keep it, or burn it, or donate it, to whatever person or charity we want.

      If you personally want every penny of your earnings to go to WIC, then you should be free to do that. But unfortunately, that’s not your decision. And you don’t have the right to make me or anyone else give any of my money to WIC, but you are implicitly agreeing to that in your argument.

      Don’t fall into the complacency trap of relying on the government to solve the world’s problems. We should keep all of our own money and solve them ourselves, because only we know that starving babies are more important than wool research.

  3. I am not saying not to give it to the family in need, but here in Florida I know a lot of Mothers who is not in low income but they have WIC and I think that not fear and a lot mother that never work in this country. Here in Florida they not ask for there income. I feel instill Governor Scoot think about cutting Education. He need to see who is getting this WIC.

    • I agree with you. Local politicians should review all of their local programs and MORE programs at the federal level should be made local (state, county, city).

      This is a good example of why social support programs should always be LOCAL, not FEDERAL. I am often asked what would happen to people who really needed them if we eliminated all of these social safety nets, and my response is not to eliminate them but to move them from the federal level to the local level, minimally at the state level or even better, at the county or city level. At the local level, the taxes you pay locally pay to support your neighbors locally. This is the best way. Not sending our money to Washington D.C. for politicians to redistribute all over the country to whoever they want.

      The Constitution gives the Federal government about five responsibilities, none of which include providing social safety nets. This was intentional, to avoid the problems we have today…we just didn’t listen to the Founders warnings about the dangers of federal social programs.

      When social safety programs are instituted, managed and funded locally than the citizens of that city, county or state are INTIMATELY interested in who is getting their money, how much, what it’s being spent on and why. If the social programs are mismanaged, abused through fraud and/or become grossly expensive on taxpayer dollars then the local taxpayers notice quickly and can take local action quickly to find out what is going wrong and correct it. When it’s your neighbors receiving your tax dollars you are more interested in who those neighbors are and why they are getting your money and what they are doing with it.

      Additionally, with each state running its own social programs, states can compare their performance to each other with states that are more efficient and costing less becoming the business models that other states will follow and design their programs after. If you are in state that is costing much more than other states to run the same type of social program, the citizens of that state will demand to know why and demand change. When a program is federal, we have nothing to compare it to. We don’t know how efficient or inefficiently it is being run because we have no way to measure it. Federal politicians do this intentionally. Anything they can make federal, the better, because we have no way to know how good or bad it is performing.

      When social programs are run at the federal level, we are so far away from where our tax money goes and so far away from the recipients that we are detached from the entire process. LOCAL is the answer. The federal government should have nothing to do with these programs.

  4. I think the WIC program should be complete cut, or at least majorly reformed. Why should my tax dollars go towards infant formula because mother’s are too lazy to breastfeed? I think that formula should only be provided when with notes from 4 different doctors saying that a woman cannot medically breastfeed, which seeings how it is very rare for a woman to be unable to breastfeed that would save taxpayers billions every year.

    On top of tax money paying for formula, it also pays the medical bills (since formula fed infants cost billions of dollars a year in health dollars due to the fact that they are, as a whole, much more unhealthy than breastfed babies and have a much higher mortality rate). Low income people on WIC are more than likely receiving free medical care for their children. So that’s a double whammy for taxpayers.

    Women who receive WIC are much less likely to breastfeed than woman who are eligible but do not receive WIC. So it’s a program that encourages unhealthiness and costs taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars every year.

  5. WIC may not officially be welfare but you are having the taxpayers buy food for your child because you can’t. Welfare / Food Stamps provide pretty much the same thing. It was meant of course for those down on their luck but they system is so abused that for many it is now a way of life. How many young kids do I know that have a kid, are living together and birth dad has a job. They won’t marry so the kid and mom can be on WIC. Sorry but I kinda call that abuse when it happens. Tax payers are still footing the bill so essentially it’s a handout. Call it what it is please. I agree it’s a great program and kids should be support at all costs but what happened to people planning a family that they could support. In a society as educated as ours I just don’t understand why birth control is so ignored.

  6. I’m just learning about WIC, just another program, for lazy people all over the world THANK YOU GOVERNMENT you’re doing a great job….

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