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:
- You need to be a W an I or a C.
- Live in the state you apply in.
- Meet an income requirement.
- 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.
“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.
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?