The Food Stamp Millionaire


Leroy Fick won two million dollars in a Michigan state lottery game two years ago, but he still gets food stamps.

The state knows he won the lottery.  He made a point of informing them right away.  “Not to mention, the state knows he won,” Fick’s lawyer, John Wilson, told local reporters.  “They issued the check.”

Wilson is making a very bold assumption there.  The various agencies of our bloated state and federal governments don’t always know what their colleagues are doing.  The same federal government that crusades against obesity subsidizes Domino’s Pizza.

Fick says his case has been recently reviewed, and the Department of Human Services said he could keep using his taxpayer-funded electronic food stamp card.  As a department spokeswoman explained to the Bay City Times, “under federal guidelines, if a person receives a lump-sum payment, the winnings are not counted as income.”  However, “the money is considered income if the person receives regular, ongoing payments.” 

This highlights a point made often by “Fair Tax” proponents, who would replace the taxation of income with a consumption tax.  Taxing income leaves far too many people off the hook, at every level of personal wealth.  It’s a system that most aggressively targets working stiffs with paychecks.

Fick took a lump sum payout of $850,000, so he’s got no “income” to bounce him out of the food stamp program.  The state is appealing to the federal bureaucracy for an exemption to their guidelines in this case, which Michigan State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Lodge) described to the Detroit News as “obscene” and “a waste of taxpayer money.”

Interesting that our gigantic government, staffed with an army of well-compensated employees, never previously stopped to ask itself what it would do if a food stamp recipient got his hands on a few million dollars.  They’re currently thinking long and hard about what to do, while everyone reading this howls in pain from the throbbing of their inflamed common sense lobes.

The Michigan food stamp program is riddled with abuse.  Fox News reports that in 2009, “the Office of Inspector General investigated more than 2,600 food assistance complaints, finding more than $5 million in fraud.”

These are the inevitable consequences of handing charity over to Big Government, and transforming it into “welfare.”  The vastly more efficient private charities would have needed ten seconds to decide that a guy who won two million clams in a lottery game needs to tear up his food stamp card.  If tyranny is whimsical, it follows that all whimsical governments become tyrannical.  All large government programs, in turn, become whimsical, as they lose all logical contact with their original purpose, descend into corruption, elevate their own growth into their highest priority, and grow so large they can no longer feel their extremities.

That’s why taxpayers in Michigan are still compelled to buy groceries for a millionaire.