UncleBob: Ok, I’m going to try to address your points individually, because there are so many:
Re: paragraph 1: Regarding the scam, that’s pretty interesting. However, again I ask: who is getting hurt by this? The burden on the taxpayer and the government remains the same. To take your example, the customer showed $20 of cash over $25 of support for. In other words, they’re $5 poorer than they would have been if you just gave them $25 instead. To look at it from a cost-benefit side, that means the government spent $25 to give someone $20, wasting $5. And so long as people feel they want to spend on what they want/need instead of what the government designates, this waste of funds will continue to happen.
Re: paragraph 2-4: I wasn’t talking about selling to people who can afford it, but rather the best-case scenario of two people who are receiving aid, but have stamps for items they can’t use. If they are not allowed to exchange, then they’re made worse off. Let’s say the goal of these programs is to give everyone a healthy, balanced diet over the course of a month, so you designate a specific set of food for them to eat. Obviously, you would try to avoid giving them too much benefits, or else you reduce the incentive to find a job. Now, let’s say the person finds out they’re lactose intolerant, a vegetarian, or Jewish. If they’re forbidden from making exchanges, then they are forced onto a nutrient-deficient diet for a month. Instead of hurting possible future people, it’s hurting people now.
Re: paragraph 5: Differences in prices don’t usually happen like that, or else people would take advantage of it and make money from it. Assuming $1.59 gets you a gallon of milk in town A, but $3.18 per gallon in town B. Assume the milk is of similar quality (and not of some hoity-toity Whole Foods organic). Then someone will just buy up 100 gallons of milk in town A for $159, drive to town B, and sell for $318.
Re: paragraph 6: People have argued long and hard about how it is their freedom to be as unhealthy as they want. Whether or not it is actually their freedom to do so while living off welfare, the point is they will find ways to do it.
Re: paragraph 7: And that difficulty also means that when they resell, they end up accepting a cheaper price. See my response to paragraph 1 about how that means wasted money, and my response to paragraph 6 about why they will continue to do it.
Re: last paragraph: Ok, I can’t speak to the general public perception. While you may be right, here’s the devil’s advocate’s interpretation: It’s making them healthier, so they’ll live longer and have better lives. For people who view them as “moochers with no incentive to get off the public dole,” this means they’ll live longer on the public dole. Whereas previously they might put themselves in a sugary grave after 20 years on welfare, now they’ll do it after 60 years. Yeah, that’s a particularly negative view of people, but the fact is that welfare programs reduce the incentive to find work. By how much, depends on how much benefits they receive. (At $0, you either find a job or starve. At $100,000, you’ll never work a day in your life)