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7 October 2010
FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia -- Cashiers at the Wal-mart here notice that the cash registers start jingling off the hook at exactly midnight on the third of the month. That is the moment that customers find their EBT cards are recharged.
"They mill around for about an hour, stuffing their shopping carts full of cabbage," said Shavon Smith, the third-shift greeter. "Then, at the stroke of midnight, they charge the check-out lines. It's like a giant, mid-day television game show."
At this moment, the national cabbage crisis becomes most acute. Americans are staging a giant run on the cabbage, given the growing certainty that it will replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
The EBT card is the plastic card the federal government introduced, a decade ago, so that people on welfare could receive their benefits without the possible embarrassment or stigma of being on welfare. Only the cashier knows that the taxpayer is paying for those heads of cabbage--just like the Cokes, Ding Dongs, Doritos, and Pop-Tarts. "And they're not supposed to giggle," added Ms. Smith. Also baby formula, which can be easily exchanged for smokes and beer. These staples of urban life cannot be bought with the EBT, due to the stringent anti-fraud regulations.
One in six Americans now receives some form of government assistance; and, counting Social Security, there are more Americans receiving a government check than a paycheck. "This is the new normal," said Richard Hastings, a macro and consumer strategist. A few years ago, it was the new abnormal, but an innovative component of the emerging Democratic strategy leading up to the mid-term election in November is to accuse Republicans of wanting to take people's cabbages away.
So it was that White House spokesman Barry Gibb stated on Tuesday, "The Obama administration is looking at direct cabbage grants to all persons inside the country." He chose his words carefully to be inclusive. "Documented or not, there has to be a cabbage in every pot." The cabbage purchases would be financed by a new tax that only The Rich would pay. "You won't see this tax if you're making under $200,000," the press spokesman insisted. Unless your employer or insurer goes out of business.
- ↑ These do not apply in Massachusetts, where the "Zeituni card" can be used in any ATM, then you can go to the Foxwoods casino.
- Anne D'Innocenzio and Dena Potter "Midnight grocery runs capture economic desperation". Associated Press, October 6, 2010