Americana: To Have or Have Not

When vicious snows hit the northeastern U.S. last month, tiny Rhode Island was struck badly enough to be declared a disaster area. This meant that many of those who lost money were eligible for food stamps: $7.6 million worth. All told, 105,000 households—roughly one-third of the Rhode Island total—got authorization to use the stamps, and an estimated 90,000 actually did.

But now that the disaster has receded, quite a few of the hardy Rhode Islanders are having second thoughts about taking handouts from Uncle Sam. Some 250 people who received written authorization have either returned the document or refunded the value of...

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