“Money for Nothing and Your ‘Chits’ For Free”

I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but I just can’t help myself.

I run a law office which operates in Washington and California.  I keep calendars, meet deadlines, know in which court my husband is expected to be, and do tons of paperwork.  When I order supplies, I know exactly what I’m buying and know exactly when the order will arrive.  I’m accountable to my husband.  In other words, I keep track of a lot of things and I’m just one person.

The government has, how many, employees and all of them put together can’t seem to keep track of anything.  From the looks of things, it has no interest in weeding out the scammers.

According to a WSJ op-ed piece by James Bovard, the number of food-stamp recipients has risen to 44 million, up from 26 million in 2007 costing $77 billion up from $33 billion.  The USDA has only 40 inspectors to oversee about 200,000 merchants who accept food stamps but who’ll never be prosecuted for illegal activities.

Wisconsin food-stamp recipients routinely sell their benefit cards on Facebook and prosecutors won’t prosecute.

In my state of Washington, food-stamp recipients are selling their cards on Craigslist.  DSHS management has actually restricted fraud investigations into this criminal activity.  Go figure.

Thirty percent of inmates in an Iowan jail collected food stamps.  The same thing is happening inWisconsin where more than $12 million in overpaid benefits and other questionable charges were made in 2009, some which went to prison inmates.  Again, same thing in New York and the list goes on and on.

Not only are monies going to people who aren’t qualified to receive them, but government employees are scamming the system as well.  Two employees of NYC’s Human Resources Administration pocketed $8 million from their food-stamp scam; Wisconsin staffers plundered almost $300,000 and a Louisiana state bureaucrat scammed the system for $50,000.

What’s really disgusting is that, on the one hand, the food stamp program is considered by the USDA as a “nutrition” program but, on the other hand, it vetoed all proposals to prevent food stamps from being used for junk food.  Although food stamp recipients rose by more than 50% during the Bush administration, you’d think that President Obama would do something about this so his wife would stop kvetching about junk food.

And the abuses aren’t limited to food stamps.  My husband often sees people selling their government-issued bus passes for money to buy drugs.  In 2010, Medicare and Medicaid made $70 billion in improper payments.

I remember reading last year about protestors on Wall Street, not angry about the failing economy or Wall Street scandals.  Nope, they wanted an extension of their already 99 weeks of unemployment benefits!  Sure, some people, through no fault of their own, lose jobs, yet, I know a few people who miraculously found a job after their 99 weeks were up.

What are the two million federal employees doing?  I know every one isn’t in charge of doling out money, but, really, who’s in charge here?  Who’s watching the vault?

We’ve got a growing number of whiners in this country who feel entitled to the tax dollars paid by hard-working Americans.  We’ve got the scammers who know they’re not entitled to the monies they receive but don’t return it.  And then we’ve got the government that is either disinterested or impotent to do anything about it.

What was once a country whose greatest asset was its self-reliant citizens, is now becoming a nation of wimps and deadbeats.  We only have to see what’s happening in European welfare countries to visualize what our country may look like in the foreseeable future.

Cradle to grave benefits gut peoples’ independence and individualism and results in a nanny state where folks believe they are entitled to free money.

I wasn’t raised like that.  I was expected to work after I graduated from high school and I continued to do so while attending and paying my own way through college and law school.

Instead of getting an education and become productive members of society, too many people feel entitled and are willing to accept a government stipend and then complain when the coffers dry up.  The welfare mentality has always been alien to me.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Bruce A.

    Good one Leona. It’s about time somebody wrote about this.
    Beleive it all, I see it every day at my business. We just refused a guy out who wanted cigarettes on his food stamp card. He said he would go to a mini mart where they let this pass.

  • Roger Ward

    There was a time (not that long ago) when Americans felt shame at being on the dole. Just after WWII, my mother went on welfare (three kids, no job, no husband.) I remember her sitting us down and impressing on us the importance of keeping this a secret. We didn’t understand it but we knew it was important, so we kept the secret.

    There was a time (again, not that long ago) when Americans had a sense of will: the will to do whatever was needed, the will to bootstrap oneself out of poverty, the will to overcome a bad situation, the will to condemn irresponsibility, immorality, political pandering and the waste of American assets. (Yesterday I saw on CNN that the U.S. Government had just withheld $800 million in aid to Pakistan because Pakistan had allowed Osama bin Laden to live safely there for many years …. but how long will it be before some craven American politician caves into PC sentiment and restores the cash?)

    There was a time when it meant something to be an American. Now? …. not so much. If you’re old enough to remember the presidency of Ronald Reagan and his resolute stand against Communism (remember Star Wars and the Berlin wall?) …. or JFK (who refused to allow Moscow to move ICBMs into Cuba), then you’re old enough to remember the original America. (I think our current slide into European, socialist irrelevance began with that peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter.)

    Just as the modern Greeks can look backward to a time when they mattered …. and just as the modern Italians can look back to a time of Roman greatness …. we can look backward to a time when being an American meant something. It’s sad that we have come to this.

  • Nancye

    From the article:

    you’d think that President Obama would do something about this so his wife would stop kvetching about junk food.

    **************************************

    While she stuffs HER face with it. While telling us what to eat, when, where, and why, has Michelle not noticed that her butt is two ax handles wide?

  • Teddi

    The only thing I can think of when I read your posting is how out of control things are. One can only hope that at this point, legislators can work toward some serious spending cuts and entitlement reform. How much longer can this type of nonsense go on?

  • Ron

    Isn’t there a bill in Washington to take fraud investigations away from DSHS? It would seem that in a recession in which unemployment rose to over 9% and the real unemployment number well above that, it would be natural to have a large increase in welfare recipients. I would also seem that when the private sector was shedding jobs, people would remain on unemployment longer. According to US News and World Report, 8.8 million jobs lost between 2007 and 2009, more than in the previous 4 recessions combined. And job growth since the end of the recession has been stagnant and the worst of any recent recession. The people I have know on unemployment were hard working people who were trying to find work while they were on unemployment. There was another article in the WSJ that said that the longer people are out of work, the less likely employers are to hire them. I understand the fraud that is out there but this is an employment problem we have not experienced since the great depression. The unemployment rate was higher in President Reagan’s first two years of office but there were not the permanent job losses that we suffered in this recession. The $70 billion in improper payments made by Medicare and Medicaid included overpayments and underpayments. GAO, which reported it said: “An improper payment is any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments) under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements.” In addition, it was not the amount of the overpayment and underpayment.