Tag Archives: government dependency

Feds Misspend $2.6 Billion On Food Stamps In 2013, Govt. Dependency Reaches Historic Highs

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The Obama Administration continues to assert that the economy is “recovering.” But an astounding number of Americans relied on food stamps, or in USDA parlance, the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” in 2013. According to new statistics from the Agriculture Department (USDA), 20 percent of American households were on food stamps last year. The total number of households on food stamps in 2013 was 23 million; this figure is up 722,675 from 2012.

Compare this to 2009, when only 15 percent of American households relied on SNAP.

Furthermore, according to the same USDA report, one in five Americans are now on food stamps.

It is important to note that the number of SNAP recipients vary greatly from state to state. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that in some states, nearly a quarter of the population relies on food stamps. Mississippi and Washington, DC top the list of food stamp enrollment “by state,” at 22% and 23% respectively.

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To make matters worse, the USDA has acknowledged that billions were spent on this program by mistake.

In 2013 SNAP overpaid recipients $2.1 billion by accident. An additional $500 million was underpaid to other recipients to the tune of more “mistakes.” This brings the total of food stamp mispayments to $2.6 billion.

That’s a $2.6 billion “whoospie-daisy.”

Just think what could have been done with those wasted billions. That could have restored all of the military veteran’s pension cuts in the latest budget legislation. It could have housed thousands of homeless Americans for years. Or, it could have provided me and every one of my friends a wicked bad-ass vacation.

According to the USDA, improper payments “were attributable to administrative and documentation error… [an] improper payment occurs when a participating household is certified for too many or too few benefits compared to the level for which they are eligible. This can result from incomplete or inaccurate reporting of income and/or assets by participants at the time of certification and from changes subsequent to certification, or errors in determining eligibility or benefits by caseworkers.”

Ooooh, ok. I feel much better about that misappropriated money now.

The lack of accountability within the SNAP program is baffling — such a blatant disregard for significant funds would never be tolerated in the free market. A private company that operated so recklessly would likely go out of business; at the very least, someone would be held accountable or fired.

But not if they work for the government! Bureaucratic federal agencies are rarely held accountable for their failures. In fact, bloated and incompetent agencies like those running Medicare, Medicaid, federal housing, and SNAP claim to need more money to operate effectively. Then again, have you ever heard of a government bureaucrat proclaiming that they are sufficiently funded and don’t need any more money?

A significant portion of the budgeting and work within SNAP should be contracted out to companies in the private sector, which could be held accountable. The Department of Defense (DoD) does this frequently with some success. When the DoD needs work done, it reviews various offers from competing companies such as Raytheon, Lockhead Martin, and Boeing. The business with the most promising plan is then given the contracting job. If the chosen contractor fails to be effective, it can be financially penalized and may lose the contract the following year.

If these kind of reforms were put into place within SNAP, there would finally be some hope for restoring some accountability in this out-of-control program.

A support system for our society’s most vulnerable is essential. But entrusting the government to run every part of these programs, like SNAP, is a huge mistake that will cost us all dearly.

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Democrat Rep Insists The Word “Welfare” Be Changed To “Transitional Living Fund”

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A temporary and effective safety net to help struggling Americans during hard times undoubtedly makes sense. But government welfare was never intended to be a career opportunity.

Still, certain politicians continue to push the “war on poverty,” endorsing the expansion of government programs that were originally intended to provide a temporary hand-up.

Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) is one of those politicians. During a speech on the House for this Wednesday, Jackson said we should change the rhetoric surrounding welfare and that “a safety net has to be something for all of us.” She said, “Maybe the word ‘welfare’ should be changed to something of, ‘a transitional living fund.’ For that is what it is — for people to be able to live.”

Jackson Lee was referring to all welfare, including food stamps, unemployment, Medicaid, and Medicare.

She continued, “Quite frankly, of all the wealthy nations, we have the lowest safety net and the highest poverty, because we’re not willing to accept the fact that sometimes an American needs help. Even a veteran — even a soldier. So today, I honor the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty, Mr. Speaker, and I ask us  not to give up the fight because the American people are looking to us to win the war.”

Give me a break.

Government welfare has become completely out-of-hand — nearly half of Americans now depend on checks from the fed. Welfare is well intended, but it can make poor people comfortable remaining in poverty and often discourages work. When a recipient starts making too much income, they lose most government benefits. The incentive to find a job is gone.

Instead of expanding government dependency and welfare, politicians like Jackson Lee would do a better service to the unemployed by allowing the private sector to flourish. Getting rid of red tape and invasive laws lets businesses expand and hire more employees.

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Rand Paul: Longterm Unemployment Benefits Are A “Disservice” To Jobless Americans


1.3 million jobless Americans will no longer receive federal unemployment payments if Congress fails to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program by the end of the month.

EUC, which expires on January 1, “is a 100% federally funded program that provides benefits to individuals who have exhausted regular state benefits.” Currently, EUC kicks in for the 1.3 million Americans who have been unemployed for over six months. If Congress does not renew the program, jobless individuals will only be able to collect state-administered unemployment benefits for six months.

Many politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, are pushing to renew EUC. But there is one Kentucky Senator who opposes extending the benefits: Rand Paul.

Paul said on Fox News Sunday, “I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they’re paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy.”

Still, many of Paul’s Republican colleagues disagree and believe EUC must be renewed.

Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY) is leading a group of House Republicans in an effort to extend the program.

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) also supports a renewal, but only if it is done in what he considers to be a fiscally-responsible manner. He said, “It’s about $25 billion that no one was talking about … until the last week. So it’s an additional cost within this budget agreement. I think the thought always was that it would be handled separately.”

If EUC is not renewed, it will leave 1.3 million Americans in a very uncomfortable situation. On the other hand, however, longterm unemployment benefits can sometimes take away incentive to hustle and find a job. As Rand Paul said in 2010, “You get out of a recession by encouraging employment, not encouraging unemployment.”

 

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Number Of Americans Receiving Disability Checks Surpasses Population Of Greece

Given the number of Americans on disability today, it would seem that there is some horrific ailment sweeping the nation.

Except there isn’t.

For almost 200 straight months, the number of Americans collecting disability has increased. Shocking new statistics show that the number of Americans receiving disability payments now exceeds the total population of Greece, which according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook is 10,772,967.

According to stats released by the Social Security Administration, 10,962,532 people received disability payments from the government in April (this includes the individual who is disabled, spouses, and children). Of those receiving checks, 8,865,586 people are disabled.

A disabled individual receives about $1,129.63 per month. The average monthly payment for disability (which includes spouses and children) is $977.50.

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April was the 195th consecutive month that the number of Americans collecting disability payments has increased.

According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were only 13 full time workers for every worker receiving disability in April. Some find this unsettling, since back in 1968, there were 51 full time workers for every worker receiving disability.

What has changed since then? Has our country really become that ridden with sickness and hazards over the last 35 years?

You tell me.

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Food Stamp Enrollment Jumps 211,708 Despite Increased Household Wealth

Food stamps are typically a measure of household economic stability.

Thus, is unsettling that enrollment in the program jumped up by 211,708 people in the second-quarter, despite household wealth increasing $1.3 trillion within the same time period.

As reported by Breitbart News, “Roughly half of the $1.3 trillion increase ($525 billion) was due to residential real estate values improving, and roughly $300 billion of the gains were attributable to corporate equities and mutual funds.”

Even as the economy improves, food stamp enrollment continues to hit record highs.

The Obama Administration, set on expanding food stamps, spent $43.3 million tax dollars to advertise the subsidies in 2011 alone. Government-produced, colorful commercials enthusiastically encourage people to sign up for the subsidies.

Moreover, the commercials portray food stamps in a wholly positive light. To be sure, government efforts to distribute food stamps should not demean recipients. But there is a better balance to be struck between safeguarding the dignity of recipients and making them feel that food stamps are an admirable, unqualified entitlement.

The commercials show up frequently on various television and radio stations. Here is a radio ad produced by Obama’s US Department Of Agriculture (USDA), telling listeners that food stamps will make them “look amazing.”

There are even food stamp ads targeted at illegal immigrants.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA works with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal immigrants.

As Judicial Watch reported, “The promotion of [food stamps] includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance.  Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, ‘You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.'”

Amazingly, almost one out of six Americans are now on food stamps.

Despite spending $80 billion on food stamps last year, the Obama administration is now pushing to spend more. A new government study argues that the ballooned welfare program needs increased tax dollar funding to help “food insecure” homes.

Where does it all end?

A temporary and effective safety net to help those in need is absolutely necessary. But when one sixth of the American population is receiving food subsidies, there is clearly something wrong with the system. Instead of making poverty more comfortable with government subsidies, incentives should be created to encourage hard work and self-sufficiency.

Your thoughts on these statistics? Let us know in the comments section below.

One-Sixth Of Population Now On Food Stamps – Is There Any End In Sight?

Government welfare is well intended, but it can make poor people comfortable remaining in poverty. Why pay your own way when Uncle Sam will pay it for you?

Food stamps, or in USDA parlance, the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” is an expensive and bloated welfare program. A temporary and effective safety net to help struggling Americans put food on the table undoubtedly makes sense, but SNAP has spun out-of-control.

Almost one in six, or 47.5 million, Americans now receive food stamps. Over 13 million more people receive the food subsidies today than when Obama took office.

15% of the US population is on food stamps, but some states rely on the benefits more than others.

The Wall Street Journal points out that in some states, nearly a quarter of the population relies on food stamps. Mississippi and Washington, DC top the list of food stamp enrollment “by state,” at 22% and 23% respectively.

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Graphic by the Wall Street Journal

Don’t expect SNAP to downsize anytime soon — despite spending a whopping $80 billion on food stamps last year, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) argues the program needs more funding.

The USDA is so set on expanding SNAP that it spent $43.3 million to advertise food stamps in 2011 alone. Government-produced, colorful commercials enthusiastically encourage people to sign up for the subsidies.

Moreover, the commercials portray food stamps in a wholly positive light. To be sure, government efforts to distribute food stamps should not demean recipients. But there is a better balance to be struck between safeguarding the dignity of recipients and making them feel that the SNAP assistance is an admirable, unqualified entitlement.

The commercials show up frequently on various television and radio stations. Here is a radio ad produced by Obama’s USDA, telling listeners that food stamps will make them “look amazing.”

Some ads are produced by state governments. This television commercial produced by New York tells people food stamps are “a quick, easy, confidential way to get help.”

It would be easier to swallow the heavy expense to taxpayers for ads promoting SNAP if the program itself were not already grossly out of hand.

There are even SNAP ads targeted at illegal immigrants.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA works with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal immigrants.

As Judicial Watch reported, “The promotion of [SNAP] includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance.  Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, ‘You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.'”

SNAP is also ridden with fraud. Many individuals trade their food stamps for cash and drugs, but the government does little to address this issue.

SNAP recipients receive Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which look and function like a debit card but are only supposed to be used to purchase food.

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Despite EBT cards’ intended use, a simple search online pulls up countless discussion boards where people discuss how to trade the benefits for cash.

Here is a discussion thread from Yahoo Answers:

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Good grief.

Making matters worse is the fact that SNAP is often counterproductive by discouraging work. When a recipient starts making too much income, they lose the benefit. The incentive to find a job is gone.

Some liberals assert that food stamp use is up because the economy is bad, but that is simply not the case. Food stamp spending nearly doubled years ago, before the current recession. The program’s budget rose from $19.8 billion in 2000 to $37.9 billion in 2007. Congress should means test the food stamps program much more aggressively to focus on the truly needy, while eliminating disincentives for individuals to go to work.

This is certainly one of the most pressing issues facing the nation. But it receives almost no coverage from the so-called mainstream media.

What will it take for the media and citizens to wake up? Will it take 50% of all citizens receiving food stamps? 75%?

Americans have become obsessed with the “1%” and “99%.” They should instead focus on the 17% taking from the 83%. That is a statistic worth protesting in our public parks.