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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

State sponsored welfare fraud

If you must think in stereotypes the next time you think of a welfare cheat think of a man in a fine suit surrounded by a gaggle of servile flunkies as for instance Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York or smarmy RINO Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. Last month as Congress passed the so called farm bill, that spends 80% of its outlays on food stamps, it arrived at a compromise. Instead of real cuts of $40 billion over the next 10 years it instead settled for $8.7 billion in savings by changing the rules of a program called Heat and Eat. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia participate in this boondoggle that allows states to boost the amount of food stamps household receives by an average amount of $90 per month.
Here’s how it works: Some food stamp households that receive Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits are automatically eligible for higher deductions on their utility bills. A higher deduction means eligibility for more food stamps. So some states had simply been mailing out LIHEAP checks for amounts as small as $1 to trigger the higher food stamp benefits.
So for a single dollar per household the participating states could goose federal outlays by $90. Pretty good leverage! To close this loophole Congress raised the minimum to $20. So forget every damn thing John Boehner and Eric Cantor have told you about reining federal spending. Seven states ( Connecticut, Montana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont ) and the District of Columbia still like the leverage and began mailing out $20 checks thus negating much of the projected savings.
Some even have the temerity to dignify this perfidy as a states right issue rather than a shakedown of the federal taxpayer. By spending just $6 million New York was able to rake in $457 million in food aid for 300,000 households. Connecticut will spend $1.4 million of its federal LIHEAP money to preserve $66.6 million in food aid for 50,000 households. RINO Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania surprised many by agreeing to spend $8 million in federal LIHEAP money to save $300 million in food aid for 400,000 households. The big winner was Montana where for only $24,000 it will be able to prevent a $2 million cut in food stamp benefits.
Maybe one of these days governments will find some sympathy for those who still buy their own food.

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