Friday, June 23, 2017

Welfare

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Food-stamp recipients can use their taxpayer-funded benefit to order online from retailers like Amazon under a new Obama administration initiative that aims to facilitate the shopping experience for rural and urban residents. It marks the latest of many costly experiments by the administration to expand the fraud-infested program, which has seen a record-high number of beneficiaries under President Obama. To eliminate the welfare stigma, the administration renamed food stamps Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the rolls swelled to an astounding 46.5 million in 2016. This cost American taxpayers and eye-popping $70 billion, according to government figures.

It’s all part of the president’s longtime goal to eradicate what he and the First Lady call an epidemic of “food insecurity” among the nation’s low-income residents. Part of the problem is that this demographic has limited access to healthy food choices, the administration says, and the government must provide them with nutritional options. This is why taxpayers have been forced to dole out tens of millions of dollars to bring fruits and vegetables to the nation’s inner cities, coined “food deserts” by the administration because they lack healthy fare. The new online ordering program will help address this, according to the federal agency that runs the bloated food-stamp program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (USDA).

“Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in urban neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the new program this week. “We’re looking forward to being able to bring the benefits of the online market to low-income Americans participating in SNAP.” Besides Amazon, a few other online businesses have been approved by the feds to accept food stamps online, including Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, Safeway and ShopRite. The USDA acknowledges however, that “online payment presents technical and security challenges that will need to be examined and fully addressed…”

It’s the last thing that an out-of-control government program, long plagued with fraud corruption, needs. Under the Obama expansion SNAP has suffered a multitude of serious problems. Back in 2012 a federal investigation uncovered evidence that food-stamp recipients were using the benefit to buy drugs, weapons and other contraband from unscrupulous vendors. A year later Judicial Watch broke a story, based on testimony and other evidence provided by a whistleblower, about the U.S. government knowingly giving illegal immigrants food stamps for decades. That was followed by another disturbing scheme in which SNAP benefits were being sold online using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and ecommerce websites like Craigslist and eBay.

Earlier this year federal authorities in south Florida busted the largest food-stamp fraud operation in U.S. history. Twenty-two defendants in the largely black and Hispanic areas of Miami-Dade County known as Opa-Locka and Hialeah swindled the government out of $13 million by fraudulently trading food stamps for cash. The crooked vendors operated food and produce stands at a local flea market as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to eradicate “food deserts,” common in poor, minority communities where fresh, healthy food is tough to find or often unavailable. The feds say the business owners and their employees let food-stamp recipients use their welfare benefit to get cash in exchange for a cut of the money. They swiped the recipient’s SNAP card for an inflated amount, doled out cash and kept a percentage. In most instances the recipient didn’t actually get food, according to federal authorities.

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welfare

If you’re having trouble making ends-meet with your job, you might want to go on welfare.

Apparently, thanks to the wasteful programs of the federal government, welfare pays even better than working!

A shocking study from the free market think tank, Cato Institute, revealed that, in the vast majority of states, welfare pays higher than the federal minimum wage.

But, even more surprising, a number of states pay even higher than the average national household income of $50,500—putting welfare recipients in the top 50% of wage “earners” in America.

That means, if you make roughly what the average middle-class American makes, people on welfare may be taking home more money than you—and they’re making wages that the middle class can only dream of.

Hawaii leads the pack—handing out a whopping $60,590 a year to people on welfare. That’s the equivalent of $29.13 per hour, if welfare was a job that required a 40-hour work week (it doesn’t.) More than 4 times the minimum wage.

$60,590 a year for doing absolutely nothing, other than sitting on a beach in Hawaii all day, doesn’t sound too shabby.

But Hawaii isn’t alone: if you’re a welfare recipient in the District of Columbia or Massachusetts, you’re also making more than the national average, at $50,820 and $50,540, respectively.

In fact, 35 states pay a welfare recipient more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, enabling them to take home more money than many people who actually put in a full day of honest work.

So if you’re looking for a new “job,” without all of that pesky “working” involved, government handouts may be for you!

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welfare

Robert Macdonald, mayor of Lewiston, Maine, is proposing a bill that would publicize the information of all recipients of government welfare programs. He is hoping to push the legislature to publish the names and addresses of, “every name on the dole”. The mayor made his aims known in a weekly column he writes for the Twin City Times.

There is a Maine website in existence already that lists recipients of state pension, which Macdonald noted in his column and compared his program to. He claims that in the same interest of transparency, the information should be published. Names, addresses, services and amounts, as well as length of use are all to be listed on the website. He says that those who participate in welfare programs should not have the right to protected information.

Since it is a state issue, Macdonald would need to garner support at the state level, which he says that he has. The Lewiston mayor is calling for the public, “to know how its money is being spent,”. He is denying that the website would be meant to embarrass those on welfare.

While his democratic opposition for re election, Ben Chin, has been critical, Chin has not offered any other ways to provide fiscal transparency with respect to welfare. In fact, Chin has attacked the idea as, “Resorting to publicly shaming poor people,”

There may be some grip to Macdonald’s foothold with the issue. Maine Gov. Paul LePage has enacted tougher requirements for welfare recipients such as drug testing. Macdonald is hoping to add another restriction to the bill, a limit of 60 months total of getting benefits for each user.

The election for Lewiston mayor will be held in November. Pending the outcome, Macdonald’s traction could suffer or grow exponentially.

The issue of government benefits continues in the rounds of both public opinion and political forum as both sides argue whether they create opportunity or foster dependency.

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In Caitlyn Jenner’s new documentary series, “I Am Cait,” she shocked her friends–by talking about mainstream conservative economic beliefs.

The Olympic great–formerly known as Bruce Jenner–was discussing the issues and challenges transgender people face, namely their high levels of homelessness and unemployment.

Jenner’s friends quickly began talking about the need for government programs to help these people.

“It’s going to take a lot more,” said one friend, referring to government programs geared specifically towards transgender people. Another friend added, “I think if I was to focus on one area, it would be entry-level jobs…”

Jenner, who announced she “loved the Constitution” a few months ago in an interview with Diane Sawyer, wasn’t having any of these failed liberal economic policies.

“Don’t a lot of times [Americans] can make more not working with social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job?” she asked. “You don’t want people to get totally dependent on [welfare]. That’s when they get in trouble. ‘Why should I work? I got a few bucks, I got my room paid for.'”

Another friend of Jenner’s, later in the episode, tells the camera: “Now I’m worried” about Jenner’s political beliefs.

While Caitlyn Jenner is undoubtedly the highest-profile transgender person in the country, it’s clear that she’s not going to fall into the liberal Left’s tidy idea of what a transgender activist “should” be.

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Feds-Dethrone-Welfare-Queen

A joint federal and state welfare fraud investigation ended this week in Alabama with simultaneous police raids at 11 locations and 17 arrests related to improper transactions involving the SNAP food stamp system.

According to authorities, the early morning raids named “Operation T-bone” involved local convenience stores accused by Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls of buying Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards from benefit recipients for half the actual value that were then “flipped” for more expensive food from wholesalers.

As a result, food stamp recipients collected cash to buy prohibited items that included alcohol and tobacco – products they are barred from buying with their welfare benefits. Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Raulston said:

“(Welfare recipients) are selling their cards to get those things.” “Part of the problem, in my opinion, is now they don’t have their food stamps card so they don’t have the money to take care of their families or themselves…” “I think it’s a huge cycle of remaining impoverished.”

EBT debit cards were introduced by the government to replace “paper” food stamps in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)… to take the stigma out of presenting paper food stamps for payment in grocery lines in front of third parties… and to dispense benefits to recipients each month electronically.

According to Connor Wolf writing for The Daily Caller:

“The investigation itself was a huge effort by local and federal agencies, including the District Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Gardendale Police Department, the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Secret Service along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which administers the federal SNAP program.”

Chris Clark, the lead investigator in the case for the district attorney’s office, told the Alabama Media Group that it was the largest cooperative investigation he had ever been a part of and that participating agencies did anything they could to help – a partnership that Clark looks forward to continuing in the future.

Wolf continued his report by saying:

“SNAP is the nation’s largest food-assistance program. According to a report from the USDA, the program has increased from 17 million participants in 2000 to nearly 47 million in 2014. The size alone has prompted concern among many lawmakers of the potential for abuse.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers the nation’s many nutrition assistance programs, reports that trafficking in SNAP debit cards diverts an estimated $858 million each year from the food assistance.

Food stamp critics believe the rate is much higher citing the fact that the latest food stamp fraud numbers available from the government are only as current as 2011. Millions of recipients have been added to the SNAP program over the last four years.

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For fans of The Walking Dead, scenes of zombies roaming the countryside are what one imagines when they think of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Rotting “walkers” roaming aimlessly until they hear the fumbling of a live human, then they go in for the feast.

Yes, it’s science fiction.

Reality is far worse.

The Welfare State is what smart preppers worry about.

Since 1935, a growing population of Americans have become accustomed to the government taking care of them.

When personal or national disasters strike, the federal or local government is there to bail out just about anyone. Recipients are handed EBT cards, spending cash and even Obamaphones.

What happens when the government cannot or will not provide for those who cannot provide for themselves?

Anarchy . . . and not in a good way.

In 2011, 49% of Americans received some type of government assistance. Thanks to Obamacare, that number is now up to 52%.

Many of those are retirees on Social Security and taking back the money they earned (less a good portion to the government).

The “zombies” that smart preppers (and you) should worry about are the 20% of American households on government welfare.

Recent history has provided the real examples of what happens when government cannot keep up with needs.

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, 200,000 evacuees swamped Houston. The Results? Homicides increased 23%.

However, in New Orleans, crime dropped a whopping 68%.

According to Census data, the city also lost 29% percent of its residents – most of them poor residents as only a quarter of low-income housing remained after the storm.

The lack of low-income housing led to a 35.2% increase in New Orleans’ median household income.

Many of Katrina’s evacuees were accustomed to government assistance. Many others were simply unprepared – like many of us would expectedly be.

The result was the same for both the “Welfare Zombies” and the unprepared – they traveled to other cities to make use of their available government resources or, in the best case scenario, the kindness of their families.

Preppers prep expecting a Katrina-like event in their community or even on a national scale.

If the past serves are our crystal ball to gauge human behavior when self-reliance is a necessity, the “have nots” i.e. zombies, will take from the haves . . . i.e. you and your family.

Is a large event catastrophic event likely? Who knows. But given the growing financial burden of Welfare State, a tipping point is on the horizon.

Are you prepared or will you be a zombie?

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