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From Social Security to Food Benefits, It’s Welfare Gone Wild

New revelations suggest just how badly the broken system busts budgets.

by
Patrick Richardson

Bio

May 22, 2011 - 12:00 am
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One’s lack of confidence in the likelihood of reform could be excused. An IG’s report is supposed to answer questions. This one, unfortunately, raises many more than it answers. How, for instance, did the Social Security system get so out-of-whack in the first place?

Or, more broadly, what other abuses and oversights lurk in the dark corners of our welfare state? It’s not the only benefits system which seems to be completely dysfunctional.

According to KansasWatchdog.org, a non-profit investigative reporting website, Kansans received over $195,000 in cash public assistance benefits while visiting 38 other states — in March alone. Kansans received an additional $1.9 million in public assistance food benefits — in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The cash payments included $123 on Jan. 4 at 11:19 PM on the Las Vegas Strip, one of six attempted transactions at that location at that time.

The problem of inadequate benefit controls is not limited to SSA or Kansas. In an October 2010 story, the Los Angeles Times reported that

More than $69 million in California welfare money, meant to help the needy pay their rent and clothe their children, has been spent or withdrawn outside the state in recent years, including millions in Las Vegas, hundreds of thousands in Hawaii and thousands on cruise ships sailing from Miami.

Stories like this can be drawn from nearly every state and nearly every federal benefits program. Who can forget the FEMA debit cards being used at strip clubs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina?

Add in the lottery winner who’s still on food stamps and the “adult baby” who’s on disability and it becomes obvious the system is woefully broken. Where are the politicians with the guts to fix it?

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Patrick Richardson has been a journalist for almost 15 years and an inveterate geek all his life. He blogs regularly at www.otherwheregazette.com, which aims to be like another SF magazine, just not so serious.
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