Saturday, October 9, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work

California is bankrupt. It has thrown money around like water for "green initiatives," public employee salaries and pensions, railroads to nowhere, and a thousand government schemes to create useless projects that put public employees to work at the expense of private (wealth-generating) enterprise.

The drunken spending spree hit its nadir when it recently came out that in the past three years, $69 million of California welfare funds extorted from hard-working taxpayers went to spending sprees in Las Vegas, Hawaiian resorts and Miami cruises. The welfare pimps immediately denied there was anything wrong with that because California has "one of the lowest fraud rates in the country." Well, that's a pretty strange defense of outright fraud, but it's probably also a pretty good heads-up for the other forty-nine states.

In the forefront of the Obama welfare state, California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and a generous welfare plan that very loosely defines its welfare funds as "money needed for basics such as food and shelter." Since there's damned little definition of what food is allowable and none as to where the money can be spent, Las Vegas casinos, Hawaiian luaus and Princess cruises seem as good as any.

Most surprising of all, it wasn't a private watchdog group that revealed the massive misuse of public funds. It was the liberal rag The Los Angeles Times, acting for the first time in ages like a real newspaper. The report also accidentally revealed just how easy the fraud is. Back in the good old days of massive welfare cheating, food stamps had to be used in front of God and everyone, complete with the list of forbidden fruit which could not be purchased. A massive criminal enterprise developed trading food stamps for discounted dollars that could be used for that forbidden fruit. Welfare recipients actually had to wait for a check to show up in the mail, then take their rear ends down to a bank and deposit them.

But California is always ahead of the nation in high-tech (including high-tech fraud). No need to go to the bank anymore. No need to piss off the people behind you in line at the supermarket while you fumble through your food stamps to pay for the food provided by working taxpayers. California is on the cutting-edge. Welfare recipients now have direct deposits into their bank accounts, and instead of those embarrassing food stamps, they get a perpetually-refilled bank debit card.

Here's the actual breakdown of how those California welfare debit cards were used. $12 million in Las Vegas casinos. $1.5 million in Miami resorts and restaurants. $400,000 at Hawaiian resorts. $16,000 in cash withdrawn from ATM machines on board cruise ships. Another dubious honor is that the welfare pimps say that's only about 1 percent of the welfare money handed out during the same period of time. Scant praise indeed.

Considering that Nevada has an even worse unemployment rate than California, I suppose these Californians are actually just trying to fix the unemployment problems of the casinos in their sister state. And let's not forget the hula dancers and common seamen. The altruistic generosity is just overwhelming. And remember, that piddly little 1 percent of the total state welfare money means that $11 billion in gummint money is being retained within the state of California. And as Nancy Pelosi tells us, that $11 billion in printed gummint largess translates into almost $18 billion in profits. And if you believe that, I have this pyramid-shaped skyscraper in San Francisco that I'm willing to sell you cheap (cash only, please).

Mike Herald, poverty pimp for the Western Center on Law and Poverty has an explanation for the big welfare spenders. "When people go on 'assistance,' they're going to have the same kind of life situations come up as anyone else. You're going to visit your sick relative. You're going to go to funerals out of state. That's what's going on here."

I was never lucky enough to have one of those family crises, let alone on the public dole. I never had the opportunity for the government to pay for my trip to visit my sick relatives on the sunny white beaches of Honolulu. I never had the opportunity to visit them on cruise ships, either. What kind of sickness are we talking about here, Mr. Herald? Seasickness? And neither of my parents is buried under a slot machine in Las Vegas (although I'm not sure my dad wouldn't have like that).

Once again, just like Pelosi's food stamp nonsense, the left has become so crazed and so out-of-touch with the real world that they can justify the payment of millions or even billions of dollars out of the treasury of a bankrupt state on wine and caviar outside of California. With a little luck and the good Lord willing, they will themselves pay for that profligacy in November. If not, I'm sending Sacramento my bank account number so they can set up a debit card for me.


Tam said...

I vote fot the Texas Aggies' welfare proposal, shared by Patti recently: (Someone technologically smarter than I will have to make that a live link, probably someone from California) Seriously, CUT THESE PEOPLE OFF!!!

CrisD said...

Wait a minute now---
Are you telling me that you can give money to people and they don't spend it on what they need? That the gubmint should oversee this program? Doesn't needy=noble?

You are extremely judgemental. And a control freak. And mean people suck (I know this as I read it on a bumper sticker and that is where I get most of my political ideas!

/sarc off--
...what Tam and Patti said..

Unknown said...

Tam: As a magic Californian, I obey your command. Abracadabra, here's the link: Texas Aggies. Fun article, and I hope everyone enjoys it. Thanks Patti!

I wonder if the California Welfare debit cards have overdraft protection?

Unknown said...

CrisD: I know it's hard to believe, but remember the welfare pimps tell us it's only a small percentage. You do believe that, don't you? My bumper sticker reads: "Mean Person." LOL

My mom had a good way of putting things into perspective. Her thought was "to be poor but proud is a virtue, but to be poor and proud of it is a vice." Now California gives you a debit card so you can be proudly poor--nationwide.

Tam said...

Here's my opinion about welfare: there are really, truly needy people who deserve help. I would have no problem whatsoever contributing to those people, either through charitable organizations, churches, or taxes. However, the rampant fraud and manipulation and abuse of our welfare system taints all benefactors and destroys my sense of compassion. People like me who are actually generous in spirit and compassionate toward real suffering become bitter and angry and un-generous and un-compassionate. I think that if Patti's Texas Law were enacted, true generosity and compassion instead of forced compassion would return.

Unknown said...

Tam: Helping the helpless is a solid Judeo-Christian virtue which the Founders encouraged, but purposely did not include in the Constitution as a government mandate or privilege.

The lazy and slothful have always been with us, but it took Lyndon Johnson's Great Society to create a huge, permanent underclass that considered handouts and money-for-nothing a right. Today, the slothful and victim classes are entitled, and know the mantra: "I know my rights." Those who really can't help themselves get public assistance, but they are joined by millions who are just too lazy to work.

The California plan simply raised freebies to a high art with debit cards that can be used anywhere for anything. At least a Church might require the recipient to pray, or a private secular social welfare agency might require the recipient to push a broom, but California government just requires you to swipe a debit card.

LL said...

LawHawk, you've finally crossed the line.

People need to eat while they are in Miami, vacationing in Las Vegas or while they're on a cruise. The ATM cards make that possible. And the California voters seem pleased that THEIR welfare state provides more perks than any other welfare state! It's the Golden State!

One person's basic needs are not the same as another's. A liberal would understand that and would embrace their diversity by allowing them to 'follow their own star' in choices of which restaurants to eat at in whatever state they are vacationing in.

I'm sure you'd object if I was receiving welfare and spent a couple weeks in Maui and used my welfare ATM card at the swim-up bar at the resort or to buy a steak at what some might characterize as the overpriced chop house on cliffs overlooking the Pacific!!! (you're just that sort of tea party racist, islamaphobic, sexist, bigoted, conservative)

Notawonk said...

law and tam: linky lurv! thanky! and i'll pass this along to the proud aggies that put this bug in my ear!

y'all read about the healthcare fair that congress got to partake in our our dime? go here:

then prepare to want to punch someone who asks to see the sh*tty or sh*ittier catalog....

Unknown said...

LL: I'm so ashamed. I hadn't looked at it that way. I'll have to find my local Franchise Tax Board office and give them a check earmarked for California welfare recipients forthwith.

The irony is that my last employer was a jewelry company headquartered in Hawaii (they started out in Maui, but moved to the big island in the 80's). They always flew their new executives to Hawaii for two weeks of training and "incidentals" on the company's dime. Some smart aleck in the main Honolulu office decided that I was way too experienced to need the training, so I got to sit in San Francisco while the other new execs got their free trips. Now that I've retired, the state won't give me a debit card, so I guess I'll never see Diamond Head. Aw, shucks.

Unknown said...

Patti: It's only money. Our money. I'm pretty sure that the benefits they're enjoying are not the ones we mere peasants are going to get under Obamacare. But why should we complain? After all, these people work very hard planning our lives and figuring out creative ways to burn our tax dollars. They deserve their special days.

Game Master Rob Adams said...

I am just going to start wearing a US BORDER PATROL hat everywhere I go.

AndrewPrice said...

They should stop handing out money. I have no problem with food stamps (which should be limited to staple items) and maybe I could be talked into some form of temporary rental voucher, but the money should never go directly these people. That's where all of this starts to go wrong.

Tam said...

True, but they won't change their way of thinking no matter what. I am more interested in challenging the thought process of people who actually do pay taxes, and vote.

Individualist said...

"one of the lowest fraud rates in the country."

If only the politicians in my state were "progressive" enough to pay for my visits to family in Hawaii then I wold not need to scam their system.

What a great concept this is Lawhawk. The problems with home invasions, armed robberies, confidence scams all because some people are willing to just take what they want. If the government would just give these people whatever they wanted then we could eliminate crime. Wonderful Idea!

If only there were an unlimited supply of capital and reources to make this work. The is of course eorge Bush's fault. by outlawing the perpetual motion machine and placing an executive order in the laws of physics dictating that no matter can be "created" and all matter and energy must be "conserved" we alas sadly do not have this capability. Why mst the Republicans always be the party of "No".

Unknown said...

ACG: That will help some, but since most of the offenders are natural-born Americans, I think an FBI or DEA hat might work better. I don't think they have a hat yet that says "California Welfare Fraud Unit." I think I'll suggest it to the Stetson company.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Food stamps are used and abused, but at least there are some rules. I'm all for prosecuting sellers who allow food stamp users to purchase anything, and I mean anything that isn't specifically allowed. Frankly, I'd much prefer that food stamps be usable only at government facilities. Tough luck if Safeway is more convenient. Ya gotta get your lazy arse over to the federal handout store to get your "necessary" food.

As a sidenote, the citizens of San Francisco, amazingly enough, voted strongly to stop all cash general assistance payments and require that money for housing be paid directly to the landlords. That was during Willie Brown's term as mayor. He simply ignored the vote, and ordered the dispensers of general assistance to keep handing the checks directly to the mob.

Unknown said...

Tam: More importantly, you're at least talking to people who will actually go to the polls and vote. Those who are too lazy to work are often too lazy to register and vote, which is a good thing because in California, they outnumber us.

Unknown said...

Individualist: You're right. Feeding the beast is always a good idea, as long as you pull your hand back quickly. And you're right about it being George Bush's fault. He didn't print money fast enough. But not to worry, Obama's working on it. LOL

Tennessee Jed said...

Believe it or not, I actually sort of understand the "it's only 1% defense." That, of course, doesn't mean I condone it. I actually can understand some very basic level of social safety net for the truly destitute. Also, I understand that in any organization as big as California, there can and will be some fraud (such as the Spanish housekeeper's social security papers.) That liberals find it inoffensive is what I find offensive. These are the same people who scream about corporate executives excess (forgetting that how much is enough in private enterprise) is none of government's damned business. Under no set of circumstances can I envision cruise ships and casino's playing any role at all.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I certainly can't entirely disagree with you. Still, part of the problem is that California welfare is so overly generous and has so few restrictions that cheating has to be something truly outrageous even to draw attention. About 70% of welfare recipients would survive without welfare, they'd just have to eat more generic macaroni and cheese and less steak.

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