Category Archives: Entitlements

January 17, 2018

The Corrupt Politics of Low-Income Housing

State officials gleefully line their own pockets at taxpayers’ expense.

The rent is too damn high—so each year Congress appropriates billions of dollars to address the nation’s collective housing needs. The programs vary from loans to tax credits to straight-up subsidies, but a common feature is that federal taxpayers pony up the dough and then a motley collection of state-level politicians, financing agencies, and housing authorities decide how it’s spent. Can you guess where things go wrong?

In theory, oversight is provided by bureaucrats in Washington tracking every dollar and by local leaders increasing their re-election prospects by providing housing assistance to their constituents as effectively as possible. In practice, the feds turn a blind eye to inefficient uses of the funds while local officials gleefully engage in politically advantageous graft.

Take California Treasurer John Chiang. By virtue of his position on the three-member California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Chiang exercises enormous influence over who gets $94.9 million each year in federal tax credits intended for developers of low-income housing.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

January 2, 2018

NYT: Death of Social Democracy — Brussels, Davos Elite ‘Deluded’ Over Welfare Statism and Globalism

In a scathing condemnation of the attitudes of the “Davos elite”, the political editor for Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper has penned an article for the New York Times blasting the “two built-in contradictions” of social democracy.

Jochen Bittner, who writes once a month for the NYT, begins by dissecting the electoral irrelevance of Germany’s Social Democrat party, led by former European Parliament president Martin Schulz. He diagnoses social democracy’s decline by outlining two major “contradictions”.

Firstly, that you can broaden the domestic welfare state and its crony capitalist underpinning while shifting policy-making to larger, transnational institutions like the European Union. Secondly, that this same welfare state can exist in a world of “open borders” or open migration.

“Instead of at last addressing this contradiction, prominent Social Democrats appear intent on solving the dilemma of internationalism by making it bigger. Martin Schulz, the party’s leader, has just proposed a “United States of Europe” by 2025 — and to expel European Union member states that won’t join in his flight of fancy,” he writes of the first problem.

He notes of the second: “Ms. Merkel’s predecessor, the Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder, recognized this and pruned back Germany’s overgenerous welfare spending to make the economy more competitive. It was the right move, however unpopular, and the party wisely defends it today. But following these welfare restrictions, how can you convey to your electorate that you are opening the doors of your country to a million refugees and migrants who are entitled to welfare payments?”

[…]

Complete text linked here.

December 19, 2017

New migrants BANNED from welfare benefits including the dole, parental leave and carer’s allowances during their first three years in Australia

Migrants will have to wait longer for government help under a new policy. Treasurer Scott Morrison announced measures to ‘encourage self-sufficiency’. There will be a three year delay before migrants can receive Newstart. Delay will also apply to family tax benefits, parental leave, carer allowances.

Newly-arrived migrants will have to wait longer before receiving a range of welfare payments under a hardline new approach expected to save $1.3 billion.

It will be three years before migrants can receive Newstart or family tax benefits, paid parental leave or carer allowances.

The push to ‘encourage self-sufficiency’ among new migrants was one of the headline savings measures announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison in a mid-year budget outlook on Monday.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter suspects many people would be surprised to learn migrants could access some family and parental payments immediately after arriving in Australia.

‘Australians’ expectation of newly-arrived migrants is that they contribute socially and economically for a reasonable period before having access to our nation’s generous welfare system,’ Mr Porter said.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

December 13, 2017

Ghanian National Who Pleaded Guilty to Nearly $300,000 Worth of Food Stamp Fraud May Face Deportation

A Ghanian national who pleaded guilty Thursday to conducting nearly $300,000 worth of food stamp fraud may face deportation.

Prosecutors say that Esther Acquaye, 49, who owned Esther’s Fashion Paradise in Worcester, Massachusetts, allowed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to trade their benefits for cash, paying them 50 cents for every SNAP dollar redeemed.

She then pocketed the full value of the SNAP benefits from the federal government.

Acquaye pleaded guilty to several charges, including aiding and abetting food stamp fraud, conspiracy, and trafficking counterfeit goods.

She is expected to be sentenced March 7 and faces prison time and the possibility of deportation because she is a Ghanian national in the U.S. on a green card.

There is no specific sentence that two parties agreed upon in the plea deal, but the federal government asked that Acquaye agree to three years of supervised release following her prison sentence and pay restitution, according to court documents.

Records show that federal investigators began looking into Esther’s Fashion Paradise after they noticed an unusual spike in SNAP benefit redemptions over the span of three months.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

November 27, 2017

Trump wants to end welfare as Bill Clinton knows it

Trump said in October that welfare was “becoming a very, very big subject, and people are taking advantage of the system.”

Overhauling welfare was one of the defining goals of Bill Clinton’s presidency, starting with a campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it,” continuing with a bitter policy fight and producing change that remains hotly debated 20 years later.

Now, President Donald Trump wants to put his stamp on the welfare system, apparently in favor of a more restrictive policy. He says “people are taking advantage of the system.”

Trump, who has been signaling interest in the issue for some time, said this past week that he wants to tackle the issue after the tax overhaul he is seeking by the end of the year. He said changes were “desperately needed in our country” and that his administration would soon offer plans.

For now, the president has not offered details. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said more specifics were likely early next year. But the groundwork has already begun at the White House and Trump has made his interest known to Republican lawmakers.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

September 23, 2017

Raids in New Jersey town target ultra-Orthodox Jews accused of welfare fraud. ‘What is going on here?’

In one case unsealed by the court in June, a couple with six children are alleged to have reported their income at $39,000 per year — low enough to qualify for Medicaid — when in fact they were getting more than $1 million annually from a limited liability corporation.

It was a spectacle nobody in this sleepy New Jersey town would forget.

Early one Monday morning, police and FBI agents in bulletproof vests bounded up the steps of suburban townhouses and split levels, threatening to break down the doors, hauling out in handcuffs husbands and wives in the distinctive clothing of ultra-Orthodox Jews. One was a prominent rabbi and head of a synagogue.

It was the dramatic kickoff of a series of well-publicized raids that since late June have netted 26 suspects on charges of stealing $2 million in government benefits. Prosecutors say that the suspects understated their income to get free healthcare, food stamps, rental subsidies and other benefits.

All of those arrested — 13 men and 13 women — were ultra-Orthodox Jews. The charges have tapped into a well of festering hostility toward an insular and eccentric minority.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

September 18, 2017

Ohio ‘Food Stamp Millionaire’ Found Guilty of Food Stamp, Medicaid Fraud

An Ohio millionaire has been found guilty of welfare fraud in court Friday after he fraudulently collected food stamps and Medicaid benefits.

WKYC reports that a judge convicted Pascal Mahvi, also known as the “Food Stamp Millionaire,” of one fifth-degree felony for fraudulently claiming more than $8,300 worth of food stamps and one misdemeanor charge of fraud for falsifying his application for Medicaid benefits over two years before his arrest.

Mahvi and his attorney declined to comment on the case following Friday’s decision. A judge is expected to sentence Mahvi in four to six weeks.

Prosecutor James Flaiz said he is going to recommend to the judge that Mahvi serves jail time.

“We’re absolutely going to recommend time behind bars,” Flaiz said. “I think people have to understand, if you abuse the system that taxpayers have set up to help the poor, and you defraud that system, there needs to be consequences.”

[…]

Complete text linked here.

August 4, 2017

LA made $1.3B in illegal immigrant welfare payouts in just 2 years (Video)

The costs of education, police and fire, medical, and subsidized housing can total $24,000 per year in government spending per family, much more than would be paid in taxes.

Illegal immigrant families received nearly $1.3 billion in Los Angeles County welfare money during 2015 and 2016, nearly one-?quarter of the amount spent on the county’s entire needy population, according to data obtained by Fox News.

The data was obtained from the county Department of Public Social Services — which is responsible for doling out the benefits — and gives a snapshot of the financial costs associated with sanctuary and related policies.

The sanctuary county of Los Angeles is an illegal immigration epicenter, with the largest concentration of any county ?in the nation, according to a study from the Migration Policy Institute. ?The county also allows illegal immigrant parents with children born in the United States to seek welfare and food stamp benefits.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

July 25, 2017

Food stamp fraud running wild on social media

“Some people are getting really stupid. They showed on the news tonight people selling food stamps on Facebook and Craigslist.”

Earlier this year, the Trump administration’s budget proposed slashing $193 billion from the food stamp program over the next decade. The food stamp cuts, which represents a 25% decrease from existing levels, were described by the White House as “reforms that tighten eligibility and encourage work.” The proposed budget seeks to “close eligibility loopholes, target benefits to the neediest households, and require able-bodied adults to work.”

After the latest budget was released last week, news outlets began carrying stories about food stamp fraud, including those that take place online. Believe it or not, people are buying and selling food stamps on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist.

“Some people are getting really stupid. They showed on the news tonight people selling food stamps on Facebook and Craigslist. Why would you put that on Craigslist and Facebook; messing it up for people that really need their food stamps to buy food,” was a comment by Facebook user Monique Mosely back in April.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

July 21, 2017

Feds arrest Muslim doctors in one of largest Medicare fraud schemes in Detroit history (Video)

“If he was ever arrested, he would have a plane ready to take him outside the United States,” Foster said. “(Rashid) also stated to this witness that he has storage units full of cash that are maintained in others’ names.”

A lavish 10,000-square-foot $6.8 million home under construction and golf trips by private jet are just a few of the luxuries enjoyed by Mashiyat Rashid, the ringleader of what is being described as one of the largest Medicare fraud schemes in Detroit history.

Rashid, 37, who came to the United States from Bangladesh when he was 3 years old, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and is married, with two young children. He is now facing up to life in federal prison for orchestrating a $132 million health care fraud conspiracy.

The Detroit News reported that the scheme has been going on since 2008 and involves a “web of companies controlled by Rashid,” along with six other individuals.

Charges against them include recruiting homeless people as patients, sending fraudulent claims to Medicare, giving unnecessary back injections to drug addicts, and prescribing pain medications that were then sold on the streets.

[…]

Complete text and video linked here.