Can You Identify the Most Egregious Example of Wasteful Spending by the Welfare State?


by Dan Mitchell

International Liberty

I’ve commented many times about wasteful government spending, including Social Security bureaucrats spending $700 thousand to party at a luxury resort, HUD bureaucrats giving huge subsidies for welfare recipients to live in upscale neighborhoods, rampant fraud in the unemployment insurance program, and tax dollars being used to subsidize a grown man wearing diapers and living as an “adult baby.”

Sign translation: We are too stupid to come indoors when it rains.

Those are depressing examples, but here are three additional stories that may be even worse. They all show how entitlement programs squander other people’s money.

1. A local news outlet in Oregon revealed that recipients can use food stamps to buy luxury products:

Oregon Trail Cards — which are part of the state’s food stamp program — can be used to purchase luxury coffee concoctions at Starbucks counters inside grocery stores, investigators from Fox 12 in Oregon have discovered. …According to federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) guidelines, people cannot buy foods that will be eaten in the store or hot foods. However, luxury items that are allowed include soft drinks, candy, cookies, ice cream, even bakery cakes and energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label.

2. Benjamin Domenech of the Heartland Institute reports that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on penis pumps:

According to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare has spent more than $240 million of taxpayer money on penis pumps for elderly men over the past decade, and will surpass a quarter of a billion dollars this year for costs since 2001. The cost to taxpayers for the pumps more than quadrupled during that period… And these represent only the costs for external devices, technically classified as “Male Vacuum Erection Systems,” not implantable devices or oral drugs such as Viagra.”

3. A Seattle TV station has an expose about a woman receiving various forms of welfare even though she lives in a million-dollar home.

Search warrant documents unsealed Friday in federal court reveal that she received more than $1,200 a month in public housing vouchers, plus monthly cash from the federal and state government for a disability, as well as food stamps. Property records show the woman lives in a 2,500 square-foot home, with gardens and a boat dock, that is valued at $1.2 million. Records show she has received welfare benefits while living in the plush home since 2003. Records also show she truthfully provided her address when she applied for benefits.

These are the stories that I keep in mind every time I hear some politician whining that “spending has been cut to the bone” and higher taxes are needed.

P.S. I’m happy to report that American taxpayers were not victimized by the all-time record for the most absurd example of government waste, which took place when British taxpayers financed sex trips to Amsterdam for welfare recipients.

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3 responses to “Can You Identify the Most Egregious Example of Wasteful Spending by the Welfare State?

  1. If the government does not rein some of this spending we are all doomed to forever pay for penis pumps. OMG that is so wrong. All this entitlement was meant to give a lift to help you out. Not to pump up the size of your withering penis. Maybe if you had a job your penis would be grateful.

  2. With whom are these losers copulating? The woman living in the mansion? We need to follow John Smiths example prior to the Mayflower Compact, if you don’t work you don’t eat! If you cannot work, you can certainly do something rather than become a burden on society.

  3. The whore is a puppet showman…and with a vail so thin I don’t need to pay attention since I know his purpose. ONLY Ron Paul will be the non puppet in his place, if the National Election Pool (mass media)owned by the enemy do not alter the Iowa results with a loop hole, or find a loop hole later.
    Anyone expecting the W.Edwards Demming management system in the military industrial complex has never read a good lesson like Burning Money, involving the W R Grace Corp. now run by the grandson J Peter of the founder who started with bird droppings and a horse cart. The example here is of course the US navy which after adding up it’s costs for the bid, (including for example $7.00 for the capital cost of the money), wound up buying a $7.00 hammer for $436.00, instead of you and me who consider it a mistake to waste a good sale, wait for the timing like the word of command in the ranks and get one for $4.00. After all, 160 or so businessmen found for example that 60% of govt. computers were of date, but you would have a fight sending the deceased retirement cheque back since they say they don’t make mistakes.
    The Col. is well aware of the complexity of supply logistics, and must have certainly outraged him while on overseas duty. Any soldier is aware of the tremendous waste since he sees it every day. Not to be out done by the hammer, now the Fed is sending cash by the ton to pay themselves for rebuilding what they just got paid to destroy in the name of nation building. The only nation being built is the new world disorder of the anti-christ of course.

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