Welfare Spending at Popular Vacation Destinations – Missouri Senator Luann Ridgeway

In American Sovereign, Missouri politics on March 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

Watching Out For Your Tax Dollars:
Welfare Spending at Popular Vacation Destinations

How many times have you been in line at the grocery store counting pennies to pay for imitation hamburger and off-brand pasta, only to see the person in front of you unload a cart full of steaks and then whip out a welfare EBT card to pay for it? It happens to me and I bet it happens to you as well. The program that provides for your hard earned money to be spent in this fashion by people as able-bodied as are you and I is called TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. If you get upset watching someone buy groceries with your money, hang on because you are about to get boiling mad.

Because welfare benefits are now delivered with a plastic debit card, where and when these benefits are spent is easily tracked. Chris Nagus, a St. Louis television reporter requested these records from the Missouri Department of Social Services (click here for a link to the DSS data). What he found is unbelievable. Keep in mind, this is just one month of spending.

Since most of Missouri’s population lives near a state line, it is not unusual for some benefits to be spent in adjoining states. However, some states were further away, much further away and not even connected to the mainland.

Over the course of one month, in Florida, Missouri welfare recipients spent $84,061 on food and withdrew $9,737 in cash from ATMs. In California, the month’s totals were $69,672 for food and $7,818 in cash. In the biggest insult to taxpayers, during one month welfare recipients spent $2,737 for food and withdrew $175…in HAWAII!

I am sure many hard working Missourians would love to take their families on a vacation to Florida, California, or Hawaii. However, it now appears they cannot since they are busy working to pay for someone else to go who isn’t working. Personally, I would like to see any transaction that takes place more than one state away red flagged for inquiry. If there is not a valid reason for the person to be there, benefits should be terminated.  The assistance is intended for needy families to survive, not for freeloaders to travel on someone else’s dime.

There was a time when being on public assistance came with a stigma. Now the government goes out of its way to sign up more people. Where public welfare used to be a measure of last resort, it is now considered normal since that is what their parents did and what so many of their friends continue to do. Young unmarried women have actually been heard saying they want to have their baby before marriage as then the birth and maternal after-care will be “free”.

Maybe this discovery will serve as a wakeup call that the program is out of control and must be reformed. Despite what the liberals will tell you, personal responsibility and charity are pretty good things, for everyone.

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