John on October 5, 2010 at 8:22 am
The LA Times had an important piece yesterday about the fraud in our welfare system:
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in California welfare money, meant to help the needy pay their rent and clothe their children, has been spent or withdrawn outside the state in recent years, including millions in Las Vegas, hundreds of thousands in Hawaii and thousands on cruise ships sailing from Miami…
Of the nearly $12 million accessed in Las Vegas, more than $1 million was spent or withdrawn at shops and casino hotels on, or within a few blocks of, the 4.5-mile strip. The list includes $8,968 at the Tropicana, $7,995 at the Venetian and its Grand Canal Shoppes, and $1,332 at Tix 4 Tonight, seller of discount admission for such acts as Cirque du Soleil.
Although many Las Vegas casinos block the use of welfare cards in ATMs on gambling floors, more than $34,700 has been spent or withdrawn from the ATM at a 7-Eleven in the shadow of Steve Wynn’s new Encore casino and a couple of blocks south of Circus Circus.
Granted, $70 million bucks is a drop in the bucket compared to the state’s real problems, such as medicaid and insurance fraud, failing schools, and out of control pensions for state workers–but it’s still a lot of money.
Later in the story, there is a weak defense of the system suggesting that maybe the cards were stolen. That’s the kind of nonsense that makes fraud inevitable. This money was stolen, but not from the recipients, from the taxpayers.
What’s truly frustrating is that so many Californians continue to tolerate this nonsense. Why are Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer even competitive in their races? Because so many Californians vote D, regardless of the abysmal consequences.
Consider that it literally took rolling blackouts and financial scandal to get voters to shift from Grey Davis to the lackluster Schwarzenegger. What would it take to get them to do something sensible, like hire two highly qualified businesswomen to represent and run the state? God only knows.
Apparently being on the verge of financial ruin isn’t enough to focus the minds of California Democrats. They just stand in front of the electoral slot machine, dropping in state dollars and pulling that D lever over and over. As they sit there glassy-eyed and slack, waiting for a payout that never comes, those of us who are paying the bills begin to think about Texas, where common sense is a little more common.