Travis Perry / @Watchdogorg / July 13, 2014 /
OSAWATOMIE, Kan.—For Kansas, the bad news is the state flubbed more than $18.9 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Payments during fiscal 2013.
The good news is this represents an improvement. The state snapped a streak of rising payment errors that stretched back to 2010.
Overall,Kansas incorrectly paid out 3.99 percent of the roughly $474 million distributed during fiscal 2013. The state overpaid on 3.24 percent ($15.4 million) and underpaid on .75 percent ($3.5 million) of all SNAP disbursements.
Even with the improvement, Kansas still lags behind the national overall average of 3.2 percent.
Read more:Florida wins $7 million for wasting $47 million in food stamp funds
Here’s the recent history for the Sunflower State:
Fiscal 2010 – 4.79 percent error rate / $18.36 million
Fiscal 2011 – 5 percent error rate / $22.1 million
Fiscal 2012 – 5.45 percent error rate / $24.8 million
Theresa Freed, communications director for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, told Kansas Watchdog last year that the state’s elevated error rate was caused, at least in part, by Kansas’ focus on paying benefits before eligibility was verified. Now, it seems, that’s no longer the case.
“We are now doing a better job of rechecking applications to ensure we have all needed information prior to authorization, to prevent errors from ever happening,” Freed said.
“Our (Economic and Employment Services) staff meets with our regional director on a monthly basis to discuss the error rate. We are also continually researching the types of cases that are more prone to errors so we can be proactive in preventing inaccurate payments.”
Kansas’ SNAP program serves 127,651 households, including 150,003 adults and 135,979 children.
Read More on Watchdog.org.
Brian Anderson, July 13, 2014
Estakio Beltran is a democrat running for office in Washington state’s 4th Congressional district. He is considered a long shot in the highly-conservative area so he decided to set himself apart from the pack with a unique political ad in which he blows the hell out of an elephant shaped piñata with a shotgun. Get it? The elephant is the symbol of the Republican party, so he plans to kill off the GOP or something.
Now, if you are trying to appeal to Latinos, piñatas, violence, and GOP hatred are all proven vote getters. However, attempting to sway conservative voters this way…not so much.
Unfortunately Beltran removed his ad from YouTube because he’s not only insane but also a chickensh*t so we’ll have to let The Seattle Times describe it for us:
The video opens with the blue-jeans wearing Beltran posing with hands on hips alongside an arid landscape by a country road. “They call me a long shot. They say I can’t win in this district,” Beltran says. “But what happens to an elephant when it stands around, doing nothing, for too long?”
The camera pans to an elephant pinata, and then back to Beltran, who shoulders a pump-action shotgun and blasts the Republican Party symbol in the rear. “My name is Estakio Beltran,” the candidate says, racking the shotgun. “And I approved this message.”
Beltran then rides off on a burro toward a sign pointing toward the U.S. Capitol.
Nice, huh? Can you imagine if a Republican candidate did an ad where he/she shotgunned a stuffed donkey? The liberals would have a freak-out on par with their hysterical reaction to the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision.
In this fictional Republican ad, however, when the donkey piñata was busted open, food stamps, welfare checks, and social security cards for illegal aliens would fall out. After all, those are the treats democrats give out to entice support.
I’m actually surprised the liberals aren’t freaking out on this ad as they tend to take imagery and metaphors way too literally. First, the democrats areEBT
the antigun/anti-violence party so the shotgun and subsequent firing of it should have them demanding; Not one more piñata should die from gun violence.
Then, where the hell is PETA on this? Beltran shoots an innocent elephant. As you may know, big game hunting is no laughing matter on the left. The Obama administration just outlawed the trading of antique ivory, which will destroy the collectables market for antique guns, musical instruments, and just about anything containing ivory that was made well before elephant hunting was banned.
There is one image in this ad that I think is entirely appropriate. When Beltran rides a donkey towards the Capitol Building, he’s saying, “Send another jackass to Washington.”
No thanks, we have too many already.
The fundamental numbers behind all the propaganda tell a starkly different story
by MAC SLAVO | SHTFPLAN.COM | JULY 10, 2014
Amid all the talk of recovery by politicians, economic officials and big business leaders, the fundamental numbers behind all the propaganda tell a starkly different story.
Home sales have dropped to record lows, more people are out of the workforce than anytime in the last 50 years, and cash-strapped consumers have run out of money to fuel economic growth.
By all meaningful measures the American boom times of old are gone.
A recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services suggests that we may have already reached the tipping point and that things are only going to get worse going forward.
According to the HHS, nearly half of all Americans are now dependent on some form of government benefit just to put food on the table. And of our population of 310 million, nearly one in four receive welfare benefits.
That’s over 70 million people who, if the government safety nets broke down due to lack of funding or a monetary crisis, would be starving on our streets right now.
The sheer magnitude of the numbers is shocking. What’s worse is that they are indicative of a continuing down-trend that won’t be improving any time soon.
According to the 2014 version of a report that the Department of Health and Human Services is required by law to issue annually, the percentage of Americans on welfare in 2011 was the highest yet calculated. The data for 2011 is the most recent in the report.
By this measure, according to the report, 23.1 percent of Americans were recipients of welfare in 2011. Since 1993, the earliest year covered by the report, that is the highest percentage of Americans reported to be receiving welfare.
A startling 38 percent of all children 5 and under in the United States were welfare recipients in 2011, according to the report.
When recipients of non-means-tested government programs (such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and veterans benefits) were added to those receiving benefits from means-tested programs, the total number receiving benefits in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 151,014,000, according to the Census Bureau. That equaled 49.2 percent of the total population.
CNS News via Infowars
Of critical importance is that this particular report looks only at 2011. Since then we’ve seen even more people taken out of the labor force. Moreover, we’ve seen prices for all consumer goods rise during that time frame and incomes either stagnate or drop to inflation adjusted levels not seen since the 1960′s.
Thus, in all likelihood, we are well over the 50% mark. This means that without government assistance that may include social security, welfare, unemployment or other social services, at least one in two Americans would not be able to pay their rent, buy food, or keep their utilities turned on.
The end of the world as know it is happening right now.
What’s worse is that the those in the upper echelons of our government know it.
They have been actively preparing for the fallout by war-gaming large scale economic collapse scenarios and militarizing domestic law enforcement for the civil unrest to follow.
The American public got a small taste of what something like that might look like when the Electronic Benefit Transfer systems in sixteen states went offline last year for about 12 hours last year.
Nothing short of panic ensued; along with the looting and riots the government expects will invariably happen should the welfare and social distribution systems come under strain.
Watch: Like a Tornado – Grocery Store Shelves Razed in Less Than 3 Hours
Watch: How Am I Going to Feed My Family
The above videos depict the reactions from people in an event that was limited to a small portion of benefits recipients in several states.
Imagine what would happen if such a crisis developed across the entire United States and affected a full quarter of our entire population.
Tess Pennington, author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, warns that such a scenario could lead to a breakdown of the system as we know it within a matter of days.
“Think of mass chaos of people running into grocery stores to get as much food and supplies as possible, gas lines that run out into the street, highways at a virtual stand still, banks not giving out money, looting, fires, the health of the elderly deteriorating due to not being able to get needed medicines, babies crying because they have no formula to drink. It’s not a pretty picture when you allow yourself to imagine it.”
(Source: Emergency Items – What Will Disappear First)
And then, once the store shelves are empty, the real disaster begins, as the government will have no choice but to deploy military assets to quell the riots, and that means mass detentions, incarcerations and maybe worse.
Do you wish that you had a better job? If so, you are not alone
by MICHAEL SNYDER | AMERICAN DREAM | JULY 1, 2014
Do you wish that you had a better job? If so, you are not alone. In fact, there are millions upon millions of Americans that get up every day and go to a job that they wish that they could afford to quit. Unfortunately, most Americans end up just desperately holding on to the jobs that they have because just about any job is valuable in this economic environment. Over the past decade, the long-term trends that are destroying jobs in America have accelerated. We have seen countless numbers of jobs shipped overseas, we have seen countless numbers of jobs replaced by technology, we have seen countless numbers of jobs taken by immigrants and we have seen countless numbers of jobs lost to the overall decline of the once great U.S. economy. Unfortunately, even though we can all see this happening, our “leaders” have failed to come up with any solutions. And since there are so many of us that are desperate for jobs these days, employers know that they don’t have to pay as much. The balance of supply and demand in the employment marketplace has radically shifted in their favor. So less workers are getting health insurance these days, less workers are getting retirement plans and once you adjust for inflation our paychecks have been getting smaller for years. Needless to say, all of this is absolutely eviscerating the middle class. The following are 17 facts that prove that the quality of jobs in America is going down the drain…
#1 A study conducted by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity is projecting that the number of college graduates that will be entering the workforce in the U.S. this decade will be nearly three times as high as the growth in the number of jobs that require at least a Bachelor’s degree.
#2 Only four of the twenty fastest growing occupations in America require a Bachelor’s degree or better.
#3 It is hard to believe, but in America today one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.
#4 At this point, 53 percent of all wage earners in the United States make less than $30,000 a year.
#5 Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.
#6 One out of every three grocery store workers in the state of California is on some form of public assistance.
#7 Due to the decline in the quality of our jobs, income inequality in the United States has grown to frightening levels. The following is an excerpt from a recent Politico editorial that was written by a very wealthy individual…
The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.
But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.
#8 In 2007, the average household in the top 5 percent had 16.5 times as much wealth as the average household overall. But now the average household in the top 5 percent has 24 times as much wealth as the average household overall.
#9 In terms of median wealth per adult, the United States is now in just 19th place in the world.
#10 Our paychecks just keep getting smaller. Median household income in the United States is about 7 percent lower than it was in the year 2000 after adjusting for inflation.
#11 During the last recession, the U.S. economy lost millions of middle class jobs. But during this “recovery”, most of the jobs that have been “created” have been low paying jobs. The following is from the New York Times…
During the recession, employment declined across the board, but 60 percent of the net job losses occurred in middle-income occupations with median hourly wages of $13.84 to $21.13. In contrast, these occupations have accounted for less than a quarter of the net job gains in the recovery, while low-wage occupations with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83 have accounted for more than half of these gains.
#12 Due to a lack of decent jobs, half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.
#13 According to one survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
#14 Back in the 1980s, over 20 percent of the jobs in the U.S. were manufacturing jobs. Today, only about 9 percent of the jobs in the U.S. are manufacturing jobs.
#15 One recent study discovered that all job growth in America since the year 2000 has gone to immigrants.
#16 Another recent study found that 47 percent of unemployed Americans have “completely given up” looking for a job.
#17 The plight of unemployed workers is likely going to continue to get even worse as technology replaces more of our low paying jobs. For example, McDonald’s plans to experiment by replacing thousands of workers in Europewith touch screen terminals. Will we soon see the same thing in America?
Almost all of us know someone that is working a low quality job.
Perhaps you find yourself stuck in such a situation.
And when you are slaving away day after day, week after week for next to nothing, it can really suck the life right out of you.
Just consider what one restaurant cook named Ruben goes through on a daily basis…
Ruben has worked as a cook at the Golden Corral restaurant chain for more than five years, and still only earns $8 per hour.
He has been living with his mother because he can’t afford a place on his own. But now she is about to move into an assisted living facility so he has no idea where he will go.
His job is in Maryland, so he takes the bus from D.C. every day. The last train home leaves at 11:24 p.m., so on nights when he works later than 11:30 p.m. he walks two hours home because he can’t afford a cab.
He says he’s scared to ask for a raise because he’s worried that they will let him go and find someone else willing to take the low wage.
Other Americans have found themselves dumped out of the middle class in recent years and forced to take just about anything that they can find. A recent Huffington Post piece documented the plight of a formerly middle class couple named David and Barbara Ludwig…
In August 2008, factory workers David and Barbara Ludwig treated themselves to new cars—David a Dodge pickup, Barbara a sporty Mazda 3. With David making $22 an hour and Barbara $19, they could easily afford the payments.
A month later, Baldwin Hardware, a unit of Stanley Black & Decker, announced layoffs at the Reading plant where they both worked. David was unemployed for 20 months before finding a janitor job that paid $10 an hour, less than half his previous wage. Barbara hung on, but she, too, lost her shipping-dock job of 26 years as Black & Decker shifted production to Mexico. Now she cleans houses for $10 an hour while looking for something permanent.
They still have the cars. The other trappings of their middle-class lifestyle? In the rear-view mirror.
So what about you?
Do you have a similar story to share?
What are things like in your area of the country?
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with an Illinois mother in a ruling Monday that will severely limit public sector unions’ ability to force home health and personal care workers to pay union dues.
In Harris v. Quinn, the court voted 5-4 in favor of Pam Harris, a suburban Chicago mother, who sued Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for a 2009 executive decision he issued forcing personal care assistants to pay dues to public unions.
The Harris family receives around $25,000 per year from Medicaid to help care for their adult son, Josh, who suffers from Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome. Home care is an alternatives to placing him in a state institution.
Harris claimed that being forced to give dues to a public union violated her First Amendment rights.
In its decision, the court drew a line between workers like Harris and other public sector employees.
“In the case of full-fledged public employees, the State establishes all of the duties imposed on each employee, as well as all of the qualifications needed for each position,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the majority opinion.
He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonya Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer dissented.
“So if a personal assistant steals from a customer, neglects a customer, or abuses a customer, the state washes its hands,” reads the opinion.
Because of Quinn’s 2009 decision, unions like the Service Employees International Union were allowed to collect dues from the Medicaid payments going to the Harris family.
SEIU has unionized 20,000 such individuals, and collects an estimated $10 million in dues annually.
Monday’s decision will severely hamper their ability to draw money from such workers, the number of which are growing considerably and were seen by unions as a major source of new funds.
While the decision was unfavorable to public unions, it did not go as far as some of their opponents had hoped. An ultimate win for public union opponents would have been a reversal of the 1977 ruling Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
While he abstained from deciding on the precedent, Alito did call it “questionable,” leaving open the possibility that it could be revisited.
Nevertheless, Harris’s supporters praised the decision.
“The court looked at the situation and saw that Pamela Harris clearly was not a paid government employee,” Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the free-market Illinois Policy Institute, told The Daily Caller.
“She does not have to worry about them interfering with her family. She doesn’t have to worry about the aid she gets from the state being redirected to unions,” said Kersey.
The Illinois Policy Institute filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Illinois mother.
“There are 20,000 people in Illinois who have been forced to pay dues to a union that they may not support, and they can look forward to being free of having any of their benefits directed to the SEIU,” said Kersey.
Kersey said that had Quinn’s executive decision been allowed to stand, it would have opened the door to unionizing anyone who does business with the government, including doctors who provide care to Medicaid and Medicare patients and small grocers who sell goods to customers on food stamps.
by Katie McHugh 27 Jun 2014
A Mississippi radio station aired an ad warning voters that the Tea Party would “take away” food stamps and other welfare benefits before the run-off between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and his challenger, Chris McDaniel.
Calling the run-off the most important election since the re-election of President Barack Obama, the WMGO radio station ordered listeners in Madison County to vote for Cochran the day of the run off. The ad appeared to target black voters.
“By not voting, you’re saying, ‘Take away all of my government programs, such as food stamps, early breakfast and lunch programs, millions of dollars to our black universities,” the ad said, voiced by an African American woman.
“Everything we and our families depend on that comes from Washington will be cut. Mississippi will never be the same. The question is, will you spend five dollars on gas to vote — or allow the Tea Party to send us back to the good old bad days?
“Vote against the Tea Party. Vote Thad Cochran. Remember, if you didn’t vote in the June 3rd primary, you can vote today,” the ad concluded.
The GOP establishment backing Cochran successfully used Democratic voters — and divisive racial politics — to help Cochran eke out a victory over the tea party insurgency.
“The tea party intends to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday,” read one flyer distributed in heavily-black voting districts, which illicitly fails to state who paid for it.
Another similarly-worded flyer paid for a PAC called “All Citizens for Mississippi” declared, “The tea party intends to prevent you from voting.” It depicts a black-and-white photograph of civil rights activists holding protest signs, according to blogger Jim Hoft.
After Cochran’s narrow win, National Journal published an article claiming “Cochran’s attempt to boost Democratic African-American turnout paid off in a big way,” but made no mention of the flyers and their possibly libelous message that the tea party sought to deliberately suppress black votes.
McDaniel did not concede the race to Cochran and plans to file suit, saying that the run off between the two Republicans was decided by liberal Democratic voters.
“Today the conservative movement took a backseat to liberal Democrats in the state of Mississippi. And the most conservative state in the republic this happened and if it can’t happen here, it can happen anywhere,” he said after the Associated Press called the race for Cochran. “And that is why we will never stop fighting.”