The Conversation

Pigford: Big Government and big corruption go hand-in-hand

The Pigford story finally broke into mainstream media consciousness at a time when I found myself on a tear against Big Government corruption - for example, the food stamp program, which is a delirious carnival of fraud and studied bureaucratic ignorance.  

Allowing EBT cards to be used at ATMs is sheer lunacy - a deliberate invitation to abuse, in which taxpayer blood is magically transformed into untraceable welfare cash.  But even when those EBT cards are used to buy groceries, the government is currently making absolutely no effort to accumulate data on purchases, beyond the minimal restriction against using food stamps to purchase alcohol.  A bill was recently introduced in the House for the express purpose of making the government use the huge data mining capabilities at its fingertips to begin reporting on what those food stamp cards are used for.  And thanks to the relentless Freedom of Information Act paladins at Judicial Watch, we now have documented proof that the USDA has been working with the Mexican government to promote food stamp benefits to would-be immigrants... pointedly including those who don't plan to immigrate to the U.S. legally.

Before that, we learned that the cell phone welfare program (i.e. the "Obamaphone") is riddled with incredible levels of abuse, including people who skated off with half a dozen "free" phones.  The government hasn't even tried to detect this abuse until now.  The program was essentially running on the honor system.

You hear insane garbage like that every time a subcommittee tears into some new aspect of the welfare state, including Obama's big-bucks corporate welfare.  Solyndra was bad enough, but people in this Administration should be in orange jumpsuits and shackles over Fisker Automotive.  The story is always the same: common sense out the window, protections stripped away from the public treasury, ridiculous business plans from Obama's cronies pumped full of taxpayer cash while a few veteran officials squeak in outrage.  It always boils down to a few top people scrambling to save their butts by claiming they had no idea what their underlings were doing.  Why, they're absolutely shocked to discover that taxpayer-subsidized electric cars built in Finland, at a loss of $500,000 on every $100,000 Obamamobile sold, didn't create any American jobs!

Big Government and Big Corruption go hand in hand.  The primary skill of a top-level political hack is his ability to escape blame.  Barack Obama somehow managed to pass himself off as a helpless bystander to his entire first term in office.  The bigger government gets, the less anyone knows what's going on, and the wider those spigots of taxpayer cash open.  

Pigford wasn't a surprise.  Pigford was inevitable.  We're always told that taxpayer cash will be carefully handed out with the greatest care, beneath the unblinking gaze of accountability watchdogs.  But it always ends up as a blizzard of dollars scattered into grasping hands by blindfolded bureaucrats holding leaf blowers.  As long as the recipients know how to express their gratitude by voting for the right people, all other considerations are secondary.


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