Sequester this

By From page A4 | March 25, 2013

Bet you didn’t know the U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving away $50,000 to women and Hispanics “who were not offered subsidized farm loans that they applied for, or later said they would have liked to apply for, from 1981 to 2000?”

Yep, that’s $1.3 billion that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calls the “path to justice.”

We call that money that could be used to reopen the White House to tours.

This information comes from James Brovard, who pointed this out in a column in the Wall Street Journal.

“Since most farm loans went to white males, Uncle Sam is atoning by giving awards of $50,000 apiece to claimants from other ethnic groups or non-male gender,” Brovard wrote.

The aggrieved group is still aggrieved because they have to prove they were actually farmers and the department won’t provide them lawyers to help collect the payouts. The department did provide lawyers when it gave out money to 90,000 African-Americans who met a 2012 deadline for applying, even though the Census estimated 33,000 black-operated farms in the 1980s and 1990s. The Government Accountability Office found that most of the claims by African-Americans had been “evaluated based solely on the information submitted by the claimants and, as a result, the adjudicator of these claims has no way of independently verifying that information.”

Well, the women want the same slipshod treatment. Plugging for lower standards is the American Association of University Women and two other women’s groups who wrote President Obama in 2011, claiming the higher standards “‘perpetuates the United States government’s pattern of treating women and Hispanic farmers in a discriminatory fashion.”

As far as we’re concerned this is a government giveaway and Obama should sequester it.

And speaking of self-certification that’s contributed to the explosion of Lifeline cell phones, popularly known as Obama phones, costing taxpayers $819 million in 2008 and rising to $2.2 billion last year. These free cell phones with 250 minutes and 250 texts per month are funded by charges on phones against the rest of us that the Wall Street Journal estimated at $2.50 month.

“The FCC until last year allowed consumers to self-certify, without requiring documentation, that they met federal poverty guidelines. Subscribers didn’t have to recertify once they were enrolled in the program, and there were few checks on whether households signed up for more than one cellphone.,” wrote Spencer E. Ante last month. At the request of the WSJ, the Federal Communications Commission reviewed the top five companies receiving Lifeline support and found “41 percent of their more than 6 million subscribers either couldn’t demonstrate their eligibility or didn’t respond to requests for certification.”

Other investigators have found some Lifeline cell phone recipients had as many as six phones. Ya think some of these folks might be involved in some sort of shady activity?

This is another program Obama can sequester as far as we’re concerned. Lifeline support should only go to landline phones. California wants to give cell phones to homeless people. If there are homeless who actually need one to line up a job, a charitable organization could provide that person with a Walmart phone with prepaid and finite minutes.

Finite is a good word to describe taxpayer money. There is a finite amount. It’s time for government to stop acting like there is an infinite amount.

Mountain Democrat

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