How NOT to spend taxpayers’ money

[video link]

If you’re receiving government assistance of any kind:

  1. Be grateful!
  2. Spend it on what it’s intended for.

It’s a blessing to be offered help when you need it (how well I know this — and I’m thankful), but the blessing turns to bitterness if you misuse it.

Via Guarino.

Previously: here and here.

A Circle of Protection: Christian leaders on protecting programs for the poor

A Circle of Protection: A statement on why we need to protect programs for the poor, signed by more than 50 Christian leaders — Evangelical, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestants, African-American, and Latino:

In the face of historic deficits, the nation faces unavoidable choices about how to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices. These choices are economic, political — and moral.

As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up—how it treats those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources. The Christian community has an obligation to help them be heard, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected. We know from our experience serving hungry and homeless people that these programs meet basic human needs and protect the lives and dignity of the most vulnerable. We believe that God is calling us to pray, fast, give alms, and to speak out for justice.

As Christian leaders, we are committed to fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice. We are also committed to resist budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people. Therefore, we join with others to form a Circle of Protection around programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad.

Key Principles:

  1. The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people.
  2. Funding focused on reducing poverty should not be cut. It should be made as effective as possible, but not cut.
  3. We urge our leaders to protect and improve poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance to promote a better, safer world.
  4. National leaders must review and consider tax revenues, military spending, and entitlements in the search for ways to share sacrifice and cut deficits.
  5. A fundamental task is to create jobs and spur economic growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the best path out of poverty, and restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.
  6. The budget debate has a central moral dimension. Christians are asking how we protect “the least of these.” “What would Jesus cut?” “How do we share sacrifice?”
  7. As believers, we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to ask for guidance as our nation makes decisions about our priorities as a people.
  8. God continues to shower our nation and the world with blessings. As Christians, we are rooted in the love of God in Jesus Christ. Our task is to share these blessings with love and justice and with a special priority for those who are poor.

» Continue reading A Circle of Protection: A Statement on Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor

Finally! A Greensboro store owner gets charged with food stamp fraud

ebtThe News & Record and WFMY report that the owner of the University Mart in Greensboro has been charged with food stamp fraud. He’s accused of making purchases at local grocery stores with food stamps that weren’t assigned to him. The University Mart is on Warren Street, near the intersection with Spring Garden.

Both articles say the arrest resulted from a joint local and federal investigation. I’m glad to hear it. I posted previously about my frustration with entitlement program fraud, but I never heard about anyone doing anything about it.

I wonder if there will be more arrests? There’s more than one store in this town where you can get cash — 50¢ on the dollar — for food stamps.

For those who might be wondering how I know about food stamp fraud: I’ve learned a lot doing street outreach. This is one of those things that makes me angry, frustrated and sad, all at the same time.