Cutting waste from the Federal Budget is something every American should concern themselves with. Although I am a firm believer that the U.S. Government must help ease the burdens facing many of its poor, I also believe very strongly that it must be vigilant in exposing fraud and waste because of the unfair financial impact placed on the taxpayers. It is an unfortunate fact of life that there are many people that want something for nothing and don’t care if they engage in such activity. One program administrated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and known as Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as being fraud-infested. The GAO also blames a lack of oversight for its costly problems.
LIHEAP is a welfare project that receives approximately $5 Billion annually to help low-income residents pay their heating and cooling bills. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has proposed reducing the program funding for fiscal year 2012 instead of eliminating it, as many on Capitol Hill would prefer. Obama’s proposal, though, has outraged three “self-described advocates” of the poor; Congressmen Michael Capuano (D-Ma), Jim McGovern (D-Ma) and former lawmaker Joseph Kennedy.
Joseph Kennedy runs a non-profit called Citizens Energy and has formed a partnership with Venezuela’s America Bashing, Psychopathic President Hugo Chavez to provide heating oil for his charity. Kennedy had come under fire for appearing in television commercials praising Chavez even though he was aware of his close ties to Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Apparently, Chavez isn’t providing enough free oil for the charity these days and demanded that President Obama and Republicans “find some heart and recognize the terrible impact” of the proposed LIHEAP cuts.
The problem, though, is that GAO has uncovered that a number of dead people and incarcerated people receive funds, as well as at least 1,100 federal employees whose salary exceeds the maximum income to qualify for the program. In three of the examples found in the report; a U.S. Postal Service Employee from Illinois was given $840 in energy assistance after fraudulently reporting zero income despite earning $80,000 per year. Her excuse? She saw “long lines” of individuals applying for benefits and wanted the “free money.”
Another Illinoisan was provided $540 in energy assistance after using the identities of two deceased family members to qualify. And another example cited was a New Jersey Nursing Home received $3,200 after the director claimed to represent eight patients residing at the facility. By the way, those patients had their nursing home care paid for by Medicaid.
Still, we will continue to have lawmakers, lobbyists and self-serving sorts, like those mentioned above, try and justify the need to continue the wasteful spending of precious dollars instead of trying to reform those programs. Washington, and by extension, the state governments that administer these programs are not doing their jobs to ensure that the people that really need it, get it.
And that is the bigger problem isn’t it?
Could it be we have too many Chiefs –
and not enough Indians to do the work?