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Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Michigan Welfare Queen

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." — Thomas Edison

This one will go down as one of the biggest boondoggles of all time. The Los Angeles Times reports Michigan woman wins $1-million lottery, still collects welfare:

“A Michigan woman who won a $1-million lottery jackpot last fall admits she's continued to collect $200 a month in public assistance. That's not all: The 24-year-old also says she deserves the financial aid because she's now saddled with expenses related to two houses.

Can you hear that bellowing and clanging of pitchforks? That's the sound of Michigan taxpayers' outrage.

The situation came to light this week after the Detroit-area Local 4 station received a hot tip: "Please do a story on lottery winners on welfare."

Local 4 did just that. First, it tracked Amanda Clayton using her public assistance card at a local snack market. Then, it tracked Clayton out to her home, where she was packing up a U-Haul for a move to her new place -- a home she had bought with cash from her lottery earnings, along with a new car.

Clayton, stopped in her driveway, barely flinched when the camera and microphone were thrust in her face. Nor did the single mother of two backpedal; she said she deserves the extra income just like any other taxpayer on public assistance.

"I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't, I thought maybe it was OK because I'm not working," Clayton told the reporter. "I feel that it's OK because, I mean, I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses."

Watch the video -- she also quibbles with the reporter who wonders how she can justify taking public aid after winning $1 million on the state's "Make Me Rich!" television show. After taking the lottery payment in a lump sum and paying taxes upfront, she walked away with much less. (Clayton's mother told the media her daughter pocketed about $500,000.)

It's not clear that Clayton is actually doing anything wrong, mind you. She does not have a job, and as a result, does not technically have any income.

But the idea of a lottery winner on welfare does not sit well with Michigan state Rep. Dale Zorn.

The Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation, now pending, that would trigger a state notification whenever a resident wins more than $1,000 in the lottery. He authored that legislation after it was discovered that another Michigan resident, Leroy Fick, continued drawing public assistance after winning a $2-million lottery jackpot in 2010.

The problem, Zorn told The Times on Wednesday, is that many lottery winners opt to take their earnings in a lump sum and pay their taxes upfront. That helps them to largely fly under the radar.

Under Zorn's pending legislation, lottery officials would be required to alert the state's Department of Human Services, which oversees public assistance, whenever a state resident wins more than $1,000.

The winner's name would then be checked against the state's roster of financial aid recipients. Winners would be required to undergo a reassessment to see if they still deserve aid after their financial windfall, he said.

"Public assistance is for those people who can no longer purchase food for their families, or pay their heating bills," Zorn told The Times. "It's not here to help those who win millions of dollars."

For her part, Clayton is no longer talking to the media. But her mother is.

"Until the bill's passed, apparently it's legal, and people need to leave her alone," Euline Clayton told the Detroit News, referring to Zorn's bill. "I'm not saying it's the right thing to do. But it's nobody's business if she's not breaking the law."

Talk about a sense of entitlement this one takes the cake. Our Founders believed in a society of self-reliance with little government intervention into the lives of the citizens. They did believe, however, that the government had some duty to provide assistance to the absolute destitute people — people that could not help themselves due to circumstances, not behavior.

Amanda Clayton’s case is the results of years of handouts creating increased expectations for more entitlements. People have been led to believe that the government owes the “equality” not the equality expressed by our Founders in the Deceleration of Independence and the Constitution but the equality of results promoted by the progressive left.

In January 1944 in his annual message to Congress President Roosevelt laid out his plan for a new Bill of Rights. In his message Roosevelt stated:

“...It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis—recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920’s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

I ask the Congress to explore the means for implementing this economic bill of rights—for it is definitely the responsibility of the Congress so to do. Many of these problems are already before committees of the Congress in the form of proposed legislation. I shall from time to time communicate with the Congress with respect to these and further proposals. In the event that no adequate program of progress is evolved, I am certain that the Nation will be conscious of the fact.

Our fighting men abroad—and their families at home—expect such a program and have the right to insist upon it. It is to their demands that this Government should pay heed rather than to the whining demands of selfish pressure groups who seek to feather their nests while young Americans are dying.

I have often said that there are no two fronts for America in this war. There is only one front. There is one line of unity which extends from the hearts of the people at home to the men of our attacking forces in our farthest outposts. When we speak of our total effort, we speak of the factory and the field, and the mine as well as of the battleground—we speak of the soldier and the civilian, the citizen and his Government.

Each and every one of us has a solemn obligation under God to serve this Nation in its most critical hour—to keep this Nation great—to make this Nation greater in a better world.”

This was the first shot fired by the left to institutionalize progressivism. Our Founders believed that the sole role of government was to secure our rights of Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness. They believed that happiness meant that happiness meant that each person should be secure in his right to own property, be it land or the fruits of his labors.

James Madison writing in Federalist Paper 10 (considered to be the most important of all the Federalist Papers) stated:

“…The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well as speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities that where no substantial occasion presents itself the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government.”

This was Madison’s argument against “Factions”, which he saw as being destructive to the rights of the people and to the future of the United States. In essence factions would result in class warfare.

Since Roosevelt’s call for a new Bill of Rights the progressive left and utopian masterminds have been pushing for more and more factions. We have factions for free education (even at the college level), universal health care, affirmative action, women’s reproductive rights, gay and lesbian rights, the right to a job, the right to a minimum wage, the right to home, the right to a vacation, etc. This list can on and one, but by now you should see what Madison was warning of.

Each of these factions, once set in place, require a bureaucracy and government bureaucrats and masterminds to implement and enforce them. Madison believed these factions would lead to a tyranny of the majority.

Amanda Clayton is an example of the results of these factious interests. She could see nothing wrong or immoral in her continuing to accept government aid after she had been handed $500,000 by the Michigan Lottery. She claimed she did not have a job, had two homes, and bills to pay therefore she needed the aid. The Michigan bureaucrats did not even have a way of checking her welfare status after winning the lotto.

The masterminds of progressive utopian thought have been gaining more and more influence and power for the past 100 years. They have tainted the vision of our Founders so much that we may never be able to recover to the state they envisioned in 1776 and 1787. This constant push for class warfare and the equality of results can only lead to a second revolution

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