A Minnesota millionaire hellbent on determining whether America’s welfare programs boast even the slightest accountability (they don’t) managed to sign up for food stamps and collect nearly $6,000 in undeserved and unearned benefits over the course of 19 months.
After his experiment proved unsuccessful, per se — he’d hoped officials would deny his requests for help — millionaire Rob Undersander came forward with his story to warn legislators of just how unaccountable and bloated America’s welfare system has become.
That story was told Thursday during a U.S. House Committee on Agriculture hearing on “the potential implications of eliminating broad-based categorical eligibility for SNAP households.”
Attending the hearing is millionaire Rob Undersander, who exposed the flaw by honestly applying and getting food stamps. pic.twitter.com/8vSC6COJpR
— Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) June 20, 2019
SNAP refers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is the program that hands out food stamps via so-called Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
Speaking with Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney shortly before the hearing began Thursday, Undersander recounted how his experiment had begun.
“I was doing some volunteer work for the Central Minnesota Council on Aging, where we help seniors sign up for Medicare plans, navigate numerous resources and other social programs,” he said.
“During one of the classes, they handed out a food stamp application in the event that we needed to help seniors fill it out, explaining that eligibility is based on income only. … At the time my wife and I were recently retired, drawing very little income, living off our savings, living very well, and I thought to myself, ‘Would I be eligible for this?” So I filled out the application and three weeks later, I’m getting hundreds of dollars of food stamps. I couldn’t believe it.”
Listen, via FBN’s “Varney & Co“:
Here’s the stunning catch: Undersander obtained the food stamps honestly, in that he didn’t deflate his income when filling out his SNAP application.
“On that application, I used an abundance of caution in complying with the law,” he explained.
That welfare fraud runs rampant is bad enough unto itself. But in this case, there was no fraud. There was just stunning government incompetence, which is why Undersander demands to see changes.
“That’s why I’m doing this,” he said to Varney. “After I started receiving the benefits, I started working with my state representative, Mr. Jeff Howe, in crafting legislation to at least try to reform this in the state of Minnesota and unfortunately, it was not well received by the Minnesota legislature.”
“Why?” Varney then pressed.
The answer is simple. Democrats command an overwhelming majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives and only a tiny minority in the state Senate. And Democrats in general are fervent opponents of welfare reform, not to mention personal responsibility.
“You knew this was wrong and you did it anyway. I find it pretty despicable. … I am just sorry there is no way we can prosecute you,” one such Democrat, state Rep. Jack Considine, reportedly said to Undersander during a Minnesota House hearing in April.
Never mind that Undersander, who as a reminder volunteers with senior citizens, had been trying to prove a valid point about the lack of accountability in America’s welfare programs.
Yet every other Democrat seemed to share the same opinion.
“I am finding it incredibly offensive that $6,000 in benefits were taken,” State Rep. Laurie Halverson said.
“I think it is inappropriate to apply for these benefits,” state Rep. Jennifer Schultz added.
Some would argue that it’s “inappropriate” for the government to hand $6,000 in benefits to someone who readily admitted that he’s worth over a million dollars.
Democrats in the national Congress reportedly acted just as petty during the hearing Thursday. While Undersander didn’t testify himself — though his story was cited as an example by Republican congressmen — his mere presence triggered outrage.
“You did this all to continue the right-wing crusade against poor people,” far-leftt Rep. Marcia Fudge, who last week made headlines when she read a crude letter from a constituent describing the president a a “mobster” and his supporters as “dumb,” said.
“He intentionally defrauded the federal government,” Rep. Jim McGovern added.
The full hearing may be seen below (the relevant part starts at 22:22):
“He didn’t do this out of any kind of a dark heart; he did this to call attention to the fact that there are flaws in the system and it is Minnesota’s abuses of this administrative flexibility that has caused this problem,” Rep. Dusty Johnson, a Republican, said in Undersander’s defense.
According to the Foundation for Government Accountability, the loopholes inherent in America’s lax, Democrat-promoted welfare programs have “allowed more than five million people to enroll in food stamps without meeting eligibility rules.”
The problem reportedly only grew worse under former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
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