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Your Tax Dollars at Work

In the news yesterday: USDA sent out $1.1 billion to dead farmers. The opening lines of the story in the Washington Post:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed $1.1 billion over seven years to the estates or companies of deceased farmers and routinely failed to conduct reviews required to ensure that the payments were properly made, according to a government
report.”

Yes, they gave dead farmers and their estates money without checking to make sure they were actually alive and still working the farm. Some estates are allowed to collect payments for up to two years after the owner dies — after that, USDA officials must make sure the farm is still operating and not just staying open in order to get money. Here’s one case, and I think we all know who this refers to — Mindy Spencer, you better clean up your operation pronto:

“The report cited a 1,900-acre soybean and corn farm in Illinois that collected
$400,000 on behalf of an owner who lived in
Florida before his death in 1995. The company did not notify the government of the death but certified each year that the dead shareholder, who owned 40 percent of the company, was “actively engaged” in managing the farm.”


Sheesh. No wonder we have a budget deficit.

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