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Sen. Tom Coburn's 'Waste Book' Could Upset You

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(This article was written before Thanksgiving.) Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate family and this wonderful country. While you are enjoying turkey and football, think about folks who really have reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in his new Waste Book 2012 Report points out the NFL is a nonprofit and is being subsidized to the tune of $91,000,000 – by you – each year. Happy Thanksgiving football day!

He claims there is a professional sports loop hole in our tax code which allows the NFL, the National Hockey League and others to classify themselves as nonprofit organizations or IRS 501(c) (6) organizations. This allows the NFL to exempt itself from federal income tax on its earnings.

Sen. Tom Coburn’s ‘Waste Book’ is full of Thanksgiving turkeys…

Talk about stuffing! Coburn tells us in 2010 the NFL nonprofit “received $184 million from its 32 member teams.”
If this doesn’t upset your Thanksgiving meal, his report claims “The NFL generates an estimated $9 billion annually.”

Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal by knowing that the nonprofit status of the NFL allows it to pay Roger Goodell, commissioner, a “…reported $11.6 million in salary and perks in 2010 alone.” The Waste Book claims “Goodell’s salary will reportedly reach $20 million in 2019.” According to Coburn, the NFL paid five other officials $19.2 million in just one year. Some nonprofit!

In justifying its tax-free status: “For example, on its 2010 tax return, the NFL described itself as a ‘trade association promoting interests of its 32 member clubs.”

The Waste Book Report of 2012 is a full 131 pages of wasteful spending. Presidential candidates for 2016 might want to review Coburn’s work to prove their waste, fraud and abuse charges which are always made during a campaign.

Back to our friends at the Department of Agriculture…

Many families will benefit this Thanksgiving from the $80 billion provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as SNAP or food stamps). None of us want any family to go hungry on this marvelous day. The report claims $4.5 billion is wasted on some of the following programs.

I suspect, however, you might be surprised to hear that the SNAP benefits or food stamps in three states go to individuals “…because they smoke marijuana.”

In Oregon, the SNAP payments may be used to purchase luxury drinks such as Frappuccinos at Starbucks counters inside grocery stores. Sen. Coburn reports that Safeway allows the purchases of Starbucks in its stores, but will not allow SNAP payments to pay for the syrup to be added to the gourmet coffee.

In Maine, New Mexico and Oregon, individuals receive extra SNAP benefits if they use marijuana. “These states allowed some marijuana users to deduct the cost of the drug from their income when determining the amount of the benefits provided for which they are eligible.”

In Florida, Coburn tells us an exotic dancer collected approximately $1,000 a month in food stamps, but made approximately $85,000 in tips annually. She did go to jail for this fraud.
As you enjoy your turkey day watching football, you should know the SNAP offices in USDA encourage entertainment too.

USDA says, “Throw a great party.” SNAP offices are encouraged to throw great parties and create soap operas where the social events will allow people to mix and mingle and learn about the SNAP program. One USDA radio program or soap opera cost $3 million for four months to advertise in several states.

Sadly, some folks receiving SNAP benefits will not be able to benefit from the USDA’s largesse this Thanksgiving.

In New York and Massachusetts alone, 2,000 dead people are still receiving food stamp benefits. Also in just these two states, 7,236 individuals are receiving double SNAP benefits. This small error by our USDA friends only amounts to $1.4 million every month in these two states alone. Have some more dessert to celebrate the day!

Now that I have upset your Thanksgiving dinner, have a drink of whiskey from the new Clayton Distillery Company in New York, which received $99,000 of your money. You have paid for it.

(This article first ran in Farm Futures on November 25, 2014.)

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