Jul 31, 2013, 2:57 pm EDT
According to a report released by watchdog group the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday, $35.9 million in farm subsidies has been paid to dead people.
The report claims that agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid considerable amounts of money to deceased individuals. The GAO believes that the Risk Management Agency paid $22 million in farm subsidies and allowances to 3,434 individuals that had been dead for two or more years. The GAO also cites the Natural Resources Conservation Services as having paid $10.6 to dead people. Finally the GAO reports that the Farm Service Agency paid thousands of deceased people a total of $3.3 million, reports ABC News.
“Not only are unlimited crop insurance subsidies flowing to the largest and most successful farm businesses, they are now going to deceased policyholders,” Scott Faber, vice president of the Environmental Working Group, told The New York Times. “This irresponsible use of scarce taxpayer dollars reinforces just how broken the system is.” Read
Jul 31, 2013, 12:42 pm EDT
In a move likely to make the National Rifle Association (NRA) very happy, a high school in Arkansas plans to boost security by making sure that teachers and staff are carrying guns.
Arkansas law includes a provision making it legal for schools to have armed staff. The Clarksville High School has decided to put the law to use, putting 20 teachers and administrators through 53 hours of training so they can received concealed carry permits, allowing them to keep firearms with them while at school, the Associated Press notes.
Clarksville, which has a population of 9,200, is the first community in the state to allow teachers to carry guns at school. The decision comes in the wake of the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., last year, which left more than 20 young children and several teachers dead. Read
Jul 31, 2013, 12:22 pm EDT
New York City’s ban on oversized sodas got a big thumbs-down from a state appeals court.
The decision upheld a lower court order blocking the law — backed strongly by Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg – which prohibits the sale of sugary drinks in containers over 16-ounces, the Daily News notes.
Ruling unanimously, the appellate court said the city’s health department “overstepped the boundaries of its lawfully delegated authority when it promulgated the [ban] to curtail the consumption of soda drinks.” Read
Jul 31, 2013, 11:44 am EDT
In a novel bid to reduce welfare spending, the nation’s 50th state has decided to relocate some of its homeless population elsewhere.
During the past legislative session, Hawaiian lawmakers narrowly passed a bill establishing a program that could send homeless people born out of the state back to the U.S. mainland. The idea is reduce the cost of supporting the estimated 17,000 homeless people living in Hawaii, the Honolulu Civil Beat notes.
Proponents of the idea say the homeless sent back to the U.S. mainland will be better able to get back on their feet on their home soil. Critics say it doesn’t address the root causes of homelessness. Read
Jul 30, 2013, 8:39 pm EDT
A super PAC aiming to elect Hillary Clinton president in 2016 has jumped out to a hefty head start over other potential candidates.
The Clinton-supporting group, Ready For Hillary, has already raised $1.2 million since its founding in late January.
And while that is a drop in the bucket compared to what was spent by Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and the various groups supporting them in the 2012 election (nearly $2 billion all together), it’s still significant. Read
Jul 30, 2013, 4:20 pm EDT
During his most recent speech outlining the government’s plans for the economy, President Obama has announced that he will offer congressional Republicans a proposal that would cut corporate tax rates in exchange for new jobs.
CBS reports that this ‘grand bargain’ that Obama proposed in Chattanooga, Tennessee seeks to serve the White House’s goal of creating new jobs for the middle class while also appeasing Congress’s wishes of reforming the business tax code.
As part of his Chattanooga trip, Obama will visit an Amazon (AMZN) warehouse that is planning on expanding its personnel. The online retailer is planning on creating 7,000 staff jobs around the country in warehouses such as the one in Chattanooga. Read