AUGUSTA – Yet another comprehensive and authoritative academic study on social welfare fraud was reported to the legislature yesterday, when Rodney French, 39, professor of Anecdotal Proof at the University of His Imagination testified before the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Wasting Taxpayer Resources.
“My aunt was on disability for, I dunno, maybe four years,” said French, who lives in Sangerville and holds a PhD in Generalization and a Master’s in prejudgment. “She probably coulda got a job if she wanted to. Or she coulda started a business selling her little knitting projects online or whatever. But she took the easy money instead.”
French also said he had a buddy who’s brother was on food stamps, but still managed to afford lottery tickets and ketchup, which have no nutritional value.
“Come on, ketchup? If you’re poor enough to mooch off taxpayers, you’re poor enough to go without ketchup,” he said.
French’s painstakingly-researched statistics provide empirical legitimacy to the conservative argument that taxpayer money is wasted on social welfare programs. Gov. Paul LePage has proposed adding more than $600,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services budget to pay for hiring eight fraud investigators to sniff out and snuff out welfare cheats.
When asked if he thought the state could recover that money by cracking down on public assistance fraud, French said, “Oh, yeah, easy. I bet we spend like a bajillion dollars a year so people can get unemployment and still have their Nintendos and shit.”
He then pointed out that simply laying off some of the many thousands of highly-paid accountants at Maine Revenue Services who are responsible for auditing the owners of coastal vacation homes would be a good way to balance out the expense.
Attorney General William Schneider said that successful prosecutions for MaineCare fraud last year prove that there is much more abuse in the system.
“So far what we’ve found, after months of exhaustive searching to the point of basically ignoring other crimes, are a handful of cases that are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Schneider. “We believe they are the tip of the iceberg because we took a good look at the facts, especially the fact that we don’t believe in social safety nets.”