What the USDA Does With Taxpayer Money

Senator Tom Coburn sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack asking a very simple question: Why are you threatening to use the sequester as an excuse to cut off funding for food for  600,000 very needy people while your department is wasting taxpayer dollars on thing like a West Virginia Bloody Mary mix company, subsidies for island homes for the wealthy, and free lunches during the summer for rich kids?

Coburn says since the sequester, the Agriculture Department has blown $45,000 on a West Virginia Bloody Mary mix company and spent thousands more to help vineyards across the country.

While that particular program would probably meet the approval of my friend Stephen Green the Vodkapundit (depending on the quality of the wine)  the rest of us might think the food for the underprivileged people is a higher priority.  However even Stephen might have a problem dipping into the department’s Market Access Program/Global and Broad-based Initiative to put on an Asian chef competition

Coburn says the wasteful spending doesn’t stop there. “Just last month, USDA awarded over 100 value-added producer grants for questionable projects, such as social media for pickles, marketing of pizza and ice cream and researching fish food,”

The USDA also subsidized island homes in Martha’s Vineyard (where the Kennedy Compound is).

“This is not the type of community one would expect needs public assistance or would be negatively impacted by sequestration,” Coburn writes. “The ‘cheapest home’ listed for sale on the island is ‘a two-bedroom condo listed at $260,000. ‘ As it turns out, Martha’s Vineyard is actually receiving federal housing and other assistance dispite sequestration.”

Perhaps the Kennedys are running out of money. If its not the Kennedys perhaps its one of the other stars who live or vacation on the small island such as Carly Simon, Mike Nichols and Dian Sawyer, or President Obama who need the help causing Martha’s Vineyard to be deemed a rural area eligible for taxpayer-backed  USDA home loans.

The USDA is picking up the cost to provide free lunches to all children 18 years or younger (regardless of their income) as part of a Tulsa, Okla., Summer Food Service Program.

“While most Americans would support ensuring every kid has a nutritious meal, it makes little sense to be giving free meals to those not in need while cutting assistance to 600,000 women and children who rely on WIC for food and health care services,” he said.

According to the USDA they are working on a response to the senator (which I am sure will be very very interesting).

H/T Washington Times