Katie Pavlich
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If you earn a middle class paycheck like a lot of Americans do, you saw your Social Security taxes increase last week thanks to the so called fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Considering the system is totally broke, losing that extra cash to the government "lock box" makes you think about where that money, and the rest of your tax dollars are actually going. The New York Post has discovered through an investigation that welfare recipients using EBT cards (which work like debit cards filled with taxpayer money, just swipe and buy) pulled out cash to use at strip bars, to buy alcohol and to use at porn shops.

They’re on the dole — and watching the pole.

Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, X-rated video shops, hookah parlors and even strip clubs — where they presumably spent their taxpayer money on lap dances rather than diapers, a Post investigation found.

A database of 200 million Electronic Benefit Transfer records from January 2011 to July 2012, obtained by The Post through a Freedom of Information request, showed welfare recipients using their EBT cards to make dozens of cash withdrawals at ATMs inside Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn; the Blue Door Video porn shop in the East Village; The Anchor, a sleek SoHo lounge; the Patriot Saloon in TriBeCa; and Drinks Galore, a liquor distributor in The Bronx.

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), which oversees the “cash assistance program,” even lists some of these welfare-ready ATMs on its Web site.

One EBT machine is stationed inside Club Eleven, an infamous Hunts Point jiggle joint known as much for its violent history as its girls in pink thongs.

Club Heat, another Bronx strip club that dispenses EBT cash, is also no stranger to violence. A 33-year-old woman was fatally shot in the head outside the club in December 2011.

Welfare recipients receive food stamps and cash assistance under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Both benefits are accessed through an EBT card, but only cash assistance — meant for housing, utilities and household necessities — can be accessed at ATMs.

The fact that welfare ATMs even exist is insane. Giving out cash with zero oversight? Really? And the idea that some of these ATMs are actually located inside strip clubs is ludicrous.

This investigation comes just one month after we found a record $168 per day is being spent in taxpayer money on welfare services per household living below the poverty line and that welfare was the single largest budget item of 2011.

For fiscal year 2011, CRS identified roughly 80 overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these federal programs, when taken together with approximately $280 billion in state contributions, amounted to roughly $1 trillion. Nearly 95 percent of these costs come from four categories of spending: medical assistance, cash assistance, food assistance, and social / housing assistance. Under the President’s FY13 budget proposal, means-tested spending would increase an additional 30 percent over the next four years.

FLASHBACK: Obama guts work requirement in welfare reform.

Today the Obama Administration issued a new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements can be waived or overridden by a legal device called the section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315).

Section 1115 states that “the Secretary may waive compliance with any of the requirements” of specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: Any provision of law that can be waived under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself. The work provisions of the TANF program are contained in section 407 (entitled, appropriately, “mandatory work requirements”). Critically, this section, as well as most other TANF requirements, are deliberately not listed in section 1115; they are not waiveable.

In establishing TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from the section 1115 waiver authority. They did not want the law to be rewritten at the whim of Health and Human Services (HHS) bureaucrats. Of the roughly 35 sections of the TANF law, only one is listed as waiveable under section 1115. This is section 402.

Section 402 describes state plans—reports that state governments must file to HHS describing the actions they will undertake to comply with the many requirements established in the other sections of the TANF law. The authority to waive section 402 provides the option to waive state reporting requirements only, not to overturn the core requirements of the TANF program contained in the other sections of the TANF law.

The new Obama dictate asserts that because the work requirements, established in section 407, are mentioned as an item that state governments must report about in section 402, all the work requirements can be waived. This removes the core of the TANF program; TANF becomes a blank slate that HHS bureaucrats and liberal state bureaucrats can rewrite at will.

As I always say, keep working America....

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Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.

“ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING! Intrepid investigative journalist Katie Pavlich rips the lid off Team Obama’s murderous corruption and anti-Second Amendment zealotry" says Michelle Malkin.

"Katie Pavlich draws back the curtain on a radical administration that put Mexican and American lives at risk for no discernible reason other than to advance an ideological agenda." - David Limbaugh

Buy Katie's book today and help us keep the pressure on Obama and his attorney general Eric Holder and expose the cover-up.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography